Hello. It’s me.

That Adele is a bit of down to earth fun, isn’t she?  I think so.  

So.  I am popping in to say howdy, it’s been a while.  The eagle eyed may see I made some changes to my header and logo, but woefully, apart from this lament, there have been no new posts from me since last year.  The crime of all crimes for a blog.  

Often I’ve had a blog post in me over the last year – I have 18 drafts saved of me waffling in various degrees.  My big dilemma was, and still is – can I maintain a blog?  I’m not a natural at this social media game.  I wax and wane in my desire to communicate, which is not very helpful when you want to build a presence on the internets.

So I return to my blog remembering the main reason for it in the first place: this space is for me to spill out and order my thicket of thoughts.  Often my brain is has far too many tabs open.  But in between the seconds of thinking and typing, this mush of randomness forms into something more coherent.

Now I’ve decided:  I may post once a week.  Or once a month. Or, it might be snippets on a daily basis, instagram style.  It may be things you can relate to. Occasionally even useful.  Occasionally even humorous.

The big question is – what the bloody hell have I been doing for the last year then?  Well, I’ll tell you: art making, some good, some bad, learning, reading, getting on with living and children and dogs and houses.  And, closing in on what art I like to make, which is simpler, and includes surface pattern design.  Unfortunately, I can’t post as much surface pattern design work as much as I’d like, for various copyright reasons, but I try and share what I can.

Also, I may go on about gardening a lot.




A faff too far

I used to think I was a tonal painter.  All about the lights and darks.  Whilst that is still true, and I take care never to overlook my values, colour plays the main role in my work.

I’ve been feeling like I want to revisit basics with my landscape painting.  No crisis, as such, just a chance to consolidate.  Particularly to make sure I wasn’t neglecting value, and also I want to be more creative with composition.  I tend to go for whole scenes from a distance, usually with lots of sky.  I wonder how I’ll handle a smaller vista.

Colour too, is something I want to explore further.  I like deviating from local colour, but I’m not terribly imaginative when it comes to making up a colour combination.  Thankfully,  we live in a technicolor dream world so I can just look around me – and there are some amazing resources for colour inspiration out there.

So I thought I would paint a familiar scene in a different colour palette.  I probably should have photographed a swatch of each colour side by side for this post, but I forgot.  The colours I chose to work with were quite narrow in range – 4 blues, 3 greens.  I know.  All in various hues and value, but still.   Nonetheless, I like monchrome, I told myself.  And I do.  Especially pen and ink, or watercolour.  Lovely.

I chose a warm red (cad medium) to tone my canvas, only a little 5 x 5 (I haven’t got all day).  Here’s the progress pics:

PicMonkey Collage

I quite like how much red is showing through in the first photo. I work by doing a rough drawing with some diluted paint, then get in the big shapes.  I started with my lights first, so they stay cleaner and preserved, then straight to darks, then mid tones.  Push and pull, push and pull.  In the bottom photo you can see the original.  That bottle isn’t some fancy art supply, it’s Optrex.

And I ended up with this, which I rather like:


Why the hell did I do this to it then?

12695383_1708901625991294_1120138284_o - Copy

The simplicity is lost.  I think I rushed in with this burnt orange colour to pep it up.  I had to get in my own way and not just let the first version sit before I added in a pop of colour.

So now the big dilemma is: repair or wipe before the paint dries?  Or, have a glass of wine and look at it in the morning.  Sorted.