Paintings by Christine---News

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"Clouds over Portmeirion": oil 12x9 inches

, 08:48 - Permalink



Oils on canvasboard, 24cm x 30cm (approx 12x9 inches). Another from North Wales...Viewing the sky from a high vantage-point close to the Town Hall in Portmeirion. In front of me directly was quite a lot of open space and flat rooftop, not exactly inspiring material....so I cropped my photo down to exclude all this and concentrate mainly on the sky. A fairly quickly-executed painting; the first stage was done in around 2 hours and then I had to leave it for a couple of weeks; finishing it the day before yesterday in around an hour and a half.

My second painting, also completed on the same day, shows a different part of the country; that I'll put up here early next week.

"Patchwork Jazz": acrylic 24x20 inches

, 13:20 - Permalink


Still working on some abstract ideas at the moment. With a wish to move on from the blue theme of the previous productions, I elected to use a random choice of colours to produce this patchwork. At present I am looking at several potential subjects that contain squares and rectangles....they're a little more realistic than abstract....so for the coming days I'll be working on paper, drawing out various designs in pencil and possibly pastel too. Whether I will create them in acrylic, however, is another matter....I still find this paint tricky to work with, with regard to natural subjects such as flowers and landscape. It'll probably be back to oils, where colours tend to be softer and easier to blend where required. My acrylic box is mainly heavy-bodied paint; whether I should gradually move on to liquid formats is something for me to think about, since I have found acrylic inks, for example, to go well with pastel and other line-work. All part of the great exploration.

"Ascent": acrylic on canvas 24x20 inches

, 17:28 - Permalink



Having had some fun with "Dimensions" (which is currently with a prospective buyer), I elected to do another piece in similar colours. Blues and purples are sometimes hard to photograph with a digital camera because they are less sensitive to this end of the spectrum. Added to that also the problem with moderate winter light and this one proved no less awkward to photograph outdoors than the previous picture.
The most ideal set-up is indoors with bright directed lights and maybe white sheets to spread the light around and discourage shadows; unfortunately I don't have suitable lighting, it's all too yellow in tone.

These abstracty pieces are really experimental and sometimes they don't work out....every few years I ditch the canvas off of old stretcher-bars where grand ideas have flumped dismally in the first few hours. Occasionally the canvas is recycled, especially when it has only one layer of acrylic....passes good enough for re-use on smaller stretchers (like 10x8 inches for example), for either another acrylic or an oil.

I am changing some of my acrylic colours over to Ara, made by Old Holland. They come in large 250ml (and bigger) squeezy bottles, which is much more economical than the usual small 60ml tubes. They are lightfast, easy workable (not quite so heavy bodied as W&N) and apparently are classed as a good mid-range acrylic. My metallic paints are by Golden (USA)....not cheap but nice to use.

I'm planning another painting with a different colour-scheme...meanwhile it'll be back to the oils and I'd like to get started again on some still-life pieces.

"White Horses Tower, Portmeirion": oils 8x8 inches

, 13:12 - Permalink



Finally, a new small oil painting, pretty much complete and now drying. It won't go up for sale just yet but I may put it onto the website anyway. I am planning a little series of paintings from scenes around the model village at Portmeirion, North Wales. For those who know nothing about it, there's plenty of info online....but it became well-known as the backdrop for Patrick MacGoohan's "The Prisoner" TV series way back in the 1960's. Today it is a holiday village (and no doubt for many other events as well); the buildings are Italian in styling and although they look huge, many are actually relatively small inside, with modest accommodation.

The location has some excellent woodland and coastal views; and in summer the skies are often filled with great banks of cloud. The picture posted here is of a view at the seafront, looking towards what is known as the White Horses Tower. The brightness of the painting is owed to the pure white surface of Ampersand gessoboard, which is great when seeking clean pure colours in an image.

I may just put a little darker glaze on the tower a few weeks from now, since it is actually in "bright" shade (contradiction in terms but it means a shaded area that still has a lot of light bouncing into it).

Another small painting in progress is another cloud-scene from Portmeirion...should be completed soon, maybe this coming week. Finally, another larger painting also in progress is yet another cloudscape, 24x20 inches....this is a real long job and it will be some time before completion (if it gets there!).

The website has now been updated with two new templates and some page-link names have been changed, so don't be surprised to encounter 404 error messages on occasions if you have old bookmarks. I am also making more of linking my images to my account at Original-Art-Under100.com......mainly because it seems people are happier to purchase there than from me directly (not sure why, but there it is). I am discontinuing Paypal buttons on my website and will invoice buyers for any item that is requested directly.

New painting and website templates

, 18:42 - Permalink

Finally, a new small oil painting is completed and just drying off, will be photographed shortly when safe to pick up. Size 8x8 inches, on gessoboard.

Every couple of years or so, I re-consider the website layout. The current templates serve o.k but are starting to look a bit ragged, with various things that have been added in during the past two years. I have been looking around for some new ones. I think I've found what I need and am currently working up the coding for them. The gallery pages will, I hope, have a tidier look to them when finished. Navigation remains on the left side for most pages; but the gallery-style pages will carry a top menu instead.

Most pages will keep their identity, such as "sold", "links", etc; but a few will change; the 404 error page will be configured to assist.

I am also giving up with Paypal buttons on the website. Not many people have made use of them; enquiries have been followed through with Paypal invoicing instead. I am also aiming to make more of my connections with Original-Art-Under100.com, since this gallery has been finding buyers for me quite regularly.

The only thing that won't change is the blog. I did think again about using Wordpress, but, so many templates are entirely unsuited to displaying paintings. I use one of them for SmallArtStuff.co.uk....I don't want to repeat the same thing.

Dimensions: acrylic on canvas 24x24 inches

, 18:25 - Permalink

An abstract using overlaid squares and rectangles in shadowy shades of deep purple, blues and black, offset with scatterings of silver and accented with creamy-white. This painting almost didn't happen. It began life as a semi-abstract landscape-style layout, which became too dark and was systematically scraped down then overpainted with deep blue-grey. Using the resulting variations in contrast (black to blue-grey and into a steel grey), a patchwork of rectangles was devised, to create an air of mystery and some hidden "dimensions". Most of these were painted with the edge of a knife, pulling and scraping the paint to create colour overlays and light texture. Blues and mauves were mixed with metallic silver paint and the occasional touch of pearlescence.

Outdoor light levels not brilliant for photographs but look ok for the blog; I may repeat the session to try and get a better shot for online gallery use.

Getting There...

, 17:26 - Permalink

Have spent all this week on one acrylic painting, 24x24 inches. Still not quite finished but hope to do so by next Tuesday, when I'll aim to get an image up. Remaining with abstract themes at present, which is quite liberating, not being tied to a precise still life or landscape view. However, I'd like to get another oil underway soon, focusing back onto clouds in the landscape; having been successful with several sales in this genre during 2017. They won't be 24 inches square, though...

"Lightburst": acrylic on canvasboard 16x16 inches

, 12:21 - Permalink

I've decided this one is now finished and have managed to photograph it today while the sun is shining and above my horizon; by 2pm it will be gone! (the sun, that is). Is it a skyscape? seascape? something else? You decide.

I want to spend more time this year exploring abstract approaches. I often see many excellent local landscapes which are just so huge, so broad, that it is impossible to capture them and their atmospheres by representational means. By nature, I tend to go for details and this is just not suited to such large landscapes. Late last year I took many photos in the southern stretches of my home county, where grass and moorland dominate, with reeds and sparkling rivers; and I really wanted to do something different with them, with regards to painting. Whether that will happen remains to be seen.

To get myself more in the semi-abstracted mood, I have been working on several pieces, both in acrylic and oils. They are not derived from any particular "real" subject, but are exercises in trying to balance shapes and colours. I have a particular liking for the cross design in abstract work and also rectangles and lines; recent forays through Pinterest and printed books have highlighted this to me. I also rather like paintings where paint has been built up in layers, and scraped or scratched, providing texture. I would like to see how this works out in my own paintings through the year. Acrylic tends to lend itself best to this, but I am also finding it feasible in oils as well, by adjusting my painting technique. Of course, these take longer to dry....I'll post up my in-progress oil when it's dry enough to handle. Must admit I prefer the softer and more gentle handling of oil paint; acrylics always seem to have that "pile it on fast" feel to them.

And what of my smaller pictures, and pastels? well, they'll still be ongoing. Internet sales tend to lean heavily towards large paintings and it seems to be more difficult to sell smaller ones. Conversely, abstracts are not popular at local exhibitions (not where I live, anyway), so that's where smaller representational stuff comes into its own.

Starting a New Year

, 08:51 - Permalink

As 2017 draws to a close, I am now thinking about what paintings to get underway with. The last couple of years' sales and general web-stats have provided me with some insight into where I should be focusing some more effort.

There is still a definite trend for larger paintings; and even though I don't tend to produce large works by choice, I am now having to consider it. These would be in oils but I'm also experimenting again with acrylics and working on several more abstracted pieces. These will, for the time being, be simply based on shapes and colour-balance. I have found the process of layering paint to be rather interesting, since it can be done quite quickly due to acrylic's fast drying properties. I will also use the power of sharp contrasts (tone or colour) to try and create some interesting images.

Oils take longer to dry and I will be looking at how to utilise liquin impasto medium in a work. My Sennelier oil-bars have proved to be interesting tools; they were used with oils to paint "Scintillate" (in an earlier post) and I was pleased with the final result.

Cloudscapes were going well through 2016 and have done so again this year. I need, at present, some more outdoor study and sketchwork for these but that will come.

Some pastels have sold this year too, but I may create fewer for the Internet and more for local area exhibition; smaller ones will most likely go onto the SmallArtStuff website.

Last post's abstract work in progress is now finished, unfortunately I can't photo it right now...I normally do this outdoors and the weather is wet and very windy.

In Progress---Abstract 16x16 inches, acrylic.

, 14:11 - Permalink

With little time to spare for concentrated focus on more detailed subjects, I am digging the acrylics out and looking at a few abstracted pieces. This is a realm I rarely tackle, but there are some aspects that appeal. Freedom to treat colour simply as colour for its own sake; not attempting to portray a real subject; opportunity to use texture with fast-drying paint.

The particular one shown here is approaching a finish point, I feel, but seems to want a little more. It is intended to try and balance a sharp contrast with more delicately-coloured larger and smoother areas. The colours used are ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold, burnt sienna and titanium white, plus a little black. The upper area already has some texture as the result of a previous work which was laid in with some moulding paste but not completed. No composition was planned but it hovers between being sky or seascape. I am not in a rush to complete it and will play about for a while with it until Christmas.

End of Year Deliveries

, 09:35 - Permalink

Things are getting busy now, and I am not likely to have much more time for painting, this year. It's not too late to make a painting purchase from either of my websites, but I'll be making 14th December the final postout day. After that, I'll resume deliveries in the first week of January. After long consideration, I've decided to keep this blog as it is, in the Dotclear templates. I don't want to really lose two years' worth of posts from the search engines; and it appears there is no longer any supported software to migrate Dotclear posts to Wordpress. So, no changes. The new blog at SmallArtStuff will continue to cover my smaller pictures and any experimental work. To those who have bought pictures this year from me, thank you for dropping in at my galleries, and I trust you are happy with your choices.

I might manage another post here before year's end, so more later....

"Lantern": pastel 11x8.5 inches approx.

, 22:06 - Permalink

"Lantern" continues the cross-hatching process, using various greens, blue and yellows for the window area; also the frame and sub-levels of the grey-white walls. The lantern was drawn in with harder dark pastels but an attempt made to keep the edges from being too sharp. Softer greys were scumbled over the wall sections and stepped areas of the window-ledge. The lantern did have a handle that clashed with the window-frame area, so I left it out. The work was probably ended a little too soon, but I preferred to keep it understated and a bit more sketchy.

The Wordpress blog at SmallArtStuff is now completed and running, and the main domain pages reconfigured to hold the new navigation menu. I still can't decide whether to replace "Flower and Landscape" with a new blog platform or not. The problem lies with losing all the old blog posts because the export/migration process from Dotclear to Wordpress appears to be unsupported by plug-in software.

Website/blog changes planned

, 14:09 - Permalink

My statement last Monday about considering a new blog platform looks like it will have to be a reality in the coming weeks. There seem to be regular difficulties with log-in, amongst other things.

I am setting up a second blog at the SmallArtStuff website; it isn't quite ready to run yet, but not far off. It uses a self- installed WordPress system, so I am currently on a learning-curve. When it launches, I'll use it as an interim measure for this Flower and Landscape blog. At that point, I'll then go ahead and build a new Wordpress blog for Flower and Landscape on its present host server. I only have one database facility with my hosting plan, so that means the whole blog will have to come down in order to install the new one. I'll try and transfer posts across but it probably won't be very easy.

Why run two blogs? Well, I'm aiming to keep one (SmallArtStuff) focused on small-format paintings and other styles such as scraperboard and monotypes , while Flower and Landscape will continue to stay with slightly larger pastels and oils worked in the traditional way. That's the plan....we'll see what happens.

Post no.100---"Pigeons at Old Conwy": oils 12x14 inches

, 20:30 - Permalink

Well, here we are at post number 100, as the year draws to a close. A year of mixed blessings and a few departures, but one in which a lot more paintings and drawings were planned and completed. And more experimenting, more mistakes, more failures, but more variety in the process.

Today's painting looks over the old walls in Conwy, North Wales (painting has been a little cropped at the bottom). While walking this wall, in almost every nook and cranny you may find pigeons or seagulls, sunning themselves or settled down on a chimney to snooze. This was painted on Arches oil-paper, which permits a lot of thin washes and, when required, extra detailing with pencils. The paint dries fast and colour can sink in and become matt; but that isn't always a bad thing when painting buildings.

I have been thinking a lot about where to go in 2018, painting-wise. Having departed from DailyPaintWorks (more due to the monthly membership cost than anything else), I am remaining with Original-Art-Under100 and have re-established images at TheArtistStudio.co.uk. I have perused the entire list of "places to sell your art" promoted at ArtsyShark.com and have come to the conclusion that very very few of them are viable propositions for my items. In fact, one or two that I contacted for more information never even bothered to reply, so it doesn't say much for their set-up.

There's also "where to go" in terms of HOW I am drawing or painting. My subject-choices rarely match what people want to buy, so that is always difficult. I plan to continue with pastels, since storage is relatively easy, being flat sheets of paper. Recently I've started experimenting with monotypes, using a glass sheet and various paints. This is a liberating process, requiring few materials and is open to all kinds of interpretation. I do not have a print press, but monotypes don't necessarily need one. I can spend several hours working through fifteen to twenty creations; many are failures but a few come out quite well. I shall be increasing my study of this process during 2018. There are many effects and textures produced that simply cannot be emulated through ordinary painting.

Finally....I'm thinking (only thinking at the moment) of changing the blog platform. This one I use is OK but has limitations. More on that later.

Scratch or Scraperboard: "Foundry Wheels" 8x8 inches

, 10:24 - Permalink

Here's something quite different. For a very long time I have wished to have a go at producing a scraper-board image (called scratchboard in USA). At first thought, one might feel that there is no link between this and painting, but actually there is.....and it's about tonal values. There's also a link between it and pastel and pencil work. With scratchboard, unless you deliberately add coloured inks or other paint to the white markings, you have an image that has been literally pulled up out of darkness by the use of pure white lines. The denser the lines, or closer together, the whiter the image. More widely-spaced dots or hatched lines create greyer tones, right down to untouched board for the black.

For a first-ever scratchboard picture, this one is probably rather ambitious, but I chose it because industrial themes are so well suited to the scraper/scratch technique. The image is from one of my own photos, taken a few years ago in a small heritage foundry, using a waterwheel to provide hammer-action.

I purchased a pack of EssDee scraperboards, along with three Ampersand scratchboards, to try out the different products. EssDee was cheaper, so a pack of ten suited me fine for my first efforts. I'll tackle an Ampersand when I'm happier with my technique. Since the photo was my own creation, I used it to mark out the main features onto a board, using white pastel as a transfer medium. Having done that, I faced my first problem....working top to bottom or left to right would wipe out the marks!

So I laid a thick sheet of paper over the lower half of the work and rested my hand carefully on top. This seems to work fine and doesn't greatly disturb the pastel lines underneath. I then started the delicate process of scratching, using the point of a scalpel-blade set into a metal handle. My set of inked boards contained a scratch tool and I did try it, but didn't care for it too much, switching soon after to the scalpel-blade.

Over a period of about six hours, the work was finished. My technique still needs working on and at times I lifted too much black ink in areas meant to be mid-grey....but on the whole it went along well. The link with pastel painting relates to all the cross-hatching techniques, laying a set of lines over another (coloured, in the case of pastel).....it's like drawing, but without a pencil, and working from dark to light, rather than light to dark. I will be doing another one soon, when I've sussed out a suitable subject.

Another small painting also completed, to come in a few days.

Sundown: oil on canvas 16x12 inches

, 14:15 - Permalink

Have had a few tech problems trying to log into my blog account, but hopefully now fixed. With the onset of late autumn and the clocks going back to the proper natural time (GMT), things get a little more difficult for me in terms of taking decent photos of paintings. I always take mine outdoors, but finding a spot where there are no cast shadows (like tree branches and twigs) can be tricky. The day has to be bright and dry as well. Overcast light is ok as long as it's bright.

Anyway, today's image will do for the blog, but I would like to take a better, sharper image when I can.

"Sundown" is a view from on top of a cliff, out to sea. The rocky prominence is actually a rather slatey clifftop in Cornwall, which was a bit dodgy to walk along, especially with a huge drop on both sides. On this evening, the light level was good and the sun obliged by producing a nice column of red-orange light across the sea. Impractical to paint it on the spot, since this pretty column of light lasted for all of five minutes before sinking back into a blue-grey haze.

Oils used; once again I brought out the Sennelier oil-bars to make the rocks, using raw umber with cerulean blue and ultramarine bars, plus some tube raw-umber. The oilbars were used to draw the rock shapes fairly roughly and work some of the waxy paint into a little bit of texture (not too thick, however). Once surface-dry several days later, the texture was lightly scumbled with white oilbar mixed with a touch of pale blue. The green areas were initially painted in oilbar and also left to dry for several days before adding light layers of tube-paint on top.

The sky was started in yellow oilbar, moving on to a mix of cadmium yellow and cadmium orange, plus a little cad scarlet. Similarly with the water, beginning with permanent mauve oilbar plus ultramarine.....both well-spread and left to dry a little, before adding titanium white paint and adjusting the tonal values up and down. Once dry, the details of waves and the column of light were added in tube-paint, using the same colours as the oilbars. The sun was worked with pale yellow and a blob of titanium white.

Foreground grasses brushed in over a dry oilbar layer, adding flowers using a mix of ultramarine, alizarin crimson and a combo of zinc and titanium white.

New painting coming shortly...

, 08:23 - Permalink

I noticed it's been 10 days since my last post, so just a quick update....a new oil painting is in progress, a sunset, around 16x12 inches which I hope to complete this week. My local group's annual Christmas show is just over a month away, so now is the time to sort out the four pieces that I'm going to display.

My earlier work "Hartland Cliffs" was quite a large one for me, using oil-bars with oilpaint....I enjoyed doing that one and the current painting is also using the same mix of paint. I plan to sort out more ideas for incorporating these oilbars into paintings. They seem well suited to things like rocks and other subject-matter requiring broad texture-like treatment.

I am looking through my ideas-book also for my next pastel painting; the recent two used a hatching technique that seems to have attracted quite a few views on Pinterest, so I'll be looking to explore that further.

Finally....my gallery on DailypaintWorks is now closed, I am sad to leave but it is not economical to remain right now. I have re-established a gallery at TheArtistStudio.co.uk, where I've been Artist of the Week for the past seven days.

Hartland Cliffs: oilbars and oil 30x22 inches

, 12:01 - Permalink


A fortunately dry and bright overcast day permitted me to get this canvas- board outside to photograph. Probably the biggest item I've worked on in recent times, but oilbars do tend to demand lots of space and elbow-room. The main shapes were marked out in pale blue before working from the top down (for the sky) and then distance to foreground for the cliffs.

Sennelier Ultramarine blue oilbar was blended with tube-light red, then blended further with a white oilbar to get distance for the cliffs furthest away. Some terre vert tube-green was introduced on the middle cliffs, along with a bluish-grey colour created from the oilbars; the whole thing was worked intuitively, not by any rigid method. Coming forward, pale greens were created with the oilbar mixes of lemon yellow plus ultramarine blue, with an occasional passage -over with white oilbar to knock the acidity down. Raw umber oilbar plus a bit of light red from a tube was used to start the sea-level rocks.

The sea was created from oilbars cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, white and raw umber; tube-white for the cresting waves. Finally the main foreground was laid in with heavy passages of oilbar; raw umber, prussian blue, ultramarine, cadmium yellow; with cadmium orange used for a front piece and modified with overlays of the other colours. The rocks were worked with white oilbar and the same colours as used for the vegetation.

At no point was a paintbrush used on any of the main components. A small palette knife helped with the waves. Zest-It diluent helped with spreading colour where required, using a rag placed over the forefinger.

Since the oilbar mixtures were surface dry in a few days, this allowed interesting paint overlays in the foreground section. The whole picture was worked as if using large (rather squidgy) pastels.

"Scintillation": Oil-bars and oils 20x16 inches

, 09:20 - Permalink


I'll have a new picture to photograph, in probably, a couple of days so another post here should happen shortly. A few years ago I purchased some Winsor and Newton oilbars, with a view to developing some larger work. After a few struggles with them I began to find my own method and was hopeful of improving results. Frustratingly, six months later, the paint surface was still "dentable" with a finger-nail; and similarly after a year, it was still slightly scratchable. Since I am not an impasto painter, the paint was generally thin, but simply had not dried. I am sure there is nothing wrong with the oilbars, but more likely my method of working. However, several months back I decided to have another go, this time with the smaller Sennelier oilbars (38ml).

Result: a touch-dry surface in about five to six days. This was a bit of a surprise. I decided to experiment further and used the bars to overpaint an old acrylic work, basing the new subject-material on the old underlying pattern. In addition, I included tube oilpaint at the same time, which entailed blobbing colour onto the canvas and then pushing it around with an oilbar. For example, ultramarine blue tube-paint worked with a white oil-bar; or vice-versa.

"Scintillation" was the end-product. Abstract isn't my usual style but I wasn't bothered about that aspect. It was about finding out what these oilbars would do. They are oil paint mixed with a percentage of wax, and behave like large pastels when in use, spreading colour, drawing lines, etc. They can be used on canvas, canvasboard, oil-paper and even gessoed smooth board (although there's less texture for the paint to grip to). The painting is currently listed in my gallery at Original-Art-Under100.com

My newest painting is approaching completion and I've used both oilbars and tube-paint in it. It is also one of the largest I have done for several years.

Time to move on

, 11:57 - Permalink

I'll be trimming down my website over the next day or so and making changes to links. I will be leaving DailypaintWorks.com as a regular memberwith much regret---and spending my time concentrating on local events plus any UK-based artist's websites.

This past year has seen my sales within Britain only, therefore sadly I must cut costs and turn inwards. I also feel that the Internet art scene is so heavily biased towards social media, blogging, twittering, instagramming etc etc that it is all too much to handle....as well as trying to paint. I'll keep the website running, but much reduced in images...it will continue alongside SmallArtStuff which was recently set up primarily to handle the smaller paintings and drawings.

In addition, my membership at Original-Art-Under100 will carry on.

No new paintings ready to show at the moment

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