Wednesday, 22 September 2010

September On The River

September on the Helford  River in Cornwall.  It is so much quieter, many of the holiday craft have gone home, there is a thoughtful quality to the air.  It is peaceful and perfect for a few small plein air watercolours.
These are tiny, the biggest being about 21 cm long, that is just a tadge over 8 inches and all about 8 cm high (3.5 inches).
Also shown here is the scrappy little sketch, done in Biro, which I used to "warm up".
I am planning to varnish the paintings, it is a new process which involves a UV isolation coat then picture varnish.  This gets rid of the need for glass in the framing which, in my opinion has three main advantages: 
Glass makes horrible reflections which I think detract from the painting. 
They are easier to post or transport and therefor sell. 
I can experiment with framing and adding things, these for example will be framed together with tiny found objects that I collected at the time.
I shall make a separate post about that. So be excited, be very excited... I am.
Now, I am off to catch a tiny ferry across this very river to walk the cliff, do some more painting and talk to a little gallery there... its a very tough life!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

work in progress, Vivien

Above and below: details from an experimental collage/mixed media development from tree sketches. Vivien

I'm experimenting with collage and mixed media to develop the recent images of trees (and of course water!)

The trees are done separately and stuck down with spray glue so that they don't become wet or stained with adhesive. I've played with marks - running paint wet-in-wet, splattering, drawing into wet paint with the wooden end of the brush, adding the occasonal bit of coloured pencil or watercolour pencil and keeping everything loose and abstracted.

There is a 'frame' around the central section, made up from trees at each side and tops of trees at the top - at the bottom the rocks create weight to balance these. The 'frame' is a deliberately disjointed, with elements that cross into it but a clear break elsewhere. (see link to whole image and further close ups below)

The pool with its reflections is worked loosely on yet another piece of paper that is collaged in.

Most of it is done in watercolour with different papers - white, cream and pale browns worked over in the various media. There is also coloured pencil, ink and a small touch of buff titanium acrylic in the final touches here and there.

(That's a colour I find really useful, particularly for doing the edges of canvasses - no mixing to match the colour for second coats)

Feedback/crit/comments very welcome :>)

Monday, 13 September 2010

Bluegill II

I'm still plodding away with my gyotaku project and have all kinds of fish from the weird to the wonderful.  These little bluegills are found all over North America and I love the shape and size - pan size and very good eating I'm told.

I did a study of them to work out colours and composition.  The paper was pretty absorbent - Okawara - so I thought I'd take it to the next level and really add a shot of colour. I flooded the surface with a highly pigmented wash of watercolour in various colours that complement the natural colours of these fish.  Its as if they're swimming in a dream world now and I rather like the outcome.  The print below is the original study print with a small amount of colour added.

The paper was still damp when I took this image so it will be slightly more subdued when dry.

Experimentation is what this project is all about after all and testing the abilities of Japanese papers. I'm quite amazed at their strength when wet.  The papers have a perceived fragility when you pick them up as they're so lightweight and flexible, and, like most papers, are fragile when wet.  However, I can put a lot of water and manipulate paint on them very well without the paper or the print breaking down.

Japanese papers vary so much in type and price.  They're not cheap papers which is why I often work out pieces as studies first on newsprint or cheap mulberry paper before I pull out something more expensive.  I would recommend people try some Japanese paper if they can access it.  Its a unique experience and has so many possibilities.   My source for good quality paper is The Japanese Paper Place in Toronto.

And now for a quick smile from one of the more different fish that I am printing.  This is a smile from an ocean pout.  I was given this fish and didn't realize it had quite the set of teeth til I started prepping it for printing.  The fish is about 16 inches long and rather like a cross between a sculpin and an eel with a big bony head.  I'm rapidly getting over my fear of strange and weird fish that, in the past, would have had me in the horrors.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Rennies Mill River

I'm still working on my little series of hidden rivers, albeit slowly and sporadically.  I have a number of rivers or perhaps better called streams and they mostly haven't got a lot of 'oomph' to them, acting more like cuts through the land than fast moving water.

I had created a rough pastel on Rennies Mill River which crosses the city and through the Waterford Valley, heading to the sea. My viewpoint here is flanked by a ball field on one side and a supermarket car park on the other.  It leads under the road and empties into Quidi Vidi Lake which is a popular spot for joggers and ducks.

When I look up this river, it transports me to another place entirely. I decided to see how the same view would translate into oil paints.  The painting at the beginning of the post is a 5 x 7 piece, started last night and completed today.

I still have quite a number of rivers to document and between fish and printing, it could take some time.  However, it will be a good project to keep me going during the winter.