Sunday, 16 October 2011

The benefits of cropping

In my last blog entry I added a picture of Rollo, a Labradoodle, taken from a photograph on PMP, (Paint my Photo)  I decided to crop the reference photo down to concentrate on a few points.  Mainly the tilt of the dog's head and the texture of his hair.
Jean Haines must have been reading my mind because a week later she posted a challenge photograph on her blog for all her fans to have a go at.  This photograph was also cropped right in, excluding the background and forcing the artist to concentrate on capturing the textures, colours and the tilt of the head. 
It's a fantastic way to approach paintings of, not only wildlife, but other motifs.  Jean uses this close cropping on many of her own paintings. 
Isolating the subject is a fantastic learning tool.  It also removes many error traps like unsuitable backgrounds, wrong proportions, weakness in painting things like paws or hands.  Above is my submission for Jean's challenge.  I won't say that it was easy, but I felt that I had already painted a very similar study just the week before, so I knew exactly how I wanted to approach this.
It is also a worthwhile exercise to have a close look at yor own completed work.  Would that picture that you were not just too happy about look better if it was cropped down into one small part of the work?  Worth thinking about.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I have been on a learning curve recently.  (Isn't that almost always the case?)  I have found inspiration for my art from a few distinct sources.  One being the 'Jean Haines' blogspot - and the wonderful atmospheric artwork of 'Charles Reid'.  Both artists use light and colour in the most expessive way imaginable.  Thanks also to my good friend Laura Moore for her constant belief in me as an artist.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Artist's block

I do a bit of writing so I have experienced writer's block quite often.  Now after six months of painting almost every day I have found artist's block after coming home from my holiday in the sun.  Funny thing is though, I painted almost every morning whilst I was away.  I liked to rise early and work on the apartment balcony while the weather was still cool.  My 'block' set in when I came home.  I'm sure that I am getting over it now.  Joined 'Paint My Photo' along with a few friends so  I am getting plenty of encouragement.

Anyway, I decided to do my own version of St Mark's square, Venice whilst I was away.  I very much admire Jean Haines version of this, but hopefully my version adds something different.  Looking forward to doing lots more over the next few weeks. 

Monday, 2 May 2011

self portrait

Had a go at a self portrait this morning.  My concentration was such that I ended up looking a bit glum!  It was a worthwhile excercise though.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Working plein air

The weather was so nice this afternoon, so I decided to work outdoors.  I finished this painting of racehorses then caught up with two caricature commissions that I had been putting off.  Got some odd looks from passers by.
Working down in Northumberland and Co Durham, Friday, Saturday, and I have around eight hours to spare between jobs, so I plan to take my paints and paper with me.  Probably will get more puzzled looks as I sit in my car painting.  But if the weather is as warm as it was today, I will be doing the old plein air once more.

Monday, 11 April 2011



I work away at my new passion, watercolours.  Trying to be as loose as possible.  My caricatures have also been executed in a loose style for years.  There is another art that I am deeply involved in.  An art that is so removed from my usual loose style.  Cutting silhouettes is a very exact art.  These profiles are cut freehand from black paper in about two minutes.  I do walkabout at corporate events or weddings, cutting silhouettes on the move.  Sometimes it becomes difficult, especially in low light function rooms.  It is also quite tricky in crowded areas.  I haven't stabbed anyone yet though.
This silhouette is of my daughter.  I mounted it between two pieces of glass.  This allows a shadow to fall on to the white background.  What is achieved is a floating profile.  Still not getting enough gigs doing this.  People are generally ignorant of this French art, but when they see it they love it.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Back to watercolours.

Another wedding yesterday, doing loose impressionistic caricatures.  Now today I painted a very noble looking lioness resting in the sun.  Continuing with my loose style.  It is just as well that I don't cut silhouettes in this way.  They would look like confetti!

Resting in the sun

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Back to Caricatures

Just back from Northumberland, where I was working as a caricaturist at a wedding reception.  A break from the watercolours.  At least with the caricatures I have no pressure.  I can do them standing on my head! 
I have now joined 'The Painting Loft', a fine site!  Looking forward to learning loads! 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

I called this one 'Memories of Key West Florida', because that's what it is really.  Good times!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Not quite spring yet, but I have been working away at a sunny watercolour painting of Bridget & Niamh from a photograph taken at Key West Florida.  The picture was so full of light, reflected light and atmosphere.  I hope I can do it justice.
I am doing as many paintings as I can at the moment.  My main influences are Marilyn Allis and Jean Haines.  My classical influences are Monet and Renoir.  As soon as the painting is completed I will post its image on here.