Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rainy days and Sundays

Brrr ... it's getting colder here in the UK ... and to top it all we've been having a little rain here in the week .. and more this morning :( I have been spending what little time I have beween work (still busy there) and family matters to do a little more drawing work ... mainly portraits. I have so much to learn but I'm quite pleased with the results so far and I seem to be progressing. As a result, I've not had a great deal of time to spend on painting this week ... and I expect that to be the case for a while. Sketching outdoors is on hold now until the longer hours of daylight return and so I have to rely more on photographs. I did however manage to paint this early morning scene today. This is based on a photograph I took on a recent rainy day dog walk down to the local village shop. The overnight rain had left lots of puddles and a general shimmer across the road that reflected the colours of the fleeting sunrise. The houses and trees that line the road were barely discernible against the light and vivid colours of the sky.

Have a lovely Sunday ... happy painting (and drawing)!

Rainy day in Hartford, watercolour in Fabriano Venezia sketchbook, 25cm x 18cm/10" x 7"

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Big Chill

What a busy couple of weeks at work that was! Deadlines to meet ... bugs to fix ... problems to solve ... all a little bit too stressy for my liking to say the least. How does one relax afterwards  .. easy ... get out the paints, and share your emotions with friends !

I hope the serenity of this imaginary scene helps to convey the return of my usual inner calm! This was done on a fairly heavyweight cartridge paper (200gsm or more I think) in an old Goldline A4 sketchbook. I just love to work on cartridge paper sometimes. The paper is tough enough and I even used a little bit of glazing - a new concept to me !

A big thank you and welcome to my latest followers, a glorious weekend to you all ... and of course, happy painting :)

'Chill', watercolour on Goldline paper, 28x19cm/11x7.5"

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Divine geometry

Ok, eveyone take a deep breath, lets do some mathematics :) Before you all start clicking away from here, lets bring it straight back to art ! I'm sure you're all familiar with the rule of thirds in composition and design. The rule is just a very rough approximation of the classical golden section, a proportion based on a mathematical constant (phi). Phi can be calculated accurately from the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, a sequence that occurs regularly in nature, such as in the distances between the petals of some flowers. It also occurs in other examples of artistic beauty, notably music. Many famous works of classical art and architecture as well as things of natural beauty from the Great Creator himself have proportions that are based around the golden section, which approximates to the ratio of 1 to 1.618. The rule of thirds by comparison would give the ratio of 1 to 1.5. Not a massive difference, but is it significant enough to make or break a composition ?

Are you still there LOL. So, I thought I'd put it all to practice. I took out a steel rule and a calculator, measured the height and width of my working area of paper, calculated the divine proportions accordingly, and drew a horizontal and vertical line on the paper at the calculated positions. The base of the tall tree to the right of the painting is at the intersection of those two lines. I could have chosen any of four possible positions for the focal point, but I chose bottom right which gives more sky than land and should also lead the eye from left to right (hopefully). Has it made a difference to my composition, is it more hamonious, is it more pleasing to the eye or would it have been just as good if I'd used the rule of thirds or perhaps simply done it 'by eye' - as I usually do ?  Hmmm ....

Happy painting and a glorious Sunday to you all :)
Lake at Dusk, watercolour on Arches 300gsm/140lb Rough, 23cm x 31cm/9" x 12"


And by popular request, and just for comparison, here's a cropped image in which the base of the tree has been moved to lie at the intersection of the lines created by using the rule of thirds. Thanks very much to Keith for coming up with this idea - it saved me having to paint it again ;)

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Autumn finally arrives

The weather here has been pretty dismal; lots of wind and rain and of course it's now a little too dark to get any after-work sketching done :( However, I have been trying to get some reference photographs to keep me busy over the coming blustery autumn and chilly winter months. This one is based on a photo I took on a recent dog walk with that now infamous show-stealing canine model himself :) It started life as a watercolour which I subsequently ran under the tap - twice! At this point I decided to give up with watercolour and get out the Kremer and Sennelier soft pastels to see where that took me. But that looked awful too lol, so I dissolved much of the dry pastel with water and then finished off a few highlights in the foreground with dry pastel and some of the tree branches with dry and wet watercolour pencil. A true multimedia experience ... or perhaps a bit of a mess. You decide :)

Happy painting, be it wet or dry!

Autumn woodland walk, mixed media on Arches 300gsm/140lb Rough, 23cm x 31cm/9" x 12"