Reorganising my art room and my life in the process

This pass weekend, I decided to tackle my art room (I hate the work studio, seems so serious) and it took me that long reorganised all the groups and junk.  It has been bothering me for a while and as I have managed to tackle putting myself on track, it was time to make this very important room into some order.  So now I have a large open space without clutter and my tables a clear of the junk I had loaded onto them.

Last week after another disappointing session at the life drawing room, I have decided to put that aspect on hold for the moment. To be honest I am not sure why I was doing, other than as exercise as I have no control of the pose, the model or even the lighting.  The lighting or the no existence of any natural light was really beginning to get me down.  We are lucky that unlike the UK we have almost constant sunshine, so it amazes me that the most available of life drawing sessions are done in an old stable converted into a studio with one small window which has a blind that is permanently closed. They have painted the brick walls white but for the past fews that has been negated by someone putting up a flimsy, grey/black backdrop which sucks the life out of anything.

However, realising my drawing abilities are poor due to lack of the use of that particular brain muscle, I have tried to start sketching random things around me. ¬† I decided to do a few drawings where I didn’t look at the page as I drew but just let my eye follow the object, moving my pencil along as I did this. ¬†I ended up with some interesting results.

This past week I have been revisting a few artists I like. Shani¬†Rhys James, ¬†Mary Fedden, Elizabeth Blackadder and Eileen Cooper. ¬†Unfortunately, none of these artists are available locally so I am restricted to books, a tv show (What do artists do all day) and available online videos. ¬†I will confess I am not particularly knowledgeable about US art. What I have seen does not particularly appeal to me. ¬†Looking at my bookshelves, it is dominated by British art and for that matter, British art magazines, as I have been a fan of Artists and Illustrators since it started in the 1980’s.

Any time to revisit the art room and decide on my next project, a portrait of my grand-daughter or a selfie, haven’t done one recently.


Yellow figure with floral background

This is the painting I have been working on for quite a while. Most of the time was spent on drawing the floral fabric in the background. I began by thinking I could do my normal procedure of painting and drawing at the same time until I realised I would go cross-eyed and lost doing this. ¬†As I started drawing the flowers I considered the fabric I had placed the figurine on, a green fabric, it just didn’t seem right. Searching through my fabric stash I came across this old favourite. It was a remnant from a duvet cover I had made for one of the kids years ago.

At the moment, I am considering this finished as I found I was fiddling with it and I know once I get to that stage, I will not improve what I have. I might go back to it later, once I have had time to absorb it. Now it time to go onto the next project.



I think I am beginning to identify which direction I am going. ¬†I am going to continue to do ‘still life’ but it is not going to be fruit in a bowl or flowers. I might include those subjects eventually as fruit in particular is part of my life but not something I particularly relate to. Fabric and pattern will have a strong influence and I seem to prefer single objects to groups of objects although I have a couple of knick knack type things I like to group together. ¬†I am not ready to move away from the arranged subject yet but I don’t discount the possibility that I will in the future.

This painting is done on a prepared 16×18 canvas, using oil paints. This is also a big change as I have used acrylics since my time at BAA so it was a bit daunting to say the least, ¬†but as I was using fairly thin layers of paint, it should be OK. ¬†If I continue to use oils, I will need to read up and talk to other artists on how they use them.

On the whole I was happy with this still life.  Like exercise,(another area of my life that I am trying to improve), the more you do it, the more comfortable you feel with your progress.

Per the image, the red is not quite as red as it appears, apart from that it seems from this screen to be fairly accurate.



After the last post, I had a  terrible session at the AVAA  where I ended up doing an almost cartoon life drawing of the model.  I finished the session early, feeling defeated and broken. The above drawing is from this week. Again I struggled.  This was the 3rd and most successful drawing. Below is the worse.


I can’t even think ¬†what was ¬†I was considering as I drew this. It started off as a very poor drawing ¬†in pencil and then I decided in the last 20 mins to add colour. ¬†I was desperate for it to work.



This was my first drawing, at least the feet look like they stuck to the ground! ¬†It definitely feels like I am going backwards at the moment. I can see good points in this and the top drawing but both are disjointed, in that parts don’t seem to be connected to each other. It like I am creating several drawings on one page to create one drawing.

My new venture is plein air painting with the Plein air Austin group ¬†and that is tough, not just because of the Texas heat. Again, my drawing skills suck. My first venture wasn’t too bad but I only painted for about an hour as it had taken me longer to find the location than anticipated. ¬†Ironically it is about a 15 min drive from my house but it took me over an hour to find it! I intend to go back as it is a great location.



This is a very small painting – 6×4 inches and done in oils. After painting in the garden recently and tackling acrylic paint that dried too quickly in the Texas heat, I decided to try out oils for the first time in over 30 yrs. ¬†Yep, now I remember why I ended up painting in acrylics! ¬†I am a messy painter and oils have a tendency to spread if I am near them. ¬†However, I intend to continue and on this Thursday’s paint out, I discovered MUD.




I realised after an hr and a bit ¬†I started out too tentatively and I really couldn’t see the wood for the trees LOL. I was concentrating on the pattern the trees were making. ¬†In the last 30 mins of this painting , I decided to hell with it and just started to load on the paint (still pretty thin to be honest). ¬†I can see I will need lots of practise with oil paint as it so different from acrylics.

Plein air is also reminding me how nerve-racking painting with a crowd can be. On ¬†the first paint out I was able to concentrate as we were in the middle of nowhere but this week we were in the middle of a very public garden with tours for young children and mothers trying to entertain toddlers for the summer. ¬†On top of that, there were the very loud peacocks wandering around. Memories of my days at Corsham abounded with the ‘theo’ calls that were constantly in the background.

This week I will task myself to go to the  local park several times and just draw as I seriously need to just draw and observe more.  Now I know I can tackle the heat, it might not be so bad. I am also working on a still life which has taken too long basically because my drawing skills are so poor.  However, the basic drawing is now done, so now the painting can commence.