Thursday, September 29, 2016

Magenta Rose

Painting a close up of this rose gave me no end of trouble.

I painted at least 3 versions before wiping them. In the end I decided to sleep on it and start afresh the next day. The next morning I realised I had been approaching the deep shadows wrong.
I decided to get a little more scientific about it and try mixing my tubes of permanent rose, quinacridone magenta and alizarin crimson in various combinations with other colours to see what worked best and tested them on paper first. I'm going to do this more often. Sometimes it's best to test things out BEFORE the paint hits the canvas.
Another point - with magenta I think you have to be particularly careful with the amount of white you add. You can very quickly dull what started out as a vivid saturated colour (it's a very fine line).

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

This painting is available

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Today I don't have a painting to write about, but I felt I needed to mark the day with a post.

I mentioned a little while back that I set up an account with Daily Paintworks...
and today I sold three paintings! So happy!
The Daily Paintworks site took me a while to navigate and set up but I think I have the hang of it now, and so happy to have sold some of my paintings from there.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to paint this week as I've had other obligations to deal with, but that hasn't stopped me thinking about things I want to paint.

I have a passion for all things vintage from the 30's, 40's and 50's and I was browsing Etsy (never a good idea) and came across these vintage french tea towels (what the heck? crazy right?) but stick with me, I just thought they'd make a great backdrop for paintings. They arrived today. They are about a meter in length each and I can't wait to use them.

Don't you love it when you get a pretty package in the mail? And they came all the way from France.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cape Cod workshop day 2

This is from Day 2 of Leslie Saeta's workshop on palette painting. I didn't quite give myself enough time to finish it, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.
Painting with a palette knife is an entirely different technique than I'm used to. I don't think that I will switch entirely over to a knife but I will definitely use one again to some extent.
I love the fine, straight lines you get with the knife and the way you can apply great swathes of colour quickly and effectively and get all these interesting effects. Some of those blues I practically threw on in a way I'd never do with a brush.

Apart from use of a palette knife, the other thing I learned from Leslie is use of her very limited palette. Leslie uses just white, cad yellow, ultramarine, pthalo green, sap green and alizarin crimson. Not that I haven't used a limited palette before, but the interesting thing is the use of almost all transparent colours, so you end up with a very lively and bright painting... no muddying of colours!
Hmm definitely taking something away from that.
The great thing about taking workshops with different artists is that you take some new nuggets of information away from each one that you can apply to your own work. Love it.

It's been such a fun 2 days in Cape Cod and I wish I could stay the whole 3 days but tomorrow I can only stay for the morning as I'm heading back to New see...ADELE at Madison Square Garden!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cape Cod workshop day 1

Today was the first day of a three day workshop in Cape Cod with artist Leslie Saeta, and these paintings are what I produced. They are all painted entirely with just a palette knife and oil paints.
The apple was my first painting. It was a real learning curve. I thought my painting was awful at first, but when I looked at it again at the end of the day I thought... actually that's quite good for a first attempt!

After the apple I painted the flower and got into my stride a bit as I understood what you were supposed to do with the knife.
Painting the lid of the starbucks cup was the most difficult. Straight knives don't lend themselves easily to curves!

All in all I'm quite pleased. Using a palette knife is entirely different from using a brush. It's good to have another string to your bow. Also using the knife helps you loosen up - you definitely cannot fiddle the same way you can with a brush.

I'm not posting these to the 30 day challenge, mainly because I'm on my laptop and have no idea how to do it!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Avocado Fiesta

I thought I would try something a little more dramatic by pairing up these complimentary colours; green and red (it's an orangey sort of red). I admit I wasn't sure about the combination at first until it occurred to me that the colours reminded me of driving through Mexico last Spring; hence the title 'Avocado Fiesta', since the word is Latin meaning 'feast'.
I think the painting turned out quite graphic in style. Almost like a textile.

This might be my last entry for a while as I am going on a plein air painting course tomorrow with Leslie Saeta in Cape Cod! I'm very excited about the course, but I think I may have to concede defeat with the 30 in 30 challenge.
Although I will definitely be painting every day, I'm not sure I will have time to post to the 30 in 30 blog. Also I have a ton to do today to pack and get ready, so I will have to see how I go.

This is my contribution to day 15 of the September '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'.
The next challenge is in January I think.

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Avocado blues

For this painting I decided to try out this unconventional composition: plate positioned dead center. It was a bit of an experiment and it works better than I expected. Sometimes you don't really know how something is going to look until you have painted it. I kinda like it! I might do some more of these.
One thing I'm focusing hard with in these paintings is getting my darks- dark enough. I'm always a bit cautious adding really dark shadows as I don't want to muddy my paintings or get the shadow colour wrong. I'm learning to be more confident with that.
I also discovered that avocados are also great subject matter. You have to paint them fast though. They go brown very quickly.

This is day 14 in the September '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'.
(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

This painting is available.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Avocado in green.

Hmm...30 in 30 challenge.
I've had a really busy two days. Yesterday I went out plein air painting in Rye - I didn't complete the painting but aim to work on it at home to see if I can finish it... so I'm not posting that one here (yet).

Today I had meetings and other things to deal with.
So I actually started this painting at 10.00pm and finished it at 11.45pm! Talk about cutting it close!
That's probably one of the fastest times I have completed a painting. Just shows what you can do under pressure.

It is proving a real challenge to get something painted every day.
However, while painting one picture, I'm constantly coming up with ideas for new pictures. After the challenge is over I'm probably going to attempt a series of larger paintings.

Today's painting: I'm pretty happy with this. I wanted to capture that creamy avocado texture which it turns out is easy with oil paint since the paint also has a creamy texture!
I tried out various cloths for the background. Usually I think something contrasting is better but I liked pale green in this instance.

This is day 13 in the September '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'.
(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

This painting is available.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Figs in blue

I'm really super happy with this painting. I love that it ended up having this sort of graphic quality about it.
Figs are this strange color that somehow is a combination of black, purple, blue, red and green all at the same time. Also, even though they have a matt surface, they seem to absorb the colors that surround them, and here - they picked up some of the color of this turquoise bowl (or maybe it's just me imagining that!)
I don't think I'm done with this subject matter yet, these things are so cool to paint! However today I will be taking a break from still life. I'm off plein air painting with some friends!
I don't expect to come back with anything post-worthy, so we shall see what today brings.

This is day 12 in the September 2016 '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'.
While on the subject... here are my highs and lows in taking part on this challenge:
Lows: It is exhausting! Trying to fit in a painting a day around everything else that needs to be done every day is the biggest challenge. Also I have put myself under this pressure to post everything I do, whether I like it or not, but I guess that is the whole point of this blog: to record my progress.
Highs: I am learning so much. I can feel myself improving every day and moving towards a point as an artist where I feel I want to be.
After this challenge is over I think I will attempt some larger paintings.

This painting is sold.

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fig bowl

Another painting of these lovely figs. Not sure I will manage another painting of this batch as my husband keeps passing by and eating them! I almost called this 'disappearing figs'. They are rather yummy.

Yesterday I decided to start posting my paintings on the 'Daily Paintworks' website as well as here.
My err... 'gallery' looks rather strange at the moment with just one painting. I will post new ones each day, not necessarily in the order I painted them. Might be good to mix it up a bit.

This is my day 11 contribution in the September 2016 '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'.

This painting is SOLD.

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Luscious Figs

The Figs are back! I knew I had to return to painting these to get it out of my system and saw these in the fruit aisle this morning.

I'm fortunate to have this collection of Fiesta ware bowls that I have in practically every colour. I picked them up a few months ago in an estate sale for a very reasonable price. After trying a couple of colours I decided the figs looked great against this bright red colour which works great with the lovely orangey / red / brown inside.

This is my day 10 contribution in the September 2016 '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'.
I'm one third of the way there!

 This painting is available.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Me time, tea time

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

I think this will be the last time I paint this set up, with this teapot for now.
I fiddled endlessly with the composition. This teapot is not all that big and in fact most of my mugs and cups are taller than it, so everything I put with it looked a bit odd.
Finally I selected this red mug so that we have a whole red and green theme going on, which I think works.
Next mission... to find some smaller teacups for props.
Not today though. At about 2pm I realised I had to get this painted quickly as the 30 in 30 challenge entry closes in a few hours. So I painted this in about 2 hours which is probably a bit of a record for me!

(Day 9 contribution in the September 2016 '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'. )

This painting is SOLD.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Rosy Teatime

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

Hmm. Do you see a theme emerging? Yes I like tea. And I have lots of teapots. And teacups.
Expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing.

Encouraged by my last painting I decided to give 1930's style Art Deco teapot another go around, but spruced him up by accompanying him with a red rose. Plus I included one of my nightmare-to-paint ridged teacups. Must be a glutton for punishment.

Anyway I really love painting this teapot.

(Day 8 contribution in the September 2016 '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'. )

This painting is available.

Deco Tea

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

This was an attempt to 'loosen up' a little. Usually when painting larger objects I'd choose a larger canvas size, but I decided to stay small and paint with as big a brush as I could muster.

I'm REALLY happy with it as exercise for me to paint a bit looser. I have a tendency to fuss over the small stuff but when you paint with a larger brush, you can't do that.

I have had this Art Deco style teapot for years. It's modern, not truly Art Deco. I almost threw it out once or twice. Glad I didn't. I knew one day it would come in handy.

(Day 7 contribution in the September 2016 '30 paintings in 30 days challenge'. )

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Little Blue Creamer

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

I wanted something I could paint quickly so chose this little blue creamer from my shelf of props. I picked it up for about 50 cents I think during the summer from a bric-a-brac shop.
Well I thought I could paint it quickly at least. But then I decided to place it on this gorgeous polka dot fabric, so then had to paint in all the dots... Doh!

This was my Day 6 contribution to the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Aqua and blue stacked cups

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

Not to be beaten by the cups I painted yesterday I decided to give this one another go but changed the lighting... with more success today I feel.
They were still tricky to paint though. Those indented sides are not easy.

This was my day 5 contribution to the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.

This painting is available.

Monday, September 5, 2016


(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

Let's just say not my finest hour.
Were it not for the 30 in 30 challenge I wouldn't be posting this one. I almost wiped it and started again but today I don't have time for that so I'm posting it anyway and writing up what I learned from painting it.

I took what I thought was short cut by mixing the colours from mid- value paints - Cerulean blue and permanent light green.
Usually when there are a lot of lights and darks I would use darker colours as a starting point and lighten them. When you start with mid value colours you then have to introduce a third color to darken - in this case I used ultramarine and burnt umber, thus making purer colours greyer than they should be.

Also I think the lighting was wrong to begin with. I lit the cups from behind / left. I think they should have been lit from the front.
This one was a learning curve definitely.

(Day 4 of the 30 painting in 30 days Challenge)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Last Days of Summer Figs

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

This will be my final painting of this particular batch of figs as I am going away for a couple of days.
I may return to this subject matter at some point. Figs have such a lovely shape.

This is my third contribution to the '30 paintings in 30 days' challenge.

Have a great weekend everybody!

This painting is available.

Friday, September 2, 2016


(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

My second contribution to my 30 in 30 Challenge.

I used the same format 6x6" board but with a lot more going on this was trickier. I find it tricky to  paint small! I'm going to keep going with the 'fig' theme for a while.
These figs are in season and they don't last long!

Couldn't think of a name so just called this one 'figgy' which according to Merriam-Webster means 'contains figs'. So there we are.

Three Figs...

(6 x 6 inches)
15 x 15cm
Oil on Gessobord

30 Paintings in 30 days Challenge.

First of all I can't believe it has been over four months since I last painted. Long story short, the builders moved in to renovate 2 bathrooms and a bedroom, so the house was in considerable disarray for a while. Then the summer holidays arrived and we have had multitude (very welcome) house guests, so it has been impossible to get back into a groove with painting.

SO. To get my mojo back I have decided to give Leslie Saeta's '30 Paintings in 30 Days' challenge a go which runs September 1st to the end of September.
I'm a little apprehensive since the kids aren't even back at school yet, AND I'm going away this weekend which means I have to paint at least 3 paintings in one day. Hey ho.

Even yesterday I had no idea what I was going to paint - I started this painting at around 9.30 last night! (September 1st). When I set up my equipment I thought I'd forgotten how to paint! But I soon got back into the swing of it.

I have decided not to limit myself to a theme, I'm going to just paint whatever I feel inspired by each day. The idea is not to produce 30 complicated masterpieces, or even really to produce a painting each day, but to just get you into the studio painting every day. So that's what I'm doing.

All my paintings will be posted on my blog and here each day:
30 in 30 challenge

This painting is available.