March Landscape

This landscape is probably more true to how the landscape actually looks at the moment than others I’ve done recently. Along with the richness of some of the colours, theres a bleached out feeling to the old growth which has been touched on in this piece. It started out like this below.

 

March Landscape - first stage

 

 

 

 

Next I added some textured paste to define this long gully that disappears into the distance and the movement of the grasses on either side of it.

 

March Landscape - Second stage

 

 

 

 

Here’s a close up of some of the marks below.

 

Second stage - close up

 

 

 

 

Next, I’ve loaded the canvas with colour. I’ve left the mountains in the background as they were – just a simple wash of colours as I want them to recede behind the ‘action’ in the foreground.

 

March Landscape - Third Landscape

 

 

 

 

Another close up below. I’ve applied the paint thickly and in layers, sometimes wet on wet.

 

Third stage - close up

 

 

 

 

Here’s the finished piece. I’ve left this small area of white at the point where the gully fades into the background. The eye is drawn to that point so it seems right that it should be the brightest patch. I’m happy with this one – the swirling energy of the grasses and the landscape against the cool austerity of the hills in the distance. I like the brighter tones in this piece too which I’m going to try to keep for the next few paintings. What do you think?

 

Finished March Landscape

Surge

 

I began this painting (above) a week or more ago. It is loosely based on some photographs I took in the bog this year, particularly this fuzzy looking one with the trenches at right angles in the distance.

 

 

Rainy landscape photo by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

I started work on a 12″ x 14″ x 1.5″ canvas and outlined the composition with broad strokes of colour. I’ve accentuated the right angled trench and made it the centre of attention.

 

First stage of 'Surge' painting

 

 

 

Next I added some textured paste. I’m really enjoying this stuff – it does exactly what you want it to do, so when you put it on the canvas it doesn’t slide off and it holds it’s shape perfectly until it dries.

 

Second stage of 'Surge' painting

 

 

 

Here are some close ups – I’ve used my hands to make the marks, as well as brushes of different sizes and various tools that came to hand. I’m interested in putting some energy into the piece with these marks, in making the surface seem to writhe with movement as it sometimes appears to do in life.

 

Close up of textured paste

 

 

 

 

Second close up

 

 

 

 

The paste takes several hours to dry completely so I return to it the next day. I go back in with colour to describe the grasses and the landscape and I make the trench a watery one with blues.

 

Next stage of painting

 

 

 

This is what the piece looks like when it’s still wet and after lots of colour has been applied (below).

 

More colour added to painting

 

 

 

The paint loses it’s gloss once it has dried (below) but this will return later once the canvas has been varnished.

 

February Landscape

 

 

 

When I look at it again, I realise that there are too many horizontal lines and shapes which need to be broken up. I decide to correct this by making some small vertical shapes in the centre of the canvas so that the eye is carried around the painting rather than stopping at the point where this trench shape ends.

 

Finished Landscape

 

 

 

I’m pleased with the results and I’ve decided to call the piece ‘Surge’. This describes for me the movement of the landscape – movement that the eye can see but also the shiftings that take place over hundreds of years. Thousands of years. Layers of matter building up all the time and layers being washed away. I love this notion of the land as a living thing, observed cooly in the distance by the unchanging character of the mountains.

Inspiration from others – Ghislaine Howard

Ghislaine Howard is an English painter whom I have admired for some time. Her drawings and paintings are bold and expressive and I love the way that she uses her materials so powerfully.
Although Ghislaine has done many landscapes, her work is primarily about the human figure.

Her maternity paintings are the ones I admire most personally, the portraits of her expectant self and the series she made as an artist in residence at the women’s hospital in central Manchester in the 1990’s. Here is a link to a gallery of these paintings on the artist’s website;

http://ghislainehoward.com/art-paintings-drawings/the-human-condition/

Drawing seems to be at the core of everything she does and I love the expression she gives each mark – sweeping black lines that sometimes stand out and sometimes merge with colour.

These two images below are taken from an exhibition called ‘The Choreography of Walking’ which took place in the University of Salford in 2011. This work was done in conjunction with the university’s Podiatry department and celebrates the simple act of walking.

 

Painting 1 by Ghislaine Howard

 

 

Painting 2 by Ghislaine Howard

( reproductions from Arts Development Team, University of Salford’s photostream on Flickr )

 

 

I love the sense of movement in these paintings and the bold use of colour and line. I admire too the way that each gesture – line, brush stroke and smudge sits undisguised just as it was made. This brings the paintings alive for me because it is as much a celebration of the act of painting itself as it is of the subject matter.

Hens

Hello Saturday!
I plan to update my blog most days Monday through to Friday from now on BUT I am breaking that rule today as I’ve only just got my blog engine started and it wants to keep running..
This brings me to our two hens, ‘Lily’ and ‘Gertrude’ – my three daughters settled on these names after much debate and discussion. We bought them two years ago this Summer and they are one hundred per cent part of the family now. Apart from being great company – they sit at our back door and they follow me around outside – they provide us with one egg each every day, almost without fail.

 

Photo of two hens

 

 

Photo of hens

 

 

I really enjoy watching them mooch around our back garden and I love the shapes that their bodies make when they are scratching and foraging. I especially like their tail feathers when they bend over as they look like old fashioned bloomers! I have done lots of hen paintings since they arrived. Here’s one I’ve started recently below..

 

Painting of a hen, stage 1

 

 

I’m going to finish this one over the week end and I’ll post up the results next week. I like the freshness that it has at this stage so I hope that I don’t lose that by overworking it. We’ll see…