Saturday, 30 May 2015

Colour Book Review

Because of illness I couldn’t drive to Alton anymore and wasn’t able to finish my last paint project with Jane @ Ashley-Brian Art.

While trying to finish the painting at home it became obvious that I needed to learn more about colour and mixing paint; hence the next book in my growing library.

‘Colour: a workshop for artists and designers’ by David Hornung is a fantastic book that teaches you about using colour. The book suggests you buy Gouache paint to do the assignments. There are eleven colours in total: cool, warm & earth tone/reds, blues & yellows = (9) + white and dark brown. Jackson Art Supplies  in the UK had the best price and variety of the Turner paints. It probably would have been fine to use acrylic paint, however the book tells you the exact colour names for each brand (5 brands listed). In my limited experience every paint supplier uses different colour's enough to drive you crazy.

Chapter two - First Principles; is about the structure of colour hue, value and saturation. I made four colour wheels and a greyscale with the warm and cool colours.

Chapter four - Beginning Colour Studies; assignments were about using different chroma greys, muted colours, prismatic colours and combined saturation in a small painting. Don't worry the book explains it all and provides a hue/saturation colour wheel.

After completing the assignments I got lazy and just read the rest of the book. There are plenty of exercises so a more disciplined person would really enjoy it. ‘Colour: a workshop for artists and designers’ is an excellent colour theory reference guide and while writing this blog I am tempted to read it again and do ALL the assignments.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Wisley & Monet

We finally decided to join RHS Wisley to enjoy the gardens and take pictures. To our surprise, it’s also a great place to eat! My first time there I took lots of photos and one inspired me to paint.

Monet came to mind and on uTube there were so many how to demos; this one by Barry Whitehouse is very good. It was easy and pretty fast for me to paint (probably could have worked on it more but didn't want to ruin it). I enjoyed it and would like to try another sometime soon.

Putting a painting in a frame really makes it look better, the black frame was bought on eBay for £37, which was reasonable except that the glass was broken. They replaced it with a plastic covering, which looks a little tacky, next time I will get it done by a professional.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Art History & You Tube

Lessons on how to draw and paint wasn't enough, I needed a little art history. At the discount book store I discovered ‘Art – Everything you need to know about the greatest artists and their works’ by Susie Hodge. This book is a crash course in art and full of the most popular paintings from ‘Gothic to Early Renaissance c. 1300-1500’ to ‘Modernism to Pop c.1900-1970s’ and everything in between.

My favourite period seemed to be ‘Impressionism to Post-Impressionism c.1865-1910’, so I decided to do more research. With my handy Chromecast and IPad, viewing You Tube videos on TV was a breeze. There are tons of documentaries on Impressionism and the artists who interested me were Manet, Degas, Monet, Renoir and Pissarro: the following videos were the best I found.

The Impressionists - 3 part BBC documentary was informative and worth viewing before going to see the Impressionists exhibit National Gallery in London.  You have to act fast because it closes 31 May 2015.  I saw it and it was very impressive; the exhibit had paintings that were acquired by Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market.

Two other interesting documentaries were Degas and Pissarro.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Pop Art

My next project with Jane @ was of my Tibetan Terrier Lucy. I always loved Warhol’s style and decided to create a pop art type painting next. Lucy is adorable and with the perfect photo, it was inevitable she would be my subject.

Photoshop helped me to adjust the image, using Filter/Artistic/Cutout and then playing with: No. of levels, Edge simplicity and Edge fidelity.

After doing that project, which took nearly six weeks, I realized starting with my lightest colour first would have been easier. Adding the orange over the blue and purple was tough, even though I was working with acrylics.

To test this theory I made a smaller pop version of a Giraffe and as expected, it was easier to do. However, it probably needs a second coat of red.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Jane's Class

It was hard to find an art class near me; the closest was Alton between ¾ to an hour away depending on traffic. Jane @ has her own studio and charges in six week segments. She is extremely artistic and a fun person to be around; the class is full of like minded people who are nice and super talented. The classes are small and informal and all the materials are provided.

I wanted to paint Stonehenge and Jane taught me how to use grids to make my photo as large as the paper. She also taught me how to use Brusho inks for the background, the stones were finished off in acrylics. It took me three weeks but it was worth it.

Of course being a shopaholic I had to purchase the inks and play at home on A4 watercolour paper. Jane suggested using pen to fill in the stones; I also tried crayon.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Art Fusion

Since the books from Tuesday's blog didn’t help, the next logical step was the internet. YouTube is a great way to learn things without leaving your home. There are a lot of abstract painters using different tools and techniques; but after each attempt my results were unsuccessful. Two YouTuber’s I do recommend are Amy Pierce and Sabine Belz, they do interesting artwork but difficult to recreate. 

While searching the net I came across Art Fusion Productions by Glen Farquhar; can’t forget a name like that.   Art Fusion , based in Australia, has videos you can purchase with step by step instructions.  Either buy a DVD and wait, or download the videos immediately. I bought and downloaded six and have been successful with three. The other three tutorials were useful for technique but no pleasing paintings came from it.

‘Blizzard’ was my favourite, with two awesome paintings now hanging in the bedrooms. Unfortunately the house paint was too diluted and starting to crack so they will have to be redone. 

‘Dandelion’ is in the hall 

and ‘Patchwork’ in the conservatory. 

After creating these paintings I felt like they weren’t me; so having tried books and the internet, the next phase will have to be art class.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

My First Attempt at Art

Almost two years ago with no previous experience; after browsing through the pages of ‘All About Acrylics’ by Oliver Lohr, Kristina Schaper & Ute Zander, I decided to paint.  The dripping technique caught my eye since Jackson Pollock paintings had always inspired me.  It looked simple enough, just throw paint onto a canvas and voila.   As most of you probably know there’s more to it than that, as I quickly found out.  The paint didn’t flow as expected, the canvas was filled with blobs of paint...not a Jackson Pollock.

With my limited knowledge, continuing to work with acrylics seemed the right thing to do.  Acrylic paints dried easily, could be worked over and watered down or thickened for the right consistency.  So obviously, success is going to take a little more time. 

My second art book; ‘The Acrylic Artist's Bible’ by Marylin Scott was more useful technically.  With information on colour mixing and a section on techniques that was more of a how to than the theory in ‘All About Acrylics’.  The problem with both books was there were no interesting exercises.  So the paintings below combine a lot of different styles with colours to match rooms in my house. 

Nothing too exciting but hopefully future posts will show improvement.  So left with a ton of acrylic paint, all kinds of brushes, pallet knives, sponges, etc.; new ideas to come.