Saturday, September 19, 2009

Savage Cove surf

Savage Cove surf
7 x 10 watercolour

I'm continuing on with a mini series of ocean views around my area. There is so much coastal geography in the province, I don't have to go far to see water and rocks.

This is Savage Cove. Its a lovely little cove with a stony beach and lethal submerged rocks. I'm sure it was named for good reason. But it is one of my favourite places to paint because it is very quiet there and also dramatic with the rock cliffs sloping down to the sea and the often turquoise water at certain times of year.

This piece measures 7 x 10 and is done on handmade heavy rough watercolour paper. The paper has no brand name and is contained in a book that I received as a gift last Christmas. Its a perfect texture for painting rough water as the brush skips over the paper, making its own highlights and eliminating any need for masking fluid. I also add a little pastel to intensify the foam in areas that aren't strong enough.

I've noticed that this has similarities to the Pouch Cove surf piece in terms of composition. Perhaps I'm drawn to that view of diagonal rocks in the water or they're just peculiar to Newfoundland!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pouch Cove surf

Pouch Cove Surf
watercolour 7 x 10

I am still learning about water and how to depict it convincingly. Its a lot harder than anticipated but I think I've broken the back of it and have enough information about how water acts and reacts to predict where to put my next brushstroke.

Until I joined the small group that makes up Watermarks, I hadn't paid a lot of attention to the water around me, not artistically. I concentrated on people and animals mostly, but Watermarks has made me examine water more closely and helped me understand it well enough to draw and paint it.

Images of seascapes can be painted from reference images and done well, but unless you know, first hand, how light plays on water, how the sea streams over and off rocks, how waves form and curl, how the foam turns creamy brown after storms and how 'plain old rocks' turn into glittering rainbows of gold, blue, purple and green, your paintings will be somewhat lacking.

Intimate knowledge of your subject is crucial to create a good piece of art. A large expanse of water is daunting, but when you break it down into smaller parts and concentrate on each section one at a time, it comes together more easily.

I continually watch the ocean as I drive past it daily. I see light that I want to capture, patterns of currents on the surface, how the weather affects movement, surf, goes on and on. There are successes and failures, but each one moves me forward.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Apple study

As I threw out the concept of the apple challenge a few days ago, I thought I'd better make a start on one.

I had a need to draw again after painting steadily for awhile and chose charcoal. I used charcoal pencils for this. I guess I just wasn't in 'mess' mode. Not that it made a lot of difference,as I tend to be pretty much 'hands on' with charcoal in any form.

Let's see what else I can come up with in terms of drawing and colour for apples over the next few weeks. I hope you'll join me. I look forward to learning from each drawing or painting that is posted.

A little progress

I have done a little more on my grand daughter's portrait and am still refining the face shape. When I step back from it on the easel, I always see something that isn't quite right. And I haven't really done much with the background of towel or hands. Those hands! The tangle of fingers can be daunting, but one at a time and I'll get there.

Yesterday I had to drive to another town to meet with an affiliate. The day was bright and the highway took me through untouched countryside with no other traffic around or very little at times.

The landscape of Newfoundland is unique and made me think about other people's 'commutes' to work. I think I am lucky in many ways.

How was your drive to work?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Apple Challenge

I have been looking for inspiration and may have found it on my kitchen counter in the form of apples. Often the most obvious and what is often thought of as the most simple subject, is overlooked.

Apples are frequently drawn or painted but often not well as we hurry past the simple shapes and don't really examine them to create the detail in light, reflections and colour that they deserve.

So as it is September and apples are ripening in many parts of the western world, I'm throwing open the blog to an apple challenge. Any size, shape, colour. Any medium, any support. The rock challenge gave me a lot to think about viewing other people's approaches to a subject and I believe that this will be similar.

I think a month should give enough time to get a good harvest of apples, so October 15 will be the deadline. Simple add a comment and a link to your piece on your blog and at the end of the time I will do a post and list all the entries.

Is anyone game?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Searching for inspiration

I'm in a lull of sorts. I'm picking away at different pieces but there is no one piece that is firing me up, making me forget the world concentrate on creating it.

So I've been flipping through photos. So many photos I have! Some of them catalogued, a lot not. I've gotten as far as putting them in years so I guess that's a start. Now to further define down to art and photos then further still. It seems too daunting a task to contemplate. Perhaps best saved for one of those cold dreary damp days when I'm confined to the house.

What I would like to do next is a drawing I think. Drawing is my comfort zone and when I've been painting for awhile, the need to use graphite or charcoal calls to me. Finding the right piece that inspires is the challenge.
Meanwhile I played with a little watercolour of some pears I bought. Pears are such simple yet such complex fruits and so classical in paintings. This is done in a tiny 3 x 5 Moleskine watercolour book.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I continue to sift through old paintings and see what I can do to transform them. This was originally an image of something entirely different that I wasn't pleased with at the time. And this is some of the process I used to reach the final painting that is now here.

I covered the surface with modeling paste with a thought of texture in mind, and perhaps depicting ocean movement. I played around with images and options and finally decided on a view I'd sketched previously of Middle Cove, just after Hurricane Bill. The sea was rough with waves hitting the cliffs, the wind was still high and clouds were scudding across the sky.

The undercoat that I'd previously used for initial sketches was interesting, so I decided I'd let it show through the clouds. The lines left in the modeling paste added to the feel of the day.

I decided to share some of my painting with you in video form. Yes its a bit scattered and yes my studio table really is that messy, but sometimes its interesting to watch others work. I wasn't talking during this piece but there was some music on my laptop and if you turn up your volumn you may be able to hear it.