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Little Faces: pastel 6x6 inches

, 14:59

Continuing with another 6-inch square format, and back with flowers again....one of my favourite colour combinations is mauve and yellow; and these pansies have plenty of both. It is quite mentally demanding working with chunky pastels on a small square area like this, and it is a time when my spare box of pastel fragments comes in handy, for smaller details. This picture was worked on pale grey PastelMat, covered with a light wash of green watercolour before starting.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/606132

"Shed and Companions": pastel 6x6 inches...(now Sold)

, 17:28

Brief change of scene, but still sticking to small format, this little shed looked very picturesque when first spotted; complete with delicate scented floral companions. Working this small with pastel can be challenging, especially when it comes to smaller detail, but in fact the thickness of pastel sticks helps to avoid overdoing things. You just can't fiddle that much, as you can with a size 5/0 brush. I have considerable respect for people like Karen Margulis who works pastels at ACEO size (3.5 x 2.5 inches)....I'm afraid these days I have to resort to a magnifying glass as well as ordinary glasses when things get this small, otherwise I would miss the pastel-paper entirely.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/601870 SOLD.

Seagull Beach: pastel 14x14 inches approx.

, 20:13

Have spent a week working periodically on this one. Another cloud and seascape picture using white pastelmat card with a starter wash of blue watercolour on it. Returned to square format because I wanted some extra height above the sea-line for the large cloud. I will put it up at DailyPaintWorks but am planning to retain it for a local exhibition later in the year.

"Sunset Around the Corner": pastel 4x6 inches

, 17:27

Here's a little one, completed this afternoon, on PastelMat card: at auction, starting $28.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/596823

Bank Holiday and website changes

, 09:00

I've got a new pastel work coming along, but am now heading into the late summer English Bank Holiday period, during which other duties have to take priority. I expect to still get a few hours in at the easel, though.

My old main website christinederrick.com is coming to the end of its days. Time and technology has marched on and, a few weeks ago, I saw my website on a smartphone for the first time. It looked muddled and did not present itself very well. I have always constructed my own, before moving on to configurable CSS templates; but now it is becoming more and more difficult and time-consuming, trying to create a website that fits on all devices, from desktop to mobile-phone.

I have thus decided to really pare things down and go for a one-page website. I am already using two platforms to place my artwork on (DailyPaintWorks and Original-Art-Under100), so can no longer see the point in maintaining the current collection of pages and galleries of pictures. This blog is capable of holding a number of pages if required; so I am going to make more use of that.

I expect to have the new one-page site up and running in a matter of days. It will be easier for me to maintain but still allow links to all the necessary places.

Rain At Sea

, 16:48

Pastel on pastel mat card, 13x9 inches (32x24cm approx). On auction at DailyPaintWorks.com:

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/592824

I am finding ways to work on the sheets of white Pastel-mat card that I have had in store for many months now. White is not often a good surface to work on directly because the colours allow little flecks of white to show through. However this can be useful in some circumstances. I have found that painting the surface with watercolour creates a nice base to start skies on; this was done with the previous picture "Summertime Haze", so I'm continuing with the idea.

Summertime Haze: pastel, 13x9 inches

, 13:45

New pastel picture, just finished today:

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/590526

Lindisfarne Castle: ink and gouache resist, 16x12 inches

, 18:47

Before I go on with the picture, I am sorry to say that I must now permanently disable the comments. The spam continues to creep in and I really don't have the patience to spend all my day at the computer checking every single one for authenticity. So, comments off....permanently.

Lindisfarne Castle is another experimental ink and gouache resist. I actually did two....the first one messed up with too much black in the sky. It is a hit and miss technique because although you paint over the white and pale areas with white gouache, to protect them from the black ink, you never quite know whether you've painted it thickly enough. If it is too thin, the black ink goes right through it and blackens the paper below.

This one worked better, although there are a few grey areas caused by diluted ink getting washed back onto the paper. I painted in the boat masts after the whole thing was dry.

The best subjects for this kind of work appear to be ones with strong form, design and contrast. The knack lies in finding them and then getting the design onto the watercolour paper. I used Langton 140lb cold pressed for this; just a widely-available paper. The paper chosen has to cope with a lot of water-washing.

One might ask why I don't use masking fluid to cover up the white parts. I suppose I could, but I'd have to spend ages afterwards finding all the bits and peeling them off. White gouache does the job admirably, although of course most of it goes to waste....so instead of buying lots of fiddly little 14ml tubes, I get a big 200ml tube of Pebeo white. I expect there's a white poster paint available that schools buy, probably even cheaper. Masking fluid is also tricky to remove from watercolour paper because it can sometimes pull the surface "nap" off.

I have some more ideas for these ink and gouache resists, so will tackle another one when I can. In the meantime I'm trying to get back to some more cloud paintings.

Loch Assynt, Scotland: oil, 12x9 inches

, 15:41

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/587888

Back to Arches oil paper again for this one, because I wanted a softer look to the finished image. Arches oil paper lets you do this because you can make thinner oilpaint washes.....rather like watercolour....and then build more paint on them if you wish to.

Loch Assynt is located in Sutherland, Scotland; bearing above its waters the lonely ruined Ardvreck Castle. I have only visited here once and saw the loch in brilliant sunshine, torrential rain and under bright broken cloud, all in the space of forty minutes. The castle was first built towards the end of the fifteenth century and became a ruin after being struck by lightning in 1795.

In this picture I felt I wanted to get some focus on the castle, so placed the sunlight to the right, with brightly lit water below and darker toned mountain slopes behind. This oil paper still allows you to add thicker paint and this was helpful for the water, where thicker lights could be added over darker, thinner oil-washes.

Glastonbury: Ink on paper 16x11 inches

, 14:10

Just a complete break for a few days from oil painting, in order to play with something new. I have read several articles on ink and gouache resist techniques but never tried them. They seem to work best with strong shapes and structures, so I dug out a photograph of Glastonbury Tor, famous English landmark, and did a drawing on watercolour paper. The technique then requires the artist to cover over those areas that need to be white in the final picture. The covering is done with thick white gouache paint. Once this is thoroughly dry, the whole picture is painted over with black india ink (waterproof). This must also be left to dry.

When ready, the paper is placed under a cold flow of water and the gouache paint, although covered with ink, will begin to drift off the paper. The ink on top of it will also flow off. Areas that were not painted with gouache will be black ink. However...

The random nature of this process shows that some areas of white will be flecked with black. Also, some thinner patches of gouache will not totally resist the ink and thus may turn quite dark. In my picture, the black patch on the right hand side happened because I did not paint thickly enough with the white gouache.

The overall effect is one reminiscent of a woodcut. The image is stark black and white. It is possible to add colour but the black ink will resist most water-based paints. You might paint over it with thick acrylic, however.

I decided to leave this image alone and not add colour. I may do a second one....it will never come out the same as the first...and try adding colour as an experiment.

A few days ago I carried out another wash for a different subject, which is more complex. It is testing the ability to place black and white areas in the image; sometimes I get it right, sometimes not. The images are far more graphic than "standard" painting; they may help to create new painting ideas for me.

Good fun in between my usual oil paintings.

Cloud Over Heather: oil, 7x5 inches

, 13:07

Oils on Ampersand gessoboard, 7x5 inches. An interesting-shaped cloud poised over a hillside of heather; actually was part of a larger landscape, but this is what took my eye, hence it was whittled down (mentally) and I painted just the cloud and a piece of land. This one is currently on my own website; it will go up at DPW in about five days' time. Update: link at DPW is here: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/583976

starting tomorrow 24th July for 7/8days.

Incidentally, since opening the blog again to receive comments, I have already deleted a group of spammers. Please note that ALL comments get moderated manually and deleted manually where considered inappropriate. Spammers' IP addresses will be blocked.

Back online

, 11:19

Came home from holiday to find my Internet home-link down...so have been absent from my blog since the start of July. Anyway, back to it, and the previous entry "Breaker" is now showing at both Original-Art-Under100.com, DailyPaintWorks.com and my own website. Despite taking some art materials with me, I never managed an actual complete picture. Impressed, though, with the mountains of North Wales....must return some time. One recent little oil has now dried, so that will be up here soon. In the meantime, must start doing some more work...

p.s I've resisted having an open comments section so far because the first day I started this blog, someone spammed it. I have decided to open it again soon, but if spamming starts up in earnest then it'll be closed.

Breaker: acrylic on canvas, 16x16 inches

, 11:32

I've had a busy period; virtually no painting done. But managed this one a week or so ago. Worked from imagination, no source references. The canvas had originally been painted with a semi-abstract in reds and oranges, and with a large dark area in the lower half. Having been away from paints for several weeks, I elected to just make up a subject, using the existing canvas as a start-point.

Acrylic paint usually obliterates what is already there quite well. I saw the dark area as a rock, then worked heavy mixes of thalo blue and cobalt turquoise over and above it. Plenty of white and touches of rose-pink here and there. The many weeks working cloud paintings in oils helped to create a tumbling wave and give it volume.

After completion I found that the canvas had (ironically) acquired its own wave, so it will probably need re-stretching a little.

Evening Light: oil 8x8 inches

, 13:25

With much focus on the British referendum, I have little mental space right now for painting new work. Family holidays are also approaching, so I suspect the rest of this month and a fair amount of the next will be relatively unproductive. Today's painting has been drying awhile; taken from several cloud studies and photos at evening time near home. At DailyPaintWorks.com now: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/evening-light/483945

Summer Break

, 09:41

At present I have very little in the way of completed works to put online. I'm working through a few rough studies but that's about it. The small oil paintings have been coming out regularly since late November last year, so that's a full six months of activity....some online at DPW, some not; with pastels dotted in between. My long-standing floral work has faded into the background, while small oil studies of clouds have come from nowhere. During this time, I've worked on some new surfaces such as gessobord and Arches oil-paper; cut down my palette to 8 colours plus white; used pastels to try cloud studies in black, white and greys; started another small online venture selling artist materials; re-built my website; and finally sorted out my tangle of pastels into a proper box. Plus looking at and taking lots of photos of skies.

During June I'll be framing up one or two works for an annual show that I've taken part in for many years. I suspect that this year they won't be getting a flower painting from me.

Posts here will thus be rather random till mid-late July, but I shall be looking forward to finding new subject-material and digesting what I've learned through my own activities over the past six months.

The last post but one, "Winter Clouds, Loch Tay" will go live on the DPW front page on 1st June.

Moody Poly: oil on board 6x6 inches

, 07:47

Quick post today; here's a small impressionistic floral, just dried enough to scan.... this polyanthus was brought indoors to paint, during a recent bout of hay-fever when I just couldn't sit out. A quickish painting, to try and capture the deep reds that these flowers have, along with the sharply contrasting dots of yellow. On DailyPaintWorks as an auction, from Saturday 21st, at: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/552736 Start bid $28.

Winter Clouds over Loch Tay: oil, 12x9 inches

, 17:53

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/winter-clouds-loch-tay/477876

The painting for this post is a little more unusual. It has been painted on Arches oil paper, a fairly new product that looks very much like watercolour paper but has been specially treated to handle oil paint.

Normally, the oils and turps will eventually rot untreated paper (that is, a sheet of watercolour paper used "as is"). There is nothing wrong in using such paper for oil-sketching but you have to just remember that it may have quite a short life-span.

Arches oil-paper takes a little bit of getting used to; this is only the second time I've tried it. I find the surface to be fairly absorbent; it pulls moisture from the brush as you paint over the surface, causing the brush to "run out" of paint quite quickly. It does, though, permit turpsy washes to be put down, rather like a watercolour wash; very useful for blocking in the main components of a picture. Washes can be scrubbed around, too, the paper is strong and able to put up with some rougher treatment.

Once a certain amount of paint has been laid on, it becomes easier to add it with a painting knife. You can push the paint around and scrape it off with very few problems. In the case of this painting, I started to add the light parts of the clouds on top of the darker areas with a small knife. The bright ochre-orange foreground hillside was worked only with a small knife. It was easy to push the paint around on such a smooth surface; and the marks created did not sink down or disappear.

I think the paper tends to give a more matt finish to the painted image, than you would get on canvas, and certainly more so than on a gessoboard. However, I find this interesting because there is some resemblance to the matt appearance of a pastel painting.

Finally, how to frame something on oil-paper. Contrary to some beliefs, you don't HAVE to frame it under glass, just because it is paper. There are a number of ways of getting the paper mounted onto stiff backing-boards (I'm still researching them); this then creates a panel, which can be framed just like any other oil, i.e without glass. I imagine that, once strengthened in this way, and maybe also with varnish on it, the picture will be as robust as any other canvasboard or ply panel.

I might consider painting the same subject twice; once on oil-paper for a matt finish; and then in pastels on my usual surface, to make a comparison.

Summer Masses: oil on canvasboard 6x8 inches

, 14:32

On DailyPaintWorks.com: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/summer-masses/476550

Back to painting again and this one is now dry enough to scan and put online.

Continuing with the clouds theme which seems to have taken over much of my painting in recent months; these were viewed from a high vantage-point in the Lake District near Threlkeld. Painted fairly quickly, within a couple of hours, to try and catch the briskness of the storm clouds which, although rather cumbersome, were buzzing through the sky at a fair rate.

In case anyone's wondering what has happened to my pastels, the answer is nothing....generally. For some reason, at this particular time, oils are working for me better than anything else, so I just go with it.

Website Updates

, 16:39

During the past few weeks I have been re-configuring the main website, with a new template. Although the current green-coloured one has been serving well, it now looks a tad dated... I need to do some tidying up, such as removing older pictures, adding new ones and cutting down on the extra bits and bobs that tend to get added here and there. Although continuing to paint, I have given a number of days over to re-coding webpages and this is quite tiring. In addition, I have been trying to create a small shop section for the art materials and, hopefully, some cards in due time. The new templates go online tomorrow afternoon (I hope!) and so I'll be juggling painting with uploading new configurations. No doubt there will be some mistakes but I hope to fix those pretty quickly. There is a holiday period coming up in England (May 2nd) so I will not be uploading my next painting just yet.

"Valley Storm": oil on canvasboard, 8x8 inches

, 11:10


Now at DailyPaintWorks.com: $75 (£50). http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/valley-storm/473360

Have had a painting "surge" recently and completed this one above, a couple of weeks back, along with another four small oils that are now drying. To avoid burn-out, I'm going to be working on a larger acrylic project, to rest the brains a bit.....for a little while.

My pastels have taken a bit of a back seat in recent weeks, especially floral subjects. This happens sometimes and one has to simply go with what the creative force is highlighting. In mid-summer I shall have a local group exhibition to prepare work for, so there's plenty to do.

Since deliberately setting up a new palette of oil-colours, I have found my oil-painting to flow more satisfactorily. I have had a habit of changing tube-colours for each painting, with mixed results....some ok, some rather dull (I haven't posted those!!). Now, I am going along with a double primary palette; ultramarine blue, thalo blue, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, alizarin crimson, cadmium red....plus white. Occasionally using cadmium orange and permanent rose (when I can't find the alizarin tube). It is making me stay within a limited choice, something I have tried to do in the past (and failed). This is very much a personal progress thing and not much interest to a potential purchaser, but I feel all the better for it.

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