The size of this piece by the way is approx 42cm x 33cm.
Monday, 19 January 2009
Sunday, 18 January 2009
I made a conscious effort to draw the picture together using tone and colour, in particular the rich reddish purple colour and texture of the heather, which I achieved by using coloured pencil and oil pastel. I was also aware that the 2 diverging pathways could open up the perspective of the piece, this, and the contrast of the pebbles/scree in pencil picked out on barely worked gesso ground against the surrounding almost impasto oil pastel work, are effects and themes which interest me and which I will be exploring in future pictures.
The one area where I'm uncertain and unsatisfied are the distant fields, most of this work was done in coloured pencil, with just a little overlay of oil pastel. I was unwilling to work much in oil pastel in this area, as I didn't want to flatten the picture, but at the same time, I'm not sure if the effect is a little more sketchy than I had wanted. I think I'll put this picture aside now for a short while, turn it to the wall like a naughty child, and check on it later. See how I feel about it then.
Oh, and while I'm here I should give the dimensions of this piece. They are 54cm x 37cm approx.
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Once I got to the situation where I was actually happy with the way my picture was developing, I got scared. At first, time came to my rescue. There wasn't enough of it to work on my picture. Then when I had the time (or at least the slim crescent moon of an opportunity) the fear got worse. I began another picture, from a photograph that I'd taken last September in Scotland, of a beach I can't remember the name of now (I'll find out), a beautiful, windswept expanse of black volcanic rock and pinkish, almost white sand. I'll make a separate post about this picture later, needless to say the anxiety I had begun to feel about my North York Moors painting infected this new picture, because it very soon began to go wrong. Then, determined not to stumble twice, I pulled the Scotland picture into something of a decent state, and found the courage (literally) to work some more on my North York Moors picture.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
So I washed in some colour, using acrylic ink and watercolour. Urgh, I thought, what a disaster!! It's too flat, the composition's too bitty, the double drift of pathway and strewn bolders split the picture in half giving me 2 focal points, neither one of which are particualarly scintilating, I may as well give up now!!!
Feeling a bit desperate, I began to work in oil pastel, referring to the little black and white sketch I'd made when consolidating my 3 photographs into a composition, I realised that I needed to get some tonal order into the painting, to draw it together by finding similar tonal areas throughout the composition in order to give it some substance, some depth, and to stop it literally floating off the page with banality!
I worked on the distant hills with coloured pencil, using coloured pencil to outline the tumble of rocks and the standing stone itself, then using oil pastel I blocked in the darker, heavier areas, largely the purple heather.
It was at this point that I actually began to like what I had produced.
Monday, 12 January 2009
The photograph of the board and source material at the top of this page isn't my studio by the way. I'd love a studio, ideally one with a glass roof and a window looking onto the sea, here maybe, but I don't have one, instead I make do with finding space anywhere I can, mainly on the bed in the spare room, or in the evenings, I join Mum in the living room and work in front of the tele'. Part of the beauty of visual work is I don't need silence, not in the way I do when I write. At the moment I enjoy listening to Radio 4 in the box room, or watching (well listening) to DAVE on Freeview, Mock the Week, QI, Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, entertainment while I work.
Here's where I work sometimes, when I can, on the bed in the spare room!Anyway, I gave the graphite drawing a quick burst of fixative, but it's still coming off on my sleeve, so I decided to give it another coat of gesso, just plain acrylic gesso this time so it sets transparent and locks the graphite beneath the surface.
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Saturday, 10 January 2009
I'm also surprised by how quickly I've got to that fearsome stage, where I'm afraid to do anymore work to this piece in case I spoil it. This seemed to come much later when I was younger, or maybe it's the toffee-state of time that grows more brittle with age. I dread to think what the future might bring if this is the case, an artwork finished in the blinking of an eye? Maybe it's just that fear becomes more familiar a reaction as I get older, in which case, I have to be careful how I progress from now on, finding courage to proceed while at the same time, retaining the judgement not to rush ahead for the sake of it. This, I think, is one of the trickest aspects of artwork in progress.
The work as it stands so far. Not sure if I'm going to be working on it some more yet, probably best just to let it rest for a while before looking at it with fresh eyes.
Detail of the above picture - showing pen and ink work over oil pastel and coloured pencil. The yellow colour is underpainting in a mixture of gesso/acrylic paint and acrylic ink.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
Here's what I started with, the photograph, which was taken by my good friend G on his digital camera (I somehow lost all the ones I took at the same time).
Today I worked some more in a mixture of coloured pencil, using Derwent's Inktense pencils dipped very briefly in water so the colour is very dark and intense. I also worked with oil pastel, I'm using Faber-Castell Goldfaber Studio oil pastel and Daler Rowney's Artists' Oil Pastels, which are lovely soft, crumbly and give a rich covering of pigment.Here's a close-up of the work to-date.