Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Liebster Award

Best Foot Forward
Painting Size 22.5" x 15"

I was really attracted to this image when I saw it on facebook posted by talented photographer Gary Jones a couple of days ago. Gary shares a lot of his beautiful images for artists to paint and I was really pleased when he said I could use his reference for my painting. I started this yesterday morning and was really excited with my choice of colours for the water as soon as they hit the paper. I used Idanthrene Blue a new colour to me along with a little Cerulean, Phthalo Turquoise and some Ultramarine Violet. I masked just the very edge of the swan to give me the best chance of getting the water down without it spilling into the white. I was keen to complete this yesterday as my daughter and grandson were coming to stay for a few days and I knew I would not get too much painting time.

This week I was given the honour by artist Sharon Whitley of the Liebster Award. Sharon is a talented watercolourist but is adventuring into Pastels with lovely success.
Fellow bloggers have seen this award on many blogs but for those of my followers who are not bloggers - it is given as an encouragement award and gives the opportunity of passing forward the award to interesting and inspiring blogs who have less than 200 followers. The idea is for the recipient to award this to five more people. Many of the blogs on my reading list have already received one and sometimes more of the award and it would be nice to spread the award further but I see that as I mostly follow watercolour artists we are all involved in the same circles. I have chosen five bloggers who have provided me with artistic stimulation of such variety during my art journey - I hope you will follow the link and take a look at their art if you have not already done so.

Terry Freemark Watercolors Terry is an amazing portrait artist who I met through an internet art course back in 2011 and we have remained friends ever since and I value her support and encouragement.
Anita Bentley Anita is a professional artist who is only just starting to blog. I took two or three classes with her in 2011 before she stopped teaching to paint herself full time. Her work is admired around the world and her work in watercolour in landscapes and buildings is so very very fresh.
Amanda Brett An artist I only came across late last year. Amanda lives in New Zealand and her work is exciting and unique. I hope one day I will make it over to take one of her workshops.
Yvonne Harry The flower paintings that Yvonne produces are always exquisite and she openly shares her process which provides ideas to experiment with. 
Gary Jones - Walks and Wildlife Last but not least I choose Gary for both his artistic photographic work and beautiful blog but also for his generosity in sharing so many of his wonderful photos for artists inspiration 

Saturday, 23 February 2013


All to Myself

I am pleased with my finished piece but it did take much perseverence. These coneflowers appealed to me with their proud heads looking to the sky. I started this half sheet size (221/2" x 15") with just one flower and then let my imagination build it from there.At times I wondered how I was going to fill up my choice of such a large piece of paper. The leaves were rendered in a really loose way with just gestural marks so that the flower heads were the star. I thought is was finished but looking at it a day later I felt it needed a centre of interest and this was hard as the flowers all looked the same. I decided to add a butterfly which these flowers easily attract and I was pleased to be able to to let the background show through its transparent upper wings.He is now my centre of interest and he is feeling lucky to have this patch of flowers all to himself.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Better Be Tomorrow!

I thought I would post a couple of photographs to show what I have been up to since my last post.
I have painted, though not as much as usual and what I did paint has definitely been for the bin - yes -one of those weeks. My head has been full to the brim with ideas and subject matter but unfortunately my hand has not guided it onto the paper well enough. My photos show though that my time has not be entirely wasted as I have tidied up my studio work space, shifted the furniture around so I have the light source better,  framed some new paintings and hung them on the wall for future inspiration.
The window and walls have been cleaned from all the paint splatters and the room is organised and ready to mess up again.
My ordered copy of a new book by John  Lovett arrived called Textures, Techniques and Special Effects in Watercolor and I have read it cover to cover with much interest and I highly recommend it.

I sold my 1/4 sheet Zebra painting  from the current exhibition at Off the Slate Gallery in Willunga on the weekend (similar to the near full sheet size you can see on my studio wall) so not an entirely unhappy time but for me I do need a pleasing painting amongst the discards just to keep my spirits up - so better be tomorrow I say!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Remember Your Valentine

I remember my joy in receiving beautiful Red Roses every year for nearly three decades from my husband on Valentines Day, they would arrive and sit on my desk at work for hardly anytime at all because February here is our hottest month and even though we had air conditioning it would be warm overnight and they just did not last.
My life now is filled with flowers many weeks of the year as one of my loves is painting flowers and nothing is better than having the real thing and I get much pleasure from having the blooms and trying to capture them on paper too! I may no longer receive Red Roses on the day but I do not need them to feel cherished as the love and support I receive from Ian is more evident these days as I am obsessed with my paint brushes, he keeps our life grounded and functioning when I am often in another world - maybe I should be sending him the Roses!

I am not featuring a flower painting for my Valentines Day piece this year but this painting inspired by beautiful swan images by photographer Steve Lyddon.
I wish you all a lovely celebration and to my beautiful husband Ian, "You are My Valentine"

My Valentine

Friday, 8 February 2013

Last Year Revisited

Lily Of Willunga Valley
I have spent the last two days going through my ever growing pile of unframed paintings but also taking a look at those that I have framed and have had either in an exhibition or just hanging on my studio walls. My art journey through 2012 was very intense and though I sometimes wonder if I am making progress I have felt recently that so much more of my art does end up being a worthy painting  so now my focus needs to be the composition. I feel I have more consistency in my techniques to carry a painting through (most of the time LOL) if I could just match this with making good composition choices. I don't mean when I paint from a reference photo as I can study the composition well enough before even starting to paint but I mostly mean those paintings I do right out of my head where I intuitively build them as I work with what is happening in front of me. Working with the pigment and water as it is also doing its own thing brings lovely rewards but the trick is getting a good composition at the same time!
I did toss away quite a few yesterday as lost causes but kept a few back to revisit them and see if I can make some improvements with my present skills and nothing will be lost if this doesn't work out, they can always go in the same bin but it does give me a challenge to give it a shot. I don't mean just making a cropped smaller painting from any good bits but to really try and enhance by either adding or subtracting here and there or improving the tonal values

The before a revisit
Yesterday I took a painting of Arum Lilies I did last August and at the time I really was very thrilled with the result - mostly because I had used a lot of texture and I also loved my colour choices. My husband Ian helped me make some of these revisit decisions as two eyes are better than one and he said this one needed something. This is the before photo. I realise I lost some of the elements that appealed to me so much the first time around but I am mostly pleased that I was able to add a lot to the composition of this painting and also some strength.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mothers and Babies

Mum and Me
Painting size 19" x 221/2"
Me and Mum
Painting size 171/2" x 14"
I have been thoroughly enjoying my foray into painting animal faces this past month and thanks to some great reference photos shared by generous photographers who specialise in wildlife images I have completed a lion, cheetah, tiger, elephant, giraffe and three zebra paintings- some of these I posted on my blog earlier and the links are highlighted. I fell in love with two lovely images of mothers with their babies. The Zebra is from an image taken by Edward Forster of two Zebras in a landscape but I focussed on the babies face for my painting. The Giraffe was inspired using an image courtesy of photographer Caroline Williams and it was after viewing her fantastic animal pictures from the London Zoo that I really took the plunge into trying animals. My daughter in law Susie came back from Africa about 18 months ago with some fantastic wildlife shots in their natural habitat, I had a try at some but put them out of mind as I found it a bit too hard but now I have a little bit of skill with these few I intend to revisit her holiday album and see what else I can try.