Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Digital experiment

Sennen Sunrise, digital experiment from plein air sketches. Vivien Blackburn

I want to work on a series of large canvasses from the plein air sketches of Cornwall that I've shown here and on my blog (links below).

As I can't get on with them today I had a quick 'play' with photoshop to come up with some ideas that take images forward - and I quite like this one. I do like doing paintings of night/dusk/early dawn. I think I'll have to have a go on a fairly large canvas and try to get this light :>)

It might be a challenge to try a large watercolour too.

links to relevant sketches:

sketches done plein air

other digital experiments here


oh for more time to paint .....

Friday, 25 September 2009

On the Danube...

... not painting, not even sketching, but at least travelling.

I spent a few days in Vienna for work, ended up walking through some fabulous neighbourhoods on the way to and from the conference venue, gave general sightseeing a bit of a miss - I really think, the Habsburg dynasty should NOT have held back quite as much as they did on their architecture - I am sure they could have built some FAR more impressive monumental buildings, boulevards and other assortments than they did, but I managed to do a little boat trip.

It wasn't the trip down the Danube to nearby Bratislava (a mere 90 mins downwards on the river), but a trip down the Danube Canal and up the Danube.

It was a sunny day, plenty of birds, plenty of cargo boats passing us by and a lot of Strauss music coming from the speakers of the boat's sound system.

Take a look for yourself:

The Danube

The Danube

Houseboats on the Danube

The Lock

Friday, 18 September 2009

Considering water

I find something hynotic about the rush of ocean waves over rocks and there is no shortage of either in my neck of the woods.

This watercolour is of the surf at Pouch Cove. There is no beach there, just jagged rocks that reach out under the sea and appear with the ebb and flow of tides and waves. There is nothing smooth in this cove. History and 'stories' say that it was one of the original settlements in Newfoundland. All the summer fishers from England were to return with their bounty at the end of the summer. It was against the law to stay here. Some rebellious souls decided to chance their luck and chose Pouch Cove because of its inaccessible harbour, making it seem an unlikely place to look should the authorities come searching for the rebels.

I have found that I have learned a lot from my time spent simply watching the movement of waves against the shore and over rocks. When I initially started recording water, it seemed like a daunting task to know where to begin. Watching the repetitive motion and knowing how water reacts and moves over different surfaces; how it reflects the light, the colours of the sea that changes around rocks, the foam that changes colour depending on the weather - there are so many things to see in the water that you don't really consider until you begin to paint.

I still have much to learn about water and how to draw and paint it well. Each image that I create brings me one step closer to satisfaction.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Creative Burn Out Recovery Plan

Watercolor and ink

I've been quiet here for awhile because I've been burned out not only creatively but burned out web-wise too. Some thoughtful friends have suggested I do a few gentle posts from time to time to let you all know I'm still alive and kicking.....and tell you how I'm recovering.

I'm cooking more and here's my latest cook book:
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone The author is a sympathetic omnivore with some really interesting flavor combinations.

I'm getting out doors as much as possible and preferably in a quiet, natural setting.

Visiting with family and good friends.

Not making art if I don't want to and being gentle with myself about not wanting to.

I'm doing my yoga and yoga breathing when things start to feel overwhelming.

Spending time doing nothing.

I'm living as much as possible in the REAL world. This means I won't be visiting blogs for awhile but it's been heavenly to not be feeling obligated to spend so much time on line. I was starting to feel numbed after hours on line. I also found myself obsessively checking my site stats.This is such a HUGE time waster and was strictly about vanity; a sort of adult version of the high school popularity contest. I turned blogging into a J-O-B with all the heavily weighted baggage that denotes.

I highly recommend the web restricted diet if you are feeling burned out. I'd be interested to hear how others cope with creative and web burn out.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Waterways Project: Swithland Reservoir, still day, overcast and about to drizzle

Swithland Reservoir, still, overcast day, about to drizzle, watercolour and coloured pencil, Vivien Blackburn

I visited Swithland Reservoir on a day that was sunny when I left home, but grey and overcast by the time I'd been there a couple of minutes, turning to a light misty rain, dulling colours and contrast.

It's interesting to catch different lights. The foliage in summer is heavy and solid - I don't find that as interesting as spring, summer and autumn, where the structure of the trees shows and colour is more varied. It made for an interesting abstract shape across the centre of the image though, with lots of lost edges and mystery.

It's certainly somewhere to revisit once the autumn colours are advanced.

Watercolours plus polychromos pencils, about 10x9 inches unless I crop it a little - or decide to show the messy edges (they are a bit messy, not just ragged).

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Victoria Park Lake people #4

Victoria Park Lake People #4
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I sometimes sketch the people on the terrace by the cafe next to the West Lake in Victoria Park when I stop there for my cup of tea on my morning walk. My aim is to develop a series of sketches in different seasons although I think I need to aim to do rather more sketches first. I get distracted by the trees and the birds............

The people who gather on this spot are interesting. They often seem to be under the misapprehension that if they you sit outside near a fountain you can't be overheard! While sketching I find I hear snatches of conversations into the sketches without even trying - I often think I ought to try and incorporate some of the words into a sketch.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

My Sneaky Plan

I told you that I had a sneaky plan...this is the result.
I wanted to be able to make a painting of the lake and her reflections, in Trebah Gardens by the light of a silvery moon.
In order to do this I had quite a bit of planning to do, I needed a canoe, a clearing night and of course a full moon. A way to get into the gardens, which I wont divulge, and a bit of nerve. Well I did it, I was extremely careful not to cause any rumpus or damage. I did my memorising trick and made some sketches, got wet, and cold, a bit scared but I got this!

I think it is an accurate depiction of what it was like and having done a few night pictures now I am becoming a fan, there is nothing like not being able to see every detail to sharpen up ones senses.

I think also it has taught me a few lessons, about how to "look" and really observe and absorb what I am trying to paint. The biggest thing is not to make any assumptions, about colour, form, anything. Look as if you have never seen such a thing before and try to catch that, to describe that new thing as well as you can. This is what I shall try to hold true to as long as I paint.

Plus, I have decided, made my choice. For me it is watercolour that holds my heart.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Night Painting

Helford Regatta. Watercolour. 40cm x 40cm or 16 inches x 16 inches.

Helford Fireworks. Oil. 15cm x 15cm or 6 inches x 6 inches

Here we go again, with the old oil or water question, actually its not much of a conundrum for me this time, the watercolour has won. I have been trying to paint water at night, with the aid of fireworks!
This time of year, down here by the sea, there are a lot of carnivals and regattas. When all the games and sailing competitions are over, after a lot of fine Cornish ale, the evening is usually rounded off with a fantastic firework display. I needed to do some night painting and this provided just the right challenge. With night painting I find that the best thing to do is to fill your senses, pack it in, think, think and feel. Then rush home, or into somewhere that you can see, and scrawl a lot of notes.
The paintings are essentially memories. I found doing these that watercolour won hands down, it provided the exuberance that I felt watching the display, it showed the colours in the water the best, it gave me the accidental marks that I was looking for. I am however slightly seduced by the bit of pink smoke by the trees in the little oil...
I am working on a few more night pictures, there is a full moon coming up in a couple of days and I have plans, quite sneaky ones which, hopefully, I will achieve without being eaten by guard dogs, arrested by police for trespass or falling over and breaking my neck...
or meeting any ghosts!