My Artfinder Gem

I am responding to the challenge laid down by Artfinder,  https:/www.artfinder.com   which is to nominate the artist you most admire, and of course to write about them.

Since I joined Artfinder in May, I have been contacted by just under 200 fellow artists and art lovers, who were kind enough to admire my work. This I have found greatly encouraging. Naturally since I have been introduced to them,  and had a chance to look at the paintings they produce, I slowly started to form opinions on their art.

They are all good, obviously or they wouldn’t be there. They are all different. They produce wildly differing pieces in wildly differing styles,which is of course the lovely thing about art, it is so catholic. You do have to wait for the right person to come along who wants to own one of your paintings though, and you do have to be patient.

After a longer preamble than I intended, I would like to nominate Nela Radomirovic, a young lady who comes from Serbia, as my Artfinder Gem. She paints in oils.  I love her work because of the skill involved in producing a realistic, tangible image of the subject, and because the style does appeal to me. She is especially expert in representing texture, inviting the viewer to touch. Still life is a forte. Grapes with white bloom on them, how clever is that, look almost moist to the touch. Standing on polished timber table tops, which you would really like to run your hand along, these paintings of either grapes or cherries remind me of something produced by one of the old masters. I don’t wish to sound too euphoric but I am enthusiastic in my admiration

Unfortunately I am not able to reproduce an example of her work

She is versatile though. She produces equally authentic paintings of horses, nudes and vivid moonlit landscapes. My favourites are still the series of jars, carafes and a beautiful old pressing iron, entitled naturally enough, Old Iron

I believe, from what I read from her profile, that she is self-taught as a painter, something which I always gravitate to, as I never received formal training myself at an art college. You do have to be dedicated to learn your craft that way as it does take a great amount of discipline

I notice too from what she writes in her profile, that she paints everyday, like eating and sleeping.  Well, with devotion like that you will succeed

I believe her link is https.//www.artfinder.com/blog/post/nelaradomirovic/ /#/

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Canals of Venice: the Painting Partway

Canals of Venice partway

The story so far

I have been concentrating on the building opposite with all that orange rendering and patchy paintwork. The walls took me quite a while, as I used several undercoats starting with my favourite raw sienna and Naples yellow mix, which gives it some backlighting. It took several coats of dilute orange before it started to look orange, and finally I scrubbed orange pigment straight from the tube to get that patchy, water-damaged effect

I decided to finish detail the Gothic window. I do that sometimes so that I can look at something which encourages me to go on. I was pleased with it, once I had finished, says he who shouldn’t. I think I colour matched correctly the timber screen or whatever it is in the window. That took several coats of cadmium red over Burnt Sienna, which surprised me as that red is so strong. The texture looked like dry, flaky varnish so I hope I got that right. I used some blue in the windows which gave a pleasant relief to all that orange

Once I had put the brown shadow in, the window suddenly came to life. The carvings stood out, and the window under the screen took on some depth. So far so good

I then detailed the two windows on the ground floor, including the one with a rusty iron grille, which seemed to work quite well

I ploughed some cadmium red into the far left building which started to look authentic Venetian. I shall probably lose that when I mount the picture. How often does that happen

There is still plenty of detailing to do, which becomes tiring after a while which is why I have stopped to write this. I would like to finish and frame this for The Railings exhibition in Pirbright, as all my other work is at the Royal Surrey. May do possibly

Still no news from the Royal Surrey, but one of my paintings has been put on reserve on my Artfinder site, which indicates interest at least. I think one sale would be like a starting pistol for this year to finally get going.

I must not moan. I love painting and would continue to do it even if I never sold another picture, although what I would do with them I do not know!

Royal Surrey Hospital 2017

RSCH 2017

My co-exhibitor and I set up our exhibition at the Royal Surrey Hospital in the Peter Thompson Gallery last Friday. I am showing twelve framed paintings, and you may recognise some from previous postings. All new work as far as this gallery is concerned for this year

My colleague is showing 24 pictures, so quite a varied collection of work

So far, this year has been bleak as far as sales are concerned. I don’t know why. Last year i was selling one a month from my web site plus exhibitions. Maybe it is the Brexit factor!

There has been no communication from the hospital to date this week. The organisers are very quick to let us know of any sales or even serious enquiries, so I fear the worst. No news is bad news, as they say

I have a serious feeling of foreboding about this exhibition. I have shown here since I started painting, nearly twenty years ago, and have always sold, sometimes in large quantities, so if I score a duck this year, it will be my first.

We have three more weeks so time for something to happen. Not that my finances depend on selling paintings, it’s just that I like to turn them over to make room for new creations. Still, time yet. We shall see

Canals of Venice

Venice Drawing

Today my colleague in paint, Elaine and I set up our joint exhibition at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford. I have to say that it did look good. It will be on for four weeks, and now one has to forget about it, which is never easy, as it is so tempting to check one’s emails

Having said that my exhibition work is over for a while, I am reminded that on the 29th July, our local club, the Pirbright Art Club are holding their summer exhibition. We call it the “Railings” as we hang our paintings from the iron railings around the old village hall. It does look quite effective

However all my best stuff is at the hospital and will be until mid August, so a bit of a problem

There was a Venice picture which I wanted to do, and I have attached the photograph as well as my line drawing version of it. I am going to try and complete this by the 25th when we have our “auditions” for this exhibition, so at least it will look as though I am trying to support our local show.

The photograph, I found startling, with the brightness of the colours and the deep shadows, both complimentary and both fascinating to attempt. Some lovely deep oranges and some texture work with these bright colours, should be very satisfying to do. There are too some really good architectural shapes, such as the Gothic window which I hope to give more prominence. I have omitted the window next to it, shown in the photograph. The architectural iron work of he balconies is a study in itself

Anyway that is my next task, which promises to be fun

Framed Painting: Fishing Boats at Beer

Fishing Boats at Beer Framed

I framed the fishing boats painting the other day as I said I would. I bought this frame at a craft fair recently, because it was an interesting size and shape. Originally it was intended for photographs, so I have changed the mountboard, for this cinemascope style of painting.

The finish is driftwood which makes it appropriate for any seascape style of painting

This makes number twelve for my show at the Royal Surrey Hospital next week. We set up in fact a week today, so let’s see if we can break my duck. So far this year, this is my worst year for sales ever. Were I just starting I would probably give up!

But no need. I have had record years before and hopefully will again. In the meantime, now I can do one or two little exercises just for fun!

From Budapest to the Danube Delta

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The small green frog basking on a lily leaf somewhere in the wetlands of the Danube delta, posed quite happily as our small boat brushed by. All through this trip I have had an eye out for painting ideas, and I thought he would work well, so when I have recovered from the journey and settled back in, I might try painting him. There won’t be time for the exhibition starting on the 12th, but there is another local exhibition on the 29th which I might like to have something for

There were other things which were interesting, beautiful Hungarian horses which are half Arab, which we watched being put through their paces by the cowboys. This was near Mohacs out on the plains. The cattle were fantastic too, huge with long horns. One bare back rider controlled a team of nine horses standing on the rump of the last two, which was amazing, more like a circus act. Because of the distance from the rider to the front row of horses, they have to respond to the voice which means learning the language of the horse, a lifetimes work, I would imagine

Mohacs Team of 9 (3)

Amazing sight, and might make a dramatic painting. I also took some shots of the ubiquitous stork nesting on the tops of telegraph poles, which are always amusing. We don’t have storks wild in the UK, well certainly not nesting like that, so we find them interesting

Just going back to the delta for a moment, we went there to see pelicans, which we certainly did, but not near enough to photograph. Plenty in the air and also landing but none would pose. Cormorants, swan and egret too. We were taken to the feeding grounds of these birds, and were told about the ingenious cooperation between the cormorant and the pelican. The cormorant dives for fish as you know, which causes the fish to surface where they are scooped up by the pelican in their elastic shopping bag beaks

The architecture and landscape would provide some good subjects but to be thought about. Three capitals, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest plus various smaller older towns, as well as the famous Iron Gorge with its stupendous scenery, all offer possibilities

To be considered

Dewdrop on Leaf Exercise

Dewdrop on Ivy Leaf

Now that my exhibition work is finished pro tem and before I go away for a while, I thought I would look at some exercises that I have been meaning to do, yet never found the time

This one I owe thanks to Susan Neale who did this demonstration in the Paint magazine some while ago.

She mixed the leaf colour with indigo and lemon watercolour. I have to say, one of the most accurate dark leaf greens I have seen and I have included a real leaf in my picture to compare

Using her own words, more or less:

  1. Using the dark green mix, paint the leaf shape with a no 7 brush. Add the veins using a mix of white gouache mixed with the lemon yellow ( I did add a little of the pale green too)
  2. When dry, draw the dewdrop shape. Now with dark green colour add the shadow area at the top of the dewdrop. Soften the shape with clean water and allow to dry
  3. Paint the cast shadow at the base of the dewdrop, using a darker shade of green
  4. To finish, using the white gouache, apply a rounded dot to the top of the bubble and a highlight to the bottom end

 

As for my attempt, well, could improve with practice perhaps

A useful little detail if you can master it

Close up of dewdrop

I won’t be posting anything for a while so don’t get upset if I don’t respond

Fishing Boats at Beer, Devon Finished Painting

Fishing Boats at Beer Finished

This is the finished version of the cinemascope painting of the fishing boats pulled up on the beach at the village of Beer on the Devon coast

I painted this group before some years ago now, as more of a full-size painting with the horizon and sky included and much more beach. I painted this detail, I may have said, as I have a frame that size, and as it looks like a driftwood finish, should work quite well. I still have a mount to cut, so when it is framed I will post an image, unless it is a total disaster.

This was one of those serendipitious moments that artists get occasionally. We were walking along the promenade with friends, some years ago now, and stretched below was this line of boats. The colours were the attraction, of course, and I painted these boats later on from my photographs.

Walking round art shops in the village later, I noticed that everyone else had the same idea. Obviously a favourite spot and a favourite subject for local artists. Still I sold my painting, and subsequently was commissioned by someone else to paint something similar

This should be the last painting going into my July exhibition, so if there are no more exhibition pressures, I might do some fun things for myself. We’ll see

Line Drawing Preliminary Study for Boats on Beach at Beer, Devon

Boats at Beer Drawing

Rather a faint study from the collage of photographs that I posted a few weeks ago, but sufficient, I think to form the basis for a painting. I have done this study before only differently, so this painting will be the usual journey of discovery that they all are, that fine line between success and failure

I mentioned before, I think, that this shot is from a visit some years ago now to the fishing village of Beer, on the south Devon coast. The fishing boats are dragged up on the beach, and make a colourful line-up, a mixture of bright reds and blues

This is the first time that I will have done this painting as a long horizontal shot. It should work, he says, hopefully. I will have to cut a different mount, though. The original one with the four slots just is not going to suit

So for now, it just remains to titivate these drawings and check that I have everything, including all those small props like chains, anchors etc. Then I can start mixing the underpainting

We will see how we get on

West Horseley House and Grange Park Opera Company

West Horseley Place in Surrey

This is the side elevation of the house, medieval but clad in c16 brick. This is the old part as if any of it is recent! Not exactly art but certainly architecture and the Arts

The house is associated with Henry VIII who gave it to one of his favourites in 1534, a man called Courtenay. This was about the time that Thomas Cromwell was gathering strength, and being more proficient in the black arts, managed to persuade the king, that Courtenay was a Catholic and a subversive. Courtenay was executed. This was about the time of Henry’s break with Rome which was unpopular, and which increased Henry’s paranoia. He was prone to striking down anyone whom he suspected of subversion, with or without evidence

The Raleighs later owned the house. Sir Walter the well-known colonist of North America, who fell foul of James I, was executed in 1618. The house, through his brother-in-law, was left to Raleigh’s surviving son Carew. There is a story, well-known, that Raleigh’s head was rescued from its pike on London Bridge, and dropped onto a waiting boat on the river. The head was kept by his widow wrapped in a velvet cloth, for some years at West Horseley. Later Carew’s two sons and baby daughter, all of whom died of an epidemic, were buried under the floor of St.Mary’s Church nearby. The head was buried with them

To come up-to-date, the house was bequeathed two years, unexpectedly, by the then owner the duchess of Roxburgh, to Bamber Gascoigne. People of my age will remember him as the host of that erudite TV quiz University Challenge, which he presented for many years since its inception. Today it is still running and hosted by Jeremy Paxman, who is good, but not the same. We toured the house recently, with a group from Guildford museum, and were privileged to be shown round by Bamber himself. His voice still sounds the same despite the years. I kept expecting him to say, “Jesus, your starter for ten………………”

And now the most exciting development, the creation of the Theatre in the Woods. About a year or more ago, the Gascoignes were visited by one Lasfi Kani, the major force behind the Grange Park Opera Company. At the time this company had been based at another mansion in Hampshire, and had had their lease summarily terminated, and were looking for a new home. West Horseley was agreed upon and work started

Incredibly from the first sod being cut in June 2016, the programme was published and world class voices engaged with performance dates set for June 2017. Within that last twelve months, Ms Kani raised the £8 million needed to fund the building. The theatre stands now ready for performances next month. The first, Tosca is sold out already. The theatre is ready in that it has seats, and is weatherproof. There is still finishing work to be done

There is no doubt that this will be a venue to rival Glyndebourne

The house itself needs about £8 million spent on it to bring it up to standard, and the surrounding estate houses, another three. A charity has been formed to raise funds necessary

The opera company has its own web site should you want to read more

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One of two c16 century dog kennels near the front door. Two outside the same house are unique. Both are Grade 1 listed