Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Last of the Wrecks

Rust III: Oil on Linen

Rust II: Oil on Linen

Rust I: Oil on Linen

Bye bye wrecks series: it was great doing them and no doubt I'll return to the subject when new wrecks appear on the clay pans behind our block . . . some kind of mixed media thing seems quite appealing.

These last are some close up 'interpretations' of some wonderful patches of rust on various parts of the bodywork of one burnt out car. I played with a textured surface (sand and modelling compound) and then with various kinds of glazes, the most exciting being the very liquid one that just did its own thing when it hit the canvas (these were all painted horizontally rather than on an easel, so got some good puddly effects).

Friday, November 21, 2008

In the Mood for Camels (Mainly)

Been out to the camel farm recently (thanks for your patience, P and S!) and got all inspired again with these chaps.

This one (above, grazing, and below looking pensive) is a bit of a beauty, so I can see myself painting him/her a fair bit: must also get back to the farm and find out some names.

Did the underpainting last weekend and have been looking forward to getting some colour and depth happening.
Needed to sort the eye out (it was a bit rabid doggy in the underpaint) and the chin which was too short and shallow.
Moved the halter around a bit and am now playing with the contrasting textures of the short and long hair, the eye and the halter and the fluffy ear. This is one of those rare ones that seems just to go well from the start: a real joy to do. Not a great deal left to do really. I'll leave it to dry and them play around a bit with some glazes and the like. Tempted to leave the background just white gesso with the small touches of burnt sienna underpainting coming out from around the edges.
How to look haughty in one easy step . . .

This is from an earlier visit: trying to get the reds and oranges of the sunset light happening.

Not a camel . . . playing around with a new red/brown single pigment, which does tend to be quite red . . . had wondered about doing the whole thing in different shades and tones of red, but don't think it'll work with this one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jack's Done, I think

Jack: Oil on Canvas: 61cm x 91cm

I wondered if I'd ever get to a point where I'd consider my first ever finger painting done . . . the temptation to simply keep going with the strangely addictive sensation of smearing paint into canvas with your hands . . . but, give or take some minor messing around with highlights perhaps, I think were done here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ormiston Gorge Big Chaps

Rocks and Trees, Ormiston Gorge: Oil on Hemp (92cm x 122cm)

Rocks and Water, Ormiston Gorge: Oil on Belgian Linen (92cm x 122cm)

Did these two a while back, on the largest canvases I've attempted. Then didn't get around to photographing them as they weren't going to Studio 12 or Leaping Lizards. Now I'm considering putting 'Rocks and Water' in the gallery, so thought I'd better do the piccy thing. I enjoyed doing them, but still don't feel able to call them landscapes . . . so these are portraits of rocks, water and the odd tree . . .

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Camels Ahoy!

Finally finished this one (the nose took me a while to get right), and so got all inspired to do some more camels. Do need to get to the Camel Farm to meet some new faces though.
Jack's back (did he ever really go away): I've a funny feeling with this pic that it'll never actualy get finished: it's too much fun slapping on the gouts of paint by hand (very regressive finger painting in actual fact), but it's amazing what can by done without brushes or palette knives (my excuse for the sheer joy of getting my hands dirty I'm sure). I splurged on some real cadmium red the other day and am being very sensible about not using it on this one . . . so being a combination of infantile and sensible: highly recommended.
Beginnings x2: now the camel nose is done I've felt a lot more inspired to start some other chaps . . . we'll see how it goes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dugald Again!

This one took me longer to finish than I'd expected: lots of trying to get the eyes right and then removing the palm trunk to the left. I like the expanse of green and how it contrasts with the pinks and oranges of his face. All done now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another go at a self-portrait

Didn't feel completely happy with the last one: and as it didn't come home from the Art Show to be fixed, thought I'd have a go at something similar in terms of tones and feel but slightly different in terms of angle: thanks again to a Bean piccy (I'm still not sorted enough to do the mirrors and light set up so it remains the same).

On a jolly note, got a phone call yesterday from the Portrait of a Senior Territorian Art Award people to say the portrait of Dugald's in the final for the acquisition award on 15th Octover . . . v exciting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not Really Fiddling with Finished Ones

OK this one's definitely done now. Fiddled with the grass a bit and the flags a bit less. That'll do.

Think it was my day for 'finally finishing' ones that were technically done but I wasn't happy with. This old one finally got its final pass. I'd never been happy with the ground so ended up playing with ground and sky to see if it works better. It does.
The second Dugald: playing with head shape and eye position mainly: a bit of fixing tonal balances too. I think his side-burn is going to be a bit of an issue; how to make it not look like a bit of stuck on paper . . .
Thought this one was finished up until now (looking at it as a photograph . . . it's the equivalent of looking at in a mirror, gives a bit of distance). I'd been fiddling with her face and for ages and not happy about an all white background. So have fixed the background, and I'm happy with that. But I seem to have almost painted out her eye. Back to the easel then.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another I Think This Might Be Finished

Quite happy with the figures. Not too sure about the flags and the front area. I either need to go more stylised and plain or more realistic and detailed/blobby. So I'll leave it as 'finished' for a bit and then see.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some More Ongoings

This is the same family from the 'At the Show' painting.
Playing with different ways of putting the paint on the canvas here. This involved smearing it around with my fingers: good fun, but not sure how effective it is.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

beginnings and an interim

The first three are images from the Alice show, a bright but chilly day last month.

; This last one is the major re-modelling of the model size: she's bigger/closer and the easel is smaller and more confined to the right hand side. I think it could even do with going a bit further right. We'll see.

Dugald might be done . . .

. . . I think. He's on one side till the weekend when I'll have a final fresh look, primarily at surface details and textures, particularly around the eyes and ears. Quite pleased, on the whole, (certainly learnt lots in the area of skin tones and textures), but looking forward, now, to getting onto something different.

Dugald: Oil on Linen (61cm x 91cm)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Busy Hangings

Two lots of hanging this weekend (just as well it's a long one: Picnic Day Monday -- don't you just love the Territory).

Lighting rush in on Saturday to replace a pic that sold from The Lane, a restaurant just down the lane from Studio 12 that has recently changed hands and has just started hanging our work. We'd only put them up the Friday before so I was dead pleased something sold so fast (Desert Light, a camel one). Seems the lady who bought it saw it at dinner on Friday night and came with her mother for breakfast to have another look before buying it there and then.

Sunday morning was an interim changeover as I'm on my rotation to have the window (and the associated extra bit of space at the back). Thought I'd get provisionally a bit contro and put a nude in the window (the Advocate Art Award had to have a sign outside advising that the exhibition contained images of nudity because of a couple of very tasteful piccies).

Nearly There, Dugald

Just really some tonal glazes and bumping up selected highlights and details now. The eyes are better and I've slimmed down the left hand side of his face. The creases at the top of the nose need fixing as do the colours on the non-bright light side of the face, so they're more even but not too even, and, more significantly, the right temperature: i.e. ochre-greenish warm shadow detail and cooler pink cheeks (I've managed to do it the wrong way around, giving him cool blue-purple shadows and warm pink cheeks). Though, one of the reasons I was interested in having Dugald in such strong sunlight was to see what weird and wonderful colours in light and shadow it would throw up.

I'll come back to it next weekend for a fresher look before these final bitties. Don't want to stuff it up now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Try Squinting . . .

Honestly . . . they look better that way . . . or dim the lights . . . no, really . . .

Poor Dugald: just as I'd calmed down his somewhat riotous skin colour in the last past, I had to go and start playing with vermilion again . . . strange as it may look, I'm quite pleased with the progress here: his nose is still a bit crooked, but less so; I've cut off some of the excess heaviness to the lower part of his face; the strong sunlight from the right is working better on his mustache; the eyebrows have got a better shape, as has his neck. Still not happy with the eyes yet, but I'm hoping to finish this coming long weekend (if the lingering cold will be gracious).
The great lines of the model's neck, arm, stomach and leg (a kind of elongated C shape) are, conversely what made this a devil of a job to get looking natural. The placement of the head and the length of the dangling leg were the not quite there bits on this underpaint. (I've never done gridding toscale up accurately from sketches or photos, preferring to do it by eye. Perhaps here it might have made sense.) Decided to move one, and address the problems with some colour, rather than obsessing too much at this too early a stage.
'She's a bit sunburnt isn't she?' Thanks, Bean. Definitely better with the legs here, though now I'm worried about the tilt of the head. Enjoying putting the colour on though.

Campbell in Progress

I'd been intending to produce an oil of Campbell (swagman and bush balladeer) for over 6 months, since completing a pastel of just his face. His shirt, belted jeans and hands give more of a sense of his lifestyle and his character, that I missed including in the earlier pastel (only hinting at in the battered old Akubra).I'd left the painting at this first, underpainting, stage for ages while I worked out how I wanted to lay the various colours in and what kind of a background would work.
This was a bit of an experiment, playing with building up the colour, shape and tone through masses of little brush strokes. It doesn't look too bad in this image, but the reality was it didn't work at all: the shirt ended up far too fussy and distracting, the hair resembled nothing as much as a cheap wig and the arms (which I hadn't painted in that way at this point) were a disaster, looking like he'd been attacked with a cheese grater. The background was also a bit insipid, not supporting the sense of high key light that is such a part of his environment as well as helping to contour the strength of character in his face.

Campbell II: Oil on Linen (81cm x 68cm)

I'd left it again for over a month and came back to it last weekend, determined to complete it or take it off the stretchers and condemn it to the Redback sanctuary in the shed. Out went the lines and the pale background, in came a much looser treatment of the shirt and hat, and a smoother glazing approach to his face. Happy now. I think.