The New Year is a knocking

and although I have been working on my painting for the last week, I did not finish as I planned. I have been working on this painting off and on since October and it has been through many changes. The latest occurred today. The day I thought I would be finished but the Buddha was just not working. So I scrapped away the paint,  I start again, scrap again and again. Problem was I was just repeating my previous mistakes, so this last time I decided on a radical change and I think it might just work. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

this is how it looked at the end of the day on Saturday


this is how it looked at the end of today.

By the end of tomorrow who know where it will stand. I will not say it will be finished tomorrow but I think it’s closer than it ever has been.

This year has been much more successful than normal for me. I decided right at the beginning of the year, I would focus on painting and drawing, no bead embroidery.

I attended several life drawing classes which in the end I decided was not the direction I wanted to go. Having spend my formative years at Camberwell, I have this need for the model to be placed properly after breaks, not the haphazard way they seem to do here.  Also the room was too dark (no natural light whatsoever) and relied too much on artificial light (usually one or 2 spotlights).  That is something else I realised I need, natural light or at least good light. My work is progressing away from the purely observational stance I was trying as I realise I am not a ‘tidy’ artist, smudges abound in my drawing and paintings and to be honest, I am just not that talented in that way, much as I wish I was. However, the one thing I still need is good light as the colours just go haywire otherwise. Next year, I need to investigate into getting better light for my studio, as sometimes I do think about working up in the studio in the evening, then I go up to be confronted with the dullness and orangeness of the lighting which just saps any energy or enthusiasm I have.

I have also worked in oils, water-soluble oils and acrylics.  My favourite medium is acrylics but oils weren’t as difficult as I remembered. I am not so sure about the water-soluble oils but that might be more to with the brand I am using which seems to have a very limited colour range and very tacky to handle. I have also worked a little on my understanding on how to mix colours. That might seem like an obvious issue and how in decades of mixing colours, have I not worked that one out. Simple, I guessed and hoped for the best!

So next year, I hope to continue with the progress I have been making this year and not give into the depression I get about my work. I have no excuses but myself.

I am working on this




and not very well. In fact it would be more like working on avoiding this painting. I am just not happy with it but I am loath to give up on it. I will give it another week and see what develops as I think I have found a solution.

I have worked on it since this image and  the little daisy flowers and stars have gone.  In the original form, it was just a green ground in the front but it just seem too much.  But the small daisies and  beads I had in my stash, seemed too small so I scrapped them.

To be honest I placed the Buddha too centrally and the green cloth too high up.  So on Friday, I went to the local Hobby Lobby and looked for inspiration which I found in the scrap-book aisles. Paper flowers.   It seems to work but will my painting skills be up to it.  I have been working in the water solvable oil paints I got a few months back.  I am not keen on them. I think I will stick to acrylics from now on.

Once I have finished this painting, I am going to stop doing the fixed still life format and draw things around the house that inspire my interest and then translate them into a painted image. This will give me more flexibility to maneuver the objects and create a more dynamic image.  I am looking forward to shaking things up and hopefully I will not be avoiding the studio so much.

Blue Hole Park Georgetown- Plein air

I attended my 3rd session with the Austin Plein Group today at the above location.  It’s a beautiful location situated on the south fork of the San Gabriel river in Georgetown, about 15 miles north of Pflugerville.  The weather for the 2nd day of August was superb. Normally by now we are suffering from 38C/100F +  temps which means by 10am  you are in the mid 90’s. However, we are having an unusually mild summer with a couple of ‘cold’ fronts coming down from Canada, leading to cooler night and daytime temperature.  So by the time I arrived at 10 am this morning it was only in low 80’s with scattered clouds.

As normal with painting outside, I had the usual dilemma of what do I paint.  I began by looking down the river with a tree to the side. I made some tentative strokes and vaguely sketch out the tree and the point where the limestone bluff wall of the river converged in my perspective.  At this point I decided I wasn’t up to the task of this view, I have no idea how to paint a tree, especially so close up in my view.  I need to look up Cezanne a bit before feel comfortable with that . So I quickly dipped a paper towel in the turps and scrubbed it off.

I then turned my easel around and looked directly at the bluff across from where I was standing.


my camera skills are not good but this basically the scene I was painting.


full view

I knew from the beginning I wasn’t going to make a nice little landscape extending along the river bank. I just concentrated on trying to interpret what I was seeing with paint. I was going to abstract what I could from a very limited view and try to get down what I was seeing.  I find it very difficult to focus on an expansive view, I get lost basically which is why I find landscape so difficult. My eye is wandering from place to place. So limiting my view, I thought, would help. It did to a degree.


8 x10  Linen Board

This is the resulting painting.  As I painted  I realised I have never painted water before. How do you paint something that can appear to be flat but have depth plus is constantly moving.  Then there was the limestone bluff, so many colours.  I could have spent many more hours there but thankfully, the crowds came to bathe in the river and it was time to pack up for the day.  For about 90 mins of actual painting time with a walk to car and a chat with the group members in 2¼ hrs I was there, I wasn’t too unhappy with the result, neither was I happy, more a blah, I could so better.

At the next meeting, I am going to try another medium. I told one of the other painters I was using oil paint after years of using acrylic paints and that I was finding it difficult not to mix the paint on the canvas when I was applying paint. She suggested using water-soluble oil paints as they dry quicker but not as much as acrylics.   The local art store was having a sale today, so I got some Lukas brand colours. I realise they aren’t up to the standard as Holbein or Windsor & Newton but it gives me a chance to try them out without too much cost associated with them.  I might try them out with my new still life setup.