Friday 30 March 2012

Contrails and sunset mixed media experiments

Fist stage - collage experiment
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

Taking six of the mini compositions that I showed yesterday I thought I would develop them further into collage. Using watercolour paper that had been pre-painted with I ripped strips to give a fluffy soft edge. The layers of the paper exposed more dimensions and a 3D relief to the edges. In contrast the circles were cut with scissors for a harder edge. They were glued down with acrylic medium and a coat of the medium was brushed over the whole surface to seal it. My intention at this stage was to glaze acrylics over the top and I wanted to reduce the 'thirstyness' and absorbency of the paper.

Second stage - additions of colour pencil and acrylic ink
© Lisa Le Quelenec

For reasons of speed I rejected the idea of glazing acrylic and instead reached for colour pencils and acrylic ink. As I started working back into the collages my mind was darting down tangents thinking not only of contrails but also of the thermals that birds use to glide along on and the breezes that give relief to the hot summer days. Although difficult to see in this photograph I have also carved/embossed into the watercolour paper. As it was a heavy weight paper this was very easy to do. Some of the linear marks representing the thermals are picked out in acrylic ink.

I love working in this experimental manner as it's so different to the way I normally paint it gives me the freedom to try new things and play for a while. These little mixed media pieces (they only measure 10x10cm) could be a new series of paintings or prints, I might never use them for anything else or they could be a whole series of work waiting to happen. I can't help but wonder because of the textures they might make good collograph plates, if only I had a press.......

mixed media experiment
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

I think  Bruce  summed it up perfectly in his comment on yesterdays post;

It is the placement of such thoughts in sketchbooks... which guarantees that they are seeds... not lost... but reserved for planting and germination on another another fertile day!

that day maybe tomorrow or in years time, who knows.... it will be a good starting point for new work when the time comes.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Contrails and sunset sketchbook experiments

sketchbook page ©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

Inspired from the trip and mulling over the ideas of contrails and the setting sun I had a days experimenting yesterday. Thinking about the division of space, centre of interest and the fine line between representation and abstraction I made some tiny gouache thumbnails. These experiments may lead somewhere or they may not but it's nice sometimes just to do with know pressure of an end result or things looking neat or finished.

sketchbook page ©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

sketchbook page ©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec



The two images on the left are details, hopefully showing the surface texture, of the study on the right that I did in acrylic. I wanted to play with the idea of combining the contrails with the gulls. I picked a not so good placement for the vertical contrail, it has rather flattened the image. This is one very good reason for doing little studies like this in a sketchbook and not waiting to realise a mistake in a painting that has had more time invested in it. To see the order of layers and their colours click on the image to enlarge. I remembered to make the list this time - something I've been meaning to do before.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

A trip to Margate

Looking towards Kingsgate Bay
Botany Bay

A little trip to Dartford in Kent for a very special party - Nan and Granddad's 70th wedding anniversary. I can only hope that His Nibbs and I have that many years together.

On Friday we had a stop off in Margate to go to the  Turner Contemporary Gallery  to see a show called 'Turner and the Elements'. The emphasis is on 76 watercolours with just 12 of the oil paintings on display. To be honest this was one of the big draws for me as it's his watercolours that I most enjoy. They feel more intimate and more of a direct response. I also feel that they are closer to what Turner saw when he painted them as a lot of the colours of his oils haven't weathered colourwise as well. Saying that one of my favourite Turner's Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth was on display in the last room. If you are in the area I would recommend a visit as it is a very interesting exhibition.

I had hoped to be able to show a photo or two of Margate but unfortunately whilst we were there a heavy mist cloaked the town and all you could see was dense white. In the afternoon we drove on to Botany Bay for a walk on the beach where the mist had mostly burnt away. It's not a beach I had been to before but is one I will have to return to sketch.

Driving to Dartford I sketched the sky from the car. With my sunglasses on the colours were beautiful warm neutrals, my head was full of Turner's watercolours and thoughts of what he would have made of contrails and how he would have used them in paintings.

sketchbook page

Thursday 22 March 2012

Ocean's pause

Ocean's Pause
acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec 

I've been working on this canvas for a number of weeks. Whilst I'm not sure it's completely finished, there will probably be some tweaks once I've gotten a little distance from it, I'm going to call it done for now. It will sit and percolate for a while before I completely decide.

One of the reasons that it has taken so long I think is because the amount of different colours that I've used in it.  The list includes azo yellow medium, naples yellow, permanent rose, ultramarine violet, azure blue, indigo, cobalt blue, coeruleum, ivory black and the whites. I just can't remember the last time I used so many colours in one painting.

Azo yellow medium and permanent rose seem to be a new favourite combination at the moment I think it must be something to do with Spring. I'm noticing it everywhere, in the clothes people are wearing to the daffodils and shrub flowering next to each other in a neighbour's garden. I've torn a piece from a magazine spread to add to my colour notebook and painted swatches as a reminder of this delicious combination. I'm rather liking this grey/blue and lemon combination too. I'm wondering what has caught your eye lately, care to share?

page from my colour notebook

Now that Spring is well underway I am going to celebrate with a few days off to enjoy the sunshine that is forecast, visit a couple of exhibitions and to refresh my eyes. Best wishes for a great weekend.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Midnight Stroll

Midnight Stroll
acrylic on board 16x11cm
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

Apart from watercolour studies it feels like I haven't painted anything really small for a while. I enjoy painting small as it feels like a much for intimate experience both as you paint and as a viewer. I like the way you have to get up close and peer into small paintings. It's been a nice distraction from a larger canvas that I've been working on for the last few weeks. That one is building up very slowly layer upon layer so it's nice to work on something that gives a faster result.

This painting has been inspired by the charcoal drawings that I found from the previous post. I think there is a large painting in there somewhere but for now I'm going to enjoy a small scale.

Midnight Stroll
acrylic on board 16x11cm
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

I thought I would add a photo of the painting mounted up. I used this photo in the Etsy listing in my shop. If you were looking for a painting to buy would a photo like this help in giving you a sense of scale and more of an idea of the presentation? Is there a better way that I could do this? I normally use props like glass vases, shells, flowers etc in the photo. Do you think this is distracting?

I've seen some people use an image where the painting has been photoshopped into a room interior and they show the painting above a sofa. I don't think this would work for me as the paintings are smaller scale. What would you do?

Monday 12 March 2012

Moon light uncovered

Moon light studies
charcoal and white pastel 23x17cm
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

Four drawings that I uncovered this weekend during the spring clean of the studio. I'd quite forgotten I'd done them and they had been covered over in the bottom of the drawer. I think they were intended as tonal studies for a painting as yet unpainted. These moonlit seascapes are a continuing theme like the birches of my previous post and so will be revisited at some point. Sometimes there are so many ideas buzzing around in my head that they have to join an orderly queue and I just can't paint fast enough. Other times the brick wall of block hits and revisiting these starting points are the bulldozers to aid the recovery.

Thursday 8 March 2012

March moon

March Moon
15x26cm acrylic on paper
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

We have been having very clear brightly moonlit nights here the last couple of days. I had started work on a moon painting and whilst the moon was full last night I completed it.

This painting joins a series of four others that I began last year. You can read the posts for them here , here and here . It seems apt that the next painting for the series should be painted in March.

All the songs of spring are being sung by the birds in the garden and in honour of this I am starting a spring clean of the studio. It's amazing how piles of paper, unfinished paintings, quick notes and sketches etc can pile up. Not to mention the pile of framing that has grown.... Methinks it will be a big job despite having tried so hard to keep on top of it. So I'll leave you with an early wish for a very happy and creative weekend.

Monday 5 March 2012

From behind the cloud...

From Behind the Cloud
acrylic on canvas board 20x20cm
©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

I find the way shafts of light illuminate the sea endlessly fascinating and incredibly difficult to paint. I think this painting is the closest yet, it has been a couple of months in the making (and endless hours at the beach just watching and observing, trying to memorise and sketching). Small adjustments lightening an area here, darkening there, hints of colour, adjusting, readjusting. It's been an interesting and frustrating challenge.

This is the first painting that I am putting aside for an exhibition in June. It happened last year and it's going to be the same this year too.... four exhibitions during a six week period. It will be a busy time leading up to it. Good job that I love to be busy :o)

It feels apt that I am posting it today after the heavy rain yesterday which ended in really contrasting bright sunshine and heavy cloud. I didn't make it to the beach but I'm sure it must have looked like this late afternoon.

Friday 2 March 2012

A creative hobby

Greetings cards ©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

A hobby of mine that I have enjoyed for a number of years has been card making. There is something very satisfying about working with design elements on a very small scale. One of the methods that I use is to carve eraser stamps with my own designs. I love the process from the initial designing to carving (with lino tools) the erasers which being small and very soft don't take long to do.

Today I have listed sets of three cards like those above in my Etsy store, (you can purchase them here).
I was just wondering what you thought and what your hobbies are when you are not busy painting. Do you find that your hobbies follow a creative bent?