Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Light across the bay - beginings of a painting

sunlight on the sea
coloured pencil on mid toned paper

This was a sketch done form memory, I've sketched this view from the beach at Branksome Chine many times. The overwhelming memory that I have from this particular day during the summer was the light. Full cloud over head, small breaks over the sea which cast lines of sparkle and the band of light that seemed to underline the distant silhouette of Old Harry Rocks and at the horizon a clear and hazy sky. I've painted this underlining band of the light before but this time I want to emphasise all of the sparkly light that glitters along the surface water. There wasn't much swell at all just a few lazy little waves close to the shore.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Summer storms

There have been some quite rough seas of late, as there are every autumn. The evidence is left on the shore, lots of broken up driftwood, cuttlefish and quite a few mermaid's purses (sounds prettier than dogfish egg cases) and I've found lots of whelk shells. There's also been quite a lot of seaweed washed up that I'm told is usually only seen in deep water. All of this will I'm sure be subjects for future paintings except that I'm so caught up in skies that it may be some time before I get to them.

Summer Storm I
watercolour on paper 15x15cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

These two paintings have been a continuation of my grey and black experiments, this time mixing up neutral tint, ivory black and weak additions of cobalt turquoise. (there may have been a touch of raw sienna too.) I've been trying to capture the stillness and silence that descends just before a storm breaks. The gulls glide along thermals seeming to anticipate the heavy weather that is about to descend. Summer storms of which we had a few are always stickier, the heat feels oppressive but they are magical as well in the speed in which they build. The relief once the rain has fallen is exhilarating and then just as suddenly as it appeared it's gone and the blue summer skies are back.

Summer Storm II
watercolour on paper 15x15cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

Both of these paintings are for sale in my Etsy store .

Monday, 21 November 2011

A big thank you and great news

End of the Day
acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec
Chasing the Light
acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

This weekend was busy with the craft fair at Hobourne, it was a lovely day with lots of visitors. I'd like to say a really big thank you to Margaret and the CADArts team for all their hard work in organising, setting up and advertising such a successful event.

I've also had some good news today, two of my paintings have been accepted in this years Red House Museum Open Exhibition. I am really pleased as I saw when I handed in the work last week just how high the standard of work was going to be from the entries already there.  The theme for the show this year was Daydreams and Brilliant Colours  and the two pieces I entered were End of the Day and Chasing the Light. What a great start to the week.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Speed sketching

Two recent pages from my pocket sketchbook that I use on my walks. Trying to sketch the dogs as they run around and play is a challenge the birds gliding were much easier. The pages are about 13x13cm so each little sketch is really tiny but sometimes it's good to focus on an element rather than the big view all the time.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Busy, busy, busy....

Into the blue
acrylic on card 8x8cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec
Soar! framed in a 10x10inch whitewashed ash
with a double white textured mount

Exhibitions seem to come along like buses and deadlines have been coming thick and fast. (I'm sure I've said that before on this blog...) On top of finishing paintings for shows, time has been taken up with mount cutting, framing, cello wrapping, labeling, stewarding at the Hayloft and preperation for a commission. I love to be busy and I'm not complaining but I do wonder why it is when I'm upto my eyeballs that I have all these ideas racing through my head for new work. I've a few pages of thumbnails and notes just waiting to be explored, if only I could invent a way of gaining just a few hours extra in a day.

Anyhoo, hopefully I've managed to photograph these two peices of work with out too much reflection in the glass. The first is of a tiny study, just 8x8cm. It's painted on bevelled edged mountboard (I used a mountcutter to get the angle after it was painted so the edges would be clean white.) and floated onto a second piece of card. To set the image back in the frame a hidden mount lies under the upper mount raising it to keep the image away from the glass. (I do hope this makes sense?)

The second photo Soar! - which you may remember from a couple of posts ago is now framed in a double mount with a 10x10 inch white washed ash frame. The warmth of the wood coming through the wash fits well with the warm colour in the cloud and keeps everything quite subtle. Both of these pieces will be coming with me to the Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair at Hobourne on Sunday. The venue has been renovated since I was there last year and I can't wait to see the work that has been done - it was lovely before but I'm told it is even better now. If you are in the area do stop by and say hello it would be lovely to see you.

Monday, 7 November 2011

10 of my favourite books

Today I thought I'd share some details of my favourite painting/print making books in the hope that you will share with me some of yours. Now the colder, darker and wetter months are well on their way there's nothing better than to curl up with a good art book to read up on skills, methods, techniques and to stay inspired. The following ten are some of my favourites, (although there are many more.... I'm a bookaholic) the ones that I keep returning to. I've included the ISBN numbers of the editions that I have. Should you want to look them up at your bookstore of choice keep in mind that there may be newer editions of some of them. I believe only a couple are out of print. In no particular order....

Raw Colour with Pastels by Mark Leach ISBN 9780713489996 (hardback)
Sadly this artist is no longer with us but he has left us with stunning artwork and this marvelous book about his art, thoughts and techniques. The book has a friendly and accessible feel to it much as I imagine his character was. I love his use of colour and his ability to distill the landscape to it's essence.  Click here to stop by his website where there are further links, one of which is a picasa album of his work which is well worth a visit.

Sketchbooks 2003-2004 Kurt Jackson ISBN 9781850221906 (paperback)
There's nothing I like more than a rootle through other peoples sketchbooks, it's always interesting to see where they get their ideas and inspiration from. Kurt Jackson is a favourite artist of mine, his work can be seen here . This book is a selection of sketchbook pages from 25 sketchbooks through a year from one spring to the next. ( I know - how prolific is that!) It is filled with gestural pencil studies as well as mixed media and watercolours. I really like the notes that he makes in his sketches that become an integral piece of his more finished work.

Realistic Abstracts by Kees van Aalst ISBN 9781844485604 (paperback)
This is a book I have returned to a few times over the last year as I explore some of the concepts discussed in it. A full review that I wrote on it in January can be found here .

Plants and Places by Angie Lewin ISBN 9781858945361 (hardback)
This book is a real feast for the eyes if like me you love print making. Completed works, design development drawings, sketches - it has it all. A link to her website is here . One of the things that I like most about Lewin's work is her palette, the sometimes unusual combinations that she uses. At the back of the book is a list of some of her favourite books which I was interested to find, especially as we share some common ground in books and artists that we admire, for example Eric Ravilious and Robert Gillmor.

Cutting Away by Robert Gillmor ISBN 1904078141 (hardback)
A beautifully presented overview of this popular lino cutters work. I first became aware of his prints when I spotted some greetings cards produced by Art Angels a few years or so ago. I didn't know anything more about his work and then I saw this book in a catalogue and ordered it on a whim. To me it was more than worth the gamble as it really is a beautiful book filled with reproductions of his beautiful natural history, mostly birds, lino prints. Whilst writing this post and looking unsuccessfully for a website I have come across a retrospective exhibition that continues until 29th April 2012 here in Reading. A few of  the gorgeous images are on this page.

The Watercolours of John Singer Sargent by Carl Little ISBN 0520219708
Sargent is one of my favourite artists for his watercolours alone. His lightness of touch, expressiveness and the way he captured the colour of light I find uplifting. There seems to me a real sense of the joy of painting in his watercolours, they speak to me of the immense fun he had painting them. I was lucky enough to see the exhibition Sargent and the Sea at the Royal Academy last year, an exhibition that I enjoyed immensely. At the end of the show was a couple of his Venice watercolours that I spent nearly as much time studying as all of the rest of the exhibition. If I could get just a smidgen of his skill in watercolour I would be immensely happy.

Vibrant Watercolours by Shirley Trevena ISBN 0007225237 (hardback)
A full review of this book that I wrote some time ago is here this is a fantastic book for when the creative block hits. It's a well trusted remedy that I keep on hand to be boosted on, propelled by Shirley's energising enthusiasm.

Composition Understanding Line Notan and color by Arthur Wesley Dow ISBN 9780486460079 (paperback)
A classic and a firm favourite of mine. On days lacking in inspiration I often return to this book to pick where I've left off on exercises to improve composition. I think this is one of the many areas I will spend a lifetime trying to improve. I confess to begin with I stumbled a little on the older style of language but once past that this book really is one of the best.

Rowland Hilder Painter of the English Landscape by John Lewis ISBN 1851490507 (hardback)
A gem that I picked up in a charity shop over the summer for a couple of pounds. There is so much about this artists work that I like, most especially the way he captured light. There are lots of illustrations, quite a few that are black and white, which is an asset in the case of this book as it shows off the strong tonal patterns used in Hilder's work. Really meaty darks in contrast to the brightest of bright lights - very exciting, whilst still portraying the calm tranquility and timelessness of the landscape.

Inspired by Light by Ken Howard ISBN 0715308416 (hardback)
This book is packed with illustrations of his sketches, watercolours and oils. The artist shares his thoughts and ideas and how he sees painting as, 'revelation, communication and celebration..' a wonderful place to come to painting from. If someone mentions the term 'contre jour' Ken Howard is the artist who immediately springs to mind, for me he is the master of it.

I know I said this was going to be 10 of my favourite books but I just couldn't leave this one out so lets make it 11...

Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson ISBN 9780486229270 (paperback)
Another very popular classic that I heard about on Loriann's blog some time back. Where had I been not to have heard of this one before? (-maybe it's better known in the US?) In the last twelve months that I've had a copy of this I have read it in full maybe three or four times and have dipped into it countless times. My copy is rarely on the bookshelf, I prefer it to be either on the bedside table or in the studio. There is a lot of information to absorb, it covers a lot of ground and I only wish I'd heard of it sooner. Chapters can be read here on google books, after reading them here myself first I then had to order my own copy as I wanted to read the missing ones.

The crux of this post is that I have a couple of book vouchers to spend and whilst I have a never ending list of books that I 'need' to get (when does want become need anyway? :o) ) I was just wondering what your favourites are and what you would recommend?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A break in the cloud

rain study
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

Rain and lots of it at the moment here in Dorset. It seems we will have a slight respite this afternoon before the next lot arrives. For now my roof is holding, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is now fixed. I'm off to hand in some work for the Holly & Hayloft exhibition this afternoon which runs until 21st December. Fingers crossed the rain hold off until after the hand in. Soggy pictures are no fun ;o)

Anyway, a small study of rain over the sea. Distant rain suggested with tone and closer bouts sketched in with a hard pencil and indenting the paper with a finger nail to emboss. The watercolour then ran into the dents drying darker. Something to develop further perhaps...