Thursday 20 October 2016

Return to Gythion Next Year

' Gythion Glow ( detail)
  The best antidote for post-holiday blues  is to book the next one! We had a lovely time in Weymouth but Ian has  now got a nasty cold which I'm beginning to go down with. We were cheering ourselves up with planning for going away  for my birthday next year, probably Yorkshire when a redirected brochure  arrived with a week in the  Peloponnese staying in the Hotel Pantheon , Gythion . A sketch from the hotel when we were staying  over Easter 2006 formed the basis for 'Gythion Glow' ( CQ 'Thin Blue line' Challenge) , one of the first quilts I used acrylic paint on ( and sold!)

We had an inspirational fortnight  travelling around the  area  :  amazing historical sites , flowers (especially orchids);  lovely  food and drink and  so many crumbly doors  and magnificent scenery to capture in watercolour. We've been  back to Mycenae independently  from Paralia Astros  but travelling around the Mani is more challenging.
Made the booking today!!

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Marine Inspiration from Knit and Stitch

 Last week I helped out on the Quilters guild stand at the Knit and Stitch show at Alexandra Palace  and before and after my stint ( it was open until 7 on Thursday)  got to look round the galleries. A very good year, there was a lot of interest particularly with a  coastal theme. I  loved the intricate detail  in  the latest work ' Findings' by Alice Fox - I did  rust dyeing with her a couple of years ago and am doing another at  Eastbourne next June based on the seaside. She very patiently answered  questions on how she' d drilled holes in the limpets (with a Dremel )

 I spent some time absorbed in  the exhibition by Debbie Lyddon. I first saw her work at the Landmark in Teddington and have followed her blog ever since. The feeling for the landscape she's in  is integral to her work, I just love it.
 Also inspired by beachcombing and the seaside, the very varied pieces of work by 'UnFold' were so inspiring, reminding me of the 100 mussel shells I collected while in Puglia with Dorothy Caldwell  and also  ideas on how I might continue the work I've started using ' postcards in a more systematic way to explore textures and a sense of place.

 So  our  10th trip back to Weymouth staying at Mariners View is timely. Today after a very leisurely start ( we didn't leave the house until 12!)  We walked  out to the Chesil Beach Café and fortified by excellent lunch followed by coffee and Florentines we strolled back on the path of the old railway, beachcombing on the way.

Start Oil Painting - Glazes, Scumbling, Impasto

The second of my beginners oil painting class  built on the underlayers we'd  prepared the previous week - oils need time to try.
In the morning on the primed board we  first applied glazes of  Alizarin diluted with  thinner and linseed oil mixture - the idea being that the underpainting shows through . Then glazes of grey   and yellow ochre- at last the kiwi fruit started to take shape
Then adding highlights using a pale pink ( a little white goes a long way and lots of mixing involved from starting point of Barbie pink!)
These were left to dry  and similar process of glazes added to red and green sketch on paper.  First glazes of alizarin and yellow ochre, also some cadmium red with a teeny bit of white to make it opaque rather than transparent.

The addition of bright greens and then greys made a dramatic difference - I really liked how the complimentary colours  make the apples 'pop'.
Then after lunch   with glazes partially dry we 'scumbled' dry paint into the glazes ,built up layers with small brushstrokes of concentrated colour, and scratched out areas with palette knife. I loved how the brush marks from my imperfect priming of the board show through. And look how good my palette control was ! It helped that I'd brought lots of my own palette knives and brushes with me - you really need a separate brush for each colour as you don't clean them until the end of the session
I was really pleased with the results considering it was just 2 session, I tried to use different techniques for each piece of fruit, some more interesting than others. I look forward to applying them in my 'advanced painting ' course which starts soon.
Considering we were all working from the same subject with the same materials there was a wide variety of paintings produced.  From across the room  Julia captured my concentration in her charming study ( even my earrings!)

Saturday 8 October 2016

Drawing Tuesday : Cycling to Reculver

Well I intended to some drawing on Tuesday and packed my rucksack with all kinds of materials I might use when I revisited Birchington by train. But the objective of the trip was to take my folding bike on the train for the first time ( it worked a treat) and once I was pedalling in the sun, I couldn't resist the lure of Reculver in the distance.

Minnis Bay was very quiet compared to my last visit in August and there were just a few cyclists and walkers along the trail . I stopped frequently to take photos , especially of the sea defences in varying stages of disintegration. It was a lot busier at Reculver with school groups but an interesting place to explore further .

The 3 mile cycle back was a lot harder than on the way out as the wind was much stronger and  had changed direction so  I was riding directly into it .At least I got to try all the gears! I was too tired to stop and sketch but will do so next time ( and take less stuff!)

The previous Friday I'd had a  trip to Whitstable with 3 other from CQ Kent group. We  managed to fit in an  hours drawing in between coffee at the Horsebridge Centre (  with interesting exhibition by Lisa Woolett) and excellent fish and chips at the  Forge. We had a very enjoyable time , definitely one to repeat and maybe we might even fit in a bit more sketching.