Friday, 27 January 2012

Sketching in Southbourne with a new sketchbox

Southbourne Beach at 9am - 27.01.12
gouache 6x6inch sketchbook
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

What a beautiful morning here in Bournemouth! I've spent most of the morning sketching down on the beach and soaking up the sunshine. It's been cool with a cold breeze but warm in the sun and there has been luscious light so I have made the most of it. It's been the perfect day for road testing a new piece of kit.

I've been wanting to experiment sketching out and about with gouache. I already had tubes of them and I didn't want to buy any more but I did want them in a more portable format as losing tube lids in the sand is no joke. The other 'must' was the need for a container that was small and light. So I got to thinking....... it took a while ;o)....

There are lots of sites on t'internet where very clever people have made all sorts of very clever things out of Altoid tins. These wonderful little tins are a really good size for all sorts of inventions and just the right size for a pocket paint box. The problem was keeping the colours separate and contained.  (Although being the Mrs Messy that I am they were never going to stay scrupulously clean for long, as you can see above.) Then I hit on it. Beer bottle tops! (Kindly donated by His Nibbs) Perfect for a squidge of paint to be kept in and as luck would have it 6 bottle tops fit cozily into my mint tin. I had to wait a while for the bottle tops but the wait has been worth it.

I painted the lids inside with a couple of coats of white acrylic and whilst I was at it, the inside of the mint tin lid as it would be used for mixing and hey presto! The lids were glued in place, the paint was squidged in and dried and it was all good to go. Along with my waterbrushes it's made a nice little kit. I've only used 5 colours so far as I'm not sure what colour no.6 will need to be yet. I figure I'll work it out as I go along. So far I've got permanent white, naples yellow, burnt sienna, raw umber and primary blue.

There may be a possible problem in the future with rust and maybe I should have painted the inside of the tin and lids with enamel paint but at the time I was too impatient. I should think it'll last a good while though and for an inexpensive and quick solution it's done the job splendidly. Now I'm looking at another mint tin that's about a quarter of the size of this one and thinking four half pans of watercolour might be able to snuggle in... 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

She sells sea shells...

I've been working on some more observation studies of shells. I really enjoy doing these, exploring colours and textures. They are the perfect opportunity to get out the really tiny brushes and to lose myself in details. The paper size is only 11x15cm and is made by Aquari, I love the deckle edge. It is watercolour I usually turn to for these as the delicacy of the media lends itself rather well to the subtle colourings. Tiny highlights of gouache bring them to life.

These paintings are available for sale from my Etsy gallery here , where I have added to them to the studies section. They join what is left of a series of feather studies that I did last year. Unfortunately I have only one sheet left of this paper so I am on the hunt for some more.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Inside/Outside - a study

Inside/Outside a study
mixed media 36x56cm
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec
The theme for critique for this months art group was 'Inside/Outside'. I love the shapes of broken shells and the contrast in textures between the rougher ridged outer and the silky smooth inner of this whelk is beautiful. I thought I would expand on the recent coloured pencil study that I have done. I've misplaced the original shell and so used a different one that I picked up on St. Aubins beach in Jersey on Boxing Day. I came back with a small bag of treasure from that walk - lots of possible starting points for new paintings....

It started as a pencil line drawing on a slightly textured handmade paper that I've glued down onto mount board. It took on a life of it's own.... with acrylic, ink and coloured pencil. In between layers there are even small scratchy marks of silver ink that follow the ridges of the outer surface of the shell. These marks are partially covered over but here and there they poke through and catch the light. There are many layers of each of the materials and the surface has a weathered looking patina that draws parallels with the sea beaten surface of the shell.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

First daffodil sketch of the season

I keep a sketchbook that I add to every year just for daffodil studies. I started because I had an aversion to painting yellow - I used to either get muddy non yellows or they looked so 'out of the tube' unnatural. Daffodils are a favourite flower of mine and I look forward to seeing the first blooms appear at the end of winter/beginning of spring. I see them as a promise of the warmer months to come and they brighten the darker greyer days.

 These two sketches are where I left off last year in my daffodil sketchbook. More can be seen in my flickr album here .

Below is the first sketch of them for 2012, I am aiming to do some acrylic paintings this year.

First daffodil sketch of the season.
A4 acrylic on paper

Monday, 16 January 2012

Warm breeze on a winters day - WIP part 3

Warm Breeze on a Winter's Day
50x50cm acrylic on canvas
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

There might be a bit more tweaking to do but I think this painting is now finished. As I type this post the sun is starting to set and the beginnings of an apricot orange sky are starting to show. We have been blessed in Dorset recently with beautiful clear skies and warm golden light toward the end of the day. Friday afternoon at the beach was particularly good, surprisingly warm in the sun and clear sea.

I've warmed up the painting with layers of Liquitex vivid red orange in a scumbled glaze which I also added to the to the water at the shoreline. The sand looks like a very solid block of colour in the photo but the reality is lighter and more varied in colour. The violet/grey neutral of the clouds has been scumble glazed with the orange and the two colours vibrate off each other and glow.

The aim of this painting was to give a warm, positive and uplifting feeling. Have I achieved this? What do you think?

* I think I remember where I had read the Van Gogh quote now, 'Colour - A workshop for artists and designers' by David Hornung... interesting book.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A warm breeze on a winter's day - WIP part 2

Stage 2 - blocking in the cloud
shapes and building up the tones

It's all been happening here... glazing, brushing on and wiping off, dry brush/scumbling. There is lots of broken colour, minute touches here and there of pure colour but for the most part subtle mixes which some might call mud. I can't remember for the life of me where I picked this quote up from, it may be from someone elses' blog or it may be one of the books I've been dipping in and out of but I wrote it down and it's been repeating in my head the last few days;

                            'And how important it is to know how to mix on the palette those colours

                             which have no name and yet are the real foundation of everything.'   
                                                                                                                                          -Van Gogh

Stage 3 - building up the sea
It's the muddy neutrals that make the pure colour sing and I confess they can be the most interesting colours to mix for me.... mud with a hint of...

So here I am at stage 3 needing some more work in the sky, some tightening up in the cloud shapes and colours and working up the waters edge. This piece is on a 50x50cm canvas and I'm enjoying this larger format. Larger scale paintings are what I hope to focus on this year. I've a metre square canvas taunting me and lots of ideas of what to do with it... decisions..decisions...

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A warm breeze on a winter's day - WIP part1

After the horrible start to the year that my family have had I've decided to start again.... So Happy New Year everyone! Thank you all for your kind wishes for my Dad, you cheered us up no end.

Today has been a much better beginning. A new painting started, with what I hope to be an uplifting feel of peaceful, warm light.

One of my aims with this painting is to widen my palette choice. I'm trying out some new mixes using indanthrene with naphthol crimson, touches of vivid red orange and cadmium lemon as well as my usual azure blue and buff titanium. These hot colours feel a bit brave but a welcome feature on the palette whilst it's so grey outside.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Not a good start..

It hasn't been the best start to the year. His Nibbs and I spent Christmas in Jersey, staying with my parents and my sister who was home from Uni - Christmas was lovely... Unfortunately New Years Eve was spent at the hospital as my Dad was taken ill. It was a week of worry and hospital visits. He's out of hospital and resting at home now which is probably driving him nuts as he's not very good at resting.... (poor mum). If you are reading this dad, please take it slow and be good.

I haven't been painting but have been visiting everyone else's blogs and would like to thank you for the welcome distraction.

The images below are from my sketchbook and were done before Christmas. Every now and again it's good to do something completely different, just about playing around and seeing where an idea; in this case a shape - will take me. Maybe it will develop into something and on the other hand maybe not.....

pen and ink

watercolour applied to the leaves and printed

digital sketch I
digital sketch II

digital sketch III

Back soon and hopefully back to normal....