It has indeed seemed to be a long cold winter though definitely not lonely! However I have been using my time wisely in preparation for the return of more clement weather.I have become increasingly fascinated by painting with the iPad. Really it's just another medium to paint with but I like the control I can achieve...so different from my watercolours. As you can see from the above video (speeded up somewhat!) the painting process is exactly the same as any other medium. You start with an outline and develop the painting as normal. But apart from anything else it is the practicality of it! No more easels or painting kit - just your iPad and off you go. I sometimes just do the sketch outdoors (especially this weather) but when the conditions are right I can finish the whole painting there and then. I'm looking forward to getting out and about in our glorious Yorkshire countryside once Spring has sprung!
Reminder of a great day out..a guided tour of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance HQ at the Leeds/Bradford airport. It was organised by Nicky Busby so that we could hand over a cheque to them for money we raised by auctioning a photo and painting of the Yorkshire Dales. So the 'A' team comprising Nicky, son Wills, friend and fellow photographer John Earnshaw, Merice and my good self, descended on Kerry and her team. They couldn't have been kinder to us and we enjoyed a memorable visit.
I had been so inspired by one of Nicky's photos that I just had to paint it. We decided to auction the two as a pair to raise much needed funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. This is Nicky and me with our efforts. The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is entirely funded by voluntary donations so if you would like to help please click on our picture.
"Vanity, all is vanity!"
I was looking at some of my early paintings for cataloging and came across this.Guess what - I don't think it's half bad...ah the vanity of the man I hear you say! But humour me please.
In 1999 I had fallen from a ladder and badly injured both knees. At first I thought my life was over, especially as I had always been such an active person. While passing time between operations my wife encouraged me to have a go at painting - she bought me the basic watercolour kit and set me on my way. Like so many before and since I soon became hooked! Once I got over my initial reluctance to try something new I became engrossed in learning and trying out various watercolour techniques.
John Constable once said that a self taught artist must have had a poor teacher...think about it. But I pored over 'teach yourself' books by the score and at that particular time there were several programmes on the TV - 'Watercolour Challenge', 'A Brush with Ashley (Jackson)' ,'Painting with the Crawshaws' and 'Awash with colour by Dermot Cavanagh' - so I could see practical applications of the materiel I was reading about. Gradually I developed my own way of painting and after a lot more encouragement I decided to try my luck as a 'professional' painter in February 2003. This was my first commission, one of a pair of hotels owned by the same man and I took a long, long time over both of them. Up to then I hadn't done any paintings of buildings so I was pleased how they turned out. The first one was accepted straight away but I remember that this one caused some controversy...the owner couldn't decide whether I had made it a little bit dilapidated rather than the warm, inviting hostelry he was trying to portray!
Looking at this now I have to agree with him, though at the time I was a little bit miffed at the money renegotiation!
Anyway I learned a lot of lessons about commissions that have profited me ever since so it turned out all right in the end.....and I actually like the painting and its rather seedy,rundown appearance!
Woldgate is an ancient Roman road that linked the East Coast with Eboracum (York). It is wooded on both sides with tracks that criss cross it. I am fortunate to live just over a mile away so I visit it frequently. This iPad painting was done on 10th February after a lovely afternoon walk. We have had a spell of wet weather and the mud has got onto the roads. This has been well churned up so wellies are definitely the order of the day. We were walking up the track from Boynton Hall towards Woldgate. The sun was shining through the trees making these fabulous shadows. Although started on site, it was completed the day after in a warm studio. Click on the image and see how the painting was done.
It has been mighty cold here for the last few weeks though the snow has gone...for the present!
This is an iPad painting based on a watercolour I did some time ago. I remember the morning very clearly. At that time we lived near York and this cold crisp winter morning we decided to go for a walk. There is something about a winter walk.
For a start the scenery is different. A coating of snow or heavy frost adds an air of magic to even the most mundane of scenes. The chill frosts your breath and everything seems clearer and sharper. Of course at the back of your mind is the very pleasant thought of when you get home...back to the warm fire and a hot drink..mmmm! But this was new territory for Merice and me. Though we had passed this plantation many times we had never stopped to explore it...until now. I love trees and forests. There is something about them that strikes a chord with all of us. I think this is probably a 'race' memory as our ancestors lived in forests for many years. There is also something almost spititual about the atmosphere in a forest. Needless to say we enjoyed our walk. Eventually we stumbled upon a small lake in the middle of the forest. It was frozen over but as the sun appeared over the tops of the trees the ice was gradually starting to thaw. As it melted it cracks radiated out from the middle which was the thinnest part of the ice...wonderful and just had to be painted.
This is the watercolour I did then. The original quickly sold and this has been one of my most successful images for prints and cards. Another attraction of the scene for me was the way it highlighted the difference between shadows and reflections. The shadows of the trees point back to the light source while their reflections are just that - perfect 'upside down' copies in the water. This is an effect I have exploited on many occasions since sometimes producing almost 'abstract' paintings.
The watercolour certainly took a lot longer because the paint has to dry between layers but the benefit is the subtle uncontrollable colour blend as the water and paint do their own thing. The advantage of the iPad is the instant and total control over what you are trying to achieve. I will leave it to you as to which you like best!
Professional artist now semi retired and enjoying being eccentric!