Saturday, May 05, 2012

May Self portrait

I don't know why I decided to do a self portrait this morning, it just seemed to fall into place.  Its been awhile since I did one and time has a way of improving technique - and altering the subject matter too. Creating the planes of a face is always interesting and trying to match colours to shapes even more so to make a 2 dimensional image breathe life.  Self portraits are such good learning experiences

So here is the portrait as it currently sits.  There is still lots of work to do on it to refine it further.  The mouth is making me crazy, it just won't do what I want it to do, but I'll keep modelling it until it submits.   The whole piece a is pretty high key right now and I want to increase the shadow as the lighting for this is fairly strong, with that bright light coming from the right.

Its worth tweaking it til I get to where I want it to be, but not over tweaking so that it still has that 'painterly' look to it and isn't too stiff or contrived.

This is on a 10" x 10" panel in oils.

Tomorrow the local art group that I am involved with will hold a one day exhibition and sale of small works. For some strange reason I'm not running around like a mad thing tonight finishing up loose ends and all stressed.  That probably means that I've forgotten something major!

The exhibition will be held at Admiralty House, 365 Old Placentia Road, Mount Pearl and will be open to the public from 11am to 5pm.  Lots of original work, super affordable prices, and nothing larger than 8 x 10.  Do drop by if you want to escape the fog and cool breezes, I'd love to say hello and share some of my work with you.

Friday, May 04, 2012


Insomnia can become a useful thing.  At least for a short period of time before fatigue sets in.

My inability to sleep provides me with extra studio time in the wee hours of the morning.  Its quiet then without interruption and I can achieve a lot.  This morning, blues and greens appealed to me in this little painting of the bow of a boat. The rich, dark colours seemed to work and match the dark, rainy mood at 4:30am.

5 x 7" on canvas panel in oil

And this song played over and over in my head.  Why I have no idea.  Now I'll pass it on to you.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Stone angel - in progress

I've made a little more progress on the stone angel.  I had added pumice stone and a little modeling paste to increase the texture and make it more stone-like.  Adding glazes of oils over that surface take time and lots of drying inbetween glazes.

While the body, head and wings are stone, the face is made of marble and is giving me angst to get just right.  Marble is so subtle and as well, weather has taken its toll with moss giving a shield almost like armour over the forehead and nose, tracing the path of water as it runs off, catching the top lip and chin.  All these little changes in shape and colour play tricks with my brain and eyes.

I still need to work more on the eyes and the mouth needs to widen a little I think to give the impression of a face in repose more fully.  Its getting there, but slow going.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Pluots are delicious. 

At my favourite prop store, also known as the supermarket, I found them, and thought they were plums.  They look like plums, big, purple with a lovely grey/blue bloom and the inside is plum like as well, but apparently they are a cross between a plum and an apricot with many variations in colour.

Very meaty, sweet and delicious.  This was my last one and it was difficult to paint it fighting the urge to eat it all the time.  Eaten it was and soon I must take a trip back to the supermarket to get more. 

While waiting for the stone angel to dry, I thought I'd try a watercolour as I hadn't done one for awhile and this fruit seemed to be a good candidate.  Its on a remnant of 200lb paper which is lovely as I don't have to stretch it and it takes all sorts of abuse.  I love that heavy paper!  Its about 6 x 7" perhaps give or take a bit.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stone angels

Its not water and its not fish, so how did I end up with stone angels?  I'm not really sure, but you know how one idea sparks off another, etc., etc.?  In my flurry of ideas that were spinning through my head I had one for a project that I'm starting to explore that involves sculpture in cemeteries.   On the Avalon Peninsula there are a number of cemeteries going back to the 1700s and likely beyond, but markers are long gone, likely victims of weather and nature reclaiming them as they fall over.

Cemeteries have always held a fascination for me.  Even as a child I remember wandering through them as the adults visited relative's graves, exploring headstones and monuments.  I used to take my own children when small on excursions to cemeteries, the older the better.

So turning to local cemeteries which are full of both simple and ornate monuments to the dead, I find areas of interest in every part.  From the overall view of towering trees that create shadow and disrupt the ground, to ancient gravemarkers leaning precariously and finally the sculptures of angels, cherubs, urns and crypts in varying stages of age, a cemetery could provide a lifetime of inspiration.

Of course I get odd looks when sketching in a cemetery but as I'm respectful and usually in an older part where few people go, I'm generally not disturbed.  And some do think its rather morbid, but I think its more a place of history and beauty.

The sketch at the top is done in marker to capture the strong contrast of shadows in the sun.  The blue sky brightens a somber scene of this child angel.

The pencil sketch is another child angel, perched on top of a gravemarker.  I loved the profile view and again the strong shadows is virtually essential for the sculpture to have impact as a drawing or painting.

I've been working on a few sketches and have started this painting of a stone angel.  This is in oils on a 16 x 20 stretched canvas.   The initial colour and shape has been blocked in and I've added a helping hand in the form of pumice paste to obtain a better texture for the stone.  The face hasn't had much work yet, and I need to wait a day or two to let the paste and oil dry a little before I can do more work on it, but you can see the general direction its heading in.