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Hartland Cliffs: oilbars and oil 30x22 inches

, 12:01 - Permalink


A fortunately dry and bright overcast day permitted me to get this canvas- board outside to photograph. Probably the biggest item I've worked on in recent times, but oilbars do tend to demand lots of space and elbow-room. The main shapes were marked out in pale blue before working from the top down (for the sky) and then distance to foreground for the cliffs.

Sennelier Ultramarine blue oilbar was blended with tube-light red, then blended further with a white oilbar to get distance for the cliffs furthest away. Some terre vert tube-green was introduced on the middle cliffs, along with a bluish-grey colour created from the oilbars; the whole thing was worked intuitively, not by any rigid method. Coming forward, pale greens were created with the oilbar mixes of lemon yellow plus ultramarine blue, with an occasional passage -over with white oilbar to knock the acidity down. Raw umber oilbar plus a bit of light red from a tube was used to start the sea-level rocks.

The sea was created from oilbars cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, white and raw umber; tube-white for the cresting waves. Finally the main foreground was laid in with heavy passages of oilbar; raw umber, prussian blue, ultramarine, cadmium yellow; with cadmium orange used for a front piece and modified with overlays of the other colours. The rocks were worked with white oilbar and the same colours as used for the vegetation.

At no point was a paintbrush used on any of the main components. A small palette knife helped with the waves. Zest-It diluent helped with spreading colour where required, using a rag placed over the forefinger.

Since the oilbar mixtures were surface dry in a few days, this allowed interesting paint overlays in the foreground section. The whole picture was worked as if using large (rather squidgy) pastels.

"Scintillation": Oil-bars and oils 20x16 inches

, 09:20 - Permalink


I'll have a new picture to photograph, in probably, a couple of days so another post here should happen shortly. A few years ago I purchased some Winsor and Newton oilbars, with a view to developing some larger work. After a few struggles with them I began to find my own method and was hopeful of improving results. Frustratingly, six months later, the paint surface was still "dentable" with a finger-nail; and similarly after a year, it was still slightly scratchable. Since I am not an impasto painter, the paint was generally thin, but simply had not dried. I am sure there is nothing wrong with the oilbars, but more likely my method of working. However, several months back I decided to have another go, this time with the smaller Sennelier oilbars (38ml).

Result: a touch-dry surface in about five to six days. This was a bit of a surprise. I decided to experiment further and used the bars to overpaint an old acrylic work, basing the new subject-material on the old underlying pattern. In addition, I included tube oilpaint at the same time, which entailed blobbing colour onto the canvas and then pushing it around with an oilbar. For example, ultramarine blue tube-paint worked with a white oil-bar; or vice-versa.

"Scintillation" was the end-product. Abstract isn't my usual style but I wasn't bothered about that aspect. It was about finding out what these oilbars would do. They are oil paint mixed with a percentage of wax, and behave like large pastels when in use, spreading colour, drawing lines, etc. They can be used on canvas, canvasboard, oil-paper and even gessoed smooth board (although there's less texture for the paint to grip to). The painting is currently listed in my gallery at Original-Art-Under100.com

My newest painting is approaching completion and I've used both oilbars and tube-paint in it. It is also one of the largest I have done for several years.

Time to move on

, 11:57 - Permalink

I'll be trimming down my website over the next day or so and making changes to links. I will be leaving DailypaintWorks.com as a regular memberwith much regret---and spending my time concentrating on local events plus any UK-based artist's websites.

This past year has seen my sales within Britain only, therefore sadly I must cut costs and turn inwards. I also feel that the Internet art scene is so heavily biased towards social media, blogging, twittering, instagramming etc etc that it is all too much to handle....as well as trying to paint. I'll keep the website running, but much reduced in images...it will continue alongside SmallArtStuff which was recently set up primarily to handle the smaller paintings and drawings.

In addition, my membership at Original-Art-Under100 will carry on.

No new paintings ready to show at the moment

Forgotten Treasures: pastel 11x9 inches

, 20:51 - Permalink

This is an experimental piece, following on from "Peared Off", which was worked by starting the painting in lots of cross-hatched strokes. It is a method shown in Bill Creevy's excellent Pastel Book, although of course he does it far better than I can! The base is mountboard, textured with Art Spectrum clear pastel primer. The subject appears, at first glance, to be rather dreary...it was a photo of old pots and bottles set in front of a partly boarded-up window. Complete with cobwebs and dust, the atmosphere in the room where I took the snap was a little forlorn, and there was a feeling of "time-capsule", like time passing by this little shelf and nothing ever moves. The white board was washed over with greeny-blue watercolour paint (the walls of the room were a similar colour). Then I marked in the outlines of the window and objects, before beginning a series of cross-hatch in various colours, using Conte A Paris pastel pencils. Since the room was primarily a dark one, I used deep blues, greens, purples, occasionally black and also some red-violet. I worked these colours around the objects and also into them where they had deep shadows.

After doing so, the picture began to take on a sparkling look, where the colour of the mountboard peeped through the hatching. I then moved to using some Conte a paris sticks, then to some softer Rembrandt pastels. Layers of cross-hatching continued to build up the forms and the darkness around the window. I also have the remains of some old Winsor & Newton pastels to use. I had planned to finish off by skimming some very soft dark Unison pastels over the darkest areas and depositing colour; but decided to leave it all as it was.

I've decided that I like this technique and plan to do more work with it.

Coastal Burn: pastel 10x7 inches

, 14:41 - Permalink

The recent holiday was very, very wet and although I had taken my pastels and oils away with me, I had very little opportunity to use them. Today's image is a pastel drawn directly of the view from the window of the holiday-cottage. The scene was dark, rather dreary but with enough mid-morning light to cause sparkle on the waters and create some kind of atmosphere. This small stream (or burn, as they are in Scotland) is heading directly out to the coast. The vegetation was dense but quite short, with purplish-green grasses and other wild plants along the water's edge. Out at sea, several lines of breakers were active on the distant rocks. A rain-filled sky with some patches of scattered light fill the upper section.

The pastel was done on a hand-textured piece of watercolour paper, creating a rather more broken and diffuse range of colouring than is usually produced on standard pastelmat card or other ready-made surface. The pastels themselves were a mix of bits and pieces, rescued from the main pastel-box prior to holiday, so that I didn't have to take the whole collection.

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

, 16:26 - Permalink

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

, 12:40 - Permalink



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

, 14:14 - Permalink


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

, 19:29 - Permalink


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

, 08:01 - Permalink

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

, 08:42 - Permalink



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

, 18:03 - Permalink

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

, 17:45 - Permalink



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

, 07:57 - Permalink



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.

, 17:17 - Permalink




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

, 17:03 - Permalink



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

, 11:32 - Permalink



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

, 19:52 - Permalink

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.

, 17:41 - Permalink

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

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