Monday 31 October 2011


watercolour 15.5x15.5cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

I wonder if looking back on 2011 I'll be thinking about how I went through a grey period? I certainly feel like this has been a recurring theme and I have definitely been falling in love with greys and all the colours they contain. The above is a study from a set of five (so far) that I have painted over the last few days, that seem to be turning into an unexpected series. The intention was to jot down some ideas in watercolour for a series of acrylic paintings but I got drawn in (no pun intended) and they've developed into little paintings.

Ironically after all the black watercolour experiments that I did none of these contain any of those colours. These ones have all been done with Indigo, perylene maroon and touches of raw sienna all Daler Rowney artists range on Saunders (I think) 140lb NOT. Lots of wet in wet and encouraging blooms and runs of paint with some wet on dry. I've also used touches of white gouache for the gulls, I could use masking fluid but I think the look would be too harsh, I've only ever been able to use it semi-successfully in more graphic work.

Do they stand well enough on their own not to become acrylic versions? What do you think? Food for thought perhaps... but for later as I really must get some framing finished in time for a deadline this week (yikes!) for the Christmas show at the Hayloft Gallery in Christchurch. 

Sunday 30 October 2011

Summer sea sketches

I've been looking through some sketchbooks pining for the hot summer days and thought I'd post some sketches. The first sketch is coloured pencil and the last two are watercolour.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

And the trees whisper

And the trees whispered
13.5x13.5cm acrylic on paper
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

We are being treated to some amazing cloud displays here in Dorset. One minute blazing sunshine the next heavy cloud bursting with rain. Celebratory bright sunlight that turns the rain silver and makes the yellow in the trees sparkle against purple/blue skies. Inspiration for the above painting, the wind picks up and the trees whisper, I hold my breath...

Monday 24 October 2011

Walking the dog

Walking the Dog
17x26cm acrylic on paper
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

I have finally finished a painting started last September. The image on the right is where I had gotten to. It was a painting that was put aside into the to do pile.

It felt hemmed in with the cloud and the sand ripples competing for space. By making the sky plainer it feels much more open, I think the mood feels much more relaxed. The addition of the dog and owner (I make lots of really quick sketches when I'm at the beach - random marks that just take a few seconds) helps to give it a better sense of scale.

Clicking here will take you to my Etsy shop where this painting is available for sale.

Thursday 20 October 2011

A trip to the Smoke

I'm back after a stay in London, 'refilling the creative well' visiting exhibitions and museums.  The initial reason for the trip was to attend a concert at the Royal Albert Hall to see Pink Martini, who describe themselves as a thirteen piece mini orchestra - a fusion of many styles, eras and cultures. Click here to see a recording on YouTube of one of their tracks. I love this band and often have the Cd's playing in the background whilst I paint. The concert was fantastic and I hope I can get to see them play again soon.

The two top of my list exhibitions that I wanted to see were 'Degas and the Ballet - Picturing Movement' at the Royal Academy and The Royal Society of Marine Artists at the Mall Galleries . The Degas exhibition didn't disappoint, I read this in depth review last month and had been really looking forward to it. I am a great admirer of Degas, his use of colour is something that I particularly enjoy. He is also the first name that springs to my mind when someone mentions pastel and I couldn't wait to get up close to examine the marks and methods of application that he used.

There were many drawings on display which I thought made a nice change. Quite often I prefer to look at an artists drawings, sketchbooks and preparatory work than their paintings. I like to see the process behind the end product, which explains just why I do so much blog hopping. Could it be in the future that exhibitions will display blog posts next to paintings? There's a thought.... I guess it's already happening with QR codes on the labels of each picture that take you to a website which I see some places are doing. I wonder what Degas' blog would have looked like...

Also at the Royal Academy is an exhibition by Frank Bowling of works on paper, these are abstract pieces full of sensitive mark making and glorious colour and light.

On the left are some of the colour notes I made. I often make thumbnails of the colours of paintings and their relative proportions to each other. This is something that I picked up after seeing an exhibition of Joesph Albers where I saw lots of studies where he explored not only one colour in relation to another but also the effect proportion played on their relationship. It can be a good exercise to borrow another artist's colours/colour proportions and paint your own subject and style. Making the same image with one done in opposite proportions of the colours can make for interesting comparisons.

The Marine Artists exhibition is also well worth a visit, some of the artists whose work that I particularly liked were Keith Noble, Rowena Wright, Keith Richens and Ian Phillips.  The paintings that attracted me the most were the ones where the artist had painted the light, which might sound odd but a fair few had more of a focus on colour, pattern or composition. It would be hard to pick a favourite out of the show but one that caught my eye was 'Silver Sands, Long Rock' by Keith Noble. The light was delicious and whilst it wasn't a big painting it drew me in with it's sunlight from across the gallery. I spent a long time there looking at all the work (over 300 pieces) and could have spent longer but His Nibbs was in the park waiting. As it turned out I needn't have hurried as he was being entertained by these lovelies...

Thursday 13 October 2011

A moon halo and brown clouds

moon halo and brown cloud
watercolour double page spread sketchbook page 13x26cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec 

Coming home last night from a trip to the supermarket and looking up I saw the most beautiful sight. The sky was an aqua/purple/blue with a full moon that had a many ringed and coloured halo. The most unusual thing, to me, was the edges of the clouds were burnt sienna with the main body a warm chocolatey brown/purple. It looked amazing, I don't think that I have seen  a night sky with so much colour in. By the time I had got home the sky had cleared of cloud and everything was back to normal colours.

It had been raining a very fine misty drizzle earlier and the evening was damp. I'm wondering if some of the warm colours could be explained by the light pollution of orange coloured street lights tinting the moisture in the air? I don't know the science of it but I can really appreciate the beauty, my poor little sketch doesn't come close.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Chasing the light

Chasing the Light
acrylic on box canvas 50x50cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

I've been trying to capture the light as the sun sinks but before sunset and the orangey pink colours start to happen. I've been using layers of glaze again and scumbling/dry brushing lots of pure colour throughout this painting, letting the colour vibrate and mix optically. The sea portion isn't quite as blue in reality - it's knocked back with glazes of the warmer oranges. I really feel like I've loosened up working on these larger paintings and I'm hoping that it will continue when I scale down again.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Summer's dancing light

Summer's Dancing Light
acrylic on board 80x34cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

A great many glazes later and I can finally call this one finished. The land masses have been knocked back and the detail that was starting to creep into them have been faded out which I think has helped the feeling of depth. The water has had so many glazes that the spattered highlights now appear encapsulated into the paintings surface giving it more the appearance of light 'in' as well as 'on' the water. I think the effect is much more subtle.

I really enjoy painting these larger pieces but it is making for much less frequent blog posting.