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!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

A new look

Thanks to the newest of the group of artists and makers I work with on the site here at Spring Farm we have a new, improved website – with added Stitching and Photography!

SAW 2017 is looming so before September we thought we should just haul the creased and crumpled Spring Farm Arts website out of the cupboard. Thanks to Pam Martin of http://somersetstitch.blogspot.co.uk/ we are freshly pressed and ready to greet you. So do visit https://springfarmarts.wordpress.com/

No pictures here this time but lots on the website!

The Artist’s Companion

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That’s Gem. And.  Pedant Alert: that’s ‘s, not s’,  because I’m sure there are many other artists’ companions.

It was a stormy Sunday earlier this month when the neighbour’s Cherry plum tree was at its glorious, early blossoming best.

P1050123resized Gem seemed happy being a rubbish cat until I went out to grab a few rain-free minutes sketching. Then she decided to continue the basket theme.  Finally the rain did come so she pointedly lay on the doormat.

 

OK, I have a Cherry plum tree too so maybe I could draw through the bedroom window. I think Cherry plum trees are a local thing. They have quite small fruits a bit like…yes, a cross between a cherry and a plum – and quite big stones. My culinarily gifted neighbour makes a delicious cordial. I leave mine for the badgers and foxes.

So -rain outside and faithful Gem inside, with me. And the bed.

 

Finally I realised I could see most of my subject through a different window which I opened every time it stopped raining and finally finished the picture. Thanks for your help, Gem!

P1050147 cropped

Rearranging the Landscape

 

This week I made great steps towards completing a painting commissioned early this year: it was to be a retirement present and none of my existing pictures quite fitted the bill. So the intended recipient was given a free hand to come up with his own suggestions. Yep, already sounding challenging!

He did his homework thoroughly and enthusiastically, even down to producing a map showing where to leave the car to  walk to the chosen viewing spot. And as you walked along the (very muddy but picturesquely rutted) track, you got wonderful near, middle and far distant views.

But, just repeating that ‘as you walked along…’ , the elements the customer wanted could not all be observed when you actually stood still. As I wasn’t filming but painting it required some ingenuity to compose a satisfying picture with them all in: the track, the modern  ‘windmill’, Shapwick village, the woods and Glastonbury Tor.

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Back to a well-known problem: dealing with a view that is many times wider than it is high! There’s still a long way to go to the left before you see the windmill. And this isn’t even from the chosen viewpoint.

 

So these were the elements I dragged together and the general plan was approved:p1040393

I still took a lump out of the middle and reduced the size of the village. Finally:p1040625-cropped

And my (satisfied) customer said: The painting captures all the points we discussed and it takes the eye beautifully down the track to the middle and then the far distance. Job done.

Chelsea Girl – a gorgeous female boxer

I’ve been a bit tied up with several commissions ( which is great, obviously) and quite a lot of work with the Chandos Society of Artists recently, but, as the festive season approaches, I can review the work which, I hope, had found favour with the people that asked me to produce it…

First was the pleasure of producing a portrait of Chelsea, the charming successor to Rocky whom I depicted earlier this year ( see post: thinking outside the box(er)). (Tricky blighters, nesting brackets!) (Nesting Boxers? …Sorry!) So, the other paintings will follow, but this is Chelsea’s spot.

I took lots of photos and did some sketches, but this was Julie’s (Chelsea’s owner) preferred pose:

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Then I followed what has proved a useful plan, which is to collect sketches, photos and other ideas together:

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and then to do a drawing, full-size, in water-solouble crayons (such as neocolour II).:

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You can deal with any problems of composition at this stage, then trace the main shapes and …finally:

Chelsea 2013 resizedI was encouraged to think it a good likeness when the windpw-cleaner ( who also does Chelsea’s owners’ windows ) said ‘I see you’re doing a picture of Chelsea!’ . I had the painting on an easel inthe conservatory, so he had a good view. He then said ‘I recognise the umbrella stand too.’ But Chelsea’s owners seemed pleased with the likeness of the dog, too, which was a relief!

More on the other commissions later!