29 March 2011

A New Painting - Loch Garry 1

I've just started a new painting of Loch Garry.

I am working on especially cut MDF board because I already have a frame that I need it to fit. I painted the board with purple and gold acrylic paint, squeezing the colours directly onto the board and mixing them as I messed about with my brush.

When it was dry, I sanded down the surface to give my pastels something to grip onto and then sketched on the outline of the landscape using a pastel pencil.

I'll be working on it all tomorrow.

23 March 2011

Construction Page

I thought I'd let you know that I have got a tiny, wee, itsby bitsy bit of web presence back - I decided to put a temporary page up until my new site is ready.

What do you think?

I have a smile back on my face now, and am looking forward to its replacement.

22 March 2011

Malware On My Website!

I am currently between website design companies, leaving my old one for pastures new.  My website, however, will not be moving servers until at least May.

Two days ago, I discovered that my website, when opened showed this image on the right instead of my home page.  I contacted my new designers to see if they would be able to deal with it, but because it is still on my old designer's server, they pointed out that it is his problem.

I therefore contacted my old designer who basically didn't want to know because I am leaving him (I now realise that is was a wise move).  I am furious, because I now have an online presence that looks as though it will eat your PC for lunch.

I took the decision to take my site down, and for the first time in 10 years I have no website.  It's left me feeling very exposed in an odd kind of way.

All the work I have done splashing my web address all over the place, in craft fairs, in country clubs, in my blog, is fairly useless just now, and I'm a bit miffed to put it lightly.

15 March 2011

Merchandising My Work

Out to Sea signed greetings card
The decision to sell more than just my paintings was the right thing for me to do.

I had been exhibiting at an art festival, where I was standing selling my own work, and realised if people didn't want, or couldn't afford, to buy a painting, even if they liked my work, they were leaving empty handed.  Being present at the sale of my work, I also realised that as well as those willing to pay for an original, my paintings appealed to those who preferred to pay for prints.

I spent the following year resourcing companies that printed photos of my work, companies that sold blank greetings cards, and the necessary paraphernalia, and companies who cut mounts to my specified size.

I then went armed to the arts festival with original paintings, greetings cards and mounted A5 prints.  It was the right move, and I ended up financially doing considerably better than the year before.

Now I have lots of different products and have to constantly come up with new ways of selling them, but that's for another post.

8 March 2011

Photographing Paintings

A5 print of From Morar
I've always taken photos of my paintings; at first for my records, then for my website and finally for printing.

I sell my paintings' images as greetings cards and prints, but I found that the quality of my photos just wasn't good enough.  They were slightly blurred close up (which for large scale print is a no-no), the colours seemed all wrong or parts of the painting appeared over or under exposed.

Three weeks ago, I decided to address this, and now employ a professional photographer, Dean Edwards.  What a difference!  When you blow a photo up to it's full size, everything is in focus and I can clearly see the textures in my brushwork, and where the paint is thin, I can even see the roughness of the canvas.

I could have invested in a better camera, but it seems I needed to invest in the person taking the photos.

Here's to much better and larger prints.

1 March 2011

Culzean Castle Bluebells

I thought I would show you a painting at a number of different stages from start to finish.  It is of a bluebell wood at Culzean Castle, which I photographed last spring.  I tend to work in watercolour and gouache very much my own way, breaking rules right, left and centre, but it works for me.

Image 1
Image 1: The painting is gouache on watercolour paper, and as the painting was going to be mainly green (despite the subject being bluebells), I covered the whole of the background in a contrasting purple (my favourite colour, by the way).  I then sketched out the image using a pastel pencil and began to block in shadows, with hints of the green foliage that was yet to come.

Image 2
Image 2: I used a variety of blues, yellows and browns, including Prussian and ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, burnt sienna and burnt umber to mix my greens, while painting more detail into the background and introducing colour and light to the foreground.

Image 3
Image 3:  I love using blocks of colour, letting the types of brushes I am using dictate the shapes on the paper; I started to illustrate the trees this way and added more depth to both the foreground and background.

Image 4
Image 4:  I worked on the detail here, trying to bring light into the background through the trees as well as on the leaves of the tree on the left.  As I painted in all the foliage on the floor of the wood, I allowed the original purple that covers the paper to show through, especially on the bottom left - this helped me deepen the shadows.

Image 5:  Now the fun bit - adding the bluebells with a mix of cobalt blue, white and purple.  I dulled down over zealous greens and yellows, and added final details to the tree trunks.

I use Chinese calligraphy paint brushes as well as western square tipped and pointed sables.  As I said before, when it comes to watercolour, for me, anything goes.