Horses in the Wetlands: the finished painting

Horses in the Wetlands

This is the finished painting

I changed some of the colouring on some of the horses as I wasn’t pleased with the way that they were turning out.I used some very dilute rose in a glaze over some as well as a very dilute gold over the lead horse, just to see what that did for the effect

I found I quite liked it. That is why I have changed the name to Horses in the Wetlands as they don’t look like Camargue horses any more, although arguably the rose colour could come from a low sun. Anyway, I am quite pleased with the overall effect

I am not going to feature this one on the internet just yet as I am starting to build up a collection for my show in December, and this one I think will work well. Strange to think my first bricks and mortar exhibition of 2020 will be in December, unless cancelled of course. Life is getting restricted again

For the moment we can only plan and hope

In the Style of Aubrey Beardsley

Social Distancing using the style of Aubrey Beardsley

During lockdown we formed a zoom art group within the family, mostly for fun, and yet some of the results were interesting. People who were new to art, were surprised at what they could produce. Old hands like me, who have painted in watercolour for some years, found, when they moved to other media, that they were beginners again. Digital painting was beyond me completely, whereas my grandchildren excelled.

We closed the group for various reasons, although the ground we had covered was amazing. My grandchildren had to devote more time to school work, and as lockdown eased different people were going on holiday

We have started the group up again, with grandparents and friends only. Grandchildren are now even more occupied with studies. How it works, one member of the group sets a task. The current one is to use the style of Aubrey Beardsley, the illustrator, within a scene that is topical. All these tasks make you scratch your head, I can tell you.

My effort is shown above. The topical scene is Social Distancing, some thing we are all familiar with, when queuing for the supermarket or any store.I haven’t been terribly original, as I have borrowed from Beardsley’s many drawings. I have added face masks, which is useful, as it saves you drawing faces. I have added the store front from his picture The Girl in the Red Gown

At the same time, we have to introduce another artist, whose work you were reminded of. I chose Utamaro the c18 Japanese artist who works in line like Beardsley. He, Beardsley was in fact influenced by Japanese art, as were many in the c19, especially the French Impressionists

My submission has gone in. We will see what happens and what the next task will be.

In between time, I am working on the Camargue horses. I have transferred the drawing to watercolour paper, which is the tedious part, and have applied the first wash

Camargue Horses: the Sketch

Horses in the Camargue

As I said in my last post, I am looking for another horse painting, ideally of horses on the move, to replace Horses in the Snow which sold last week

This one should work hopefully. You can’t tell from this sketch but horses are cantering through water, so a lot of splashing going on which will give the idea of movement hopefully to the picture. A good excuse to do a lot of flicking and splashing during the painting as well. One of those defining moments when you throw paint at the picture or spray with an old toothbrush and hope it lands in the right places

I have painted Camargue horses before. We were there a few years ago, and they are magnificent to watch. I don’t trouble much with background for these shots, just paint the horses and sky the same blue/pink/grey combination, and then build up the horses with dark shadow

It worked last time, which is no guarantee of future success of course

Time for another horse painting perhaps

Horses in the Snow

Horses in the Snow, you may remember was the subject of a recent post. It sold extremely quickly from my Artfinder site, which is most gratifying. In fact I don’t remember a painting selling so fast. It is on its way now to its new owner, who I hope will get years of pleasure from it

It leaves me with a happy problem, but a problem no less, of a gap in my collection that I am putting together for my first and only bricks and mortar exhibition this year, which will take place through the Christmas break. This will be at Denbies the winery near Dorking, which has an art gallery, which is let out to groups throughout the year. This will be the first time that I have shown there, and I am very much looking forward to it

Horses on the move are a popular subject, and are fun to do, so I shall be looking through my photo stock for inspiration. There are several to choose from as kind persons have been sending ideas through to me. Mostly excellent screen shots of wild horses galloping through water which do look dramatic, but for the moment I am going for an image I brought back from my visit to the Camargue three years ago, and which I attach

I like the way that the lead horse looks at the camera

Sculpture by Simon Gudgeon in Kew Gardens

Leaf Spirit

Just by way of a change, and for some relief from my paintings, let me show this wonderful sculpture in Kew Gardens where we were yesterday

Not a sculptor whose work I know, although obviously world famous to others, I stood in admiration of this piece for quite a long while. Entitled the Leaf Spirit, it put me in mind of our familiar Green Man, the tree spirit that our ancestors worshipped long before Christianity. Not difficult to see why plant life evokes spiritual awakening in the minds of man

The belief persists. We still touch wood as an invocation to ancient spirits to protect us from harm, especially after saying something boastful, which might anger the gods, whichever one we believe in. Possibly a reflex action today, or do we feel uncomfortable if we haven’t done it

I am inspired to attempt a water colour of this piece. I think it would work. Would Simon Gudgeon feel happy about that or perhaps not. Maybe I will ask him, but not today

Leaf Spirit Profile

Bosham Harbour in Sussex: the finished painting

Bosham Harbour in Sussex

Before I put the background wash in, I scrubbed literally a good deal of the yellow away. On the original painting the yellow blends nicely as a sunset colour. In this photograph it stands out again, and I fail to see why. I can do no more with it, so must show it, warts and all.

The yellow scrubbed back down almost to white was probably the colour I was looking for originally. I did a faint yellow wash on the front of the white buildings, and that worked well too, but lost on the photograph. Oh well!

The composition extends further to the left including more boats and more sunset. I could put this in a long frame and it would work well. It could only be shown in a bricks and mortar exhibition though, but I have one booked in December, subject to virus spike. I will give it a showing on line first and see how it goes. If no interest, I will keep it framed for local shows

In the meantime, I will start thinking about my next subject

Bosham Harbour: along the Causeway

Bosham Harbour from the Causeway

I am starting another painting of Bosham, this time from a different angle. This started because I want something to use in one of those long frames I bought. Bosham has worked well in the past but I can’t repeating that same shot, so this time I am standing on the causeway which floods at high tide and which gives good possibilities for an interesting composition

So far I have drawn the cottages on the water’s edge and the church behind. I am not sure whether you can make that out and will include a close up at the end

What is that splash of yellow? Something I haven’t tried before. I have laid down the basis of a low sun across the water. The plan is to wash over that with the sky and sea colour. I may well live to regret doing that, but sometimes you have to try something a little different.

I shall wash over with a mix of blue and vermillion, and hopefully get a low lit subject. We shall see.I will leave the close up of the drawing

I hope that is a bit clearer. The wall on the corner is foreground. The posts mark the edge of the road which will be flooded in this picture

Horses in the Snow — the finished painting

Horses in the Snow

For some reason, I couldn’t access my blog until now, so a gap of about 10 days. Something seems to have changed in the format and probably I missed the update. However having taken advice, I have tried something different, and bingo, it seems to work

As you can see, I have finished the painting. I quite like it. The pallette was limited which I like. I used transparent brown with violet blend for the dark horses and cobalt blue with vermillion, which made a sort of pinky brown for the pale ones. The same mix only verging towards grey, worked well for shadows on the snow

The snow on the horses’ backs wasn’t so easy. I used the same blue mix with white gouache stroked across the backs of the horses. I am looking at the original now, and I think it looks convincing. I shall be taking the painting down soon, as I shall soon need the easel for something else

An interesting development this week. It would appear that some exhibitions are starting up again, after some months of lockdown. I have been invited to take part in an exhibition over the Christmas period to be held at Denbies Art Gallery near Dorking. Denbies is a well known wine estate with probaly the largest vineyard in the UK. They also have their own art gallery there. I’ve not shown there before so am quite looking forward to it

I shall need to do some pieces specially for it, and will no doubt show them here as I do them

A Brush with Impressionism

Still Life Impressionism

During the very dark days of lockdown, when restrictions were very tight and you couldn’t go out, we had various zoom meetings. One was within the family including family members living in Spain, one of the advantages of zoom, and centred round art, with one person giving the others a specific task and nominating an artist as their influence

I chose a well-known local artist who produces lovely work verging on Cubism, which is post-Impressionism I know. I produced the above, which is a feeble attempt to emulate her style, which I tried to remember from attending one of her demos once. As for the famous artist, the finished work reminded me of, I could only think of Picasso or even Braque when they did those cubist still lives

As the image emerged I could see how Cubism developed. Not that I would have developed Cubism, I’m not clever enough, but I could see how others did

The local artist I mentioned whose name is Liz Seward, I don’t imagine she would mind being mentioned, I remember started with broad bands of vertical colours over the original drawing. From there it was a case of painting the negative shapes, and that’s all I remember. A finished image seemed to emerge, and I seem to remember being struck by wonderful colours being produced. The result of so many glazes I imagine

I have posted about my still life here, only because some people seemed to like it. These same people recommended I include it in my very recently redesigned web site which I have done and we’ll judge the response if any. Do I like it? Sometimes and sometimes not. Easy to be drawn by the colours

My grandchildren, incidentally, produced some stunning work, and I may well post about them at a later date. I think I should but that is for the future

Aubrey Beardsley Exhibition at Tate Britain

Tate reopened

Just as an interim, I will mention that we went to this exhibition today. I am still working on Horses in the Snow slowly. It is coming along just fine but taking longer than I thought

It was lovely to go to a gallery again after all these weeks of closure. Social distancing worked well, if anything I preferred it as you could see the pictures. We drove in and traffic was light both ways and parking was easy.

Unbeknown to me, the London Congestion Charge had been extended to cover the week-end as well. It used to be Monday to Friday only which was one of the reasons that we drove up on a Saturday. Thanks to someone tipping me off, I had time to open an account Also you can still park for free outside the gallery at the weekend. No doubt that will alter in due course

The exhibition is excellent for anyone near enough to go. Aubrey Beardsley is an amazing character. He contracted TB at the age of 7, so he knew he would have a short life, and worked to compensate. He left behind something like 1000 drawings

He worked for Oscar Wilde illustrating Wilde’s opera Salome, and also later edited the prestigious Yellow Book. His connection with Wilde proved his undoing sadly. Public anger as Wilde’s court case shocked the nation, spilled over onto Beardsley. His office was broken into by the mob, and he was reluctantly sacked. He moved to Dieppe, and continued his life in France. He died in Menton on the Riviera. at the age of 25, with his mother and sister at his side

He had also produced pornographic work which he later regretted. He did ask his publisher to destroy this work, but it never was, sadly as so often he is associated with pornography. Some of this work is displayed in a separate room, so viewing is optional

The Yellow Book

Wonderful draftsmanship, however you view the man

Whilst writing, my revised website still under the domain name of davidharmerwatercolour.co.uk, has now gone live. It is a tremendous improvement or so I believe, and also meets these new requirements from the likes of Google and others. We hope for great things