I have been painting most days, keeping up with ideas from the three art groups I belong to, as well as the Sky PAOTW. I loathe housework as it’s boring and I don’t like gardening as it exacerbates my hay fever and asthma, so spending time painting is much better :o)
I recently posted a painting on Facebook of 3 chickens, from a photo on a free reference site for artists. A friend contacted me and asked if I could paint chicken portraits for her daughter’s 13th birthday, of her favourite chickens that they have at home in their garden. The Mum sent me lots of photos and also said I can use any as reference pictures in the future, which is great. It was very interesting to paint their individual combs and wattles (those red dangly bits under their beaks). Here, from front to back, are Dottie Lottie, Bourbon and Atherton.
Roses. Who knew painting roses could be so difficult? I thought they’d be a doddle, but have had a disaster trying to paint them wet in wet, they’ve been a soggy mess. Painting them quite dry hasn’t been much better, but at least I’ve used my Winsor and Newton Opera Rose tube of watercolour paint for the first time! I may try painting roses again, but round a doorway or over an arch.
These three paintings were done for Gravesend Art Group, of something in your garden, Africa and texture..
Last Saturday and Sunday mornings, for 2 hours each time, I took part in LAOTW…Landscape Artist of the Week. Our Sky box conked out last year and with the new Q box we got ‘VIP’ membership, whereby you can watch sports events and other things we’re not interested in. However, for one weekend only they have tried a painting session. It was fun to join in and I hope they will do more.
LAOTY winner 2017, Tom Voyce, guided us through a painting, assisted by Kathleen Soriano asking him questions about how he was painting and about his career. When Tom won in 2017 his prize was to go to Jamaica and paint at Noel Coward’s house ‘Firefly’. Whilst there he also took photos at Ian Fleming’s house, ‘Goldeneye’, and he chose a photo of the sunken garden there for us to paint.
Tom told us not to slavishly copy any photographs and he took out the flower pot in the foreground as he felt it distracted from the rest of the garden. I found the wall line too vertical and moved it to the right a little.
He started by preparing his 2 boards in Naples Yellow. I don’t have that colour in acrylics so I used an emulsion tester pot from B&Q in Lemon Ice. Tom prefers painting on smooth plywood as he often scratches the surface and goes through canvas. He also doesn’t like the springiness of canvas.
Tom used oil paints very thinly, using Zest It to give a runny texture, which also dried quickly. The next stages were underpainting in red, then using blue for the darker areas, then painting white in all the brighter places. After that came the cerulean stage for the sea and sky and then the yellow ochre stage. After that we kept building up all tones until the refining stage, where we painted the palm fronds and other little things like leaves and the fence.
It was interesting seeing how many layers were done, as oils are often painted on in one layer as they can take months to dry. Tom’s way of painting with thinner layers means he works on 2 boards at the same time, one drying as he works on the other.
The first photo also shows the image we worked from, that I sellotaped to the side of my computer monitor. Tom’s 2 paintings are the penultimate photo and the last photo is my painting. I hope there will be more sessions available to join in with.