Thursday, 27 October 2011

On the Shortlist

I have just returned from a very busy and successful week in London.  I was exhibiting (and working) with Beside The Wave Gallery at the Affordable Art Fair

It was hard work but very enjoyable, a fantastic buzz to the whole event and I got to meet several people who had only been blogging names to me before. 

I sold a lot of work, both mine and the other artists that the gallery represents, got some commissions and was approached by another gallery about an exhibition. 

So I returned home on a bit of a high to find a message about the Artist of the Year Award which is being run by Artist and Illustrators magazine.  Now I am impossibly excited!  I have been shortlisted!

There is a voting page with all of the images, I am in the landscape section.  Looking through them I think the standard is high so I will be extremely proud to win but I am very proud to have been shortlisted. 

The image above is the painting, the River Helford  (of course) and here is where you can vote

Check out the others as well, they are all interesting paintings. 

I had actually forgotten that I had entered, I have to frame the painting now, in super quick time and get it delivered up to London, right by where I was staying a couple of days ago!  I am just relieved that I hadn't exhibited it of sold it!!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A sea change - in membership of Watermarks

Since Watermarks was created nearly three years ago, this blog has:
  • published 273 posts on a wide range of topics relating to the drawing, painting or printing of art related to water in different places around the world - and its contents
  • attracted nearly 100,000 visitors and 
  • publishes content to nearly 500 subscribers as well as many ad hoc readers

A sea change

The Wave by Gustave Courbet
52 x 79.5 cm Private Collection

However as time has passed, members' individual agendas have changed, new work commitments (artistic and otherwise) have arisen and life gets very full from time to time.

Four of our members have now retired and we will be seeking to recruit new members in the near future.

We have a number of people in mind and intend to start approaching artists with blogs in the near future.

However if you're interested in being a member of this group and think you might be a good fit we'd be interested to hear from you.

In general we're going to be recruiting from people we already know but don't let that stop you.  If you know a member of the group please get in touch with them in the first instance.

Below you can find out:
  • About Watermarks
  • How Watermarks works

Do also take a look at past blog posts to get a sense of the sort of posts we publish.

Leave a comment below or get in contact with us (see "Contact Watermarks" at the top of the side column) if you'd like to be considered for membership.

It's important to note that not all those who express an interest can become members - but we do thank you in advance for putting yourselves forward.

About Watermarks

Watermarks is a small community of artists who make art from water. We like to sketch, draw and/or paint water - the sea, the coastline, beaches, rivers, streams, waterfalls, fountains - in all contexts, styles, genres and media.

In this blog we will display our works in progress as well as completed art, highlight other artists (past and present) whose art involves water, and discuss various media matters and tips and techniques for creating art out of water

You can find out more about the artists by clicking this link

How Watermarks works

The basic way the group works is:
  • each artist has an interest in and a track record of painting water and aspects related to water (eg aquatic life) - in whatever form you prefer.  (For potential new members this means you have a body of work where this is already demonstrated)
  • We particularly like people who are:
    • interested in exploring different ways in which water (or fish or other sea life) can be portrayed 
    • are supportive of the endeavours of others
    • can provide constructive and informative feedback rather than "happy clappies"
  • each artist makes a a commitment to produce one post per month - but can also post more often
  • it's OK to post an image you've already included on your own blog - so long as you rewrite the text which accompanies it.  Duplicated content is NOT allowed.
  • fresh art is great but we don't mind seeing past artwork you are proud of
  • every new member will need to write a post about themselves to post on the blog -  by way of introduction to our readers.
In return, the artist member gets to list their blog and website in the side column and to be a part of this great group!

Over to you........

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Klimt: Park of Schönbrunn

Park of Schönbrunn (1916) by Gustav Klimt

This is another landscape painting involving water by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.  This time it's a bit of a puzzle.

The painting is of a lake in a Schönbrunn Park in Vienna, Austria.  Last November I tried to do a copy of this painting - see Schönbrunn Park - after Klimt - but I think the original is soooooo much better!

I like the fact that it's a puzzle picture.  You have to stare at it for a bit before you realise this is a painting of a large expanse of water in the middle of a very green park.  Most of the reflections are quite subtle.  The only really significant clue are the clouds in the bottom right hand corner which are only hinted at in the top right corner.  You still have to look at it again to make sure this isn't some isolated pond reflecting the sky.

I like paintings which are not obvious!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Klimt - Island in the Attersee

Island in the Attersee (1902) by Gustav Klimt

This painting by Gustav Klimt is one of my favourites.  It's called Island in the Attersee.  He painted more than one version - and this is the 1902 version.

I first came across it on the cover of the book about Klimt's landscapes which I currently have out of the library - see Gustav Klimt: Landscapes

I absolutely adore the colours in this work.  Colour was also incredibly important in determining the nature of Klimt's imagery.  I also love the really high horizon which is also very characteristic of his work - it plunges your focus into the way the surface of the lake looks.  It has a square format with distinct rectangular zones of colour.

The mountain lake called "Attersee" can be found in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. Klimt used to visit the small island in this lake in summer. Apparently the water is very clear and the lake is favoured by swimmers and sailors.

I wonder if this is the painting he used to hang on his wall so he could dream of summer days in the middle of winter!

I'm not drawing/painting a lot of water at the moment - which is not to say it's not one of my favourite subjects.  So I'm going to start posting work which I like which does portray water - and will maybe learn something in the process

Who's your favourite painter of water?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Wimperis on the Wall

Today is the opening of my exhibition at Beside The Wave all of the paintings are now on their web site and looking glorious in the gallery, framed and beautifully hung.  There is a watery section with paintings of the Helford River, where I am so lucky to live,
where I spend my time painting in all weathers and all times of the day and night.
The river and water is complimented by a selection of paintings about gardens, another of my passions.  There are gardens on and around the Helford as well as further afield...
Which leads on to a selection of paintings that were done during my trip to Provence. 
Drop by if you happen to be in Falmouth during the next two weeks, (as well you might be the place is heaving with folk due to it being Falmouth week, even Brad Pitt is in town filming his new movie, maybe he will call in and purchase some paintings!!)
If you cant be there in person then please enjoy the pictures on line and take a look at a very nice blog post on the gallery blog.  If you are interested in the collection of very fine artists that the gallery represent then sign up as a follower of the blog as it has some fascinating insights into the studios and working practices of the represented artists and the blog is written mostly by the official gallery blog reporter...thats me!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Drained Lake, Victoria Park

The Drained Lake - Victoria Park - July 2011
8" x 10" pen and sepia ink in Moleskine sketchbook
This week I walked home from my physio at the hospital via Victoria Park

I planned on sketching the lake on the basis that it must surely have been refilled for the summer months.

Yet again, I was met with a park which for most of 2011 has resembled a very large building site. Huge screens block off access to large parts of the park.  It's so depressing that I now rarely visit.

I ended up sketching the line of stakes which go out to the defunct fountain in the middle of the lake and the puddles which remain in the middle.

All this in the middle of summer after the schools have broken up.

Did nobody at Tower Hamlets Council think it might be a good idea to have most of the park operational in time for the school holidays and the good weather?

I'd add at this juncture that I watched while the lake in St James Park in Central London (which is run by the Royal Parks and is a much bigger lake) was drained, silt removed and then refilled.  I seem to recall think this took a few weeks - and every time I visited I saw vehicles scurrying around the lake bed moving silt around.  It was unsightly while it lasted - but it was also relatively speedy in getting back to normal

Every time I have visited Victoria Park in 2011 all I can see is a nearly drained lake and lots of screens preventing access to the edge.  What I never see are
  • any signs of anybody doing anything to the lake
  • any signs indicating start and finish dates for any of the jobs being done in the park.  In the past I've always found lack of communication on dates to be an absolute sure-fire indicator of poor project planning and poor project management.
Does nobody at Tower Hamlets Council care about the people who use Victoria Park?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Cornwall in May - Vivien

Dawn across the bay, oil about 14 ins or so across

 Life has been getting in the way of me posting here so I thought I'd do a big post of images from a trip to Cornwall in May.   Most have been on my blog but you can see them together here.

What interests me is the changing light and colour as time, season and weather pass.    As the day moves on the colours change constantly, by the minute, the tide moves in or out, clouds change the colours, the sun moves from behind the silhouetted cliffs - ever changing.  It's great to revisit the same view in the way that Sarah has with the creek near her home and Jeanette does with the bays, Katherine does with the ecology park.  Some of these are of the same view, others are from different viewpoints or a few miles along the coast.

Sunset over the bay, coloured pencil

 Double page spread, across the beach, afternoon light, double page spread in the Canson watercolour sketchbook (pages are 12 ins wide), watercolour/mixed media

I use whatever medium either fits in with the time/family committments I have available or suits the subject.

We shared a house with my daughter, her husband, 3 year old grandson and 5 month old grandaughter - which inevitably affected painting time and materials.   I did manage to get out painting  alone though, leaving the family to their own devices :>)

The Crowns at Botallack, A3, charcoal and ink

 The Crowns again, inktense and coloured pencil

 The family wouldn't have tolerated sitting in the wind while I did the above charcoal sketch for instance - and my blood runs cold at keeping hyperactive grandson away from those sheer drops!

 Ink and wash sketch in the Canson watercolour book, The Crowns again

Porthgwarra, oil, approx 14 ins

 Porthgwarra is a little cove that is accessed via a cave - the tide was in and so there was no beach.   This was done sitting on the cliff top with a seal bobbing in the waves watching us.   Himself sat happily in the sun - it was windy but we were sheltered.   The programme 'Coast' explained yesterday how those waves are created by winds way out at sea, not so much local conditions.   Up to thousands of miles away.

The USA is somewhere off over the horizon :>)  - the first transatlantic telephone cables were laid from the nearby beach at Porthcurno (very very beautiful).


Study of dawn colours across the bay, coloured pencil in moleskine sketchbook, A5

Study of afternoon colours across the bay from the house, coloured pencil in moleskine sketchbook, A5

Moorland Stream and ancient pack horse bridge, watercolour and mixed media on A3 sketchpad

Moorland stream in moleskine sketchbook, ink and coloured pencil. A5

There are more but this is probably enough!

Now I need to go and get the paints out and do some more work.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

World Oceans Day

6" x 12"  acrylic

June 8th is World Oceans Day.  On World Oceans Day people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents.

It seemed appropriate that this little golden fish represent the importance of the oceans.  Yes, its not sea dwelling, but water, even fresh, eventually becomes part of the ocean and the hydrological cycle repeats over and over.

The term nishikigoi in Japanese means "colored carp" and refers to the magical realm of koi fish. The Japanese invest symbolism in many animals and especially koi carp, the common goldfish being the domestic version of carp. Yamabuki: The gold fish represents gold, wealth and prosperity.

Wealth is not always measured by physical goods and money.  Wealth comes from what is around us naturally, how we treat it and how we treat ourselves and others. 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Cornwall, May 2011

The Crowns at Botallack, charcoal sketch, A3, Vivien

It's a while since I posted anything here - sorry.

This is a recent one, done on a very windy day, hair blowing in my eyes and fighting to keep the sketchpad still.   It's a mix of willow charcoal, compressed charcoal and charcoal pencil.

The sea was swirling around the rocks below,  gulls wheeled past, that cliff goes a long way upwards above the old engine houses that blend into the cliff.  The thought of miners walking down there in the teeth of a gale, the waves nearly reaching them, then going down dark narrow tunnels under the sea, lit only by the light of their candle, was in my mind as I worked.  A hard life, with a very short lifespan.   Charcoal seemed the right medium to express the place and its ambience.

You can see further sketches of the area here

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Limpid progression

I've been painting this piece over on my blog for the last week or so and I'm finally calling it done.  I thought I'd show the progression shots of the painting here, as I did with my previous wave painting, Landwash.

This piece is called Limpid, the soft, gentle, clear water seemed to warrant an equally relaxed name.  The painting is oils and 12 x 24" on stretched canvas.



Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Lake and waterfowl at Kew Gardens

Last Wednesday I was sat in the sunshine, next to the Lake in the centre of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, drawing this sketch and listening to the complete din which the birds were making combined with what sounded like tree munching.

Spring Green, Sunlight and the Sackler Crossing at Kew Gardens
11" x 16" pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Large Folio Moleskine
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
It reminded me of city folk who go to the country for some peace and quiet and can't get over how noisy it is because of all the noises from the animals and activities which go on a rural area.

The Lake has a huge amount of waterfowl and they're all very territorial.

When we arrived we had a swan letting some Canada Geese know that they were NOT allowed to get into the water just in front of where I sat.
They tried it once or twice and the swan steamed in with wings set to "ack ack" mode and saw them off.  After which they took to marching up and down on the bank with occasional forays for a bit of weed from the edge.  We were sat there so long they began to ignore us so it was fascinating to watch.

In the meantime the gardeners seemed to be getting rid of prunings although it did sound rather more like they putting an enormous tree through the shredder as the noise was so loud.

Then the mallards had periodic races across the top of the lake.  They seemed to be keen to see how long they could skip across the top of the water before they had to take off

The coots were being noisy as per usual (when are they ever not?)

Every once in a while some other Canada Geese would practice display landings by swooping in and doing a very "look at me" landing in the middle of the lake.  Boys will be boys.....

Believe it or not the sketch is not quite so luminous as the leaves were.  I had the combination of brand spanking new leaves with that incredible green - lit from behind by the sun - at the same time as the sky changed so it became violet blue as it thought about having a thunderstorm.  Thankfully that held off until we got home!

Link:  The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

Friday, 22 April 2011

Mauzy morning

Newfoundland has its own language of sorts depending on where you go on the island or Labrador.  Words that I have heard in Dorset and Somerset pop up here as dirivatives or glimpses of Ireland are apparent in brogues and phrases.

Words for the weather are no different, and mauzy is one of them.  Here's the definition taken from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English.  Oh yes, there is one.

This word had sprung to mind when I was creating this painting.  The painting is a combination of life and memory.  I had seen this 'mauzy' morning on the drive to work and didn't have a camera with me to try to record it so I committed it to memory as best I could.  The mist, the light, the colours with the sun burning off the edges and highlighting the water.  Its an interesting exercise to see how much visual information remains in your memory to recreate on canvas.  I think it works best when you are very familiar with a subject at various times of day.  The brain seems to do a mental mix and let you pick out the elements that it thinks work best.


Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:

mauzy a also maus(e)y, mawzy [phonetics unavailable]. Cp EDD mosey adj1 3 'damp and warm, muggy, close; foggy.' Of the weather, damp, foggy, misty or close, sometimes with very light rain or condensation on objects and a cool, gentle wind off the sea; cp CAPLIN (SCULL) WEATHER.

1897 J A Folklore x, 207 Mausey day, one dull and heavy, with no wind and thick mist. 1937 DEVINE 33 A mausey day is a cloudy, foggy day with no wind and a little rain at times.
1957 Daily News 16 Oct, p. 4 Oldtime seal hunters ... expressed the opinion that the long, hard winter, the heavy ice and the 'mauzy' weather of early March were just right for a bumper season. P 105-63 It's a mauzy old day, sir. 1968 KEATING 13-14 'Breeze comin' from duh suddard,' the skipper said. 'Always blows up mauzy weather.' And the fog did indeed roll over the deep as the warm south wind hit the chill air of the bank.
1969 HORWOOD 166 The Caplin Scull is not just a phenomenon of nature, but also a period of the year, and even a special kind of weather—'mausy' weather, with high humidity, frequent fogs or drizzles, easterly winds.
Supplement: mauzy a
1977 MOAKLER 29 We lost the gale sou'east of St Pierre/And lowered dories in the mauzy air. 1988 Evening Telegram 17 May, p. 8 The weather was mausy and...I had it on my mind about a rabbit slip that I never had struck up yet the spring and I wanted to get in and see to that. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Finding the swan

12 x 36"  acrylics

Sometimes it is difficult to move past the ugly stage of a painting.  Often it takes some time to pass before the mood and inspiration comes to help ease it along to where it should be.  Most pieces have their swan in them, it just takes a bit of coaxing sometimes to get it out into the open.

I thought I'd share the final images of a couple of pieces that I showed here in varying stages which are now complete.

The first, Landwash, is in acrylics on a 12" x 36" gallery canvas.  From the last piece I had shown here I added some glazes of colour to the sea and shore to give it interest and break up the expanse of silvery water.  The sun hitting high points of the water and glittering across the surface completed it.

Earth's Eye
6 x 12 oils

The second piece was a study of a the water surface from an image taken at Gallow's Cove Pond late last summer.  I had put down the values and hadn't done much more with it, posting it here with another reflective water surface painting.   I hauled the canvas out again and added some detail to it.  The painting was done in oils on a reclaimed canvas 6 x 12" and the surface was a little uneven, so this will likely remain a study.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

River and hills: Experimenting with an old collagraph cut off

River and Hills, 14x 4 inches, collagraph and cp, Vivien Blackburn

details to see the texture:

I came across this 14x4 inch collagraph in the 'do-something-with-this-later' drawer. I think it was an offcut from a larger collagraph plate, cropped before it was printed and then printed with the same inks that I'd been using (green and yellow), just to see what happened.

It had originally been vertical and part of a seahorses/underwater series of printmaking. Looking at it horizontally I saw a landscape with a river winding through.

Using coloured pencils I worked on it in warm rosy hues to contrast with the cooler green. I want to darken and cool with deep blue the area around the right hand tree a little before I'll call it finished I think. What do you think?

Coloured pencil works really well over collagraphs as it gels with the graininess of the print - which I'm pretty sure was on Fabriano Rosapina paper, which has a nice velvety feel adding to the grain. I've never been happy with the results if I've used watercolour or oil over them because of the sharp difference - the way it fills in the grain unlike the printed surface.

After working a bit too tightly sometimes recently :>(, it was very freeing to simply play with an image, pulling the landscape from the abstract shapes.

If you are interested you can see other collagraphs and the process here

Monday, 7 March 2011

54 paintings later

February 2nd  7.30am
My project carries on, dragging me with it.  I am into the third month already with 54 paintings under my belt.  I have discovered gouache, or body colour, which is a medium that I haven't used for years and one that offers many possibilities for the plein air painter. 

March 2nd.  Gouache.
I have also discovered patience, enduring day after day of grey mist and very wet Cornish drizzle, then finding out that I actually love the grey misty rain.  I am patiently waiting for the Spring and in the process, I suppose because of a heightened awareness of my environment, noticing the tiniest stirrings of fresh green shoots in the woods and fields as I walk to my vantage point.

21 February  Watercolour and Gouache.
 I am trying out different techniques, finding confidence in and a familiarity with the media that I am using that I havent felt before.  I am also becoming bolder and minding not a fig what passers by think, in other words, happily inhabiting the role of "that mad artist woman"  (painting at night often brings that remark!)

February 8th.  Starry Starry Sky.
Apart from local interest I have had some from further afield and a venue for exhibiting the finished collection.  So this project, a few short months into it, has already begun to acheive much of what I had hoped it would.  As a direct result from all this painting activity, I am holding plein air painting workshops here in Cornwall throughout the summer, my blog will have the links,  if anyone is down my way, give me a shout, we can go painting together.  I shall also be at the Bristol Affordable Art Fair in May with Beside The Wave Gallery  (I link you to their blog as I am the official blog reporter!) as their token artist, if you are in the Bristol area why not visit, seek me out, I shall be there, in my best bib and tucker with a label on me for identification purposes.  Very soon I shall be making another little film, this time of the actual painting process, on location, as I am testing QR codes for use with the gallery.  I shall post the film here and, hopefully, explain the QR code properly.
As a final note though, I must say just how afferming and valuable is the interest from other bloggers, artists and non artists.  Never underestimate the value of commenting, it helps to keep me going and I know it does for other artists too.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Landwash - WIP

12 x 36, acrylic

land·wash [land-wosh, -wawsh]

–noun Newfoundland 
the foreshore, especially that part between high and low tidemarks.
I've been working on my second water painting of the year with this piece called Landwash - perhaps a push for the true meaning of the name as the water features strongly in it rather than the foreshore.  It is a combination of life studies and photographs that I took on an unusually calm day at Middle Cove.  The Atlantic was being gentle and washing the beach quietly with small wavelets such as this one, compared to its usual wildness.  I hope to enter this into an exhibit on water being held locally in April.

I've painted this using acrylics and they can be good and bad to use.  My technique mostly involves glazes of thin paint and sometimes some slow dry blending medium to help the process of keeping edges soft.

This piece is a work in progress on my blog and I thought I'd share what I have to date here.   The canvas is a 3/4 inch gallery canvas 12 x 36" and works well for the format of the wave, leading the viewer's eye across the surface.

There is still work to be done on the water surface, the detail of the wave itself and the texture of the sand/gravel of the foreground.  I usually have a couple of pieces on the go at the same time so that I can go back and forth every day or two between them, giving me a chance to view and adjust with fresh eyes.

Here is the transition of how the piece was built so far, with some detail pieces for those who like to step in closer and see 'how did she do that?'