Monday, 24 March 2008

Direct Painting

Encouraged by some other artists seen recently in cyberspace (Kathryn Law and Jennifer Young in particular) I decided today to get right back to basics and paint direct from life. Well sort of - in the first case, and giving in to the overwhelming demand to see what I was up to last week on my trip out into the great Outdoors, I have posted this pen and wash sketch made below an overhanging escarpment at a quiet spot along the Calderglen. I wasn't too sure of this sketch at first because the watercolour washes bled into the non-permanent ink too much for my liking blackening the otherwise clean colours. However, I am at least pleased with the vitality of the drawing and saw it as a good subject for painting "alla prima", which is not the same as painting 'en plein air' but not a kick in the pants off it!

Pen and watercolour on paper, A4: 'Escarpment'. Drawn on location sitting in the sun (to begin with!) as it spilled through a gap in the trees, and looking up to my left. I was using this new Stylo liquid fountain pen which I thought made a great drawn line but unfortunately isn't permanent. I enjoy this activity very much - all on my lonesome, far from the madding crown, communing with nature. It could, however, have been a lot warmer especially after the sun moved round behind some trees and plunged me into sub-artic fast-freeze mode!

Oils on board, 40x30cm: Having worked out what colours I would need and spent some time mixing these on the palette this little painting was made with as many single, and final, strokes as I could with no messing around if possible. This was completed within the target one hour and while I am pleased enough with the outcome, and ecstatic that I got painting again, I think it could be a lot better. I have in my mind's eye where I can and want to take this, but that will need to be another day. In the meantime.....

Oils on cardboard, 15x20cm: "My Little Yellow Pot". In order to paint properly direct from life I set up this little still-life in the studio using a favourite blue piece of material and my little yellow pot with some carnations recently consigned to the compost bin but resurrected (appropriately enough on Easter Monday) for one last hurrah! I think this is possibly the very first time I have painted to this small size and I am glad I tried it because it was such a simple and pure pleasure. It's not that it was easy or anything as it required as much concentration as anything else I have done, but it always felt manageable and also only took me 1 hour.

So that's it for today - any observations welcome.



Kathryn Law said...

I think the watercolour sketch is *fabulous*. Very bold and spontaneous, and personally I love the bleeding of the black line into the colour. It looks intentional, and the colour still reads beautifully! The oil version is very different in character, and still beautiful, with nice, confident brushwork. I think it would benefit by having the foliage extend out further on the right so that it does not end at the same place as the cliff, if you know what I mean. More like the composition of the watercolour, which works very well. Nicely done all around!

daviddrawsandpaints said...

You are right, Kathryn, the foliage of the Pine tree should over-hang the cliff more. I will make sure this happens when I go back to this location and paint it direct from life, perhaps with a bit more verve in the manner of Kathryn Law!
Thank you for commenting. It was a great pleasure to recieve all your comments!