Monday 30 April 2018

Belated Blogiversary

Fourteen years ago, on the 15th April, I wrote my first blog post on Boogie Street. In fact, I wrote my first four blog posts. I soon realised I couldn't keep that up, but am surprised to find that I've kept going, with only one minor lapse, for fourteen years.

Commenters have come and gone and the world of blogging has closed down or moved over to Facebook, but I still find it helpful to write stuff about my work. With luck, my Regular Reader also finds it interesting.

Cheers! Here's to the next fourteen.

Meanwhile ...

The Fishmonger WIP
(acrylic on board, 25 x 25 cm.)

Fresh Fruit WIP
(acrylic on board, 25 x 25 cm)

Staithes in Winter WIP
(acrylic on board, 12 x 12 in.)

The Gardener WIP
(acrylic on board, 25 x 25 cm.)

Meanwhile, in the secret realm of the studio, work progresses on several paintings. The first two are very near completion, but as I've said here before, I hate finishing pictures when I know what they'll look like. I enjoy starting paintings and I enjoy struggling with the elements that aren't working, but once I recognise how they'll end up, I lose interest. Only when I need them for a show do I feel the need to really press on to the end. 

In the case of The Fishmonger, I'd like to give him a face; the man selling Fresh Fruit could do with a better nose.

It may seem odd to be working on a painting of Staithes in Winter, but I'm assured that greetings card manufacturers buy images for Xmas in June and it helps to maintain at least a facade of business-mindedness.

The Gardener is so named because he started out as a man in front of a topiary garden. I decided the picture wasn't working well and intended to simply paint over it and start afresh. But the man protested that he had a right to justify himself, so I've given his garden a coating of pasted down tissue paper and we'll see what emerges from the milky mist. Might be another garden; might not.

Sunday 29 April 2018

Sketch Crawl - Durham again.

Durham Market Square
(marker, brushpen and Inktense pans in A4 sketchbook)

Back to Durham yesterday for our latest Sketch Crawl. Last week's sun was still about, but sadly not last week's heat. There was a freezing wind blowing through the Market Square, but I found a handy wall to lean against and had a go at the Market Hall opposite.

Because we'd only allowed an hour for this first sketch, I rushed at the subject with only a minimum of measuring and as a result found I'd run out of room at the bottom of the page. My intention had been to include some of the people in the foreground, so I can't deny an element of disappointment with the eventual line drawing.

Image may contain: 1 person, tree, sky and outdoor

In an attempt to get warm, we moved on from the Market Square to inside the Cathedral. For me, the Cathedral interior is overwhelming. I could draw it with charcoal as a tonal study, but thinking about trying to capture it with simple line work meant I didn't even make a start. My compliments to Michael for not only sketching some very complicated elements and structures, but doing it with only line work and a little watercolour.

After a while I sat down in a quiet side chapel and, in the absence of anything I wanted to draw, I made some efforts to salvage my earlier drawing. A grey brushpen (Note to self: this is running dry) and a few notes of colour using my new box of Inktense pans moved the drawing to somewhere more acceptable in my arena of self-criticism.

On the way to the Cathedral, Kim had told me she was determined to get more work done but was concerned that she was easily side tracked by the attraction of sitting in a cafe with friends. When it was time for coffee (Cathedral coffee is terrible), I found her at a table in the cafe with Bethan, drinking coffee and bemoaning her weakness. Tsk. Must Try Harder.

It was great to have four people new to our Crawls join in at Durham. I hope to see you all again.

Next time: Bowes Railway on 26 May. A decision I think I have to make about that is whether to continue with the A4 sketchbook. It's quite heavy to hold while standing up, as I usually do, and my left hand is starting to cramp after an hour or so of holding it. (The perils of being so old that one of the drawings in the current sketchbook was done before Bethan was born.)

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Hats and Bags

Hats and Bags
(acrylic on board, 30 x 30 cm)

I was surprised at how long this took to finish. There was a lot of balancing of tones, colours and implied textures to get right and the background needed adjusting several times to make the hats sit properly in relation to the wall. 

But it's finished now and ready to frame. I think it makes a nice pair with the Jelly Shoes painting, but will also hang quite well with the smaller Caps and Bags.

 Jelly Shoes
(acrylic on board, 12 x 12 in)

Caps and Bags
(acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm)

When I put the final touches to Hats and Bags, I felt a bit deflated because I realised I'd probably come to the end of this thread. There are more hats I could paint, but for now I think I'm done with them. I have a similar idea to explore which may result in one or two related works, but we'll have to see how that progresses. 

"What to do next?" is often a problem when you've done no work on the side to draw out lurking thoughts. The thing to do, though, is ensure you don't let a time of contemplation become a long fallow period. I find it becomes so much more difficult to start work again then.