Wednesday 30 March 2011

Something unexpected

Softly Swaying
acrylic ink and watercolour
19x25cm (image size)
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

I'm pleased to report that yesterday was a very successful framing day. I really enjoy mount cutting and framing and I'm very lucky to have a picture framer friend who allows me to use their workshop. The above picture started as a little sketch for drawing practise but when my friend saw it she insisted that I let her frame it - not long after she'd worked her magic on it and this was the result.

The subject came from a bouquet of flowers that I was given and unfortunately I don't know what they are. They look like a thistle/sea holly type of plant and have dried really well.

Monday 28 March 2011

Serene seas

Serene Seas
watercolour 14x17cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

I used perylene maroon, indigo and raw sienna, the same combination as the still life of mugs here . This time though the emphasis was more on indigo in the colour mixing. I like these bruise-like colours. Whilst waiting for the washes to dry I was busy colour washing frames, tomorrow is a framing day and between you and me I'm quite looking forward to it.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Sketching at Kimmeridge

A beautiful warm spring day, perfect for sketching at Kimmeridge. The sun warmed the rocks and provided a perfect spot to sketch the the view to Clavell Tower. I love the patterns of cracks in the flat rock beds, the larger ones making it seem almost like a chequer board. There's lots of rock pools to explore, lots of critters and so many different types of seaweed.

The pencil sketch is a kind of visual note on how to use the cracks in the rocks to lead the eye through the painting. A bit more thought is needed on that to get a proper sense of perspective methinks.


watercolour and coloured pencils sketch

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Sketchbook ideas and colour plans

A4 sketchbook pages of plans and ideas in watercolour pencil.

I've been playing with initial ideas in my sketchbook today planning my next set of paintings. I like to have a few things on the go so that when I need to rest my eyes from one there is something else to be working on. The idea for the first two are from the charcoal drawings that I did a short while back combined with other sketches. The moon ones are memory pieces from Saturdays perigee moon, it looked amazing reflected in the sea. Early evening it seemed huge, hard edged and was so orangey yellow turning paler and brighter with a soft halo around the edge as the night wore on. I'm particularly looking forward to painting the moon reflected on the sea with groynes silhouetted.

Now I have a rough concept of what I want to do I'll get out gathering some more references and going through old sketchbooks to see what will be useful. I'd like to keep these fairly small, maybe about 14cm squared, pretty much the scale these initial ideas are. It's so exciting to have a plan....

Did anyone else get out sketching the moon at the weekend?

Monday 21 March 2011

Wave Watching II - work in progress...

Wave Watching II
acrylic on board 20x20cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

The blues were mixed with cobalt and indanthrene in stage 1 and were, I felt, looking too wintry so I glazed with an azure blue mix to warm everything up. Stage 2 is the better version when judging on neutral criteria but I like the the final version with the extra azure glazing which for me makes it more of a balmy summers evening. I think you have to let the painting dictate where it wants to go and this is where it whispered that it wanted to be. Between stage 2 and 3 I didn't touch the sand area but what a difference in it's appearance with the change of blue next to it. I'll spend a little more time just finishing up on the wave areas and post final versions and conclusions later.

Friday 18 March 2011


watercolour 14x22cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

The theme for the critique at the art group I belong to this month was 'cafe life', above is the study that I took. It's solely watercolour and painting the glaze of white ceramic was a big challenge - there was also the difficulty of getting the ellipses drawn correctly. The colours that I used were indigo, perylene maroon and raw sienna. Having to paint pieces on subjects that I wouldn't normally do is keeping me on my toes.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Wave Watching I - work in progress...


Wave Watching I
acrylic on board 20x20cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

After taking some colours for a walk last week and mixing some colourful greys and neutrals I thought I would use them for the basis of two paintings. Fundamentally the same composition but using the warm tones in one and the cool ones in the other. I wanted to see how much of a different atmosphere I could create by just changing the leanings of the colours.

In theory the warm neutrals should give a warmer atmosphere but for me this is developing a more wintry feel. This is where I've got to so far with the warmer colours, I'll start on the bluer, cooler version now and see where that leaves me.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Relections in the sand

Reflections in the Sand
acrylic on board 15x15cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec
The texture is built up in this painting by many layers of drybrushing and scumbling. In contrast the wet sand and reflections are smoother as I've tried to catch the silkyness of the wet sand.

Monday 14 March 2011

No title

Towards Christchurch
sketchbook page
 Like many people I've watched the news in horror as images of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami played out over the news. This morning I've heard reports of the second explosion at the nuclear plant. Each of these events devastating and truly disastrous in themselves but to have one on top of another is just unimaginable. My thoughts are with all the people this has affected, I just can't begin to imagine what they are going through.

Thursday 10 March 2011

Taking colour for a walk

I've been using one of the palettes from the ongoing still life project today. The main base colours of the painting are cadmium yellow deep and primary cyan.....yikes! Both are powerful colours and I used a lot of white, naples yellow and touches of burnt sienna, deep violet, cobalt blue and indanthrene blue to neutralise. (Usually my palette is a lot more limited - two or three colours + white)

It's not finished and might well just stay as an exercise rather than a finished piece but it's been good to step outside my colour comfort zone. The painting started as thin glazes in the sky and sea, then mid way through the waves and down to the sand I've scumbled all the colours together.

Once I'd gotten to this stage there was a lot of paint on my palette and not wanting to waste it I thought I'd take the colours on a walk. Below is a sketchbook page of our journey.

It makes me think of the Farrow and Ball paint chart and is a really good reminder exercise of how beautiful neutrals and greys are.

Just in case you missed it, there's a post over at Making a Mark all about Katherine Tyrrell's colour project with links to her squidoo colour page and lots of other resources. Be sure to bookmark it as it's a place you will definitely want to return to.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Bright moon rising - after adjustments

After a few days of living with this painting, and two very good critiques from other artists I set to work on adjusting certain aspects. The tonal contrast was too severe and the light needed to be softened somewhat. As I'm sure you know, when adjusting an areas tone or colour the rest then needs to be worked on to make the painting work as a whole.

I followed Roger's suggestion of hinting at the soft halo that surrounds the moon, it's made the piece seem much more peaceful, (which was what I was aiming for initially) and gives more of a glow to the cloud area. As the horizon dropped there was a too much of a gap in the right hand sky area which was upsetting the balance to my eye and so I've added in another cloud mass to off set it. The light is merely a whisper on this one as it is so much further back in the sky.

His Nibbs then passed by, took one look and pointed out that whatever I had done to the rocks in the foreground they were now floating above the sky. They are now safely anchored to the sand and won't be tripping anyone up - can't be having that ...Health and Safety.

Bright Moon Rising
acrylic on canvas board 20x20cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Monday 7 March 2011

Update on the still life project...monoprinting

This was my starting point, a collage, watercolour and pencil version of the first still life painting. The section in the top left and the central section in the right column are pieces of gift wrap. I wanted to change the palette and after having fun in photoshop I decided to use the colours from one of those versions, which I'd printed out and decided to use as a guide for a monoprint.

There is an explanation of the printing process using Caran D'Ache Neocolor II that I used here . On the right is the printing plate. I liked the spicy change of palette and felt that I would get quite a different feel to the image. I was also looking forward to seeing the composition reversed.
I was lucky enough to get two impressions from the plate. Although the second one was quite a lot fainter and less defined I thought it would be interesting to work back into.
This is the first impression after I'd worked back into it with watercolour pencils, and Derwent Inktense. I didn't like the way the dark green/blue that runs from the centre to the right was dominating so I decided to cut away that section using a mixture of torn and cut edges and replace it with brown parcel wrapping paper that I could draw back into. Using acrylic medium as an adhesive I mounted it onto a piece of self adhesive mount board that had a buff coloured handmade paper attached.

More coloured pencil and watercolour wash followed. There's still lots that can be done but as a way of generating ideas and as a process to experiment with it is interesting.

Friday 4 March 2011

Bright moon rising

Inbetween the charcoal studies I've been working on this painting, another for my moonlight series. The title is borrowed from an Edgar Allen Poe poem, I love the lines, 'the moon sparkles with silver, each wave her mirror '. If you have the time, I would really appreciate a critique.

Bright Moon Rising
acrylic on canvas board 20x20cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

Thursday 3 March 2011

Wet sand and sea

sea study
charcoal and chalk 54x37cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Mark making tonal studies


Tonal studies ©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

The above charcoal and chalk drawings are all around A4ish in size on white pastel paper that I had lurking in a drawer. My aim was to concentrate on mark making and as you can see I was still relying on blended graduations a lot. The top left is an idea that I've been playing with lately, depicting clouds in wet sand at the waters edge with the pebbles and their reflections that the sea has thrown up. The third one down where I've tried to show a heavy rain was probably the one that I enjoyed doing the most and from a mark making perspective is the most successful.

I found it very liberating not thinking at all about colour and now want to try some larger scale studies. This time around though I want to rely less on graduations, it's a hard habit to break and although it is part of my 'handwriting' I think it would be good to stretch myself more. How do you stretch yourself and push your work forward?

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Looking backwards, moving forwards

oil on panels diptych 100x100cm
©1997 Lisa Le Quelenec

After my last post I went back through my old sketchbooks from my college days. One in particular from the end of my course is jam packed with ideas, snippets and all sorts of stuff - even part of a used polystyrene coffee cup which I'd taped in because I like the way the coffee had dried in the crevices. It was my everything book, notes, quotes, sketches and painting plans - every inch of paper covered. In the part where I was sketching out roughs for this painting I'd noted - mark making is too important an element to lose!!! - I still need to remember this.

A few pages later was this quote;

'Don't think all the time that everything must be pointless if it lacks an abstract thought or idea'

(It was the time of the Sensation show in London and our tutors were 'encouraging' us to go with the flow of work that needed to shock or be sensationalist to be ART. - I never wanted to be a part of that - it was a quiet rebellion adding in this quote.)

Fast forward a few years and I was loosening up even more, delighting in surface quality, mixing materials playing more with colour, even throwing paint around at times. I think I need to get back to this ( maybe not throwing the paint so much). So I'm going to take loriann's advice and and just do some studies purely about mark making. My main aim is to reconnect with materials and have fun with it.

Now I hate the idea of posting without images so here's another painting, this one from around 2001. I've used sand, texture paste, handmade papers, acrylic ink, acrylic paint, glaze medium, metallic ink and probably a other things that I've forgotten. (The areas that look slightly grey are a bronze coloured ink that's shy about having it's picture taken.)

Sunset Surf
acrylic on canvas 70x70cm
© 2001 Lisa Le Quelenec