Sunset on The Levels: pastel 12x9 inches approx.
In progress at present is a beach-scape oil painting. Today's pastel picture isn't unfortunately the best of photographs, the sun shone too brightly on it just as I snapped the picture...it will need to be re-done before going on the website. However, it will do for the news update. I haven't been creating so many pastels of late; this time of year I have itchy eyes due to pollen and the extra dust from pastels can irritate them further. Up till now I've tended to manage ok, but----having produced so many pictures since March this year, I have decided to cut myself some slack and ease off. Instead, I've been exploring the possibilities of smaller pastels in a six or eight-inch square format. This helps to reduce the amount of dust. Similarly, with oils and oilbars on a square format. The small size allows for fairly rapid working and a conclusion within a few days. With the financial tsunami due to hit the world very soon, small will be beautiful; I hope I have enough materials to get me through the storm and out the other side in due time. More extravagant larger works are not an option.
Sunset on the Levels was derived from several photos, recording the gradual disappearance of daylight between two moorland willow-trees. It was worked on PastelMat card with very little under-drawing; just some lines for the horizon and river, and marking out the general forms of the tree trunks. Colours were kept muted, except for the brightly lit horizon (obviously) where Unison bright yellow and orange pastels could be employed. The trees, although marked in with a deep grey-black, were modified with light overlay of purple. Two or three muted greens were selected for the twilight fields in between. The reeds were created with the edge of a harder pastel, used at full length against the paper and literally pushed from bottom to top in a quick movement, following the bend of the reed; turning the pastel more horizontally to complete the"flags".
The new Archive section on the website is picking up viewers. As explained earlier, this is more of a "play" area for me, where I can put up and test out new image ideas and techniques. The abstract gallery now has thirteen images, one of which has recently departed for a new owner. I'm not intending to mix these with my more traditional output, however. One or two will probably find their way to my gallery at Original Art Under100.com.
Abstracts, each 6x6 inches; oils and cold wax. Ochre Abstract; City Winter; Censored.
I've now had just over two weeks right away from landscape work and yesterday returned to the pastel box for a bit of doodling. Nothing forthcoming from that, so moved on to prepare some gessoed paper, ready for oil painting. While producing some small abstracts, I realised that certain themes kept appearing in the designs. Squares or rectangles; cross shapes; horizons. Many painters work all the time in this free-flowing manner, laying down paint to see what comes up from the sub-conscious. I don't think I could do it all the time, but it does allow the brain to relax out from realistic studies. Three of these small abstracts are included here and are also in the abstract section at the Archive. They don't pretend to be anything special and have been made entirely as the result of on-surface process; i.e in simple terms, made up as you go along. Each patch of paint laid on encourages the painter to think carefully about where to put the next. Sometimes it goes well; sometimes it doesn't. They are all in oils with cold wax; two on Arches oil paper and one (Ochre Cross) on canvasboard. I'll be heading back in a day or so to doing more realistic scenery.
Coast Swell: oils on Arches paper 15x11 inches
Taken a brief break from the oil painting, other work to do; but should be back at it soon. Today's image isn't on the website as yet, I've just been too busy to get it prepared and up. I have some ideas for a sequence of further landscapes, but haven't done much more than a few line drawings for that, as yet. A little collection of six-inch abstracts is beginning to build, these are in oils and also pastels; I do them as a relaxation, no need to focus on a particular likeness or set of details. This is especially helpful right now, since my ability to concentrate is not good.
Clevedon Shores: oils on Arches paper 15x11 inches
Landscapes gallery has been updated with the three new oils/oilbar paintings; Rhyne Water, Slimbridge Water and Coastpath by Croyde. I've decided that they are all now sufficiently surface-dry to handle safely, so they're in the gallery. Frames will be available for two of them, if desired. Also uploaded is the painting as shown above. In progress is another oils-and-oilbar painting and I have also just completed a small pastel landscape. Floral work has taken a back seat at the moment; in all fairness most of my webstats show that the landscape gallery is visited more frequently than the floral one, but it will not be ignored...it's just that the outward roll of work right now is very much on the land and seascape theme and one has to "go with it". Experimental playtime has yielded two acrylic pieces using a monotype process; I will place those in the new Archive Gallery in due course. In the same gallery a small collection of ACEO images has been added, in a new album, although a number of the images are from a few years ago...I've put them in just for interest.
There are also a few small six-inch square "play pieces" ongoing, using oils and wax. I am thinking of what to do next, but at present have "slowed down" due to having had a heavy fall while out walking. Bit stiff and sore, but it will mend.I have taken up a listing in the Bath Exhibition being run by ArtGallerySW.co.uk, if you visit their website and look for the Bath Exhibition links, you will find me listed. I have paintings on their normal gallery and still maintain a full gallery of pictures at OriginalArtUnder100.com
Slimbridge Water, Gloucestershire: oilbar on paper 12x12 inches
Landscapes gallery has been updated with the three new oils/oilbar paintings; Rhyne Water, Slimbridge Water and Coastpath by Croyde. I've decided that they are all now sufficiently surface-dry to handle safely, so they're in the gallery. Frames will be available for two of them, if desired. In progress is another oils-and-oilbar painting (that's two now on the go) and I have also just completed a small pastel landscape. Floral work has taken a back seat at the moment; in all fairness most of my webstats show that the landscape gallery is visited more frequently than the floral one, but it will not be ignored...it's just that the outward roll of work right now is very much on the land and seascape theme and one has to "go with it". Experimental playtime has yielded two acrylic pieces using a monotype process; I will place those in the new Archive Gallery in due course. In the same gallery a small collection of ACEO images has been added, in a new album.
I have added a new gallery to the website, which is actually more of a sub-domain; you can access it at https://christinederrick.com/archivepics.html. It contains examples of my experimental methods and playtime-work, many of which were included on the old Wordpress blog but were removed when I abandoned the Wordpress platform. There are images on gessoed paper, some abstracts, some textured acrylics, and so on. Each image has a brief description added below it, to describe what was done to make the picture. I'll add to it on occasions; and it'll be a gallery of mixed ideas. They won't necessarily be for sale though; if I do decide to offer any of them, they'll be moved to the main galleries.
Coastpath by Croyde, Devon: oilbar on paper 15x10 inches.
Just starting a fourth oilbar painting. Here's the third one...oh, what happened to the second one? Nothing...I photographed it yesterday but the photo didn't come out as well as I'd hoped, so I'm having to do it again today. This is a coastal-scape, worked from a photo taken along the coast from Croyde Bay, Devon. I was a bit unsure how I would tackle the seawater, but found that the prussian blue and lemon-yellow oilbars gave me sufficient green-ness that I could modify here and there to create other subtleties with tube-paint. I am finding oilbars ideal for working these broad landscapes. The fourth picture currently in progress is being done on a gessoed board, it's actually one of Jackson's Art supplies' own brands. So, a rigid surface as opposed to paper. All oilbar works take a time to dry, so they won't be made available just yet. My soft pastels have been lying idle for several weeks, however I am not too perturbed by this because I already have subjects in mind to try out. I may well try the same subjects in oilbars as well. With no pressures for exhibition entries, I am doing a lot of experimenting and just seeing what happens. If the results are unexciting then I just move on to another piece.
Other home matters have kept me away from painting for a number of days. I have however completed a second oilbar painting with a third now in progress. The first one mentioned under June 5th has been photographed...I need a better image for the website gallery but this'll do for now, because it's still not dry enough for sale anyway.
Rhyne Water, Somerset: oilbar on paper 12x12 inches
Simple landscape consisting of a large sky, broad and simple river banks and a stretch of water. Worked with ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, prussian blue and cadmium red oilbars; plus white; and the inclusion of tube oilpaint from Light Red, raw sienna and cadmium yellow light. Painted on Arches Huile paper, 12x12 inches. The mix of oil and wax takes rather longer to "set up" (dry) but this piece will be ready to frame in probably a couple of months' time. I put mine under glass, usually, with a mountboard, to keep the painted surface away from the glass. I don't use varnish on this particular paint combination.
New items "Sundown in the Bay" and "Summer Heat" in floral and landscape sections. During the past week or so I have been revisiting a rather messy medium called oilbars. They are formed from proper oil paint and a percentage of wax, to create a stick of paint. They look rather like large sticks of pastel, but behave quite differently from the dry medium. The artist literally draws directly on the paper or board with the oil/wax stick....no brushes necessary. I have been rather determined to get them to work for me, because it is a way of oil-painting without the brushes and more closely resembles how I use my standard dry pastels. The subject needs to be quite "broad" (i.e no fiddly details). I have one completed and will post up when it's surface-dry.
SATURDAY MAY 23RD 2020
Several new pieces nearing completion. "Hazy Coast Minehead" in pastel; and two oils which are near enough done but, of course, won't be ready to go online until they are dry. I haven't added anything new in the way of flower pictures recently; I have had a "surge" of landscape ideas, so have been concentrating on those instead. Things come around and go around. A still life from a couple of years back, Glass Eggcup, has now found a new home and has been added to the Sold page.
SATURDAY MAY 16th 2020
Trying to paint positively under the current UK police state is very difficult at times. I am afraid of nothing, by the way, but am just incredulous at the sheer madness that has gripped the country. Despite this, I am pleased to be finding some of my practise with new pastel techniques is paying off. I am making between one and two new works each week; which might not sound much but, as a generally slow painter, this is pretty good for me. As well as pastel, I have also launched back into oil painting, completing (near enough) a new piece on Arches oil-paper and a small landscape on gessoed board. I have re-acquainted myself with Winsor and Newton's alkyd oil paints, which allow fast lay-in of a picture and a pleasant semi-translucent finish after a couple of coats. It dries quickly too, permitting continuation of the work (with either alkyds or traditional oils) the next day. I have also spent too much money on new painting panels! (grin). I am thankful for painting....it is keeping me reasonably strong and focused. I recommend it, or indeed any handicraft, for these aggravating times.
THURSDAY MAY 7TH 2020
Plans for pastel paintings and their delivery. I have always been able to successfully deliver pastel paintings in an UNframed condition, to buyers both in the UK and overseas. My pastels are rarely large ones so this isn't too difficult. Some potential buyers may be put off by the fact that they aren't framed, so here is what I do and suggest:
An unframed pastel is first of all protected with glassine paper (rather like a tracing paper), over the coloured surface. It is then sandwiched between another sheet of strong paper and finally sandwiched again between two strong boards...either foam or mdf or hardboard. These boards are then taped tightly together, both vertically and horizontally. This prevents the pastel from sliding around during transit. The package is then wrapped again in bubblewrap (I try not to use too much), and finally boxed, ready for sending.
Buyers are encouraged to keep their pastel safely within these boards until they can get it framed. Once behind glass, job done, the pastel will remain bright and fresh and be protected from damage. Despite seeming vulnerable, pastel is actually a permanent medium; Rembrandt's works from past centuries are still in good order.
As for FRAMED works, there are a few little issues. I can and have sent small works complete with frame and glass. However, carriers are getting more and more fussy about glass and at some point I may have to stop. BUT....there is a solution. I am looking into using acrylic sheet as a TEMPORARY cover for my framed work, for posting. This will allow the buyer to get the work glazed at "their end". I would thoroughly recommend glass as opposed to acrylic sheet, for one main reason; CLARITY. Acrylic sheet does not transmit light as effectively as glass, and can make pastel colours a little dull.
So, I hope this will help potential buyers when looking at pastels. They CAN be delivered!
SUNDAY MAY 3rd 2020
A few days ago I ditched the Wordpress blog installation because it was occupying too much of my time. Having run the blog for a few years, I felt it wasn't offering any particular advantage...I'd be better off just painting....so that's what I've done. So now, I'm just going to keep a small Updates page, like this, to detail any new pictures or changes.
I am already a gallery member with Original-Art-Under100.com; and am now also a member with ArtGallerySW.co.uk. I decided I now had enough paintings to cope with two outlets, so during this crazy virus lockdown period I have gotten on with it; preparing new work, uploading, updating and also bringing in a few floral digital prints....see the prints and products page. I can't hold large stock numbers, so this is just a start....see how it goes.
All the traditional annual art shows have been cancelled....it's an utterly miserable time...and especially tricky when one is trying to do landscapes....just can't get out and about anywhere, so the reliance on photographs is essential. That's it for now. This will be the Updates page and I'll place a link to it on the other main pages as soon as I can.
email chris [at]christinederrick.com