Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Shastas End

Acrylics on paper, 43x59cm.
Painted all day without getting anywhere near what I was looking for or how I was feeling. Made numerous attempts ranging from the figurative to the pure imaginative but always felt let down. My inspiration finally came as I surveyed the garden with many of my perenials at their end and looking well past the time when I should cut them to the ground. These Shatas in particular are long past their best and desperately need to be cut down, but something about them has prvented me from doing this. The dark reddish brown seed heads teetering on the end of long stems against a dark background look the epitome of autumn in preparation of winter. This gets to my core today. This says how I feel.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


Oils on paper, 30x25cm. Took a trip down to the coast at Troon on Saturday, got out my little fold-away chair, and sat for an hour or so sketching these guys fly up and down the surf with these fantastic kites that pulled them along at great speed on their surfboards. The boards have two loops which they stick their feet through to hold on and they skite across the waves sometimes flying up 5metres into the air. On occassions they land flat back on the water and carry on, but mostly they crash into the sea and have to start again. These guys are hardy because, although it is a bright warm sunny day the water is absolutely freezing! Just as well they have these black all-in-one thermal suits on otherwise they would be like blocks of ice in no time!
In this little painting I was trying to capture the fleeting movements of the kite as it whooshes past, and maybe a little of the thrill these blokes obviously get and my enjoyment of the action. I've made this surfer very cavalier by holding the ropes with only one hand and waving to the onlookers to show just how cool he is!
I could do that (if I wasn't such a wimp when it comes to activities on, and in, the icy waters!!!).

Friday, 14 September 2007

Salsa Night

Acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.
This came from an amalgum of two pencil sketches I made whilst at an introductory salsa dance night many years ago. Nothing came of it that time probably because we were still thinking in terms of Cha Cha Cha, Rhumba, and other Latin American, along with Modern Ballroom of our regular dance club which all have a very different basis of rythm and movement. But that was then, and this is now. The dance club we went to at that time has long since disbanded but we still need to get out of an evening and shake those hips and move those feet. Salsa is the only dance class currently available to us in EK so two weeks ago we went along to see how it would be and where it would take us. Although the music is not 100% to my liking it is still fun to dance and I'm glad to say we enjoyed it very much! So this sketchy painting came with the beat and the action still in my head demanding to be put down on paper for me to relive the enjoyment of the night and what better place to turn to than my sketchbook for inspiration.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Sunflowers in the Sun

Pencil and watercolour on paper, 55x38cm.
These three sunflowers had done their job in the house for about two weeks and were beginning to turn foosty when I rescued them from the compost bin, laid them out on a board along with the small purple flowers and painted them direct from life out in the garden with the evening sun going down behind me. A quick pencil sketch to place the elements and then heaps of rich water-colour freely applied.It's the blue elongated shadows that do it for me. Very pleased I am!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

EK Arts Exhibition 2007

IN THE LAND OF NOD, pastel on paper, 43x30cm.
This painting was created after seeing a brief scene in the film 'Heaven' starring Cate Blanchett. I held the picture in my mind till next day when I went out to the studio to draw and paint it.

CROY BAY, pastel on paper, 43x30cm. This was painted from a sketch made at the location and is one I am particularly pleased with.

Both these pastels were entered into this years Open Art Exhibition. Yesterday was the Private Preview which I attended mainly to see where my two pictures ended up. I am happy to say that both were displayed in the main gallery and not somewhere down the back corridor! My only moment of note at the preview was a short chat with Alan Dick, the Council Arts Convener. In retrospect there was a number of issues I could and should have raised with him (like why does the Council seem to favour drama and music more at present than the visual arts) but perhaps it wasn't the right time so I let it slide. Later on (after I had gone to my sons house to watch Scotland beating Lithuania 3-1) I returned to see if either of my paintings had won the Arts Council Judges Choice Award, or had even been sold! Alas, no on both counts. I really don't see the Arts Centre as a selling venue - I don't think the exhibition is advertised well enough, and in any case I don't think the EK public is all that interested in buying original artwork. The single picture from the whole preview afternoon that did have a red dot was in fact a photograph! Now it is a terrific photo (a fish-eye view of the fantastic Victorian iron structure of Wemyss Bay Railway Station) but no paintings were sold. Either that says something about the non buying publics taste in artwork, or just how poor the artwork, including mine, is.

The winner of the award whose name I regretfully didn't take is a small watercolour fairly well done but of a banal subject (a broken fence) and is done in washes of dark brown. Personally I think it dreadful!