Sunday, 22 January 2012

Refining the process

Well, hello everyone! I see you have all been very productive over the last few weeks. I haven't had the time to sit down and peruse all your work but I have watched as some of your lovely work has appeared on the feeds to Google Reader on my phone :) I hope to start catching up with you all .... soon !

I have been playing a little over the last month or so with various media:  watercolours (of course), but also Tombow brush pens, graphite (plain and watersoluble) and watercolour pencil. I tend to drift in and out of these easy to use media and although they are fun they do tend to distract me from what I really want to be doing, which is getting out there to sketch :) Hopefully the weather will start to get warmer here in the UK and I can get out there again with my watercolours and oils !

I'm also starting to play a little with oils again and have been using things like wooden sticks and paper towels to create marks and blends. This one was the result of that process. I started by squeezing a generous blob of Burnt Umber onto the palette to use as a mid-tone for a painting. I had nothing in mind at the time, but as I started to brush the paint across the canvas I decided that I would try to turn it into a painting. I suppose you could argue that it's only an underpainting but I like it just as it is, a finished monochrome painting or perhaps an exercise in learning more about values. Hope you like it.

Happy painting!

Out of the woods, Oil on canvas, 30cm/12" x 25cm/10"


  1. Hi Michael, I like it! It's so funny, the right half of the painting with the tree branching out over a lovely landscape, the left half straight trees. Must be a symbol of your left brain - right brain dilemma?

  2. Hi Michael, good to see you back - you've been missed. Some of my favourite paintings are monochromatic. This one is great I particularly like the subtle tones on the left of the trees furthest away that push back in the space. I wonder if the trees on the right would push back more if their tones were a touch lighter? There is some beautiful markmaking in this one your experiments in application are working very well.

  3. Hi Michael,
    So good to see you posting again. Absolutely love this, it's Brilliant.

  4. Hi Michael, I don't know whether I've been here before, but I'm glad I stumbled in. I like it just the way it is too--sometime under-paintings have just the right feel and it's the wisest among us to sign it and walk away. I also think you're the second artist I've come across to use the word "fun" when messing around with the various mediums; I'm the first. "Messing around" with mediums is the joy in the process. Nice to meet you.

  5. I also like monochrome paintings, particularly in these warm, earthy tones. I think it's great! And I chuckled at Judy's comment :0)

  6. Wow.. this is so lovely, Michael! You are venturing into oils.. me too! Love the reflections and the monochrome. Value studies are so important, and you picked a wonderful subject. You also made the oils look like watercolours! Awesome!

  7. Since it started out as a blob, a blank canvas, and no direction, it's turned out pretty well. Nice job. ;-)

  8. Monochrome images are often so powerful. This is no exception to that. Lovely composition.
    And this encourages me to get back to my brushes too. Thank you.

  9. Way to go for having nothing in mind! You've produced a lovely monochrome landscape. I really like it. xx

  10. I like it Michael! Beautiful monochrome painting, particularly in these warm colors. Great Job! Ciao.

  11. Nice to see you're having fun with the oil in a big way.
    I absolutely love the left side of your peinture but I wonder if the "trick" rigid and darker, down on the right is very wise

  12. Very nice indeed Michael. My husband bought me oils for Christmas and as yet I have done nothing with them ... watch this space! :)

  13. Hi everyone ... what a lovely welcome back ... thank you! Sorry it took me so long to reply to your lovely encouraging comments :)

    Judy - Hmm, you may have a point. However, I've just checked in the mirror and I can't see a tree growing out of the right hand side of my head LOL.

    Lisa - glad to be back! Yes, well done, I wondered when someone would notice the too-dark trees on the right ;-) Where's Roger when you need an eye for detail LOL :)

    Joan - it's great to be back. Hope to check out your last few posts real soon and to see if you've had any big snow falls on Long Island yet :)

    Linda - welcome! Hope you pop by again! Yes, when there's a lack of fun in art it will show through in your work. Hope to peruse your blog soon - lovely work BTW :)

    Sandra - it started as a neutral background, then an underpainting, then a monochrome ... glad you like it :)

    Rose - wow, way to go ! I hope you have an oily masterpiece to look at soon! Yes, seeing value is very valuable and often undervalued LOL. I don't use any textured goo - I prefer to work thin so it does produce more of a watery effect :)

    John - I wonder how many Van Gogh's started life as a blob of paint ? It could have gone the wrong way and ended up like a Jackson Pollock's LOL :)

    Vandy - I hope this was enough inspiration to get the brushes out and to post your work for us all :)

    Pat - it's often the way isn't it ? Clear your mind and let the heart take over :)

    Tito - it does have a nice warm earthy feel to it :)

    Lydie - yes I may lighten the dark strip a little. It's supposed to be a wall to hold the embankment, but you're absolutely right, it is too dark :)

    Sue - glad you like this one. Hope the new job is going well :)

    Ingrid - brilliant, have fun. Looking forward to seeing you post your first oil paintings :)

  14. I like looking at artistic experiments and discovering new unconventional attemps to find new ways of expression... That's why I find this work so interesting and fascinating! Now I'm looking forward for the next steps of this intriguing process...
    Have a nice week!

  15. Hi Lucia, so sorry I'm late at replying :( Thank you so much for your comments. I hope to develop this technique in the months ahead :)


No silly verification words here - all comments are appreciated! Thank you :)