Rob Adams a Painter's Blog painter's progress

July 18, 2016

Fifty Shades of French Grey pt2

This is the rest of my efforts from a distinctly damp France. It is so good to have an intensive period of just drawing and painting the day and place as it presents itself. I probably spent more time than I needed hunting for subjects rather than just getting on with it.

 

St Malo, France, Drawing, Pen and Ink

Grey and drippy St Malo… One of pen and ink’s great strengths is that flat light often makes interesting drawings. Here the rain made the distance merge into a single tone. It was not like that when I actually drew as the rain stopped almost as soon as I sat down. One of the key skills of doing anything plein air is to remember how it looked 5min ago!

 

Pont Aven, drawing, pen and ink, france

This is the pretty town of Pont Aven. I was attracted by the unusual viewpoint here. A slipway ran down to the water allowing me to get a snail’s eye view of the town. I was very careful to get the head heights of the people within a plausible range. People too close tend to look like giants!Pont Aven, France, drawing, pen and ink

Another one in the town. I was taken by the huge gothic mansion but wanted to show how it stood above the street rather than do a purely architectural rendering. To that end I decided to crop the building and allow it to fade to paper.

 

Pont Aven, waterwheel, drawing, pen and ink, France

This is the famous waterwheel in Pont Aven which was painted by Gauguin. It is a tricky subject that is prone to overdrawing. I saw several versions painted by others of our party where they had worked very hard to get the wheel correct, but in doing so had over done it. With that sort of thing you need to do all the careful drawing out, but then edit most of it out again! In this way the wheel becomes part of the scene and does not overly draw the eye. This mind you is a tendency we all have, if a bit is tricky we pay it more attention and by doing so give it undue prominence. With wheels I make sure I spend the time to get the underlying ellipse correct. To do this you need to draw in the major and minor axis, just winging it will lead in most cases to disaster!

 

Villerville sur Mer, France, drawing, pen and ink

This is Villerville sur Mer, I would have liked to have had more time here, a charming small seaside town. To draw this I had to perch precariously on a small pavement. Quite tricky perspective on the cars, you have to always check the length of the sides  in views like this, you subconscious wants you to draw them longer than they really appear. The same with the buildings I frequently see artists get buildings twice as wide as they should be.

 

Villerville, france, drawing, pen and ink

Another from Villerville, these mad gothic mansions are a feature of the area so I had to draw one. I had to finish the shrubbery later, one of the disadvantages of pen and ink is that any dark area is very labour intensive. It is also important not to try and draw the trees too carefully. What is needed is an equivalent in tone and texture, it does not need to be too specific. I try to add interest by varying line weight and use a variety of groupings of marks.

 

cricqueboef, France, church, drawing, pen and ink

This is the 7thC chapel at Cricqueboef just outside Villerville. I must do more pen work on plain paper I have become a little over addicted to that blue! Straight pen is great for quick sketches like this.

 

Villerville, steps, drawing, pen and ink, france

Last drawing of Villerville I liked the tricky viewpoint.

 

Pont Aven, France, watercolour

I would have liked to have done more watercolour, but it was so wet the oils were more practical. I did this one of the boats in Pont Aven under the shelter of some trees, even so the washes took forever to dry.

 

Pont Aven, watercolour, painting, france

This is the last from Pont Aven it got a bit muddy, the dark green area just would not dry so I had to resort to more detail in that area than I would have liked.

 

That’s it for France. I now have to paint like mad for some upcoming exhibitions!

April 23, 2016

Taking a Break

Filed under: Dorset,Drawing,Painting,Uncategorized,Watercolour — Tags: , , , , , , — Rob Adams @ 5:16 pm

First post in a very long while. I am at present rebuilding my house and studio which has alas consumed all of my energies. At first I tried to keep the paintings coming but had to give up as there were just too many calls on my time. As I am cursed with a fair degree of practical know how I am designing it all and doing much of the work myself. Oddly I find building a brick wall almost as satisfying as painting. There is a definite link in all making activities, there is the same planning and problem solving going on and the same satisfaction in looking at the final result after a day’s work. Presumably this is the feeling that a stone age person felt upon looking at a hand axe he or she had just napped from a chunk of flint.

Looking back I think this is the longest period I have gone without painting or drawing anything for three or four decades. I do wonder if it will bring any change. I am very much looking forward to restarting and wonder how it will feel. Will I be rusty? Full of new inspiration and drive? We will find out in due course. My instinct tells me that it will be hard to get the flow going but also that the break will have done me good. In some ways I haven’t stopped. I have thought of things to paint and have been planning new work in my head. I’m not sure I am in any way able to turn off that part of my brain!

One of the reasons for the big rebuild is to be able to exhibit work in my home and have open studio days. The first of these is coming up soon and here is the link to Dorset Arts Week which happens every 2 years. Fortunately I have plenty of work framed so I don’t need to frantically prepare content, though I do have to get cards printed. The date does at least give me a deadline on the building works that I cannot avoid!

Here are a few watercolours I painted before my constructional sabbatical began.

Golden Cap, Dorset, watercolour, painting, plein air

This is Golden Cap, I have been here a few times to paint but never been very lucky with the light. This day was no exception! Very breezy and hard to paint but I enjoyed it anyhow.

 

Melbury Hill, Dorset, Watercolour, Plein air, painting

This is Melbury Hill one of the highest hills in Dorset, it was done just after Christmas on a wet and windy day. It was hard work just holding on to everything! I was lucky though as it rained on just about everything but me. Very dramatic and I wished I had brought my oils.

 

Melbury Hill, Dorset, watercolour, painting

Once home out of the weather I tried my hand at a half sheet, but not quite right, I will have another go as I like the subject.

 

Stour, River, Dorset, plein air, painting

This is the River Stour near my house. The river was swollen due to storms and looked great in the early morning light.

 

crematorium, Manston, dorset, watercolour

This is in the village of Manston near St Nicholas’ church which is the site of one of the first cremations in recent times. Needs a figure maybe.

 

Hammoon, Stour, River, hambledon hill, watercolour, plein air

This is the Stour again but near Hammoon. A great view but I am going to have to get up really early to catch it at its best.

 

Fiddleford, river stour, Dorset, watercolour, plein air

Finally here is the River Stour yet again this time at the lovely Fiddleford Manor and the last time I put brush to paper. The third watercolour of the day and easily the best.

I was then busy with organising the Wapping show at the Mall Galleries. I only sold one, but was delighted that it was one of my pen drawings that I had exhibited to test the water as it were. Drawings are hard to sell as they sit somewhere between prints and paintings.

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