A very happy and successful trip to Dublin for a workshop and painting competition. I spent a delightful 5 days painting on location with a wonderful group of people from North Dublin and surrounding areas.
Over the weekend I took part in 'Painting the Parish', a plein air painting exhibition and competition to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of St Kevin's Church in Dublin City. I've been focusing on the use of 'warm whites' in recent weeks. With this in mind, I decided not to use titanium white on my palette for the competition on Saturday, instead I chose warm white, warm light yellow and lead tin yellow lemon as my lightest values. I wanted to capture the warmth of the candle light inside the church. It seemed to work well - my finished painting won first prize in the competition!
A brilliant trip to Wexford for 'Art in the Open'. I met some amazing painters and shared lots of laughs with lovely people. And that's the best bit about the whole thing, the people. Yes, Wexford is beautiful and the painting locations are always full of inspiring material, but the thing that really makes Plein Air festivals wonderful is all the plein air painters. They're just such a great bunch. Always game for a laugh, no drama, just down-to-earth, genuine, out going, friendly people. And where else on earth can you discuss the finer points of easel design for a whole hour, without anyone getting bored?!
I had a lovely surprise this week when I was called by BBC Radio Shropshire. They wanted to have a little chat about art and how to get started with drawing or painting. You can listen to it for the next few days by using the link in the post and forwarding through the programme to 2 hours 15 minutes.
It was on Jim Hawkins Show on Friday 20th February at 11:15am, you can listen again on their website if my link doesn't work for your browser.
I sometimes talk about how a painting can only be ‘steered’ so far by the painter, then we have to stop, step back and ask the painting what it needs from the painter. This two way ‘conversation’ with the artwork made me scrape off a big chunk of a ‘finished’ painting this week – and I’m so glad that it did! Here’s what happened…
I went to stay with a painter friend in Tuscany last month. After a few rainy days in the mountains we found some sunshine by the sea in the beautiful Sestri Levante. A traditional Italian town with earth coloured houses built right up to the edge of the stunning 'Bay of Silence'.
Back in August I spent a couple of days painting at Heybridge Basin on the east coast. The tail end of a hurricane was forecast to arrive the following day so I decided to get out and make some studies of the gathering clouds. These two studies were made whilst hanging onto my easel in increasingly strong winds
... this view of the distinctive Westerkerk seen from a classic city street in the beautiful (and slightly quieter) Jordaan region. The weather conditions were very helpful as there was a bright but incredibly flat grey sky all day. This allowed me to work on the painting for a lot longer than usual...
... the whole time I was doing this, I was aware of two old men chatting by the sea wall. My eyes kept flicking back to their little silhouetted figures against the greys behind and I began to look for a way to include them in my tree painting.
I'm so pleased that my painting won first prize in the 2 hour timed painting competition in Wexford yesterday.
Participating artists were required to complete a painting of Wexford's Selskar Square in the time allowed. Finding a good outlook I took shelter from the torrential rain in a restaurant doorway with a view down the square.
I decided to paint a cafe with a bright orange awning in front of a deep blue house. I hoped that the complimentary colour combination would brighten an otherwise grey scene. As the rain got heavier I could see the colours reflected...