Welcome to my world in acrylics

Posts from the ‘watercolour’ category

Exhibition Nerves Featured

No thanks to the world issues of Covid, my local art group had to cancel last year’s annual art exhibition. Although some restrictions are still in place here in the UK, the group is busy making preparations for this year’s, scheduled for next weekend 10th and 11th July. Sadly because of current restrictions we are unable to offer refreshments during the weekend which is a great pity as we enjoy making homemade cakes, biscuits and treats to eat with tea or coffee for sale and all profits from this part of the exhibition goes to our chosen charity (see below).

The SAA Frome Valley Art group currently has 47 members, an eclectic mix of age, mediums and styles, from acrylics (my medium of choice), pastels, watercolours, oils, gouche, ink and pen and everything in between. And, like me, most of us have found the past 16-18 months difficult to become motivated to paint, so for me it was hard determining what, if any, artwork to exhibit. But the choice has been made, and I am currently busy framing and labelling my five pieces of art. Sorry, let’s rephrase that: I am exhibiting five paintings, three framed and two on stretched box canvas including the one in the poster below.

This is our 25th annual exhibition and to celebrate, the committee asked for all frames to be either silver or white coloured. Believe me, finding good quality picture frames in silver is no easy matter and I am relieved I only needed three.

I was delighted when the committee also asked to use my painting of “Sunflowers” on the exhibition poster. I hope it entices people to come along as see what the group has been up to. the majority of the work exhibited will be for sale, with a percentage of each sale and all of the monies raised in the raffle going to this year’s good cause: The Southmead Hospital Covid-19 Charity.

With only a week to go, nerves are setting in. Will further restrictions halt the exhibition in its tracks? Will any members of the public come? Will anyone like my work? Will anyone hate what I’ve done? Will I be lucky and sell anything? Will we raise any money for the charity? What do I wear to the preview evening? What do I wear for my 2-hour tour of duty on Saturday? Can I cope with wearing a mask for 2 hours? Why am I even doing this?

I know why. I love it. I love painting. I enjoy the company of other like-minded artists. And most of all, I love seeing and hearing the reaction of others. Like books and films, not everyone is going to like the same thing. What appeals to one, will not to another, but it doesn’t not matter. It’s the being part of this wonderful group and for the support, encouragement, help and boost that matters most.

I hope some of you are able to find the time next week to pop in, have a look and enjoy the beautiful work by everyone on show and contribute a little something to the cause.

Meanwhile, stay safe, stay healthy and most of all, have some fun!

A Long Awaited Return Featured

After a much long-awaited time, the art club I attend (the SAA Frome Valley Art Group) finally re-opened its doors last Friday afternoon and evening. As a matter of safety, COVID rules where adhered to and we were assigned “bubbles” to work in. We are only a small group of 12, compared with our fellow members who meet Friday afternoons (30), so we were able to spread ourselves out around what is a large hall, with a work-table each. Plenty of room to spread our equipment out.

It felt strange and a little surreal arriving at the venue, masks on as we registered and elected a table, fetched our own chair and unpacked. But as everyone arrived and masks were removed, it didn’t take long before we settled, reacquainted ourselves and chatted about what we had or hadn’t painted during the long absence. When everyone said they had, like me, not painted a great deal during lockdown, often not having the inclination, I felt relieved I wasn’t the only person who hadn’t done much. Okay, I have painted what: six? maybe seven? paintings in the previous 14 months. That is not a lot for me, I am normally prolific; a painting a week, if not each month in normal times.

Until all restrictions are lifted, the kitchen is out of bounds which meant we could not stop for refreshments and a natter around the coffee table. Nor were we able to obtain water for paints and washing brushes so had to bring our own. Being an acrylic artist, this caused a dilemma for me as I could not leave my brushes unwashed until I returned back home. The paint on them would have dried by then and virtually impossible to remove; brushes would be ruined. Having a selection of watercolour pencils which I have not used and water-brushes (the water is contained in the brush itself, a little like a fountain pen), I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to practice with them.

Now, I’d be the first to admit I am not very good at drawing and sketching, something that is necessary for watercolour painting, and the image I chose from a photo of wallflowers picked the day before from my garden was, with hindsight, a little too ambitious even for me.  I was also pleased I used my “practice” sketchbook and not wasted expensive watercolour paper in learning how to paint with watercolour pencils. Plus the paper in the sketchbook is very smooth and didn’t take the pencil well. Still, all good practice, as they say. Here’s what I produced in the allotted time.

As it will be a few more weeks yet before we have full use of the venue and access to water etc, I shall continue with the pencils, but next week, start with a lot simpler image and on the correct paper for the medium. You know me, I love a challenge.

Goodbye, Terry Harrison Featured

My desire to paint has been spurred and encouraged over the years by several artists, going back in time to watching Nancy Kominsky (remember her?) on TV, as well as Bob Ross among many others, but it’s only since I took up the paintbrush myself that I found contemporary role models in my medium. One in particular has been a great inspiration to me, and that is Terry Harrison – his easy, relaxed style, his subject matter and excellent tuition, both on TV and through his many books. So it was with a very heavy heart I learned last week of his untimely death after a very short illness. The news came as a shock, both to me and to everyone who knew him and his work.

I had the pleasure of meeting him and participating in one of his workshops last October and I am so pleased that I did, that I had that opportunity to meet and be taught by him, it was a longstanding desire since I first started painting. He even gave me a lovely compliment on my earrings (little silver paint palettes). He had a soft, gentle voice, told lots of jokes and made for a relaxed atmosphere in which to work. Terry worked in both acrylics ( my medium) and watercolours. In fact, it was following one of his demonstrations on the SAA Channel that I first attempted to paint a “proper” picture, listening to his instruction as I painted bluebells from the next room. And what was even more exciting was that first painting sold! What I also loved about Terry was that he wasn’t precious over his paintings, and was only too happy for people to copy the subject matter.  His tuition books invariably including tracings of his artwork for people to use.

So, this is my way of saying goodbye to a fabulous artist and person. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time. I know Terry’s work and legacy will long remain.

Goodbye, Terry, and thank you for all you have given me and the world. RIP.

 

Painting Outside the Box Featured

Occasionally, I like to step outside of my comfort zone with acrylics and try a different medium. Last time, it was with pastels, very enjoyable and rewarding but the dust pastels create and the stress on my arthritic hands proved too much for me to do more. I did try a few pieces at home but none were successful. This time, I ventured into the watercolour pot.

I’d used watercolours before, years ago, back in school, and when I first found my muse a few years ago on a writing weekend but again, not at all satisfying. However, thinking that now I know more about the techniques of painting and colour mixing, decided I could participate in this workshop for the sheer fun of it. Plus it was a good excuse to wear my new earrings!

Thus, a few weeks ago, my favourite contemporary artist, and one whose work has inspired me the most, Terry Harrison, was holding a watercolour workshop in my locality. It was both an opportunity to meet this lovely man in person and learn even more from his talented hands. Terry works in both watercolours and acrylics, and much from one medium is relevant to the other. And for the first time I strode confidently into the hall and took my place at the front, rather than at the back, as I was wont to do a few years back.

cottage-by-terry-harrison

The simple line drawing.

The first part of the morning was given to Terry to paint the picture from scratch through to completion, explaining how, mixing what colours, what brushes to use and order to apply the paint (most important in watercolour, as the light must be done before the dark, unlike in acrylics when it doesn’t matter and anything goes!), and how to solve problems like too much water, masking, plus many techniques and tips. We were all painting the same subject, a Cotswold cottage and garden, drawn by Terry from a photograph. He’d reproduced the simple line drawing on art paper ready for us; it was up to us to turn it into a masterpiece. Well, that was the theory….

Terry is an excellent, patient teacher, very amusing as well as knowledgeable and passionate about his art. His advice and guidance and interception when mine went a bit wrong, was invaluable. Although we all painted the same image, everyone’s final picture was different, and I think I can safely say everyone enjoyed themselves. It was a fun day and I learned a lot but it seemed far too quickly we were all finished and our day was over.

My Workshop Effort

2016-10-23-19-27-39

Extra copies of the outline drawing were available so I purchased one to take home and try again. Already my thoughts were racing away as to what I could do. And I did. I scanned the image and produced another picture, this time turning the summer scene into winter. I used acrylics as I think I would have needed a gallon of masking fluid to keep the white paper white for the snow.

The Cottage in Winter

The cottage in winter

So, would I use watercolours again? Yes, definitely, particularly as I like to go away to hot places and acrylics are difficult to work with in the heat. And also as practice pieces for my acrylic studies. And as I have a box of watercolours lurking in my paint store, I have no excuses. Thank you again, Terry.

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