Thursday, 30 September 2010

More cloud sketching

After a day of heavy rain yesterday a little respite and time for sketching.

All were done in pastel in my cachet sketch book and are slightly smaller that A5.

Back to the DIY now, I'm finding something strangely zen-like in skimming plaster onto a wall, it's like giant palette knife painting.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The last of summer

Sunflower sketch in ink and watercolour

I love sunflowers and grow a few different types each year. Normally by August they have been and gone and by now the seeds have been dried for next year and some shared with the birds. This year we had a new bird feeder with three different feeding stations and in one I put some sunflowers seeds.

Unfortunately/fortunately the wood pigeons who are really too big for the feeder knocked it off and whilst I was sure I had picked up all the spilt seed I couldn't have done a very good job. Much to His Nibs dismay we now have sunflowers that have grown up through the lawn. He is under strict instructions to mow around them.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Play time sketchbook pages

And now for something completely different.......These are experiments I've done in my sketchbook. I do some really random things sometimes just to play with ideas and techniques without needing to feel the pressure of making a finished piece. I usually find that the experiments somehow will feed in to my other work in interesting ways.

I wish I could show you the original reference but I can't find the photographers name to credit them or ask their permission. It was a photograph of an antique, Deco style hammered silver jug, and the reflections and colour captured were stunning.

I used a small part of the photograph to zone in and look at the abstract qualities of the coloured reflections. The sketch on the right is watercolour on tin foil covered paper, the top right is watercolour straight into the book. Looking at the patterns and exaggerating aspects of them in the bottom sketch made me think of weaving, fabric and knitting. I wish I had the skills to explore these sketches further in those mediums but as someone who struggles to sew a button on a shirt it is quite beyond me. I'd love to see a big rug made up in this kind of design.

Another experiment painting on tin foil using watercolour and ink.

I next tried a monoprint using a dull silver card as a plate and watercolour, whilst the marks that I made merged and splurged (technical term ;)  ) and didn't really come out the way in which I intended I did think they they were quite interesting. On the left is the card that I used as a plate, the right is the print that came from it. I enjoy monoprinting for the unexpected results.

Do you have any sketchbook pages of experiments on your blog or website that you would like to share? I'd love to take a peek.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Vibrant Watercolours by Shirley Trevena and Albert Jackson - A Review

I would like to start this post with a big thank you to Shirley Trevena who has generously allowed me to quote from her book and include images.

This has to be one of my all time favourite books. I don't know how many times I have read  it from cover to cover but it is a lot! It's also a good one to dip in and out of whenever you need a quick jolt of inspiration to get you going.

I've long been a fan of Shirley Trevena's work and with this book it's like being transported into the studio with her. With chapters like 'Making the most of a single colour', 'Maximum impact' and 'Heartstoppers' her infectious enthusiasm for painting and colour spills out onto the page. A self confessed colour obsessive she says, ' ...when I spot a tube of cadmium orange I want it, if only for the pleasure of squeezing it on to the palette.' Haven't we all been seduced by tempting tubes of luscious pigments?

She says of turquoise, ' is one of my sit up and take notice colours. You can't ignore it and that is exactly what I have in mind.' I sense a fun-filled and mischievous side to the artist who encourages you to pick up a brush and play. If you thought that watercolour was just about boring 'wishy washy' subdued techniques I'm sure Shirley can convince you of the exciting colour opportunities that await after reading this book.

In The Pink
watercolour, oil pastel and graphite 45x39cm
© Shirley Trevena

It has only been whilst writing this review that I have realised there are actually five step-by-step demonstration paintings in it. This book is so well written and with such a wealth of information shared that I find myself being taught without realising it. There are lots of examples of her work with really good explanations of the techniques, colour choices and decisions made during the painting process. Shirley is very generous with her knowledge.

As well as being full to the brim with illustrations of her paintings there are also reproductions of work by fifteen other outstanding watercolourists including Ilana Richardson, Moira Huntley and Ronald Jesty.This is something about the Collins Artist Studio Series I really like.

There is a website here that accompanies the book with short extracts being read by Shirley and her main website is here where paintings, prints, books and DVDs can be purchased. I'd recommend taking a look, you are sure to come away feeling inspired.

Although I tend to focus more on acrylic than watercolours these days, I find that this book continues to inspire. It has been a great reminder of different ways of working that keep me from being stuck in a rut, and of course, the colour combinations are transferable to any medium that you use.

So now that I have shared one of my favourites, tell me what yours are. I need to start my winter reading list so that I am well prepared for those cold winter evenings. Which ones do you recommend?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Storms in my sketchbook

Memory sketches of storms in pencil, watercolour and watercolour pencil

Whilst stewarding at the exhibition yesterday I was thinking about storms. (Quite strange really as the weather was beautifully sunny and warm.) I've got a yearning to paint a thunder storm over the sea, I can see the colours in my mind dramatic and bruise like. It may need to be a series, the light before, during and after a storm is so different. I will need to gather some reference sketches. If you are out on a cliff top and a storm is brewing, you rush into a cafe to take shelter from the rain and you see someone sketching the wild weather be sure to say hi. It would be great to meet you.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Preview Night of Autumnal Showcase at the Hayloft

 Wow! What a night! I am pleased to report that the preview for the Hayloft exhibition went exceptionally well. We had lots of lovely visitors and some really good feedback on all the work. There was a  good buzz as we greeted our guests and it was really great to see such a good turnout.

We had hung the show the previous evening and it was very exciting to see all the work going up. Whilst every artist has a very distinctive voice the work really gels well as a show. My particular favourites are a series of silver birch by Laura Moseley, a mono print of bamboo by Chloe Weeks, a diptych of sand dunes by Eve Hill and a gorgeous floral triptych by Harriet Schofield.

Out of my work, Burnished, a painting of the reed beds at Christchurch Bay looking towards the Priory, received a lot of attention. It is based on a series of sketches that I did around the end of April beginning of May during the evening. Everything had such a warm glow, there was a gentle breeze rustling the reeds and the water looked like a mirror. It was so tranquil.

It's always nice to see work in a gallery setting, I find it so different to seeing them in the studio, it really helps me to evaluate the direction that I am going in.

When I'm hanging and in the middle of a show I have so many new ideas for new work. In fact whilst stewarding the show yesterday I was busily sketching out thumbnails and ideas for my next series and deciding what references I need to get. I had better get organised, as the weather will be turning colder and damper soon and its quite hard to sketch on the clifftop in the winter wind and  rain. I am, I'm afraid, a bit of a fair weather sketcher ;)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Day out doodles - Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head
15x35cm pencil

Taking advantage of a sunny morning so out on the cliff top, we won't have many of these mornings left this year. It was just a very quick sketch on the way into town with posters for the exhibition. Ideas are starting to form for new work but this exhibition needs to be hung first before I can get started.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Last Light, Southbourne and the last one to frame.

Last Light, Southbourne
13x13cm acrylic on paper

Nearly there, this is the last one to frame for the show. Between you and me, it's one of my favourites. It's partner has ended up in Australia and I'm wondering where this one will go. I love the magic time when the sun is just going over the horizon but gives you a last flash of light.

Now on to the wrapping, there's still quite a bit of that to do. I think it may be another late night....

Monday, 13 September 2010

Sketching clouds

I thought I'd show you some of the cloud sketching that I've been doing. They are all in pastel in my Daler Rowney Cachet A5 sketchbook which I have dedicated to cloud studies. I love the mid tone of this paper, it gives a nice warm glow to the pastel and has just enough tooth for quick sketches. I'm looking forward to the sun rise and sunsets this autumn, normally by the end of September we start to get spectacular displays with the changeable weather.

Cloud Sketch I - pastel

There was so much contrast on this day between the clouds and the sea. The sketch was done very quickly, not more than ten minutes as I knew I needed to reach cover before the downpour started. - I'm glad I did!

Cloud Sketch II - pastel

The next two were done from my workroom window. I've put my desk in front of the window to make the most of the light but also so I can be distracted by the birds on the feeder in the garden. They keep me entertained with all their antics.

Cloud Sketch III - pastel

It was a sunny and warm weekend and I managed to get out for a couple of hours for a walk on the beach. It blew the cobwebs away nicely and now I'm all set for the busy week ahead. There's lots of mount cutting, labelling, packing and wrapping to do ready for the show. I'd better get my skates on....

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

On a roll....

Another for the series and I'm on a roll..... (which is good as the exhibition starts in 11 days! Yikes! Lots of mount cutting, framing and labelling to be done.)

Shifting Sands
17x17cm acrylic on paper
© Lisa Le Quelenec 2010

I used gritty texture paste in the sand ripples for this one. The highlights catch nicely on the rough texture in just the same way that light catches on the sand.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Exploring sand ripples

An element that I return to often in my work is the ripple patterns made in sand by the sea and wind. I like the repetitiveness and graduation in scale that can give my beachscapes a sense of huge depth. Here is one of the first paintings I did of sand ripples from a few years back, it's of Chapel Rock in Perranporth, Cornwall one of my favourite spots. I kept this as it was a bit of a turning point painting for me although I might put it into the next Hayloft Exhibition. It might be time to send it out into the world.

Chapel Path
24x34cm acrylic on paper

For the new paintings I wanted the sand patterns to be more of a primary element in their own right. After making sketches to establish the light direction and shadows and a test piece using texture paste I began the first painting of what I think will be a new series. I love using acrylic mediums and have a few texture mediums that I like to use. I like the grittiness of sand and flint mediums and don't get me started on glaze medium - I go through gallons of that stuff! I love to slowly build up sheer glazes of juicy colour that glow. Colour seems to vibrate when it's built up this way rather than just mixing on the palette.

(as yet untitled)
18x28cm acrylic on paper

For the next painting I wanted to show more of a recession in the size and formation of the ripples.

(as yet untitled)
18x28cm acrylic on paper

Can you help? Title ideas, gratefully received - at the moment I'm stumped what to call them.