Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sometimes, it's not all about the finished painting.

We had an interesting class in the studio yesterday, I teach a large quantity of Saturday workshops and am fortunate enough to have a proportion of repeat clients, so thinking up new ways to tackle some of the issues that need to be overcome in painting, can be a challenge.
I am the type of tutor who is very enthusiastic about each individual participant finding their own interpretation of a scene, rather than copying me. I have hang ups of my own to deal with, let alone inflicting them on others! Therefore, this means that I will guide and show the class what I would do, but then offer a range of alternative approaches so that each person can tackle the project in their own way and hopefully each session becomes different from the last.
Yesterday was no exception in that I wanted the class to have a go at incorporating sand and salt with watercolour ground, but also to try and challenge myself in painting differently and subsequently pass on my experimental approach.
It's yellow, I just don't 'do' yellow. Not in my clothes, furnishings and certainly not in my paintings but this is a daft attitude for a painting tutor, so I have been making myself paint in yellow and using it as often as possible. The solution so far is Quinacridone Gold, for those of you who don't know it, it is relatively new in pigment terms and it is a compromise for me - bright and energetic and capable of making all sorts of other colours - but still it's yellow.
Below you will see the almost finished result of the workshop yesterday, not a grand piece by any stretch of the imagination...

...but it has tackled some interesting techniques. We used a coin wrapped in kitchen roll to blot out the sun, salt, sand and masking fluid for texture and had a lengthy discussion about granulating colours and where you should use them.
Like I say, this isn't going to be a piece that makes it to the framing department (or my husband as he is otherwise known) nonetheless it will go in to the samples book as a teaching aid for textures and for how water can reflect light. It will also be another one to chalk up on the 'I've painted something in yellow' chart and therefore any time spent painting doesn't necessarily have to result in a masterpiece, it's just part of the process of discovery.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

My favourite type of playing

Something a little different from me this week, I've been playing with typography (see what I did with the title of this post?.....groan). My husband is in the process of starting up a new band, an exciting project as we go in to 2017 and he works really hard at getting everything to gel, from finding new band members to structuring practice sessions in the studio and thinking up a new name. This is of course where I try to help him out, he is so supportive of everything that I do, it means a great deal to me to be able to return the favour. The name has been a sticking point as it should be such as easy thing, but try to think of something original yourself - it's tricky. After much debate, they have thought of a new name, not to be revealed yet (watch this space) and I have been looking at creating a new logo for them, choosing fonts, colours and layouts for them and I have to say, it's been fun.
Yesterday, I found myself with a last minute, rare day off so my mum and I decided to turn it in to a shopping trip, what a complete chore. Many shops were visited and I introduced mum to the 'Tiger' chain of stores - lots of useless things you don't need but desperately want! In amongst all the chuff was an old fashioned printing set, very like the John Bull sets that my dad used to sell in his stationery shop when I was a kid. I have had a wonderful morning getting very inky fingers and playing around with type, getting frustrated when the letters which have been in the wrong order and I've had to start again, but the result has been satisfying and I have come up with this little stamp to use on my prints and cards - what do you think?

Of course, I have immediately been on line to find additional letters and layouts to play with but it has been a wonderful, absorbing exercise to get lost in on a Sunday morning. I very much hope that you too are enjoying something creative today, share your projects with me, won't you?

Friday, 30 December 2016

What do you get the artist who has everything?

I'm very lucky to have a husband who has the incredible talent of being able to make pretty much anything. If it can be thought up and the materials sourced, he can make it and believe me, I've asked him to make some unusual things since I've known him. Most of my degree was sponsored by his ability to make my vision become a reality and for many of my classmates too - if you meet him, ask him about the skateboard for a performing snail.
This Christmas though, he has surpassed himself. About a year ago he took an old cigar box and turned it in to a watercolour box to hold my Daniel Smith watercolour paints (which I squeeze out in to empty half pans) and a few weeks ago we discussed 'upgrading' this idea in to something that will hold every colour I own.
Let me point out, this is no mean task as I own MANY tubes of watercolour, but he rose to the challenge and not only hand crafted a box to fit 266 full pans (yep, you read that right) but it also holds my new ceramic palette and my folding water pot too.

It is a thing of absolute joy.
The box folds out flat on my drawing board without tipping, it houses the trays in the lid so that I can work from them while using my palette and waterpot, and it even has a small 'travel' tray so that I can decant out the colours that I am using that day and have seperate from the main box if I so choose.
Of course, I have completely lost my head over it and have now started labelling all the pans with the pigment information so that I can compare make against obsessive tendancies are just loving every minute.

Just in case you wondered, I do know how lucky I am and I promise that I don't take it for granted that I have this amazing man in my life. Question 'What do you get the artist who has everything?' Answer: A bespoke watercolour box which she will always treasure.