It's not often that I venture out of Yorkshire for my inspiration but I had a trip to the Scottish Highlands for this iPad painting. It is based on a stunning photograph by Tom Chittick who kindly gave me permission to use it for reference. I didn't want to compete with the photo so concentrated on the castle and its reflection shimmering against the dark background. Here's a few stages as the work progressed:
I have been inspired to do many watercolours by Strensall Common so I thought it was time to have a go with the iPad. The Common is one of the few remaining areas of Galtres Forest - a great forest that used to stretch from York up to Northumberland. It was a Royal forest set aside for the King to hunt throughout medieval times. It really is a beautiful place to walk, sketch or paint....except when the red flag is flying! It is now an Army Firing Range but this keeps it and its wildlife safe from any encroachment.
Here's a short (very short!) videos showing how it was done:
"Full Circle" was meant to be my first painting completed for a joint exhibition at Bridlington Spa with Merice Ewart Marshall in October 2014 . Merice of course, happens to be my missus and the exhibition is called 'Double Vision' to reflect our different perspectives on life and art in particular. Although it is a painting of the North Yorkshire Moors I called it "Full Circle". Why? Well, when I first started to paint this was my subject - the wild grandeur of the moors. So it was nice to revisit in watercolour so to speak. Whether it is because of all the happy memories associated with the moors especially the excitement of first discovering the joys of watercolour, or just the fact that it is still such an extraordinarily beautiful place to be - I quite like the painting.
But there's a snag - it is too large. After a lot of thought we have decided on a format for the exhibition and this 30" x 22" painting is simply too big to fit in with our plans. What to do?
I have a good artist friend who never wastes a painting. Even if it has turned out nowhere near how he wanted it to, he doesn't give up. He always finds some section worth salvaging and ruthlessly crops out the bad. That got me thinking - perhaps "Full Circle" can be cropped to fit in with our design. But I didn't want to start cutting bits off the paper....and thanks to the joys of modern technology I didn't have to! I just altered it digitally to fit in with 'Double Vision' requirements. Would you like to see it trimmed down?
I was surprised how much I could crop and still retain the essence of the painting...or have I? It's difficult isn't it and if you have any thoughts I'd be very happy to hear them.
Just for a bit of fun I repeated the experiment with three other paintings:
What you think? Let me assure you that no paintings were harmed in the making of this blog and I have no intention of taking scissors to any of them....or have I?
As a watercolour painter I am always at the mercy of the medium. I would not have it any other way as the unplanned 'happenings' are what make watercolours so special and unique. However it is nice to have total control for a change and this is where the iPad scores. There is hardly anything to carry, no messy paints and palettes, no brushes to clean or smelly chemicals to contend with or drying time - just you and your iPad. You can take it with you wherever you go and either produce a finished painting or simply sketch. "Golden Forest" is a preliminary idea for a possible watercolour I am thinking about. There are no tricks involved or technological help in iPad painting - just the usual struggle between eye, hand and heart! Here's a very speeded up video of how "Golden Forest" was painted:
The unusual dimensions of this painting came about as the result of a commission to fill a space above an old fireplace. Mounted and framed it fitted perfectly! The same client also commissioned my largest ever watercolour - a 60" x 40" piece. To be fair it wasn't too difficult. I was given a fairly free rein and just up-scaled everything, so instead of my palette I used plastic dishes for my basic colours and mixed them on the paper as usual. For brushes I used a good quality set from a d.i.y. store. Would you like to see it? Here it is in the hands of my mate and framer Ian to give you an idea of the scale of it.
And here's a look at the painting itself:
I enjoyed the challenge of these large paintings and had a lot of fun too.
This is a statue of Wendy from 'Peter Pan' the famous story by J.M. Barrie. It is situated in the grounds of Burton Agnes Hall - an Elizabethan jewel in the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds. Over the years the water has given Wendy these tears making her seem so sad and forlorn. I clearly remember painting it on site during one of my spells as artist in residence there. I dedicate it to anyone feeling like this today and hope that things will get better for you soon.
.......featured painting of the week.
This was painted about ten years ago when I first started to exhibit my work. It is one of the images I recently discovered from our pre-digital days. Although the images are not large enough to print I am still very pleased to see them as I thought I had no record of the start of my painting journey. Any technical deficiencies are more than compensated for by the exuberance and excitement I felt at the time as I was finally able to get some semblance of the ideas in my head onto paper. "Autumn Gold" was one of a pair with "Green Peace" and I'm happy to say both sold!
...more 'Animal Magic'.
Here's another painting for my series featuring animals. This one is called "Vigilance" and if you want to know why....you'll have to come to the 'Animal Magic' Exhibition at Gallery 49 in Old Town, Bridlington where the full picture will be on display from 7th March to 31st May 2014.
......at Gallery Forty-Nine
I mentioned recently that I was doing a couple of paintings featuring animals. They are being prepared to be part of the 'Animal Magic' Exhibition to be held at Gallery 49 in Old Town, Bridlington from 7th March to 31st May 2014. I have completed the first called "The Sentinel" and there's a detail from it above, but if you want to see the whole picture (including the 'animal'!!) then you'll have to wait until March and come and join us at Gallery 49.
Professional artist now semi retired and enjoying being eccentric!