Better coloured in this photo

So I looked at the original photo and this is closer to the painting.


So the last 2 days have been non painting days. Yesterday, I just had to kick in  to the filing as tax year is beckoning and much as I dislike that task, it has to be done!  Still needs to be done but half way there.

Today, was a unusal day for us, Scottish dreich weather ( dark, mild and drizzly) and by the time I had arranged the next still life, the life was way too dark. However, I will draw in the structure before I start work at 7 pm tonight (only 2 hrs) and tomorrow I will be ready for the dull weather. Will need to do it in next 2 days as the weather will be the usual winter sunny day on Saturday.  The best time for the room I am working in, is about 3 hrs after sunrise as its  east facing with only the east wall having windows. So once the sun is high enough above the horizon, the light is pretty steady until about 2 hrs before sunset.

Anyway, time to make dinner. Looking forward to starting the new painting tomorrow.

On a roll, finished

well, this one is for now. I can see areas (lots of them) for improvements but time to move on another still life.

Today, I was looking after my young grand-daughter and normally that would be an excuse not to paint. However, I determined that housework, cooking etc could be deferred whilst Juniper slept and I could work on this during that brief window of opportunity. Wow, a break through for me!  To be honest, it was not that brief as she is still at the longer nap stage at the moment.

The one thing that I had been struggling with was the stripped material the still life was sitting on.  As can be seen in the previous stages of this work I had been painting in the stronger colour and then attempting to put on the yellow/mustard colour. Totally the wrong way to do it and in sudden flash, decided to cover the red/orange completely with  a yellow pastel and using a prismacolor pencil, drew in the stripes.  I just drew them as I saw them, the perspective is all wrong I know but somehow it works.

I worked on the problem area at the top of the painting, scrubbing in white, greys, reds, blues with pastels and pencils. It looks better but it still not quite right. looking at it at the moment, it definitely the large green area to the left that is the issue, more than that area. It lacks substance, maybe that is something I could work on.

I also work on the flower arrangement itself and the material immediately below the still life. The flower arrangement is better but I could never get the shadows on the material to work. I just ended up with a rather ill-defined shape with no real body, it just float very badly.

I added a few touches to the boldly patterned material in the background but not much as it seems to work apart from the odd triangle in the far right.


Wow, looking this image on the screen and its way too bright. My camera really doesn’t capture reds well. Safe to say it’s not as bright as this image. Think I will need to invest in learning to use my husband’s DSLR. Photography is not my skill.

Anyway, tomorrow, another life to create. This one is finished (maybe work on the bottom material) as the flowers are now too dead!



progress slow

but its progress. Today I dispensed with the paint, using the pastels, Prismacolor pencils and some Derwent aquatone pencils. Not my best by any means but I’m happy as its only the 5th and I am actually painting. I will probably work on it one more day and then tried out another still life. I am even think of painting a view of the back garden as the weather is meant to improve considerably this week. Unfortunately that also means the Cedar trees will be in full pollen explosion stage. Like most people who live in this area, I am very allergic to it! At the moment it is mainly affecting my eyes, like tiny grains of sand grinding against my eyes. Hopefully that will be the full extend as I take all the allergy meds I can to fight against it.


So the painting is on ¬†Strathmore Watercolour paper, 140 ¬†11″x15″. Acyrclic paints, Prismacolour pencils, Derwent aquatone pencils and Mungyo soft pastels. ¬† Bit I dislike the most, the grey area at the top above the flowers and the bit I like most the orange star in left bottom, followed closely by the green patterned material in the background.

As to the comment about overwhelmed by the number of colours available for pastels yesterday. Today I realised 60 is not enough! LOL

The New year starts and the anxiety kicks in

So I have actually started a still life – on 3rd Jan. ¬†Set up the still life in a burst of enthusiasm¬†on 31st Dec . Set up an easel on 1st. ¬†Then the anxiety set in and last night it got so bad I couldn’t sleep. ¬†So I got as far as a rough sketch in pastels. They are my issue at the moment because Gordon bought me them as Christmas gift after my bout of excitement with them before the festive season started. Looking at the big box of colours, 60, I suddenly thought what do I do with them!

So today, the 4th, I abandoned the pastels and taking up the brush.  Still anxious but I know I will get over this.  Need to be quck before flowers are completely dead!!!!


Yes, I know, blue sticking tape is not going to help. Brown tape on my shopping list tomorrow.  Once I have completed the underpainting I will use the pastels again. Monday I start my new shift so most days from 9-5 I am free to do what I want, so no excuses this year but there will be.

Last post of the year

and looking back ¬†there haven’t been many this year! 5 in total and in most I am moaning ūüė¶

So that last month or so I have fallen into more a slump than normal after the terrible mixed media class . So no more classes!  It was also unusually cold at the end of November and beginning of Dec. I only have blinds in the studio, so it was bit cold so in effort to keep the cold out I put up some temporary covers but that only made the studio even more uninviting.

I have been doing some creative stuff but not in the painting sphere, making a couple of gifts for Christmas. ¬†Below is a painting I have been playing with for a few weeks. In a fit of ‘I’m going to paint’ I order some sample acrylic grounds. I had an old painting hanging on my wall which I had done in conjunction with my bead Calendar project.


As you can see it was barely a painting ¬†(darker more red-orange in real life) so not something I felt particularly precious about. I began by looking at the original calendar photo it was based on, some rocky landscape in Australia. ¬†I decided to use the crackle medium. ¬†So I pasted it on with a large brush everywhere but the tree. ¬†It barely worked, so I put on more with a palette knife. Not much difference to be honest and I put on about another couple of layers but it really didn’t work. Very disappointed.

So I had to work with what I had which wasn’t much and as it was experiment, I wasn’t too concerned if nothing worked. So having used soft pastels on the last painting, I decided to go in that direction. ¬†I don’t think it really improved the image much but it did reaffirm that I enjoyed working with soft pastels.DSC01510Again the colour is quite right, more orangey red that this image. ¬†However comparing images here, I can definitely see more depth and obviously more textured in this painting.

So the new year starts in 2 days (or less) and my work shift changes on 6th Jan.  I am hoping to work more outside, especially as the weather is perfect at this time of year (bit cool for us Texans but not cold for us Brits!) Only fly in this  picture is there is good chance I will be babysitting my grand-daughter during the day from the middle of Jan. It might be only for a couple of hours or it might be a few days. (to honest, looking after Juniper will be a joy and I would give up painting any day, to be with her).  I should have at least one day a week to go out into the Hill Country and get to grips with this landscape I have lived with for the last 13 yrs. Also as a Christmas gift I got a box of Landscape Mungyo Soft Pastels. They are not the ones I wanted but they are better than the ones I have now.May Journal Page

Above is the bead page I made for the bead journal project I was involved at the  time.

Whilst I am not painting, I am reading about artists, mostly painters and one in particular at the moment, Vincent Van Gogh. You get so complacent about some artists as they reprinted so much and you really don’t know that much about the actual artist and how they got to where they achieved their break through moment. ¬†The book I am reading is very long, dense and I don’t think they particularly like the artist that much, well the person, not the work. ¬† I did not know that Van Gogh started his artist career so late and how brief a period it was. ¬†I was surprised in who he thought was the best artist and whose work he aspired to. ¬†I did not know that Gauguin was basically bribed to move to Arles and how brief a time it was. As it has taken me several months of reading the book, I suspect it might be a while before I get to the tragic conclusion.

As this book is a bit of mammoth, I have been dipping into several other books I already have and need to rediscover. I also bought a new book this weekend called ‘What are looking at? the surprising, shocking and sometimes strange story of 150 yrs of modern art. by Will Gompertz. ¬† So far I have read the first chapter and the influence of Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades, in particular ¬†the ‘Fountain’ Its a pretty light read compared to the Van Gogh book and makes no pretense its an art history tome. ¬†I think I might actually finish it before the Van Gogh book!

Ochil Hills

So I have been slowly but surely working on the last painting I was begun in the mixed media class. I did think I was going to use the acrylic media images I had created and some of the skins I had created in the 2nd class. ¬†In the end I have stuck to soft pastels and I think it will stay this way. I might work on it a bit but I don’t think it really needs much more. ¬†If I put paint on it, I might lose some of the colour blends I have got.

For the next week though I am doing a little embroidery for Christmas and if my afternoons are free, I might just take the car to the Hill country and sketch. ¬†After living here for 13 yrs, the landscape is finally beginning to click with me and I want to explore it more. and now is the time to do it with the cooler weather. After March, it’s all downhill and time to stick to the studio. Hopefully by then I will have plenty of images to work from.