Paintings by Christine---News


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"Corrosion": oils on board 12x10 inches

, 16:53 - Permalink


For a few weeks now, on and off, I have been playing around with my tin of Gamblin cold wax medium. Oils tend to be a medium on their own; there isn't much you can mix with them for experimentation, other than odd things like sand, dirt, twigs, etc. In recent years there has been a bit more available like metallic powders and pigments, for example. I'd never come across cold wax until I saw a few people with it on Youtube. Being forever of an inquisitive mind, I got myself a tin, a few books and began to examine what this stuff was about. I needed to find out whether I could make use of it for my own paintings, or explore a new direction with it.

A lot of artists layer on the paint and wax and then scratch into it, even scraping off layers to show what is underneath. It all seems rather intuitive and without a plan. Abstracted work is created as a result of numerous actions; outside influences, favourite colours, random mark-making, someone else's work, imagination and even actual objects or scenes. I find it quite hard to sit in front of an empty canvas or panel with no subject-matter in front of me. had to start somewhere, and "Corrosion" began from the examination of a rusty tin from the garden shed. The tin had enough colouring to use as start-point for an underpainting; in this case a bluish-green. The board I chose already had some messy blue-green acrylic paint on it, so another coat of oil with wax and similar toning was sufficient. Once covered, I left it to dry for a day.

On returning to the painting, I added a red-orange on top and immediately saw a good colour contrast. Scraping back revealed the blue-green below; leaving it to dry for another day or so before scraping some more, attempting to emulate the rust and create some kind of composition. The label was added on top after another couple of days, scratched through in places.

So far I have done seven experimental pieces and have learned something different each time. I am beginning to form preferences with regard to the working surface, the paint drying-times and colour combinations. The process is heavy on paint; it is tempting to purchase some student-grade colour and save a few pounds' cost; the alternative is to keep works relatively small. The largest I am working on right now is a 16x16 inches canvas-board, and that's plenty big enough.

"Distant Isles": oil 18x14 inches

, 15:49 - Permalink

... Every so often I work a sea- or cloudscape entirely from imagination; like this one. Deep blues with touches of pink and mauve have always been a favourite colour combination of mine; unfortunately it is also rather tricky to photograph because digital cameras often fail to pick up the purple hues.

The origin of this painting was actually a much smaller one, worked with a few blue-greys and bits and bobs of alizarin, rose-pink and ochre (also "made up"). Feeling the need to push on and create some larger pieces for online gallery display, I used the small work as a starting point for a new, larger one. Almost immediately the rainy-day effect kicked in as the sky was being brushed on, so I darkened it further to create rain-veils.

With a sharply defined focal point of watery sunshine, my tendency to exaggerate contrasts came forward, presenting itself in the dark purple-blue of the seawater, made from thalo blue, ultramarine and a little zinc white here and there, with the more opaque cobalt blue. The distant islands actually created themselves, from overlapping sea and sky colour; I just defined them a little more to look like land. There is not much brushwork in this picture; some in the sky and beach, but mostly palette-knife for the sea-water.

The foreground was made simply with yellow ochre, a touch of gold paint and a little burnt sienna here and there; overlaid with mixed blues as before.

In some areas, cold wax was used in small amounts to spread the paint out, mixed with a little liquin. The backlit waves were made with white plus random mixes of pink with the blues, anything really that was left over on the palette. Some foreground waves were painted with a finger.

Gourd with Flowers: pastel 8x8 inches

, 10:20 - Permalink

... With several works in progress all at the same time (and in different media) it can be tricky getting one to completion without being distracted by the others. Today's pastel was, however, started one day and finished the next.

I currently have three gourds in the house, courtesy of one of the local shops. I've tried growing them before but not had much luck in obtaining the wide variety of colours and shapes. These, however, are rather nice and will be featuring in some still life work until they go mouldy or squish up.

This still life was a quick set-up, without a lot of planning. The purple zinnia is featuring in a coloured pencil drawing, so has been provided with a glass of water to keep it going, indoors. A dwarf marigold was picked to add balance to the glass and also team with the gourd's colour. The working surface is clear gesso on mountboard, mixed with a little pumice powder. In the end, I felt the surface had been a bit too rough for this work, but went with it.

After positioning the main shapes with a pastel-pencil, the flowers were worked in, using slightly harder Rembrandt pastels to start with. Likewise, colour was added to the leaves and water-glass with harder pastels. Then, very dark blue and dark grey Rembrandts were applied to the background (the backdrop was a black cloth). Since the support surface was rough, skimming the pastels over it left white areas between the coloured grains; some of this was covered over by light rubbing with a finger.

At this point the whole thing was sprayed with diluted acrylic polymer medium, which acts like a fixative but also has a dissolving effect on the pastel, in places. Further working with harder pastels added colour to the gourd; and then softer pastels went in to the flower-petals and centres. It was not possible to define sharp detail on this rougher surface.

Finally, some violet worked into the background; the gourd markings added and some tiny hairs to the stem. The finished surface is still rather dusty; I could have continued spraying and building up more pastel on top, but felt it might be better for a simpler subject.

In progress: "Hydrangea Woods", oil on mdf board 12x10inches

, 09:37 - Permalink


Finally back to doing some constructive work, although not without various interruptions during the day. There are real disadvantages to working from home, too many distractions such as uncleaned floors and junk-piles to sort. It has become quite a mental battle to forcefully shoe-horn artwork into the day. However there are a couple of things currently in progress; one is a slow-growing pencil drawing and another is an imaginary seascape in oils. Today's piece has been in progress since mid-August but there isn't much more to sort out on it.

This woodland path was well stocked with flowering hydrangea bushes and I took a number of photos of it at the time. The surface is mdf board. The paint itself is rather matt (ie no shiny areas), due to the fact that I mixed in a small amount of cold wax to the paint. No brushes have been used in the painting, only a small painting-knife. The paint has been pushed around and modelled, to form the background tree and branches, along with the numerous hydrangea flower-heads.

In the distance is a gentle golden light, again made by just pushing the modified paint around. I will be extending the tree branches towards the left edge of the picture; they look just a little cramped in their current state. There is also a bottom corner that needs populating with a small shrub or two, just lightly....and then it's probably complete. The picture itself is very slightly cropped off on the left....I couldn't fit it all in the scanner.

Three Red Onions: pastel 8x6 inches approx

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With plenty of red onions still around at home, I decided to continue the theme, this time taking the soft pastels to work with. I recently acquired a full set of Sennelier iridescent pastels and these onions offered a good opportunity to try a few of them out.

The skins are pinkish-purple in general but there are also shades of metallic, coppery, bronze, even orange in them. As with most of the iridescent colours, they don't photograph too well (if at all) and remain elusive in reproduction. But they can add an interesting dimension to a piece of work.

This was a slightly unfortunate choice of pastel-paper, being an oddment from my drawer; it was a sheet of watercolour paper painted with black micaceous iron oxide. I've used mic.iron oxide fairly successfully in the past for pastels, but on this occasion I could probably have done without the extra sparkles and the pitted surface. Having started, I decided to complete it and in the end it was quite satisfactory; it might well be used to produce a further onion picture in similar style and colouring.

The pinkish-purple Unison pastels were pulled out for this painting, and worked along with two of the iridescent pastels that had similar colouring....a pale orange-peach shade and another with a kind of buff-cream colour. The two blended well to create some delicate new shades. The darkest patches of skin were almost black, but not quite black...I had to work in a very dark purple-red and combine it with a black pastel to push it as far as possible....towards black, without being actually black....difficult to explain as well as do. The onion on the right was especially awkward, to ensure it didn't merge with the black paper.

Finally a background was needed, along with a base. The onions had been set up without any thought to their surroundings, so I worked with harder Rembrandt pastels and just added a mesh of coloured squiggles. The morning's exploration of iridescent pastels now over, I put the work aside and make some small sample squares from the other colours, just to see what they looked like. I will have to think now how I can use some of the other colours in further pastel subjects.

Right now, I don't have any major pieces approaching completion, but am working on an oil seascape "experiment", along with some pencil drawings that may form the background for a floral work, so in time I'll write about those when more progressed.

"Red Onions": Conte pastel 8x9 inches approx

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... Having given the Neocolors a run, I'm now back with the Conte pastel pencils, trying them again with water-washes on white PastelMat card. A group of red onions has caught my attention and I'm exploring the colour-schemes in them. With a relatively limited range of colour in Conte pastel pencils (and I have all of them), I had to just play with and overlay what was available, to try and get some of the elusive shades. The skins have an iridescent sheen to them and are tricky to analyse. I've also drawn these with softer pastels this week, and will post more on that next time.

There are shades of orange-ochre, purples, and a deep cherry-red (almost black) on these onions and they were not easy to capture precisely, so I aimed for what I could and make drawings of them, rubbing the pastel-dust lightly with a finger in places to spread. The watercolour work was done to place the onions on some sort of reality this was a white window-cill with light coming from the side, but I didn't want to labour the washes too much because PastelMat permits rapid spreading.

Having established a few shadows in pastel-pencil (the daylight was very muted) I used the watercolour for reflections on the shiny window-ledge; when dry, they were painted again in ultramarine blue. When dry again, the left-most shadow was skimmed lightly with a dark grey pastel-pencil and rubbed lightly to spread the colour.

As well as fruit, I would like to try more glass items with this method, since the combination of transparent watercolour and overlaid pastel seems to suit the materials. Eventually I hope to produce a few more substantial works with this method, but at present it seems well-suited to small-scale....and that's probably where it will be best placed.

Experimenting with Watermedia (2)

, 10:22 - Permalink

My next effort was on a small made-up picture of two pears; again on pale grey PastelMat card. The card was dampened and a yellow, salmon-pink and red-violet stick hatched over the surface in various places and allowed to spread. Once dried, I didn't totally like the colour created so added orange as well. This all dried back to a golden haze.

Now I worked with the sticks dry. I drew a couple of pear shapes, putting one further away from the other. The more distant one was worked on lightly with a pale green and pale mauve, attempting to model the 3D aspect of the fruit. The closer pear was hatched over with yellow, then orange; I wasn't quite happy and decided to add water.....which took off across the sheet and spread the colour beyond the pear. So I reshaped the pear to accommodate the blot and let it dry.

From here, a couple of greens were used to add further variety to the pear's surface, followed by violets. Shadows were put in with deep purple and a dark blue, plus a little white at their outer edges. No more water was added!

A little bit of hatching for a table surface, and that was it. The waxy nature of these sticks can fill the tooth of the paper (not that it has much to start with); pressing hard will fill it faster.

So what do I think of these colours so far? Well, they create some nice effects especially with water; and they hatch over each other well. I have not yet tried them on their sides, like a soft pastel; I think I need a paper with more tooth for that. They are very good for calligraphic line-work on top of washes. Whether they are strong enough to hold their own as a medium, I don't know; I feel they are best used as part of a mixed media with gouache, or acrylic or collage, for example. I think they are ok for making small paintings/drawings, but they don't do sharp detail (as you might expect).

Their waxy nature might preclude them from certain techniques and, in other work, it may be just as quick to use actual watercolour or coloured inks for a background. I'd like to try something a little larger as a subject, just to test them further....but my box of colours could need supplementing with a few extra purchases and I'm not up for that at the moment.

Tomorrow I'll be getting back to some new "starts" on work, so will post soon.

Experimenting with Watermedia(1)

, 09:59 - Permalink

In my art-drawer I have a number of media that have hardly been used. They were purchased at the time with firm intentions to test them out and include them in my paintings....but as is the way of things, time was taken up with other demands and testing never happened in earnest.

During this busy post-Bank holiday week, I have been unable to get any new paintings started with a degree of commitment; twenty minutes into a lay-out and I get called away to do something else. So instead, I fished out a tin of Caran d'Ache Neocolor 2, which has lain dormant for about three years under a cupboard.

My tin of 30 colours includes, unfortunately, six that are rated one-star or fugitive. More on that later. I decided that although my efforts were not likely to be exhibition-worthy, I would put aside the low-rated colours and focus on the remainder.

Neocolor 2 sticks are water-soluble wax. I hesitate to label them as "crayons" due to the association with children's art...and quite frankly when you consider the price of Caran d'Ache materials, the last person I'd give them to is a small child. But, onward... these sticks can be used wet or dry, and on a variety of surfaces. I chose to use a sheet of very pale grey PastelMat (actually I thought it was white when I extracted it from the paper pile, but I was wrong).

PastelMat surface can take a certain amount of water-wash, something that isn't often advertised. I've used it for coloured pencil, pastel pencil, graphite and watercolour in recent times. The tooth is low-profile but sufficient for all these media (soft pastel goes on well too, but does appreciate a little more tooth than offered by these pale colours).

Without an actual subject to work from, I decided to make small pieces in square or rectangular format. This one below is a misty sunset. Starting with a dry surface, I scribbled colours across the horizon line and further upwards, in a rough hatched manner; working according to the spectrum red, orange, yellow (left the green out) then pale blue. Having done that, I gingerly stroked a wet brush across the red and orange section, from left to right. These colours began to bleed upwards and downwards on the PastelMat. The grainy texture of PastelMat permits some very delicate washed effects to be created; the washes diffuse as if on rough watercolour paper but I think there is a difference in the way those washes move. Having allowed my red and orange sections to settle, I then did the same again, very carefully, with the yellow and blue parts. These were left to dry and mingle without further interference.

Below the darker red band, I then had to work out how to do a supporting shadowy landscape. I picked a dark blue, dark green and worked them dry on the lower section. On top of that I decided to add a deeper purple and a little black. Again, some careful wet-brush was applied. The spreading of wet colour on this surface is pretty fast and tricky to control; it's often best to let it do its own thing and correct it when dried, using a dry colour-stick.

Having left the whole picture for twenty minutes to settle and start drying, I returned to the upper sky area with a little more yellow, plus white. Now, the white stick is really not all that strong in effect....when dry. To get more power into it, it needs to be wetted, or applied to a damp surface. The sky here was still damp, so I pressed the white in, to create some pale lighting effects and try to indicate where the sun might be. The white does dry back to a more subtle appearance, but more can be added.

Eventually I felt enough had been done. I had learned several things from this; that (a) the diffusion of wet wash was very quick on this surface and difficult to control; (b) Colour could be encouraged to spread and mingle with very careful application of a wet brush; (c) wet colour was vibrant but would eventually dry back to a more subtle look.

With these points in mind, I moved on to do another subject, again without any reference; to test out layering the colours in both and wet dry format, in a small still life. Next post shortly.

Caran d'Ache generally claim their colours to be lightfast. However, a few have been pointed out by other artists as being lower-grade; and the company's rating chart apparently states the following to be either one-star rating or "/" (fugitive or similar): Ochre, Raw Umber, Light Olive, Olive, Red Ruby, Saffron, Brown, Russett, Carmine, Pink, Periwinkle Blue, Dark Ultramarine. My tin of 30 contained Ochre, Olive,Brown, Russett, Carmine and Pink. Bit unfortunate, but something to remember when and if I buy any more.

Bank Holiday crawl

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Still in holiday mode right now, although to be honest I could happily break off from the current chores and get back to some more pastels. I am thinking a lot about directions to follow, for the remainder of the year. The website contains quite a mix of work, with a number of pieces directly available via Original-Art-Under100. This gallery sells a fair spread of styles and I'm happy to paint similarly. I've given some thought to the bigger, more abstracty pieces and feel that they would be better separated off entirely to OAU100, away from the more traditional and smaller pastel works. I shall keep the abstracts page with a few examples to facilitate the links.

Smaller landscapes have not been numerous this year, but I retain a fondness for scenes with clouds, in either oils or pastels. Still life work has gone well, and the experiments with a cross-hatched pastel/pencil approach have attracted a number of views, on Pinterest notably. This has been encouraging and I'll be carrying on with that.

I've increased my pencil collection in past months, adding a full set of Conte a Paris pencils alongside the Swan-Stabilo bunch. These both provide images that are a little less brilliant in terms of pigment, but allow for interesting linear marks, easier to achieve than with soft pastel sticks. The square Conte Carre are also good for lines and I have a number of those too.

Finally....a set of pencils that have lain unused for over two years; a tin of Faber-Castell Polychromos. It is a long time since I have done any coloured-pencil work; I can't recall the last piece I did, but there was one from around 2006 (or so) that I was pleased with. It is this one, worked on a small sheet of Bristol Ivory board:

"Centaurea": coloured pencil with dry watercolour-pencil.

I have never gotten into botanical illustration. Although I have the aptitude and concentration to follow it up, I really don't get excited about painstakingly measuring every petal, leaf or stamen....I'd rather see a degree of freedom in the work, than tie it down to millimetre precision. Coloured pencil offers a sense of watercolour-like translucency; it is possible to work up many details but still create a feeling of lightness (in the right hands, of course). I also like to see many of the lines that make up the image....I'm not a great fan of burnishing techniques but I can understand why many go for this.

So....will I be getting them out of their tin? I'm considering it. Finally; the little dandelions featured in "Casual Gold" were bright and cheery enough to sell the painting last week, during exhibition, and it is now in a new home. With no special new work ongoing right now, I'll probably not be posting again for another week.

"Summer Vase": pastel 14x10 inches

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..... Here's one more before the English Bank Holiday break. Again continuing with the hatched-lines underpainting using pastel-pencils. This one perhaps not quite so successful in respect of the underpainting, since the overall tone of the picture is somewhat darker than "Pewter Mug". That latter was done on white Pastelmat card and I did the same with Summer Vase.

As it happens, the tooth on white pastelmat card is not as sharp as on other colour card. It is quite tricky to layer soft pastel on it and in Summer Vase I needed more pastel to intensify the yellow colours of the flowers. The picture was begun with hatched lines of pastel-pencil to create the main areas of light and dark; the vase was outlined in, the flowers drawn and the light coming from the window hatched in pale yellow and pinks. From there I glazed softer pastels over, to make the pinky-purple flowerheads and the grey-blue backdrop. The "core" of green foliage was scumbled in with several green mixes and softened by an occasional light finger-rub or hatching over lightly with a harder grey-blue pastel. The yellow flowers needed a more intense input of soft pastel, using yellows from both Unison and Daler-Rowney ranges. The brown markings were made with a deep reddish-brown from Unison.

On the right, a rather nice creamy-yellow Unison provided the sunlight, glazed over the hatched pastel-pencil lines. The vase had some subtle reflections in its pottery surface and would have been a nice subject for oils; in this instance I made the various coloured patches with hatching, followed by glaze-over with soft pastels. The dark reflection was rather too much like a dark hole, so it was glazed lightly with a purple-grey and grey-blue to break up the shape a little.

NB the line you can see going across the lower half of the picture is not really there; I had to scan the painting in two halves and join the images together, which often leaves a faint joining-mark.

I am finding that this hatching technique shows through the softer pastel and breaks the top colour up, giving an impressionist mix of many colours, rather than a solid slab of one single shade. I'll be carrying on exploring the method and seeking suitable subjects.

For the next couple of weeks I may not have time to do much painting or drawing at all, since it is a major holiday period here and other requirements come into play. But if I do have something completed, I'll post it up.


, 20:21 - Permalink

If you are in the North Somerset area this coming week and Bank Holiday period, look out for Clevedon Art Exhibition at the main Clevedon school. Lots of top-notch paintings and also some sculpture and ceramics. (I have been fortunate enough to get two pastels into this year's show, which I am pleased about because it is generally very competitive).

Interlude...for a day or so

, 18:42 - Permalink

Several new oil paintings have been started during the past couple of weeks but not yet progressed fully to a finished state. Also I am wrestling with a flower-and-vase pastel, attempting to develop the hatched lines underpainting-style that I tried out with a previous piece Pewter Mug and Daisies. In addition, it's raining so I can't take my work outside to photograph. Another floral pastel has headed westward to the USA and I hope the buyer will be pleased with it. Despite the extraordinary hot weather this summer and the lack of rain, I do actually have some decent flowers of my own in their garden tubs; several took part in the previous post Rudbeckias; and I'm looking around to make something of the zinnias which are still producing plenty of new buds.

Framing very small paintings (like 5x4 inches and smaller) has always been a challenge; and ready-made ones are not easy to find (or cheap). Although there are some suppliers on places like Ebay, the sizes are never quite right and the frames are always too chunky for a tiny-format painting. So this year I decided to get on and make my own. They are either for oils or acrylics on board or panel. Nothing requiring glass. I don't do "mini" pastels and rarely use watercolour these days (I used to, for ACEO cards but now I prefer oil or acrylic). Maybe I'll put together a post on what I produced this year and how.

Rudbeckias: Pastel-pencil 7x14 inches

, 11:03 - Permalink

A Slightly different format today. A while ago I used my sets of pastel-pencils to create a starter-drawing for a dandelion painting; Casual Gold (further back in the posts). Over the weekend I got them out again to complete this piece "Rudbeckias". I spent an hour or so outdoors, along with the wasps, making some line drawings in ink of these flowers. Having selected six or seven blooms to draw, I then took the sketches indoors and spent a while selecting five for the final work. I wanted to do a longer, slimmer work that would encompass the flower heads and also allow for the stems. I picked a piece of plum-coloured pastelMat card...tempting to choose black, but I resisted it and used the plum colour to work towards both light (for the petals) and the darker centre.

The initial sketches were worked again in white pastel-pencil on the card surface; not heavily, just enough to indicate the shapes and positions required. I chose to use my Conte and Carbothello pencils for this artwork, both of which are harder in quality than say Derwent or Caran d'Ache. I rather like the dusky finish that these harder pencils give. The colours are not as brilliant in the final effects as chunky soft pastels but I am happy with this. I could add touches of soft pastel if I wished to, later on.

The dark sections of each flower were put in first, working towards the darker petal markings and then on down through orange-reds to the bright yellow tips. It is difficult to make these darks really intense with harder pastel pencils; it is their nature. The stems were worked with touches of purple and green together for the darker parts (purple tends to enliven a rather flat dull green)...and then added to with lighter green. I have a small set of Russian Olki pastels that are very useful for detailed work; the sticks are small and slender, permitting a closer approach to drawn lines. They're very soft, but produce lovely linear marks.

Finally, the background was added using black, dark green, blue and purple pastel-pencils, working in curly swirls and overlaying the colours. A light spray with fixative and the piece is complete. Yes the fixative does darken the colours a little, but it's necessary to fix the pastel-lines because even the dust from hard pastel-points will brush off.

On other things; I have decided to have a go at placing my artwork on I've been a member there for four years but never really gotten around to using the system properly. Now that I have quite a bit of work, I've uploaded some for sale at my own section; the link is in the blogroll to the right. My latest pieces usually go online at my own website and also Original-ArtU100.

General updates and info

, 11:05 - Permalink

My other website SmallArtStuff has now been taken down from its hosting-site. I might relaunch it at some future date, but right now I want to concentrate on more painting, after a hectic few weeks. If you visit my main website, you'll find the majority of paintings are offered via, which is an independent online gallery. Up until a few years ago, I used to mark up every painting on my site with Paypal buttons; despite doing so, most sales seemed to come via other channels. I therefore decided to give up on this and row in with OAU100's sales route.

I'm now painting on only about two or three days per week, on average. Not by choice, but more through having to do so, to accommodate other work and responsibilities. Despite that, the number of pictures produced so far this year has been very satisfactory; I am not prolific and don't generally work "large", so these factors help.

I am slowly resigning myself to the fact that I must paint within a number of constraints....small workspace, limited time, limited display opportunities. Pastel is an excellent medium for achieving this because there is no drying-time and things can be either framed immediately or stored away for later. I have tended to have a battle with acrylics, but recently created three very small-format paintings in a tight style, which worked out well (see "Cottages and Garden" in earlier posts)...again, drying-time is fast and work can be quickly put away upon completion. Two of the themes were local, so not a wide audience-interest...I will consider producing some more small-scale works using acrylic on smooth board, and try to find some wider-interest subjects.

And what of oils...much longer to dry. I have been very tempted with recent articles on the use of cold wax with oils. The majority of folk seem to be producing abstract works with it, but I've also seen paintings which I'd regard as more impressionistic....recognisable subjects but infused with glowing patches of light and texture. In a few cases I thought initially they were pastels. There may be some scope here for me for my "playtime". to add more interest to the website. Some years back I used to produce the occasional video, made up of still-frames. Rather time-consuming and rather lost on You-Tube; but might give it another go, now that I've got a better camera.

Pewter Mug and Daisies: 12x9 inches approx

, 18:20 - Permalink

Trying to get back to pastelling after several weeks "downtime". This piece was started last month but put aside due to other interruptions. The pewter mug was set up again and this time I completed the reflections and got the daisies in within a couple of hours. The technique is a somewhat scribbly-hatchy one, adopted from Bill Creevy's pastel-painting book. I used it to create the background in pale green, yellow and purple-grey pencils before overlaying with lighter tones of cream and yellow. Similarly with the mug reflections. Silvery-coloured objects can be difficult to select pastels for, but if it is possible to discern subtle shades of colour (such as greens, blue-greys or ochres) then these can be used to build the patchwork of reflections.

The daisies were, I'll admit, a little rushed. They were already rather tatty so I had to spruce them up a bit. I repeated some of the hatching technique to provide a backdrop for their greyish-white petals.

Six paintings off to exhibition at Backwell, Bristol, tomorrow; for Friday and Saturday openings.

Green Sunshine: pastel 12x9 inches

, 08:42 - Permalink

Many hold-ups this past two weeks, unable to do any artwork, scanning, nothing at all. However, here we are with a pastel that was underway during the last post back in late June. The back garden apple trees are quite old and have twisted trunks and branches. This one is casting a lacy pattern of shadows on the lawn, allowing an interplay of light and dark colours. The tree was drawn freely to begin with, keeping it at the upper end of the pastel paper to allow space for the shadows. A limited few colours were used from the Rembrandt pastel range to do the drawing, and ongoing shading of the branches; green greys, grey-browns and touches of yellow-green.

The lawn was initially begun with a spread of cross-hatched lines done with conte carre sticks, using magenta, dark blue and a purple; this helped to lay in the pattern of the dark shadows. The lighter areas were also hatched in, using paler greens; followed by a light fixing spray. From here, softer pastels went in for the shadows, using Unison's dark greens, along with touches of complementary red or violet. Even in shadow the grasses and small flowers were perfectly visible, so these areas still needed to display some detail.

The background to the tree was created with darker blues and greys and "grubby" browns, smudged a little to reduce the edges of the individual marks. The mass of green leaves was worked with various soft-pastel greens, allowing for areas of strong sunlight in brighter yellows. Touches of red were added to give a little "flicker" of complementary colour.

Eventually the sunlit areas of grass were worked in, using green-yellows and a golden yellow; dotted with tiny marks for the blades of grass, seeds and flower-heads.

The pastel paper used was white PastelMat. I decided to use white in order to assist with the luminosity required for the sunlit patches.

Hot weather and Internet changes

, 11:18 - Permalink

Very high temperatures in England this week have been tiring and I have only just completed a small pastel, which will probably go online early next week. I've also been busy with framing work, so not much in the way of new images to show. I had recently announced that I would be closing the SmallArtStuff website. Certainly the hosting is too expensive now and I am withdrawing the site from that hosting company primarily for the financial reason. However...

There are now dangers from the European Union, which intends to pass into law Article 13 (if it hasn't already), which will severely hinder hyperlink facilities and most likely expect people to pay for linking to other matter what they are. I am therefore looking at shifting SmallArtStuff to servers outside the EU. My main website in my own name is still on a British server, with a year's hosting still to run; that probably won't change unless the hosting company upsets me.

I have no intention of having my sites messed about with by authoritarians and being walked over by jackboots. All artists rely on links to other people, galleries, resources, etc so it has to be fought. If I find another host for SmallArtStuff I'll post the link here (before anyone charges me for it).

Fruit Dish; pastel 15x12 inches approx.

, 09:55 - Permalink

This week's post was completed back in early May, during a short session of working with fruit still life variants. The dish is an old one that has been with me almost my entire life, rarely used because of a large crack in its base. I set it up with a few fruits on a window-ledge. Most attention was focused on the fruit, rather than the bold pattern of the dish but it was still necessary to indicate something of design. The work surface chosen was a spare, previously pasteled sheet of Canson Touch; the original painting was brushed off leaving an overall neutral tone to the paper.

It is likely that the month of July will be very busy and time for painting will be extremely short. With that in mind, posts here may still run weekly but with smaller and less exotic finished pieces.....for a while.

Cottages and Garden, small paintings

, 12:35 - Permalink

I have taken a brief break from my usual pastels and returned to some very small paintings, basically to produce a few entries for a local event. It is some while since I painted this small, but I found it relatively easy to return to it. The cottages above are 4x4 inches (10x10cm), painted on a heavily-gessoed canvas panel, using acrylics. The next painting further below is a large court-garden folly, probably used for shelter from sun and rain. It is painted on a 4x3 inch gessoed mdf panel, again in acrylics.

Some years ago I used to produce 3.5 x 2.5-inch ACEO paintings (art card editions and originals) and put them through Ebay; these days it just isn't a viable exercise, by the time one has paid listing fees, sellers' fees, and what have you. Each of these paintings took me around 4 hours to complete; maybe a bit more. When such works only fetch on average £5 to £10 on Ebay, it really isn't worth the effort to list them there. I do occasionally do them, but only for myself or maybe a local event/exhibition.

Website change

, 09:24 - Permalink

Just a note to say that towards the end of July I will be closing the SmallArtStuff website. The host company has raised the price to rather more than I'm prepared to pay, so that's one reason. The other is simply that the site does not get as many visitors as my main one, under my own name, so there is no point in going on with the two.

Now....all this GDPR nonsense. let me say now that I do not personally collect the emails of anyone visiting this site. My hosting company does record IP addresses for stats purposes, but that's about all. I don't maintain a mailing list or contact list of any kind. That's it. end of.

New paintings to be posted here shortly.

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