Seascape progress

April 27, 2010 § 6 Comments

Well, with all the children posted back to school I’ve actually been able to get some painting done!

I’ve been using a much bigger brush than I normally would to try and get out of the habit of using small brushes to cover a large area, which not only takes a lot of effort but also time. So, I’ve been using a No. 14 Raphael Kaerell filbert for the sea, laying down some colour before going back in with some more detail and glazes.

It’s the first time I’ve painted the sea so I’m experimenting as I go really. I’ve found looking at Jacob Collin’s landscapes inspirational though. I love the way he captures light.


Finished feather.

April 16, 2010 § 6 Comments

As you can see, I cheated a little on the completion of this feather as the original guinea fowl feather had soft creamy/grey spots on it. This was proving somewhat of a stumbling block as trying to capture the delicacy of the feather and the spots was taking longer than I wanted to spend on this study. I’m going to have to return to guinea fowl feathers in the future to work a stategy through, but for now I’m content with this!

The seascape has been on hold through the Easter hols as looking after children doesn’t equate with concentrating on painting this. Just as I settle down and get into the zone, listening to iPlayer on Radio 4, I end up having to break off to sort out the Playstation, for those children shirking off weeding duty in the garden!

I purchased some aluminium plates a few months back now, ready for working on some drypoint prints. I was inspired to take up printing again after finding Bridget Farmer’s blog. The only thing stopping me, apart from finding the time at the moment, is the lack of a printing press. One small thing, but quite a vital part of the process! There must be one in rural Finistère somewhere.


March 30, 2010 § 10 Comments

This is what I’ve been working on for the past week or so. We went up tp St Pol de Leon a little while ago. It was on a day that fluctuated between being sunny one moment and then all of a sudden storm clouds would roll in from the sea the second. It created some absolutely magnificent skies, which was the inspiration for this painting.

The canvas I’m using is 60cm X 50cm, a little larger than my still life paintings. I think I’ll do a series that are this size or perhaps a bit bigger. 

I’ve just realised that I haven’t posted a finished picture of the feather painting, so I’ll do that next time I post!

New goodies!

March 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

We try and live a pretty frugal life here, so not much is spent on anything other than the main necessities. Clothes have to actually have holes in them and be unrepairable before a new item can be purchased (excluding kiddies clothes here as they have the habit of growing). Anything to prettify the house, such as beautiful curtains or exquisite linen bedding will have to be put off to another year. But the one thing that is regarded as a necessity and which I get just as much pleasure from receiving as any a luxury item, is painting supplies!

Today my order arrived via courrier of some essential items: Sennelier oil paints (burnt umbre, burnt sienna, raw sienna, raw umbre and rose madder lake) retouching varnish, liquin, Raphael Kaerell paint brushes, new palette, and very small 10 X 15 cm canvas covered boards.

The paint and brushes are perhaps obvious and need no explanation. The retouching varnish is used to go over dried areas of your oil painting, to recreate the lustre and shine of the original wet paint, so subsequent layers can be added to a surface that replicates what you were working on before the paint dried. You can also use retouching varnish as a temporary finishing varnish, making the whole surface of the painting have the same sheen. This is useful if areas of a painting have sunk a little as they have dried, creating an uneven finish of matt and shiny areas. The retouching varnish allows the drying process of the oil paint to continue until such a time as the final varnish can be applied (usually 6 months – a year after finishing the painting).

The liquin is an experiement for me as I have never used this medium, so I’ll have to keep you posted on this one!

The palette is to replace one that has become encrusted with old paint.

My usual practice after a sitting, if I’ve still got paint on my palette that has been carefully mixed into colour strings, is to pop some cling film over the palette to save the paint until the following day (if you have plenty of money to buy paints to your hearts content then this is not required) and then give the palette a proper clean after the second sitting. Over the last week however, I did this and then was unable to continue my painting the following day, resulting in the cling film and paint drying rock solid onto the palette! Hence the new palette.

The small little canvas covered boards are to create small paintings of found objects in Finistère, a project I will talk more about later.

 So, after I’d finished admiring all my new goodies, I sat down to get some work done!


March 1, 2010 § 6 Comments

I started work on the guinea fowl feather today. I was going to do an alla prima approach to this but in the end opted for the tried and tested method of an underpainting using burnt umbre and turps.

I’m going to read up on the alla prima process a bit more though because I’d liked to do some quicker still life studies to accompany more prolonged pieces of work. I do love the fluency of people’s work like Duane Keiserand Julian Merrow-Smith. I sometimes feel torn between the desire to work in this way and the compulsion to sit in front of the same painting for a few weeks, constantly trying to tweek things into being.

Talking about paintings that have been on the easel for a week or two, here’s the finished ‘Eggs in a red bowl’ painting:

Eggs in red bowl progress 4

February 17, 2010 § 2 Comments


I didn’t get chance to post this update for a while as our camera broke and we had to wait for a replacement to be parachuted in from Amazon, so here’s what the painting was looking like about two weeks ago. I put scumbles over the white background and reworked the red bowl, mainly through applying glazes but adding more opaque paint to lighten the brighter areas of the bowl.

The next thing I will be doing is creating more depth to the shadow areas around the eggs, and then I think I’ll call it time on this painting.

I found a lovely guinea fowl feather the other day from one of our very noisy birds, so I think I might create either a painting or a dry point of this next.

Eggs in red bowl progress 3

January 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

I continued work on the red bowl today, mainly painting the shadow areas and softening the outline of the bowl. The next stage is going to be putting some scumbles over the pale background and then glazing over the bowl.