Monday, 14 September 2009


Towards the end of last year you may remember a post of a watercolour demonstration I did at our local gallery, where the owner had invited me in order to advertise my monthly workshops at his gallery open day. . I ran a raffle at the December workshop as a gift to my members and it was won by the kind lady who brought the dressing up clothes to the last workshop . This was the watercolour result, which I am showing so you can see how different the same subject can be depending on the media used and whether you want to achieve an exact likeness or experiment with the subejct.

1. Watercolour I have recently been invited to submit a piece of work for an auction to raise funds for a nearby village church fund. As I did not have much time, I thought I would use as a basis the 16" x 16" box canvas acrylic I had started at the gallery demonstration but never finished.

2. Acrylic version early stages Here is how I began to develop the original boxed in layers at the gallery, using thick impasto gesso primer to mark out the circular vase and lithe lady statuette, both of which reside in my lounge. Using acrylic I was able to simply play and use whatever colours I wanted. You can see I have marked out where the orchids will eventually be painted and thoughts of reflections and shadows at the base of the canvas.

3. Finished acrylic This is the finished piece, having softened the background with Liquitex aqua green mixed with white and acrylic matt gel medium, applied with a two inch soft sponge roller in two directions. (I think enlarging you will see the 'squared' effect this achieves). I also developed the orchid blooms from a pot growing in my lounge and worked on the surface of the vase. The final effect was to bring the rollered aqua colours down over the table to bring harmony to the whole piece.

It will be interesting to see how much it fetches at the auction on the 26th September.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Last Saturday was the return to monthly art workshop meetings and I decided to make it a fun day, so requested our Maggie to bring along a selection of 'dressing up' outfits from her enormous collection she offers to local theatrical groups, schools and for fancy dress parties/events. She brought along such variety and colourful outfits for members to take turns in modelling . The idea had been about 15 minutes each, but as everyone drawing got so engrossed each 'model' astounded me in being able to keep still for up to half an hour, with a few breaks for a wiggle or stretch.

We started off with Helen wearing a soft green toned kaftan with headdress, when we started the day with graphite sketches.
early stages of two pencil sketches

We then moved onto using charcoal, white chalk and sanguine conte on coloured pastel paper I had provided including black. Our model wore her own clothes as they consisted of a long navy and white patterned skirt with a deep red long sleeved top.

again early stages before adding sanguine or white chalk highlights

We then came to our full coloured pastel session using both pastel pencils and soft and hard pastels on coloured ground of each member's choice.

two very colourful gypsy pastel paintings in progress on coloured ground

A difficult session next with block washes of watercolours or inks with no underlying line drawing. Here our model wore a fetching number including long black wig and royal blue gown with gold trim, belts and jewellery as Cleopatra.

Finally, in the belief that members had practiced sufficient skills throughout the day not to need my advice, I dressed up as a pierrot and for a change posed standing ( leaning against a tall backed chair I might add for support). Their brief was to work in mixed media, using as many of the previous materials as possible.

Great day with well deserved coffee, lunch and tea breaks thrown in . We voted to work in acrylics next month as they had so enjoyed our first venture into this medium last November.
Sorry such a long post to read through, but wanted you to see how well everyone progressed through the programme I had planned for the day.

Thursday, 3 September 2009


Remains of The Old oak tree beside the boat houses Coltishall Common

The local Parish Council asked me if I would paint a local landscape for them to give as an award and have asked the local gallery/framers to frame it for them. The only criteria was it had to be a local scene but not advertise any business. So I decided on the two boat houses on the common which are privately owned. As I knew the oak tree that had come down in the winter was well known for when the Salvation Army Band used to gather for Sunday hymns and music, I felt I wanted to make this part of my composition.

Two weeks ago I went for a stroll, taking my new camera, to see if I could get any shots that incorporated the two images. It was magic, as when I sat on the grass with the trunk right before me on the higher slope, I could not only see the boathouses, but the river and the fields beyond, with trees behind and some boats moored in the distance and other detail such as the flag pole with the Union Jack. I just hoped I could put it altogether.

Above is the finished acrylic 24" x 12"on box canvas. By clicking to get more detail, you will see I have added foliage and wild plant life on the foreground grass and in front of part of the stump, which I feel helps with the texture.

Here are some photos I took as I progressed

original sketch

added the trees

added first layer of colour of the boathouses and oak stump

and the topmost image shows the following layers and tones and finer detail.