palette knife painting

I cannot believe it has been seven months since I last posted here on my blog! All I can say is that I have been quietly painting and tutoring art. I also feel I am making a small move forward with my neck and shoulder complaint, with physio, massage and gentle exercises. I am learning on a daily basis about patience! But in a good way, learning to notice the beauty of nature around me and that I don't have to create a painting all the time for my life to have meaning! It is a big part of my life, but as we get older we discover there is more beauty in the quiet moments, often simply strolling in nature and drinking that early cup of tea looking out at the garden as the early days of winter start to come in and change everything. Some flowering shrubs are still holding on, in the damp cold weather. It is mostly overcast with heavy cloud these days but for a moment a tiny patch of blue sky will appear and make me smile.  All is not lost, soon the sun will break through again and bring a little light and joy to our winter days.

I made another decision regarding my painting. I have moved towards palette knife painting again, this time I am going to make it my artistic statement.  I love the surprise that it gives, even when having a plan when I start out, it soon changes when I start to work! The happy accident is a joy! At first I thought I would give myself a year to practice the palette knife work but then decided that would not be long enough! So slowly new works are emerging and I am enjoying my painting time greatly.

I wish you all the joy of the quiet days of winter. May you be fruitful in your painting time and enjoy your walks in the forests and countryside.

Vincent again

He has a bit of a sun tan but for now it will have to stay that way. He has been repainted a few times and gone from pink to yellow to tanned! His jacket was bright blue and now it is a quiet grey blue. I could go on much more.  Yet I am tired now and feel the freshness of the work will leave if I carry on any further.  I had so much to say about the work, how I felt, what colours I used, what brushes, how much paint, what the swirls did to the final work. Yet somehow I haven't anything left to say other than something that the artist Alberto Giacometti said, ' a portrait is never finished'!  I agree!

Now a quiet time to tidy and clean our home and then during that time I am hoping my muse will appear for the next portrait!!!

Happy Painting to you all!

Look what came in the post!

Rhonda's bonny bunny painted postcard with the pretty pink ears, looks perfect in our bunny area, Brucie bunny's photo is to the right on the floor where he used to sit.

Bruce's stunning card that is a fine example of loose painting yet is also very detailed.

Bruce Sherman's pretty painting is full of sunny colours that are joyful. The little cruise boat creates a summer holiday feel. 

We make new friends during our life which is always a joy.  Yet in this day of the internet we make good friends that we have never met before.  However this year I did meet a facebook friend for the first time and she was exactly as I imagined her to be. I remember years ago meeting a friend from blogging land who also was just as I imagined him.  I met with my painting pal Tamsin the artist Keith Tilley when he came to Elgin to exhibit at the museum a few years ago.  Keith was and still is with us in blogging land and his paintings are still so beautiful. 

Rhonda's painted card of a bunny came at an important time to me personally.  It may sound silly but I am still missing my dear departed bunny Rabbit the Bruce.  He was a constant companion for almost six years, there was something so sweet about him how while I worked at the table he would be sitting in the window either gazing out at the world or gazing at me!  His quiet presence was so peaceful and reassuring.  Thank you Rhonda for your gift of this dear little rabbit. Rhonda's blog is very colourful and she likes very much to experiment with art materials.  She can create the most magical birds with simple washes. Her crows to me personally are very strong works. Crows are intelligent birds and have lots to say when sitting on fences in the fields near my home!

Thank you to Bruce Sherman a long time blogging friend of days of old when we were a bigger gang of pals.  I admit I left blogging land for a while mostly because google did something to my account and I just couldn't get back in. Once in, strangely through a link to my blog on Bruce's blog I gained access again, but I must never sign out!  Bruce's blog is also very much a wee journal of his life.  He writes very well and has the gift of being able to express himself through words and lovely paintings.  There is a depth and spiritual quality that always has me thinking more about the mystery of life.  

 I do like the quiet place that blogging land is, it seems more like a journal that a public place.  I do love my facebook page too, I actually have two one for my friends which also happen to almost all be artists! and one for my art, the art one is a link from my webpage.  I do know many folk feel a bit fazed out with too much internet activity.  I still yearn for the old days of no internet, yet it is also a wonderful place to look up History, Art, medical stuff, films etc. And a good way to stay in touch with pals.  But does it perhaps take away the effort and joy of going to visit friends as we did in the old days.  I am guilty of messaging friends instead of inviting them over for coffee!  Yet saying a few words every day or now and again is a good way to stay in touch too.  My aunt and uncle still use the phone and write letters which is really lovely.  And when I received these beautiful gifts through the post from Rhonda and Bruce I wanted to share them with you. My aunt who is an artist too has drawn and painted some wonderful things too for me.  I will share those with you very soon.  

Let us celebrate today the gift of friendship, it really is very precious. 

Happy painting to you all!

Vincent Van Gogh a beginning

 Van Gogh self portrait, here are the first stages of my painting of him.  I used a 12 x 16 inch canvas and made the drawing. I had originally wanted to leave the canvas white as Vincent was said to do this so that the colours would remain nice and bright without having to compete with an earth toned primed canvas.  However after my drawing I decided to tone the whole canvas a naples yellow with white mixed in.  As Vincent often used a pastel primed canvas I thought I would try this too.  I didn't photograph this stage though.   I painted in the first stage of his jacket and as I was running out of time and didn't have many colours available for the flesh tones in oils, I decided to paint his hair and face in acrylics. This can easily be painted over in oils later on. The nice thing about doing it this way is that the acrylics dry very quickly.   I still have so much more to do on this painting! But it is a very interesting project!

Nice sunny Spring weather here, very uplifting to go for a nice walk in my almost wood!  I say almost as most of it did get cut down!

Happy Painting to you all!

The fourth stage

Another almost three hours spent on the Monet portrait. I so work very slowly but I am really enjoying the experience so much.  This is a portrait that Monet painted of himself, I want to walk in his path, as I lay the paint down I think 'now did Monet mix that colour and use that size of brush'!! I need to now wait for the mouth and beard area to dry before going any further.  I plan to add a cooler glaze on those areas.  I have started the Van Gogh portrait this afternoon.  This is often the part that takes the longest for me which is carefully drawing the features so I can try and get a close likeness.  We still have snow here but I was able to get out today to the library and art supply shop!

Happy Painting to you all!!!

The third stage

I managed to work a little bit more on my Monet oil portrait this afternoon.  I was feeling a little tired today and wasn't really sure about painting and if I could keep awake! But after an hour and a half I made a bit more progress.  Strange how fascinating a portrait is seems the more I look the more I see!  I will pick up the brushes tomorrow and see what the next stage will bring! After this painting I will be onto Van Gogh!

Happy Painting to you all!

something different

First two stages of an oil portrait of Monet. I spent an hour and twenty minutes on stage two.

Hello dear painting friends it is still winter here in Scotland with more snow coming soon! Will winter ever leave! However there are afternoons of beautiful blue skies and sunshine which really is so uplifting to see. I have been on a few walks locally and made myself familiar with the reduced size of wood. The wood is actually no more but on the edge they left a few trees for us to walk by. Enough to see squirrels and a deer. Though I haven't heard the owls hooting for a while. It is sad though.

I am tutoring portrait classes and it is for beginners. I used to draw quite a few portraits a few years ago and I also did a couple of pastel portraits too. However once I started with the exercises I found them interesting and I thought it is something I would like to develop. I think we all get easily put off from painting things that are difficult. I have decided that if I keep working for a year on the portraits they should become a little better.  I do love the impressionists and also some of Van Gogh's work so I am focusing on that too.  I did a couple of other portraits from photos but they were only OK. Enough to help my students understand the basics.  I will work a bit more on the Monet portrait later on this week. I look forward to posting my attempts here and sharing the process with you!

Happy painting my friends!

light within mists

oil on canvas 60 x 60 cm 'low cloud' Isle of Skye.

This painting sat for a long time in the studio since I started it late last year.  I had had another idea for how it would turn out, but like everything that is happening these days 'it' had a mind of it's own. I wanted a gentle mist but most of all I wanted to feel within the landscape instead of floating almost above it and having mostly sky.  Interesting that it came to depict heavy low cloud over the land. I have seen this kind of thing a lot while living in Scotland and often thought if I was to paint that no one would believe it was real!

 I do have other ideas about a high land level on a large canvas. However I find myself working mostly on very small canvas boards since the new year, just exploring and seeing where it will take me.  I feel at peace, I don't feel fragmented anymore I am aware now that painting mists are what I do and that is OK. I don't have to paint something else, I don't have to worry that my work is too dark or too much the same. After all I don't have to exhibit them all! It is simply a process, one to work through.

Since Rabbit the Bruce left this world for the big sleep in the sky a few things have happened. The big forest at the back of my house is almost all chopped down. I always loved walking there, looking at the squirrels, deer and birds.  The forest had been planted in the late 1970's for harvest, it is just that I always felt it was important for everyone who lived here to have a forest close by. There are a few of the pines along the edges so I can for now at least see the trees and the changing skies behind.  Then other trees in other areas either close to where I live or further afield also got cut down. If only they would plant more trees in the place of the ones taken down! why do folk live in the countryside and want to take all the trees down in their gardens! It is a mystery.Why don't they move to the coast or a town!  Yet in Devon and in Surrey where I grew up in England trees were always standing tall and there were many of them. My favourite memories were of coming home from school kicking all the leaves high in the air as I seem to almost wade through the deep leaves that fell during the autumn. Richard my husband has taken to camping and walking over the hills, something he hasn't done in years! I find myself on my own more and being reflective. I still think about Rabbit the Bruce and how he sat each day so peacefully and how he made me feel peaceful too.  I guess I think about all the things we often think about during the long winter while we wait patiently for the Spring to arrive.

Sometimes the silence is like a sound.....

Rabbit the Bruce

My dear sweet little fury friend Rabbit the Bruce sadly passed away just after Christmas. He had been my constant companion for almost six years. Always sitting in his window watching the seasons go by and being at peace with it all. He rejected his cage immediately on his arrival into our home, deciding to live like an indoor cat instead. With a litter and food eating area. He was such a character and I am still amazed at how so small and silent a creature can give so much to us that was beautiful.

I miss you little rabbit Bruce the empty room has lost your life and your joy. Now all that remains is silence.  I will love you forever! xxx

A sad farewell

I just heard the sad news that fellow blogging artist and facebook artist friend has very sadly departed this world to join the stars that shine so brightly in the sky at night. Jeffrey was such an inspiration, such a prolific artist I had no idea he created so many wonderful paintings. I was so glad he became my facebook friend as almost each day Jeffrey would post his latest painting. Also there would be a poem underneath as he was a great writer of poems too.  What I loved most about Jeffrey was that his paintings were so full of life and of sunshine.  His work was joyful.  I love that word! He had been successful in selling some paintings over the festive season and I was able to congratulate him, he kindly thanked me, he always had time for everyone.

I have posted one of my favourite paintings of Jeffrey's called 'Night passage' even his night scene depicts life and warmth. Almost a Canadian Van Gogh with his expressive magical skies of swirling clouds and his dancing trees!

May you rest in peace Jeffrey shine on!

New Year

oil painting 18 x 24 inches. Title 'Sea Mist'.

Time has simply flown by at great speed this festive season.  Yet on looking out to sea today I was aware that so little changes way out on the seas.  The way the bright light will fall on the water on an overcast or stormy afternoon. How the eye is drawn to that light again and again and it always is beautiful and it always represents hope. 

Each Christmas always brings it's ghosts of Christmas past, for a moment time stands still in the memory and we are taken back to those old Christmases of long ago.  It plays back in the mind with such accuracy even those childhood Christmas days too.  It can make you feel as if life is also rushing by and you can also feel a great loss for those family and friends who are no longer with us.  Feels like all of us are simply passing through this life experience. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing.  There is nothing we can do about halting time, we just have to make the most of the ride through life and count our blessings and look to the light whenever the opportunity arises.

Wishing you all my friends a Very Happy New Year!