This week I am offering a print of a very early ACEO with Harvey The Aardvark and friends which Bitcoin Cash just has a couple of days to go. This is one of my personal favourites.
Find this for sale on ebay right now at £6.99 mounted and ready to frame…. the link to my print on ebay is here .
This idea has been in mind for quite some time and it does feel good to have at last completed the painting.
This balancing act has to appear to be believable and so getting each bird in a convincing position was tricky but I think it works.
The above is a work-in-progress pic and the finished painting is shown below.
A group of magpies have more than one name – a congregation, or a murder, I have also seen them referred to as a tiding, a charm and a mischief.
I transferred the finished drawing from my finished draft onto a piece of watercolour paper making sure I have taken into account the extra space around the outside needed to stick it to the board and to allow some play in the size of the finished piece. It had been stretched first, taped to a board and dried overnight.
Materials used here are hot pressed 140lb watercolour paper and acrylic paint. My lightbox is an old cutdown amazon box with an unwanted picture frame glass front for the top and a spare loose strip light taped inside!
Yesterday I started an attempt at declutttering. What should I keep and what should go? I headed for my bookshelf and targeted some old sketchbooks having decided to photograph pages I liked and store them digitally instead.
In amongst artist and nature books are malingering sketch books from over many a year.
Some of the sketches have sentimental value, and are a visual diary hinting at events and places sporadically over the year. Some of the sketches were a means to an end. They were good practice for observing and drawing.
Other sketches were experimental when I had been involved in course work and attempting to work outside my usual method of creativity.
So I took sketchbooks which were not essentially full of great stuff and photographed those images I felt connected to and transferred them to my computer. The nice thing about looking back at sketch books from years gone by is that a lot of the images look better to me now than when I created them. The space and time that has passed makes them feel like they are not quite so firmly attached to me allowing me to be less critical.
The other nice thing about storing the sketches digitally is that they take on a more professional look on a screen than in the sketchbook.
I agree with the declutter theory that you feel lighter and freer without hanging onto lots of stuff. This is a start but I still have a long way to go.
A variety of pages from 2004 Sketchbook – from life, mixed media and character development.
“The best results are achieved when no thought is given to it – when the mind rests and intuition takes over – Mu shin. Another aspect is to try accept what is, and not try to adjust it.” Karl Martens
You might be asking yourself what has cooking got to do with art?
Paintings can so easily have a little too much time on them becoming overworked and a little laboured. I thought a good analogy might be the outcome of cooking a Victoria Sponge cake .
If you slightly over cook one of these cakes it smells slightly over-cooked when it comes out of the oven, it is slightly over-coloured with a bit of a crisp edge on the outside edges and it loses some of its subtle cakey fragrance to a more caramelised finish (to be polite). But if you slightly undercook it, it will be moist and tasty, has a full buttery flavour, and on the downside it might lack a little colour. Which is best? Definitely the latter for the tastiest cake.
Catching the cake at it’s optimum moment is possible with practice but there is little variation from one cake to the next so eventually a plan for timing and temperature will make it perfect. Obviously this is very different to the variations that are possible from one painting to the next. But the idea of relating over-cooking and under-cooking a sponge cake to painting is purely for the reason that stopping a bit before the optimum moment will allow a painting to look more vibrant, spontaneous, and more intuitive rather than laboured and probably a bit muddied. It might not be perfect but it is likely to be a better finish. Just like the cake.
Trying to under-work a painting is soooooo hard by comparison to overworking. Over-cooking or overworking it is easy. It is easy for me to see bits of my paintings that might be improved and therefore I could keep picking at it. So today I am trying very hard to not do any more to this painting of a Springer Spaniel.
What could be done to try to prevent getting to the over-painting stage? I wonder if in the back of my mind I think people who look at this picture might find fault for me not “tidying ” everything up, and somehow I have to let go of this idea at an opportune moment. Perhaps the questions I should be asking myself are: How happy am I about the painting? Can I get away with finishing it at this moment?
I am tempted to keep going on this painting, but I think I might get away with stopping right now. So hands off, let’s clean the brushes and here is Fred smiling.