I finished the cosmos painting today and have been working on a new larger composition.
Composition counts for about 80% of a picture’s success, I reckon, and so it’s worth spending time thinking about it. Sometimes it seems to come naturally without trying, for instance when you have managed to capture a good ready made design with the camera lens. Sometimes you have to work at it and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all and you have to abandon.
This one was a bit hurried…I was anxious to make a quick start to explore these flowers. But I learned a lot about the subject from doing the painting and will take that knowledge on to the next project.
I’ve not been keeping up with my blog lately. I hope you haven’t given up on me! There’s been a lot going on, guests to look after and… I’ve signed on to Redbubble! It’s an art and photo sharing site and it is very habit forming. There is a lot of excellent photography and art to browse….you could spend hours. You make friends too and spend time commenting on other peoples’ work and responding to comments on your work. Very absorbing.
But back to the art here. I have been distracted from the North Norfolk holiday sketches by the cosmos growing in the garden. When I go up to the studio, past the flower beds, I can take half an hour to get there. Which sounds reasonable until I tell you that my garden is only 60 feet long!! A lot of staring and photographing goes on…and then a bit of flower dead heading, trips to the compost bin and before you know it it’s lunchtime and I never got to the studio! But it’s been the white cosmos that has caught my eye.
It’s at its best now and I love painting white flowers and have never really tried to paint cosmos. And as I’m down to do a late summer flower painting workshop for the Society of Floral Painters in October, I thought these might be a good subject.
In a gentle breeze they arrange themselves into interesting shapes and positions which the camera can capture to make a good composition. On a sunny day the cast shadows on the petals are stunning and their pristine white petals stand out beautifully against a dark background.
Anyway, I’ve been having a go today and will post the painting tomorrow when I finish it. I’ve gone straight in with a full painting. It might have been better to do some studies first…but I’m too impatient!
My sketch using non permanent pen and wash and some watercolour. The pen was great for describing the form of the facing stones.
Across the little lane from our cottage was this scene. A doorway surrounded by hollyhocks, fennel, poppies, lavender growing in abundance. Determined to put my intentions into practice, I started sketching this the nearest scene to our back door. It was useful to get an idea of how the characteristic stone and brick patterns on the house walls worked for future reference when painting at home.
The lady from the house was busy tending her plants and we got chatting. She was up from Norwich for the weekend. I said how I was fascinated by the hollyhocks at every corner and she showed me how at the end of the summer season of growth she would sway the plants so that the seed pods shed their seeds to come up again randomly another year. And she let me have a bag of seeds!
Back from Blakeney on the North Norfolk coast where I did do some sketching, mostly with non permanent pen and wash, which I found was the most convenient way of recording what I saw. Just a felt tip, one brush and some water. But I have to say that mostly I looked and took lots of photos. Blakeney is a bit special…it’s a conservation area, so will not change or be developed and this is reassuring. It’s a quay with a tidal creek dominated by the amorphous spread of the Blakeney Hotel and then a small settlement of buildings and cottages meandering up the hill away from the quay.
The huddle of cottages and lanes ( called “lokes” ) meandering between them is characterised by the stone facings on the walls interspersed with red brick and the hollyhocks growing randomly at every corner. It is impossibly pretty and an artist’s paradise with subjects to paint everywhere you look.
I had a chat with three artists who were painting quietly away and saw several others sketching unobtrusively, trying not to draw attention to themselves. One chap was starting a full blown oil painting while his companion sat patiently sheltered from the wind by a huge striped umbrella.
I intend to work on some paintings and drawings maybe in the quiet of the studio now I’m back.
Having had a serious go at painting en plein air, I am now in awe of painters such as David Curtis who produce wonderful watercolours in situ. I guess it’s a way of working that you get used to over time. For the time being, thank goodness for my camera!
Yes, I do intend to sketch and paint en plein air in North Norfolk by the sea. And the cottage has wifi so I should be able to keep in touch. I have A4 size sketch books a plenty, both cartridge paper and watercolour paper types and will take my palette filled with colour from tubes and I’ll have pens (felt tipped art pens), permanent and non permanent to sketch with. So wish me luck and I will report back. In the meantime, new visitors, please have a look at the older posts in this blog. There is plenty to see. You can simply scroll down to the bottom and then click on older posts or choose from the side menu. And please leave a comment to stop me feeling lonely! Would love to hear why you are reading this blog and about you.