Friday, 28 October 2011

Getting Ideas

Once a painting is finished, it's not always easy to know what to start with next.
I've noticed it's harder when I've done a painting I'm quite pleased with. If you're only as good as your last painting, maybe you need to stop with one you're happy with :oD
One helpful tool is to start a series of paintings. They don't have to be tightly related, just as long as you have some read thread to lead you to the next canvas.
I like doing thumbnails in my sketchbooks. The smaller frames are so unassuming that it is dead easy to fill them in.
On the above page I've tried to tie a picture to a short sentence. Sometimes the words came first, sometimes the picture.
I decided to try the sailor top left for my next painting. My oh-so-loose theme at the moment are portraits of mythical, fictional characters, so it fits right in. The first painting in this series was the Mermaid.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

P.S. Krøyer



The Daughters Benzon – P.S.Krøyer 1987

I want to write a post for one of the Danish painters who was a master at outdoor painting.

P.S. Krøyer was a contemporary of Monet and Degas and I think the influence can be seen in his works.

He is most famous for the body of work he did in Skagen; a tiny fishing village at the very tip of Denmark, where two oceans meet and the light as a result is extraordinary, not unlike St. Ives. Painters as a result flocked there and there was a lively community there with Krøyer, Anna and Michael Ancher among others.

The light, I think, was that fascinated him the most, and it shows beautifully in his work. I had a look at the histogram for some of his paintings, and they clearly show how bright his paintings were. Dark colours seems only to be used for the sake of emphasizing the light. Even in the evening scenes.


Summer Evening on the Skagen Southern Beach with Anna Ancher and Marie Krøyer, P.S. Krøyer, 1893


Summer afternoon at Skagen, P.S. Krøyer, 1899

He is a very popular painter, like Monet for the utterly romantic settings, and I think he has contributed a great deal to the idea of Scandinavian living; light, airy, bright and peaceful if a bit cold.

I like his paintings in the same way that I like Mozart. It seems to me that both artists remove themselves from their work an achieve a serenity and ethereal atmosphere, but lose something of the personal connection you can get from other artists who let their personality show.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Waterscape–Final Painting


Yorkshire Sculpture Park

I chose this scene from the Yorkshire Sculpture park. A fantastically warm morning in autumn, where the light because of the low angle of the sun looked like sunset in summer. The lake, probably because of undercurrents and wind, reflected large patches of sky, but other places showed the murky colour of the water.

I tried working in a looser fashion with this, relying as much on memory as the sketches and photograph.

To keep the main focus on the water I made it the brightest area in the painting, and to give the painting more depth I hazed down the background with blue, paler colours, while giving the foreground sharper edges.

Up close this painting is a bit of a mess and I again incorporated too much of what I saw. The patches of brown water doesn’t look like water at all, probably because the shape isn’t squashed flat and horizontal enough. I went back and added some more white reflections to fix it somewhat.

Overall though, I like the warm, sunny feel of it, and standing back it really Is quite a peaceful scene.


What have I achieved?

Well I don’t think I am ready to work outdoors just yet. I most certainly feel the need to go back and build up more experience with each subject as the text suggested.

Aspects I especially need to look at are: perspective, composition, simplifying. Trying to bring everything together in these last four paintings has been a great experience, but also sobering. There is so much to learn.

Landscape and scenery painting is not my favourite subject. I find faces, people, animals and still lifes much more appealing. More intimate. But I’d still like to be better at it :oD

Waterscapes - preparation

Reflections in the harbour. Soft pencil

I know one thing. Water is hard to draw. It is easy to think that you’ve sussed the pattern and stop looking. Then start to fill in automatically only to find that it now looks nothing like water.

Colour study. Soluble pencils

It can at times look mirror still and character less, other times like a faceted jewel, reflecting colours you never knew was there.

The pattern is just mesmerizing. Where do you even start?

I can understand Monet's and Constable's fascination with water. Where else can you meticulously observe something and draw it and get a result that looks completely abstract? It challenges your observation skills.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Urban Scape

So I scoped out the busy street near where I live. I liked the way the sun flowed through the leaves in a golden autumn way.
This one was supported mainly by photos and a quick sketch.

Apart from the obvious mistake with the side sigh to the right, I got the perspective right. Can believe I didn't spot that sooner. Ah well.
The colours also seem nice and warm which I am happy with. It is hard in a picture like this not to get lost in all the details and some of them like the row of bay windows down the street I did not resolve in a satisfying manner.
It was a challenge to simplify what I saw and something I need to practice more.
Still I am pretty happy with the overall attempt. It took me a very long time and I don't think I could have achieved anything like it, had I stood on that busy pavement for hours.