Saturday, 31 May 2014

Poppies in Watercolour.

After such an enjoyable time working outdoors a short time ago, I booked some annual leave in the hope of getting some momentum going, so brimming with enthusiasm was I. 
My efforts would have been better invested in designing and building an ark, such was the deluge that followed. I can honestly say that the rain was heavy and un-ceasing from the moment my leave started, till the day it was time to return to work at which point, the sun peeped out from the now fluffy and desicated clouds, and rendered the sky a glorious blue.
To add to the folly of my week, I happened, unwittingly, to book my time off to coincide with the kid's half term hols.
And then our fence fell down.
And then.......
Well, you get the picture. 
Here then, is the result of five days off work in order, initially, to concentrate on producing a number of paintings but ultimately, to ferry about a step daughter around who is intent on shopping........ Everywhere!
This is a familiar format but much loved. I've sold more of these than anything else, some even before they have dried!!!
Watercolour on Saunders Waterford 140lb ROUGH.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Pen and Wash.

Here is a view of the Grand Union Canal as I walked towards Wolverton having just passed through Great Linford. It's the first of these three pen and wash sketches I've done recently. I asked the lady in the boat if she would mind me sketching. I must admit, she was far less bothered than I would have been, what with having a strange man staring in her direction for half an hour. In fact, she was so accommodating, she even offered to move!
I find it very awkward drawing whilst standing up and really miss the stability of a desk or easel, feel free to point out the glaring drawing error which I didn't notice till I got home! Still, what a pleasure it was to be able to go for a lengthy walk in the sunshine after so many grinding months of confinement. 
To draw or paint from life is one of the greatest pleasures of all. 

Another view of the Grand Union, this time in Great Linford, less than two miles from my home.
I find barges, or narrow boats as they are properly called, very awkward to draw. There is a perspective issue with them as they are so long, as well as their curved lines, and then there is the task of sitting them convincingly on the water.
I left the house early, before anyone was awake for this one. Again, it was such a joy to be out in the peace of a warm, song-filled morning, the birds almost forgetting I was there as they picked around the reeds at my feet.

I've mentioned in the past that my wife Helen has been putting her considerable needlework skills to work making bags, quilts and small home accessories. Well, not being one to do things by halves, she has booked up the whole summer with craft fairs, fetes etc and has started her own business (I'm waiting for the line about a new company car)!
This quick sketch was done standing in the way of hundreds of people and dogs of various sizes and levels of curiosity, while Helen and Chloe sold things, gave out business cards and generally had a lovely time in the sun. It was so much fun to do this, even if I did feel a little bit in the way. I'm obliged to inform everyone that Helen's hair doesn't always look like that.
I know that Helen would be delighted if anyone viewed her facebook page...........................
All the above were done on Winsor & Newton medium surface heavy weight cartridge paper (100lb). It's a lovely surface and takes washes really well. Bit hard on fibretip pens though!!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Wolverton Mill.

Once again, I must apologise for not visiting everyone's blogs as much as usual. On - going computer problems are making life very frustrating and difficult.
A short while ago, someone suggested that I should paint views in and around Milton Keynes, hence the previous market picture and now this one of Wolverton Mill. It isn't a working mill anymore, but it has been preserved really well and is a beautiful building in a lovely, rural setting.
The main and most interesting challenge I find, involves taking the usual liberties regarding composition, omissions etc, while still preserving something of the essence of the scene. This poses interesting problems. The main one here was the tree. It's true that it is very central and cuts the picture down the middle, however, I felt I had already changed it considerably. In real life it is three times as wide and in full leaf just about hides the mill completely!!
This is all I've managed recently as I've now returned to work and, after so much time off, I'm wiped out after a shift and fit for nothing. Still, with each day, it gets easier. 
There is so much I'm itching to do. More watercolours of our local area, some plein air pen and wash, and now the acrylics are calling me loudly too.
Watercolour on Saunders Waterford 140lb. ROUGH.