Flower and Landscape Paintings---News

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"Lightburst": acrylic on canvasboard 16x16 inches

, 12:21

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.

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

, 14:11

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.

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

, 09:20


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.