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Update frequency changes

, 12:47

In February I shall be taking a long break from DailyPaintWorks.com membership and therefore, for the foreseeable future, there will be no new paintings posted to my gallery on that site. The usual updates on this blog, for DPW entries, will cease with immediate effect. Nothing is wrong....but at this time I simply can't keep up with the ongoing pressure of trying to paint something on a daily basis. Over the next few months I am also going to be caught up in a fair amount of house renovation; attempting to paint in anything like a serious manner will just be impossible.

Posts here will continue, but only when I have a piece of work finished. I would like to cut down on the plethora of little sketchy pieces and look at completing just a handful, over the next six months or so. There is little point in amassing a body of work, only to have it stored in boxes because no-one is interested in viewing pastels, or graphite, or whatever that just happens to NOT be on canvas. I am looking at new pastel techniques and want to be able to play with them without the pressure of completing a "finished" work. I'm also contemplating some quite different subject material and therefore don't want the bother of a daily painting "must post something" hanging over me.

Painting is a heavily intellectual exercise. Sometimes I just want to climb down from it and be creative at a lower level. I've dragged out an old rag rug and am gathering bits and pieces to finish it off. The work doesn't tax me as greatly as painting. The problems to solve are less demanding. It's....just easier, less tense, with fewer disappointments.

Winter Wall: oil on paper 12x9 inches

, 10:58

Have been waiting for this one to dry before handling for photograph. The original source reference was actually an autumn view with rather dull greeny-brown hills and mud, so I decided to winter-ise it. The stone wall slopes away to the right down a very steep hill and in fact my later photos in that area provide a few interesting possibilities for a larger painting. There is also a pastel of this same scene in progress; I haven't worked on it for a couple of weeks because I now have flu and am pretty much incapable of major focus for any serious painting.....so it will have to wait.

Winter Wall is on Arches oil paper, specially produced for handling the characteristics and properties of oil paint; it does not allow bleed-through to the back, permits thin washes and the application of impasto paint, and provides a smooth surface rather than the toothiness of board or canvas. It can be framed with a mountboard, or affixed to a suitable acid-free panel and framed directly without glass. The paint can be varnished, just as if it were on canvas.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/652277

Cloudscape, North Wales: oil 7x5 inches

, 11:54

I'm working on one or two more demanding pastels at the moment, so have backed off further small ones and returned to oils for a while. This one is a small 7x5 inch picture on gessoed MDF panel, with rainstorm clouds and green shadowed landscape.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/647225

Somerset Rhyne: pastel 10x11 inches approx.

, 21:04

(not for sale)

I'm using some new pastel techniques, to try and improve the way I start a picture and get colours laid down as a foundation to build on. For some years I've started with a standard pastel-paper or card, in the usual manufactured colours; but now I'm playing around with re-coating and re-colouring old failed works. The picture above was made on a sheet of pastel card that had once borne a fairly dull and ordinary green landscape. I scrubbed off a lot of the pastel with a 3-inch decorator's brush, then washed turps over it to fix the resultant green-grey colour. Once it was dry I brushed a coat of clear Winsor & Newton acrylic gesso over it.

The landscape was marked in with a square-ended hard conte stick. After this, areas were filled in loosely with lots of hatched lines, using other coloured conte sticks and the edges of medium-hard Rembrandt pastels. From here I set about developing the trees and grasses, with more lines and hatches. The willow-trees in my locality exhibit many tangled branches and twigs, so line-work was very appropriate for them. This was autumn/winter, so the trees were bare but often display reddish-browns and mauves on their branches, when seen in weak sunlight.

The steep green bank was the hardest object to create. These moorland rhynes ("reens") are often in deep cuttings, edged with reeds, trees and sloping fences. This bank had been shorn of all its reeds and was sporting a haphazard collection of dry grass, mud and green tufts...none of it particularly thrilling to paint, so I decided to just keep it simple.

Softer pastels were not brought in until the second session of work. I deliberately avoided them until I was happy with all the line-work and hatching. Softer colours were used for the yellow grasses, the distant tree clump, and to add rusty-reds to twig-tips. The sky was kept simple and a light-source created to hint at a hidden sun. Finally, two swans added at the river-bend, using the edge of a hard grey-white Rembrandt pastel.

Buddleia Visitor: pastel 8x8 inches

, 09:44

Posted a while back, now at DailyPaintWorks for seven-day auction:

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/643379

"Glass Eggcup": pastel 10x10 inches

, 19:48

Pastel on pastelmat card; although the image is 10x10 inches (25x25cm approx), it has been slightly cropped here because I had to fit it into my scanner (which is only A4 size, or 8 inches across). The bottom edge was omitted but it is actually just ochre-yellow pastel.

DailypaintWorks entry date: will update this post when image has been uploaded; this should happen around 6th or 7th January. Oops! Almost forgot; http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/640261

This work was completed in early December but I had not got around to photographing/scanning it. At the time, the light-levels in my house were dreadfully poor during the daytime, due to thick cloud and drizzly rain. I set this still-life up on top of the fridge, where light was picked up through a small south-facing window. I completed the painting by resting my work-board's top edge on the fridge-edge, and remained standing for the two and a half hours it took to do.....no room to put an easel. I added a further twenty minutes the following day for minor details. The end result is very subdued, courtesy of a limited palette to match the limited strength of daylight. The glass eggcup is quite old and has been around the house for many years.

I have started 2017 with a landscape, still under way, to come on here when completed. (nb sorry, comments not accepted at this time due to excess spamming).

Yellow Gourd; pastel 8x8 inches

, 18:54

Last post before Christmas. An experimental piece on roughly textured paper, which is a piece of used PastelMat textured with clear gesso. A greeny-yellow gourd set against a contrasting magenta-coloured sheet of paper.

This one will eventually get onto DailyPaintWorks after Christmas, and I'll update this post with the link. UPDATE:

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/638166

Starts 31st December 2016.

(nb I regret that comments to this blog are suspended due to excessive spamming. Trackbacks however are on).

RedBubble gallery

, 12:18

Many years back I had a few small successes with prints and cards on Zazzle. These days it is a very overstuffed site, with zillions of products and the artist has a very tiny chance of being found. I may still go back there; but at present I am concentrating on a new account at RedBubble.com

Not so many products, but that suits me because I honestly don't think my pictures are suited to trousers, jumpers and baby rompers.

I am here; http://www.redbubble.com/people/krisdee

At present there are only three images; it takes time for me to work out what might suit and prepare the images for upload. I hope to get a few more pictures up there in due course, probably during the Christmas holidays.

I do have other cards available, on my main website, http://www.christinederrick.com/cardsandprints.htm; these are six-inch square ones, and I have these available at home to post out. RedBubble unfortunately doesn't seem to do square cards.

The 15th December will be my last day for posting out anything, anywhere, until early January. I'll continue with blog entries for a week or so until close to Christmas and then......zzzzzzzzz......for a few days.

"Coast": acrylic 24x16 inches

, 13:14

This picture is in my OriginalArtUnder100.com gallery

I spend a lot of time on pastels and after a while I need to just go away and play with something else. I have found that acrylics don't bend to my natural tendency for detail; the more I push my luck, the worse things get. So instead, I attempt to take a more casual approach to them....scrub the paint around a bit...paint over old failed acrylics...chuck on some texture-paste...get out the Nancy Reyner book Acrylic Illuminations, gather up the gels and metallics and just have fun, without any "saleable" end product in mind.

"Coast" is a picture that had actually been thought about for some while. In early 2016 I took photos of a local coastline. While brooding over them some days later I was attracted to one that seemed to divide the landscape up into strips. Each one had something different in it, like water, mud or grass. I noted it and copied the file over into another "possibilities" folder on my desktop. Last week I pulled the image out again, and decided that it was time to do something.

I rarely work large; and even this size canvas at 24x16 inches is considered only modest by today's abstract painters. I am not noted for being a speedy painter, however this work was pretty much finished over three sessions, totalling around 6 to 7 hours. I worked out various textures for each strip; the grass at the bottom was done with high-solid gel gloss while, further up, the mid-distance was made with sandy texture-paste. Once completed, everything was left to dry for a few days. Adding the paint came next; I wanted to re-create the typical blue-greys and pinky browns of a coastal "tide's out" view, but add touches of shine with pearlescent white. The shimmery paint was skimmed over the ridges of dried gloss medium to resemble wet mudflats, while thin lines were put in at the horizon to catch hazy sunlight.

Some while after completing it, I realised that texture was also something I was seeking further in my pastel pictures; using thicker primer and experimenting with grainy surfaces. Some of the acrylic media are capable of being used for pastel work, such as micaceous iron oxide and sandy paste....something I can think about further in the coming weeks.

Run-Up to Christmas: and Tomatoes

, 18:10

As we head out of November into the last month of the year, I tend to slow down a bit with painting. Photographing new work becomes more awkward, due to the low light levels outdoors (I always photograph outdoors if I possibly can). Posting purchased work also becomes more frazzled during the build-up to Christmas, as the post office handles ever more parcels. Delivery abroad has lots of cut-off dates. I may have one more entry for DailyPaintWorks prior to Christmas, but if not then activity will resume in early January.

This past week I have completed a small pastel still-life (more or less), just a little tidying-up to do before attempting a scan or photo. In stark contrast to this, I returned to my acrylic box and almost finished off a 24x16 inch canvas......very rare for me, these days....that too needs some alterations but it was a refreshing change from dry media.

I will soon be starting to sort out my harder pastels....a recent purchase of 90 Rembrandt sticks now necessitates an overhaul of my "hard" box and removal of any dye-based pastels that have been lurking for some years. I use Unison as my softest, along with Daler-Rowney; Rembrandts are somewhat harder than these and are very good for "cutting back" into soft pastel when a colour change is required or a section needs reworking. There aren't that many hard pastels available in the UK....Rembrandt fills the role very well. I'm also about to test out some Koh-I-Noor Toison d'Or sticks.

Finally.....continuing with experimental hand-textured surfaces, the tomatoes picture below was worked on a piece of acid-free mountboard, first painted with a light coat of ochre acrylic, then a layer of Winsor and Newton clear gesso. No granular texture such as pumice or sand, just the gesso. The work was lightly fixed at several stages, with a final light spray at the end.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/629261 starting at $38.

This will be the last for 2016, on DailyPaintWorks, but I'll be continuing with new work during December.

Pears on Plate: pastel 8x8 inches

, 14:03

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/625068

After last week's brightly coloured apple on Uart paper, this week's fruit is a little more sombre. It is also the first piece that I have worked on a hand-textured sheet of mountboard. The board was coated with a couple of layers of clear gesso, using a bristle brush. No grains of pumice or other particles, just gesso. There is enough tooth created by the gesso to hold the pastel very well. (another idea from Karen Margulis' blog!). Working on such a surface was quite a different experience from PastelMat. The board is firm and you can push pastel over it without fear of ruckling up a paper surface. It also sands your pastels down, but the result is a much more painterly effect, no hard edges and not much opportunity for fiddling details.

The pears themselves were a soft golden brown with patches of green and muted highlights. The plate below them is made of glass. Light is coming from top right (the plate was on a window ledge in natural light, albeit rather dull). I did need to spray the picture at a couple of stages and also tap off loose dust but it has all held together very well.

I like this rough surface and have completed a further picture which will go up in a couple of week's time.

Fruit of Autumn: pastel 6x6 inches

, 15:15

Here's a small pastel painting on Uart grade 240 paper, which is the roughest of all the Uart grades.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/622529

Certainly eats the pastels, but you get some good rich colouring as the paper grabs the pastel in greater amounts. I've just got trial/sample sheets at the moment but hope to order some fullsize sheets very soon. There is a wavy type of "grain" to the paper which becomes visible as soon as pastel goes onto the surface; but it is not unpleasant and I expect to find various ways of coping with it. The paper itself is a kind of grey-beige colour and will accept wet media, so there's plenty of opportunity to experiment with wet underpaintings.

Buddleia Visitor: pastel 8x8 inches

, 14:55

I have spent a few days exploring how to get more texture into my pastels and bring them away from the clean,clear-cut look that they tend to acquire on pastelMat. There's nothing wrong with PastelMat....I have a whole pack of new sheets just in....but I need this change of direction for some work. This butterfly picture of a Peacock grazing on buddleia was done on a sheet of previously-worked PastelMat, which was brushed off and then coated briskly with Art Spectrum Colorfix clear primer. I used a bristle brush to do this and just stroked the medium over the surface in a fairly random manner. Some of the brush strokes eventually became integrated with the picture.

Working pastel on top was quite a different experience. It was near-impossible to blend with a finger. Quite a lot of pastel-dust went into the grooves of the texture and quite a bit dropped off....but a good spraying with fixative sorted this out, to provide base colours. The buddleia flowers were worked in the same way as I always do, but the results were more subtle. The textured surface broke up the passage of the pastel and occasionally created surprises. The central section where the butterfly is was deliberately textured more carefully, since the insect has a fair amount of detail.

Having completed most of the picture I put it aside for a few days because I couldn't decide whether it was finished or not. Eventually I added a little more mid blue-green to the central region behind the butterfly and called it done. More subtle, dustier, even a slightly faded look. Certainly the rougher texture eats pastel, but at this moderately small size that isn't too much of a problem.

I have another similar-sized piece now finished and may post that next time. My Uart paper samples have arrived and I'll be exploring a couple of those shortly.

This butterfly painting is retained for exhibition in December and won't be going on DailyPaintWorks as an auction item....at least, not just yet.

Trying new surfaces

, 21:50

I don't have a finished painting this week. I have a couple of partly finished ones but no desire to share those right now. Having worked for a long time with the PastelMat surface, I am feeling the need for a change....more experimenting.

Using the same surface all the time can start to make pastel paintings look too similar. It is a great one for detail and works well for the small pieces of 6 or 8 inch square/rectangles that I tend to do. Several weeks ago I went through some old digital files and found one of a pastel picture that I had done on a piece of mount (or mat) board, hand- textured with Art Spectrum primer. I recall the fact that the rougher texture took large bites out of my pastels, but the colour went down more intensely. Unfortunately the original work doesn't seem to be around any longer.

"Cooking Apples": size about 10x7 inches.

I've also got some samples of Uart paper on order. It is beginning to appear now in several online UK stores and I was especially interested in the various grit-grades offered; 240 being the grittiest and 800 being the finest. It is also capable of taking wet washes, so multimedia work can be done on it if wished. PastelMat will also cope with fluids, although the effect is a little different from that produced on the grit-type papers.

I'll be playing around then, for a little while, to see how it all goes.

"Rudbeckias"; pastel on pastelmat card 6x6 inches

, 11:19

This is the final square of yellow pastelmat card that I've been using up over the past six weeks or so. That's not to say I won't be doing any more small ones, but just for the time being I am moving my concentration onto some other pastel projects. It is listed here at auction at DailyPaintWorks.com

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/616583

I enjoy using pastelmat card, it is extremely good for close detailed work, especially when you think that pastel is not an ideal medium for fiddly little details. The card surface tends to create a dense and dusty colour when pastel is applied, the colour is vivid and the strokes go on very smoothly. However, I feel a need to go and explore some other surfaces. I am re-ordering myself some Art Spectrum Colorfix sheets and also considering some rougher home-made surfaces like pastel-primer on mountboard. It is easy to stay in the same comfort-zone but after a while the paintings begin to all look very similar.

I found using watercolour on white pastelMat card very useful for starting sky paintings. Art Spectrum paper is geared for multimedia use and also has a different tooth. I have a pot of AS clear pastel primer and have often used it to prime old failed watercolour sheets and boards. When used thickly, the texture created is considerable. Pastel paintings don't tend to have much "body" to them because they are, literally, made of dust; and thus may require some kind of underpainting or preparation to give a bit of extra dimension. We'll see how it goes.

Sun and Shadows: pastel 6x6 inches

, 12:32

Last week was a wipe-out, due to virus, so very little done. This pastel however was completed before then, and I have now photographed it for this blog and DailypaintWorks.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/613535

I have a number of ideas for more of these, but am also trying to get one or two larger ones completed for a local group exhibition in December. Plus, chasing down framing. Framing would be easy if it wasn't for (a) glass and (b) the fact that quite a few of my pieces are square and therefore classed as "not standard". Then, I'm not a standard person, so that's rather appropriate.

At the same time, I am slowly teaching myself lino cutting and printing. Now, why would I want to do that? haven't I got enough to do? (yes; but it won't stop me). The thing with lino prints is often the simplicity of colour-scheme. One, two or even just three-colour linoprints can catch the attention of the viewer. Brash multicolours not necessary. Lino prints also encourage simplifying a subject; after all, it has to be carved out of the lino and, having spent three hours yesterday carving out a 12 x 8 inch panel I can say that I welcome the simplification. (Mind you, the experts produce some extraordinarily detailed works on lino; cutting time must be hours and hours). There are some subjects I wouldn't consider for a pastel painting, but would attempt them on lino because of the tendency toward more graphic presentation. The opportunity to consider other subjects for a different medium, in a different way, is therefore a nice mental change from the pastel work. You're unlikely to see any of my lino stuff for quite a while, though!

Little Posy: pastel 6x6 inches.

, 15:50

Quickish pastel this week, a little group of salvaged asters and tagetes placed in a miniature pot. On pastelmat card, 6x6 inches.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/610793

Heavenly Dahlias: pastel, 6x6 inches

, 12:37

I came across this very old church building in Devon, England with faded pink-painted walls and right next to a colourful display of summer dahlias. The scene stuck in my mind for a long time afterwards. I recall it here to the best of my ability, in pastel, with vivid orange and deep purple-red flower-heads.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/608859

Nasturtiums: pastel 6x6 inches/

, 14:06


Another small pastel completed during yesterday and this morning:

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/606819

Little Faces: pastel 6x6 inches

, 14:59

Continuing with another 6-inch square format, and back with flowers again....one of my favourite colour combinations is mauve and yellow; and these pansies have plenty of both. It is quite mentally demanding working with chunky pastels on a small square area like this, and it is a time when my spare box of pastel fragments comes in handy, for smaller details. This picture was worked on pale grey PastelMat, covered with a light wash of green watercolour before starting.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/606132

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