Last day reflections

Here  I am with a couple of hours of Somerset Art Weeks to go. I’m fairly pleased with visitor numbers and sales. I have not been idle in the slack times either. It’s been a brilliant opportunity – shut up with an ipad for company – to try out some e-drawing.

I went on a course a few weeks ago given by Alison Jacobs, a local artist who is Somerset’s answer to David Hockney, with an awesome mastery of drawing on an ipad.

We downloaded several apps and tried out techniques but I didn’t feel I’d really put what we learned into practice. And if you don’t keep using computer stuff you forget. Well, I do!

I took a photo of Carson my holiday dog, one of many taken over his Somerset holidays. He writes a dogblog on facebook when he’s staying in Moorlincgh, so I was spoilt for choice.

 

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Then I messed around with 5 different apps, my finger and I stylus I bought, and dozens of different techniques. Here we go:

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So – a work in progress! Might consider trying a graphic novel (comic ?) one of these years!

Only one hour to go now…

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Fun with crayons

I’ve really been enjoying using the neocolor II watersoluble crayons – previously they were part of my ‘touching up’ battery of stuff to deploy at the end of a painting when (OK, it happens) things haven’t gone according to plan.But I have some new work for Somerset ArtWeeks ( an alarmingly short time hence) where I chose them from the beginning for their vibrant, lively look, and they seem to work well with more ‘man-made’ shapes.

The sailing boats were at a local regatta at Durleigh, while the other two were based on architecture at the stunning Wells Cathedral. The large picture I fancifully call ‘Forest of Stone’ because the tall column and slimmer pillars reminded me of a spreading tree.

British Wildlife

I suppose that sort of covers my greetings cards subjects these days – I have done the odd Polar Bear and some Highland cattle (not really usually wild, are they). And sheep and ponies – do they count? I have tried to add a new specimen annually as a Christmas card. So this year, having dallied a while with otters I finally settled on badgers and I will have the cards at my Somerset Art Weeks Open Studios 2019 exhibition (number 22).badgers - 18 14 001 resized

Last Christmas I branched out into coasters, although getting the subjects to form a nice square was challenging!

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And here’s an otter anyway! Cute – but not Christmassy?P1070228 otter square

Holiday sketching…

…always gives me a problem. I always want to do more than I’ve got the time to do stuff and I’ve always got more stuff than I’ll ever use. So Last month when we were lucky enough to be staying in a Cotswold Cottage with loads of potential drawings on the spot. I tried to develop a simpler and, dare I say it, more disciplined approach.

I was armed only with a tiny paintbox , a mediumish kind of  brush and a pot of water (not a collection of two dozen tubes of paint and a massive palette), a stick of g.raphite and a stick of Derwent graphitone which is water soluble.

Right! I said: 10 minutes’ drawing, ten minutes’ sloshing some washes around, and ten minutes’ stengthening the lines and tones.  Here are some results:P1070682P1070683

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And I resisted the temptation to carry on fiddling. My next effort, further afield, didn’t stand up too well to the ‘your time is up’ approach – more ambitious I suppose:P1070685

Anyway, when I got home I went out on the nature reserve (Shapwick Heath) and had another go. I painted the cattle first, as they were on the move, and by the time the half-hour was up, they were nowhere to be seen!

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Anyway, an approach worth persisting with, I think. A race against the clock is a great aid to simplification!

 

 

The Artist’s year

The artist’s year  is a bit of a muddle. Hard to get outside in the cold beginnings of the year but the two monthly magazines I draw for still need something seasonal to put on their pages. I scour old sketchbooks for inspiration. For February found a drawing of a hellebore and some ‘parked up’ wheelbarrows (which came in very useful later…)

Then for March there was the gift of the red super blue moon – not sure those adjectives are in the right order – from a quick early morning snapshot. And a few moments snatched outside the hall during one Wednesday morning Art Sessions gave me the rooftops.

 

 

The next task was more far-reaching: fill in the entry from for Somerset Art Weeks in September, and select an image. So I swiftly worked on a couple of animal pictures that might also serve as my Christmas card (even further away), some gorgeous tractor ruts and, yes, had another go at the wheelbarrows. Then I cropped them all to more or less the right size (tiny) for the brochure and conducted a poll in the pub and the Art Group for the most effective:

 

Yes – the wheelbarrows won! And meanwhile, that’s a start made on the 2019 Calendar. Where did that year go?

Christmas is coming – again!

November has come and gone – not without artistic activity but it went unrecorded.

I’ve been busy having coasters made, featuring some of my paintings.

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I’m a bit ambivalent about the point of coasters but having sold all my calendars I was looking for another product for our current event: Creative Christmas at Moorlinch.

Creative Christmas

So here we are, mince pies and wine at the ready, open for business!

Foxed!

My (nearly) last job before Somerset Art Weeks in about 10 days time was to create my 2017 Christmas card. I usually choose and animal image and this time I wanted to have a Fox.

We occasionally get a fox visiting the garden and I had a few images from this year when she came leaping over the stream in search of the fallen cherry plums.P1060126

None of her poses was quite right though, so I had to resort to the internet for a bit of help. I finally decided I wanted to concentrate on quite a close-up view of the head, but not too centrally placed, with room to suggest a snowy setting.

There are some lovely painterly pictures of foxes around so I had to start again several times as I was happy with the pose but not the painting. I was also deperate to avoid anything ‘cute’ (see a previous blog on this subject) so I carried on with rather a ‘zombie’ look until I was happier:

So here is the end product: P1060791 crop 1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

2018 looming – aargh!

Is that the correct spelling? Anyway, when I decided to commit to producing a 2018 calendar in time for Somerset Art Weeks I made the usual mistake of assuming that I would easily find 12 suitable seasonal works among my Oeuvre (spelling doubts again…)

Then I soon realised my calendar was as full of holes as a colander  (spelling doubts now getting boring). So here are some of the new ones:

Summer stories

The title is my way of self-denying that I didn’t do a post in July ! I have been doing some painting, in particular a couple of commissions. One of them I delivered yesterday, only to realise today that I had forgotten to photograph it. Duh!

So here’s the other, which presented some difficulties, not least that it was a surprise present. I find secrecy in a little village like Moorlinch is tricky. Somebody is always going to spot you loitering with intent to paint in someone’s garden. That’s just the painting. Communication is also difficult when the intended (but unaware) recipient shares most forms of communication with the person who has asked you to do the painting so organising the project is problematic.

Anyway, here is Drysend Farm – an interesting name, and a very apt one as we saw in the floods of a few years ago when the vast lake on the Somerset Levels lapped a few metres away from this cottage:P1050791 cropped