Friday, 8 June 2018

A new journey

This blog is now closed.

My work can be found at the link below, on my new Wordpress blog. Please click on this link and sign-up if you are interested to follow my work

Thank you!
- for following me on blogger for 5 years.

Time for a change now. I hope you will travel with me on the new journey.

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Insomniac

This one has been on my "corner pile" for quite a few months. The "corner pile" consists of paintings I haven't yet made my mind up about. 
The options are: chuck it, revise it or "wasn't half bad after all".  The default setting is "chuck it" and I always do if they are still sitting there after 6 months. 
This one reached six months and I thought - hang on, let's just do..... and revisions were made. Whiskers. The shadow under the chin. Tail. The changes were minor but brought it back to life from its previous comatose state. I hope you like it.
The title was chosen after a difficult insomniac week with my own cat waking the dog up and demanding his breakfast. The dog - not unreasonably - started woofing in order to obtain assistance with meeting the cat's demands. 
So everyone in the household has been up and about by 4am this week but at least the cat got his breakfast. 
The cat in question (after breakfast):

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Spring Mountain

This is one of those that nearly didn't see the light of day, coming close to being a 'wiper' on 3 separate occasions.

The title applies both to the painting and to the season: it has felt like we have had a mountain to climb both to complete the painting and to arrive at something resembling spring after many weeks of rain and bitter cold.

This Bernese Mountain Dog is painted a little larger than usual, in keeping with the  size of the subject. 
I worked the background around the underpainting of the dog and re-worked it three times before I was happy with it. The dog was rendered over 3 separate sessions, allowing the paint to dry or tack up in between -  in order to achieve a sense of depth to the fur.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Diet Day Selfie

Oil painting in pink of a dog stealing a pink donut

After a few solemn paintings I thought it was time for a funny, after all my dog makes me laugh every day. He is, however, too small to perform this trick. 
I do know a large dog who once used the same technique to retrieve and consume an entire chocolate hedgehog birthday cake, leaving only a licked-clean cake board behind.

Method: this was based on a photo by Inuk from the website Paint My Photo and she had chosen a pink background. I saw no reason to mess with her choice - it is fabulous and let's face it, if you usually paint dogs, you don't get much opportunity to break out the pink. 

I used W&N Griffin Alkyd Permanent Rose, mainly. This is so richly pigmented that one tube could last forever at the rate I am using it. I also used Alizarin Crimson and a touch of Paynes Grey for the darker bits.

After sketching in the positions of the main elements - nose and eyes were critical here because of the dog's distorted posture - I put in the pink background and the counter top first. The counter top was a gradated blend of pink and Paynes grey: I added reflections later.

Next day, I painted the dog, excluding whiskers and tongue. He looked very strange at this point.

On Day 3 I painted the tongue and the do-nut. The reason for breaking it up like this was to ensure I didn't muddy my colours. 
The sharpness of the colours seemed important to me, I didn't want to fuzz it up.

On Day 4, with everything pretty much dry, I dry-brushed in the reflections on to the countertop using the tiniest amount of paint and keeping a wet-wipe handy to remove any accidental excess and to ensure there were no sharp lines. I re-emphasised his two sharp teeth with extra Titanium white and put in some whiskers using my 30/0 extra long liner. 

This brush only has one job - whiskers - and it holds so little paint it can only do one whisker at a time before it needs re-loading. The secret to making it work successfully is to  get the consistency of the paint about to the level of medium-thick cream - not too thick, not too sloppy. Also, wait until the rest of the work is dry, then if it blots or otherwise goes wrong, you can wipe it off.

Have a very Happy Easter everyone and thank you for following my blog.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Soulful Eyes

sepia-toned oil painting of a whippet with soulful eyes
A sepia-toned piece this week. It is good practice to paint in sepia sometimes, it forces you to concentrate on value. It is also better than black and white for living subjects, because the overall effect is warmer. 
The pigments used were: burnt umber, burnt sienna, black and white.

Friday, 16 March 2018

In the Lambing Shed

oil painting of sheep and lamb

Begun with a fairly limited range of colours: I selected Paynes Grey, Alizarin Crimson and yellow ochre deep, plus white. If you mix that lot together you get a pretty good brown and can make it cool or warm, lighter or darker depending on how much yellow ochre (warm) or white (cool) you add to the mixture.
The order of work: I drew the outlines of the animals first, then put in the back ground with a palette knife, wiping quite a bit off with kitchen roll and generally fiddling around until I liked the look. The 'hay' is made using the end of the brush and a number of cocktail sticks. It went wrong the first time, but I just added more paint, wiped some off and started again. It is quite a forgiving technique. 
Then I let it dry completely because I didn't want to muddy my sheep.
They are painted entirely with a palette knife apart from the eyes. In the case of the lamb, I used  cotton buds to dab at the paint and create the impression of baby wool. With the adult, I just let the paint sit there, pretty thick and impasto. The curly bits on her head were made using cocktail sticks dipped into paint.
This piece is dedicated to Henry, a friend from where I used to live, who let me in the lambing sheds last year to take photos and watch him at work.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Patience on a Step

oil painting of a jack russell terrier on a set of stone steps

Titled after the famous line from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night ("She sat, like patience on a monument...smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?") Not that I think this little dog is feeling grief. Anticipation, perhaps?
Painted almost entirely with a palette knife as I have managed to afflict myself with tendonitis again which makes working a brush painful.

The greys are mixed from alizarin crimson, prussian green and a little paynes grey. A great combo for lots of cool greys.

Hope you like this little dog and that you are enjoying your weekend.