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Nocturne, Hartland Church, Devon: oil 12x9

, 17:57 - Permalink

DailyPaintWorks.com Challenge: a Nocturne in Two Colours.

Tricky one this, because the challenge colours didn't include white or black pigments. Using my previous knowledge of working on oil-paper, I decided to go for a sheet of Arches Huile and try to use the white of the paper along with thin washes to get the light parts of the scene. Moonlight has a peculiar deadening effect on landscape colours. I have managed to achieve some of these dead "greys" in the past using ultramarine and either cadmium red or cadmium scarlet; in this picture I opted for the scarlet. I've also managed it to some extent using ultramarine and light red (but light red isn't in my box right now). The picture was worked from a photo that I took on holiday several years ago; walking back towards the holiday cottage in mid-evening, the moon emerged above the local church and the picture was snapped. Just right for the DPW challenge.

Most of the painting is composed of thin washes, made from oil and Zest-It thinner. More paint has been applied with a palette knife at the bottom section, so that the land is denser and thicker in pigment than the sky. Arches oil paper has some interesting properties, permitting watercolour-like washes to be made and to create texture in those washes thanks to the nap of the paper. A few of the small "streetlights" dots were lifted out with a tightly-pointed piece of kitchen-towel dipped in thinner. The whole painting was completed in around an hour and a half.

https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/nocturne-hartland-church-devon/623772

Blue Jug: oil 8x8 inches

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Back now, after a rather washed-out holiday in southern Scotland. Sadly no painting of note done, due to very heavy rain, but hopefully some references to use in the future. "Blue Jug" was painted directly from the still-life set-up a few weeks ago, on Ampersand gessobord. Going to DailyPaintWorks shortly.

Update: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/blue-jug-and-fruit/622694

City Back-Street: oil 10x8 inches

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Another DailyPaintWorks challenge, this time the challenge was to turn the reference image upside down and paint from it. I have known about this method for a long time, but oddly enough have never tried it (to the best of my knowledge). I decided to choose a subject with definite shapes in it, rather than something "organic". Townscapes are not my usual theme, but it can be interesting to just paint in "blocks" of colour and see the buildings emerge. This time I painted on a stretched canvas; I actually wish I had stuck to my usual board because this canvas seemed a little hungry for my paint oil. Nonetheless it was completed over a four-hour period (with an hour out for lunch!)....seems a long time for a 10x8, but in fact it took me a while to get used to handling the upside-down image, so I was rather slow. And I didn't turn the painting round the right away until I'd finished....in the end I was quite surprised at the result, that it had actually come out looking like the street....but in a looser style. I agree that "upside down" prevents too much fiddling detail and really does make you think differently. The picture isn't for sale at this time because I'm not going to be around for a while.

I shall possibly have to miss the next challenge because I shall be absent from the computer; but maybe I'll be able to catch up in due course. This will be my last post this month; am back again after the first week of September.

P.S for those recently visiting the blog, I am sorry that the comments are off, but I was receiving a lot of spam. I may have to look for an alternative blog system, although I prefer to keep it all under my own control, rather than letting the likes of Blogger et al run the show.

Zinnia in Jar; Oils 6x6 inches

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A quick one on this occasion; small still life with zinnia set up and painted over a couple of days instead of my usual couple of hours, due to other home activities. It would have been nice to have more time to spend adjusting the really fluorescent red colouring of this flower, but unfortunately not to be. I completed it in a more simple graphic style and decided to let it rest there. http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/zinnia-in-jar/618826

Peared Off: pastel 13x9 inches

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This blog hasn't got a "secure" padlock but the main website is now fully on https and all seems to be up and running, bar one or two pesky images that refuse to show up. They'll be fixed in due course. Last week I was forced off any painting by family events, so a little rattled not to get something completed. However, Peared Off was finished and is currently on the website and also at OriginalArtUnder100.com This one is worked with a lot of crosshatching in harder pastel, before laying on soft pastel gently for the fruit and little white cloth.

Website down-time

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The move to https has been a little fraught and although pages have been coded correctly (on the whole), several sections of the site are not displaying as they should. This blog is still without a padlock symbol, although at the moment that isn't a desperate thing. I'll be working on it to try and get it sorted; in the meantime, I have created and activated a new site called https://www.smallartstuff.co.uk which you can browse....a lot of the pictures appear in this blog as well, but at least it is active. I have more paintings to come on here, but the next few weeks are a holiday period for me, so postings will be less frequent till early September.

Little Brown Egg: oils 6x6 inches

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Maintaining the current pace with oils at present; this little still life was set up to work with blues and contrasting white, plus a touch of metal. The egg adds a splash of something somewhat near an orange colour. Pleased with this one; completed in around 2 to 2 1/2 hours; seems a long time for such a small painting but the spoon gave me most work to do, to fathom out the colours to represent colourless metal.... https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/little-brown-egg/617011

In progress---Late Afternoon, Back Street: oil 12x9 inches

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More out of my comfort zone, this painting was done for the DailypaintWorks.com weekly challenge; theme, light and shadows. I will finish it when the paint has dried back a bit and is not so sticky. The windows still need forming, and various sections of the roofs need more definition. The source image was a photo taken in the nearby city, catching the buildings half in light and half shadow.

For some unexplainable reason, the oil paintings have been going very well and I have put pastels on the back burner for the time being. I have completed six oils in around eight days, which is unheard of. I set my mind to tackling the DPW weekly challenge, producing the jug and spoon painting a couple of weeks ago, then moved on to complete FruitBowl (last post), plus another still life, a small floral, a further still life and now Late Afternoon (in progress). Apart from today's post, the others were all painted directly from life and I think this has suddenly kick-started a flow of work.

I am hoping that this will help in time to direct the pastel paintings away from a more "drawn" appearance to one of a "painted" look. It is tempting to draw every last detail, even when using pastels....by working in oils in a quicker, more broad manner, I hope to transfer some of that thinking over to the pastels (eventually).

On the technical front, I am planning to move my entire website over to the https protocol. I've recoded all the website, but the blog might cause problems, since there are many internal links to images (in each post) that I have to find the code for, to alter (if I can). When this will happen, I don't know but possibly during next week. If it all goes wrong, then I shall have to simply reload with the old http protocol and try to fathom out what went wrong.

Fruitbowl: oil on MDF panel; 3.5 x 3.5 inches

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https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/fruitbowl/614615
Things are on a roll with oils right now; four pictures in 5 days, all worked directly from the subject.

So, before the final demolition of the remaining nectarines, here they are in a bowl, painted in oils on a very small-format piece of gessoed MDF board; measuring just over 3 inches square (around 75-80 mm).

I continue to like painting things in these mini-scales. They are often overlooked in the grand scheme of things, as people rush headlong through life seeking only the biggest, brightest and jazziest canvases. But at least I have plenty of storage space for my small pieces. For several years I've preferred the smooth surface that gessoed boards provide. I still have canvas and canvas-boards, but now I treat them with several layers of acrylic gesso to smooth out some of the tooth.
I set this small board up in my pochade box, which takes a max. size of 6x8 inches (and will handle an 8x8 inch board with the top flap open). It makes a useful table-easel (although small). I have also used it a number of times outdoors, resting on my lap and steadied with one arm (this again can be difficult if the pose is maintained for a couple of hours, due to arm cramp). Some folk have fitted tripod legs to their pochade boxes.

Spoon-Bender: oil 8x8 inches

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Occasionally I have a go at DailyPaintWorks' weekly challenge, and this week the theme is water. My subject isn't overly full of colour, but the refraction of light creates an interesting double image of the spoon. The oil was painted on a canvas-board that had been previously textured with some gesso, for another project that didn't happen. You can find the painting at DPW here: https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/spoon-bender/614832

Bowl and Nectarine; watercolour 6x4 inches.

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https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/bowl-and-nectarine/613958

I don't often pull out the watercolours, but this year I am thinking of taking them away with me on day-trips during the main holiday period. As much as I like pastels, I have found it difficult to work satisfactorily out of a small day-sack with them. I have selected various fragments of colours to try and get a good spread for outdoor work; then sorted them into two or three small plastic segmented boxes. Such a method should work ok, and it does....unless you drop a box. A couple of years ago I did just that, and was lucky to salvage all the pastel fragments. I then kept them indoors for the remainder of my time away and resorted to a small set of Cotman watercolour pans for any further draw/paint efforts.

I've spent so much time in recent years with pastels and oils that I've tended to forget how useful watercolours are for simply sketching things. Last week I sat out in the garden and made a passable attempt at a cottage window amongst the flowering weeds; done on hot pressed paper with the intention of adding a few ink lines (which never happened).

This very small painting of a two-handled cup with nectarine is a follow-on from last post's pastel nectarine duo. With the gradual softening of the fruit, it became necessary to start eating them up before they finally collapsed. The painting is pretty simplified and I've just aimed at representing the cup via the dark mass of blue-purple behind it; plus a bit of pale blue-grey shading; and then the darker colours for the fruit. It gets me back into the process of using translucent paint rather than the opaqueness of pastel or oil. I have found the Langton Prestige range of paper to be rather nice to use and it seems particularly good when making use of the granulation effects of certain colours, like Ultramarine Blue.

Nectarines: pastel 7x5 inches

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Another quickish pastel, this one on a piece of gessoed mountboard. Nectarines do not have quite the same velvety bloom on them as plums do, but there are some nice colours to be found. My local shop doesn't always sell them, so here are two from a batch of eight (four of which have already been eaten!).
These two were perched on a window-ledge and I had to pastel them by resting my drawing-board on the ledge and partly on the radiator underneath, to get the viewing-angle I wanted. This proved to be a rather tiring position, so I shortened my time on it. I'd like to do them again in another medium, so if there are any fresh ones available next week-end, I'll stock up.
https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/nectarines/613776

Magnolia Window: pastel 10x10 inches

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Pastel on Canson "Touch" brown pastel paper.
A local cottage has a very nice magnolia tree that spreads out across its front wall and flowers prolifically in the springtime. I have aimed to capture the Victorian window style and surrounding stonework, set against the blossoming tree.
Short post this time....very busy. This pic is listed at DailyPaintWorks.com

Exhibition Time

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I've reached that point in the year when selecting and framing work for local exhibitions is occupying most of my time, so there's no image this week for the blog.

During my annual rummage through work, I often come across pieces that I've done and put away, and forgotten about; it is interesting to compare work done over a period of a year or so. I also re-discovered some old pieces done in the now defunct Carbothello pastel-sticks.....they produce pastel-pencils that are very good, but I used to love the square-section sticks, since it was possible to create broader strokes. Finding these pictures again has given me some new ideas. In fact, I still have some of the old Carbothello square-sticks, they must be all of forty years old now! Would be nice if they made them again, but I don't suppose they will. So, back to the framing....hope to have a new picture completed for around this time next week.

Sunlit Daisies: pastel 11x9 inches approx.

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Often, just as I get on a "roll" with producing pictures, something comes along and puts a spanner in the works to slow me up. I've had to stop all my oil-painting for a while, since my workroom is currently being commandeered for other purposes. It shouldn't be for much longer but I'm a bit annoyed because my rhythm has been broken. Anyway....back to the pastels, and this little daisies-in-a-mug study was produced in around two and a half hours, over two days.

https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/sunlit-daisies/586939 $75

Hawthorn Tree: Oil 6x6 inches

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Mostly back online again now and trying to catch up on missed painting days. I am selecting a group of photos and sketches from recent canal-side walks and looking to make paintings out of them. Whether they will be oils or pastels...or both...has not been fixed, so I shall just work with whatever I think appropriate. I might even do a scene more than once.

https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/hawthorn-tree/586245

The very long Thames and Severn canal has a focal point at Stroud, Gloucestershire; once off and away from the main roads, this walk reveals numerous hidden glades, woodland scenes and unusual viewpoints. The small painting here is a simple one; a hawthorn tree in full flower, of which there were many on the day I went out. I decided to return to oils for these small works and I have a couple more currently in progress.

Pause for Tech Problems

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Due to the crash of my main computer, after a virus attack, I am rather hobbled for accessing my website and this blog; so for the time being there won't be any further updates of new paintings. Most of my files are on back-up but it's a long job to extract them...I'm going to have to get a new computer in any case, and it'll be a completely new system. In the meantime, I am now back on DailyPaintWorks.com, to which it is easier for me to upload new paintings because they have FTP,...so do check in there from time to see what I have. This blog is hosted under my own website and I can't access the files on that either, right now!

I do have a couple of small oils completed now, and a pastel just awaiting final touches...they haven't been photographed yet, though. Select my DailyPaintWorks link on the menu in this blog.

Seven Boats: pastel 20 x15 inches approx.

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After a brief spell of being below-par, I am now recovered and back on the pictures again. This picture of small boats was started a little while ago and just completed around the same time as the previous post "Summer's Yellow". Much of this work was done in harder Rembrandt pastels and looks more like a drawing than a painting. The sandy-coloured mud and water were both completed in softer pastels, however.

I don't often work this large, but it's quite nice to spread out a little further. There were more boats in the reference photo but I just chose the clearest-looking ones and kept to a small group.

I'm also back working with oils again on small panels; and this week I shall re-open my membership with Daily PaintWorks.

Summer's Yellow: pastel 6x7 inches

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Somewhat indisposed right now and unable to do much painting; a couple of weeks from now should be easier. Managed this little one a few days ago, on UART 400-grit paper. The view is taken from a coastal walk done a few short years ago; looking down into a shallow valley en route, to see this white farmhouse nestled amongst sunny trees and bushes.

Lakeside Trees: pastel 15x13 inches approx.

, 11:37 - Permalink

A couple of items completed since last time, here is one of them, although a bit out of season. My local lake-shores always put on a good display in autumn and I have been keeping the photo of this one back for a while, before finally launching out on it. It provided the opportunity to use some of the dull and brighter reds in the pastel-box.

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