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End of Year Deliveries

, 09:35 - Permalink

Things are getting busy now, and I am not likely to have much more time for painting, this year. It's not too late to make a painting purchase from either of my websites, but I'll be making 14th December the final postout day. After that, I'll resume deliveries in the first week of January. After long consideration, I've decided to keep this blog as it is, in the Dotclear templates. I don't want to really lose two years' worth of posts from the search engines; and it appears there is no longer any supported software to migrate Dotclear posts to Wordpress. So, no changes. The new blog at SmallArtStuff will continue to cover my smaller pictures and any experimental work. To those who have bought pictures this year from me, thank you for dropping in at my galleries, and I trust you are happy with your choices.

I might manage another post here before year's end, so more later....

"Lantern": pastel 11x8.5 inches approx.

, 22:06 - Permalink

"Lantern" continues the cross-hatching process, using various greens, blue and yellows for the window area; also the frame and sub-levels of the grey-white walls. The lantern was drawn in with harder dark pastels but an attempt made to keep the edges from being too sharp. Softer greys were scumbled over the wall sections and stepped areas of the window-ledge. The lantern did have a handle that clashed with the window-frame area, so I left it out. The work was probably ended a little too soon, but I preferred to keep it understated and a bit more sketchy.

The Wordpress blog at SmallArtStuff is now completed and running, and the main domain pages reconfigured to hold the new navigation menu. I still can't decide whether to replace "Flower and Landscape" with a new blog platform or not. The problem lies with losing all the old blog posts because the export/migration process from Dotclear to Wordpress appears to be unsupported by plug-in software.

Website/blog changes planned

, 14:09 - Permalink

My statement last Monday about considering a new blog platform looks like it will have to be a reality in the coming weeks. There seem to be regular difficulties with log-in, amongst other things.

I am setting up a second blog at the SmallArtStuff website; it isn't quite ready to run yet, but not far off. It uses a self- installed WordPress system, so I am currently on a learning-curve. When it launches, I'll use it as an interim measure for this Flower and Landscape blog. At that point, I'll then go ahead and build a new Wordpress blog for Flower and Landscape on its present host server. I only have one database facility with my hosting plan, so that means the whole blog will have to come down in order to install the new one. I'll try and transfer posts across but it probably won't be very easy.

Why run two blogs? Well, I'm aiming to keep one (SmallArtStuff) focused on small-format paintings and other styles such as scraperboard and monotypes , while Flower and Landscape will continue to stay with slightly larger pastels and oils worked in the traditional way. That's the plan....we'll see what happens.

Post no.100---"Pigeons at Old Conwy": oils 12x14 inches

, 20:30 - Permalink

Well, here we are at post number 100, as the year draws to a close. A year of mixed blessings and a few departures, but one in which a lot more paintings and drawings were planned and completed. And more experimenting, more mistakes, more failures, but more variety in the process.

Today's painting looks over the old walls in Conwy, North Wales (painting has been a little cropped at the bottom). While walking this wall, in almost every nook and cranny you may find pigeons or seagulls, sunning themselves or settled down on a chimney to snooze. This was painted on Arches oil-paper, which permits a lot of thin washes and, when required, extra detailing with pencils. The paint dries fast and colour can sink in and become matt; but that isn't always a bad thing when painting buildings.

I have been thinking a lot about where to go in 2018, painting-wise. Having departed from DailyPaintWorks (more due to the monthly membership cost than anything else), I am remaining with Original-Art-Under100 and have re-established images at TheArtistStudio.co.uk. I have perused the entire list of "places to sell your art" promoted at ArtsyShark.com and have come to the conclusion that very very few of them are viable propositions for my items. In fact, one or two that I contacted for more information never even bothered to reply, so it doesn't say much for their set-up.

There's also "where to go" in terms of HOW I am drawing or painting. My subject-choices rarely match what people want to buy, so that is always difficult. I plan to continue with pastels, since storage is relatively easy, being flat sheets of paper. Recently I've started experimenting with monotypes, using a glass sheet and various paints. This is a liberating process, requiring few materials and is open to all kinds of interpretation. I do not have a print press, but monotypes don't necessarily need one. I can spend several hours working through fifteen to twenty creations; many are failures but a few come out quite well. I shall be increasing my study of this process during 2018. There are many effects and textures produced that simply cannot be emulated through ordinary painting.

Finally....I'm thinking (only thinking at the moment) of changing the blog platform. This one I use is OK but has limitations. More on that later.

Scratch or Scraperboard: "Foundry Wheels" 8x8 inches

, 10:24 - Permalink

Here's something quite different. For a very long time I have wished to have a go at producing a scraper-board image (called scratchboard in USA). At first thought, one might feel that there is no link between this and painting, but actually there is.....and it's about tonal values. There's also a link between it and pastel and pencil work. With scratchboard, unless you deliberately add coloured inks or other paint to the white markings, you have an image that has been literally pulled up out of darkness by the use of pure white lines. The denser the lines, or closer together, the whiter the image. More widely-spaced dots or hatched lines create greyer tones, right down to untouched board for the black.

For a first-ever scratchboard picture, this one is probably rather ambitious, but I chose it because industrial themes are so well suited to the scraper/scratch technique. The image is from one of my own photos, taken a few years ago in a small heritage foundry, using a waterwheel to provide hammer-action.

I purchased a pack of EssDee scraperboards, along with three Ampersand scratchboards, to try out the different products. EssDee was cheaper, so a pack of ten suited me fine for my first efforts. I'll tackle an Ampersand when I'm happier with my technique. Since the photo was my own creation, I used it to mark out the main features onto a board, using white pastel as a transfer medium. Having done that, I faced my first problem....working top to bottom or left to right would wipe out the marks!

So I laid a thick sheet of paper over the lower half of the work and rested my hand carefully on top. This seems to work fine and doesn't greatly disturb the pastel lines underneath. I then started the delicate process of scratching, using the point of a scalpel-blade set into a metal handle. My set of inked boards contained a scratch tool and I did try it, but didn't care for it too much, switching soon after to the scalpel-blade.

Over a period of about six hours, the work was finished. My technique still needs working on and at times I lifted too much black ink in areas meant to be mid-grey....but on the whole it went along well. The link with pastel painting relates to all the cross-hatching techniques, laying a set of lines over another (coloured, in the case of pastel).....it's like drawing, but without a pencil, and working from dark to light, rather than light to dark. I will be doing another one soon, when I've sussed out a suitable subject.

Another small painting also completed, to come in a few days.

Sundown: oil on canvas 16x12 inches

, 14:15 - Permalink

Have had a few tech problems trying to log into my blog account, but hopefully now fixed. With the onset of late autumn and the clocks going back to the proper natural time (GMT), things get a little more difficult for me in terms of taking decent photos of paintings. I always take mine outdoors, but finding a spot where there are no cast shadows (like tree branches and twigs) can be tricky. The day has to be bright and dry as well. Overcast light is ok as long as it's bright.

Anyway, today's image will do for the blog, but I would like to take a better, sharper image when I can.

"Sundown" is a view from on top of a cliff, out to sea. The rocky prominence is actually a rather slatey clifftop in Cornwall, which was a bit dodgy to walk along, especially with a huge drop on both sides. On this evening, the light level was good and the sun obliged by producing a nice column of red-orange light across the sea. Impractical to paint it on the spot, since this pretty column of light lasted for all of five minutes before sinking back into a blue-grey haze.

Oils used; once again I brought out the Sennelier oil-bars to make the rocks, using raw umber with cerulean blue and ultramarine bars, plus some tube raw-umber. The oilbars were used to draw the rock shapes fairly roughly and work some of the waxy paint into a little bit of texture (not too thick, however). Once surface-dry several days later, the texture was lightly scumbled with white oilbar mixed with a touch of pale blue. The green areas were initially painted in oilbar and also left to dry for several days before adding light layers of tube-paint on top.

The sky was started in yellow oilbar, moving on to a mix of cadmium yellow and cadmium orange, plus a little cad scarlet. Similarly with the water, beginning with permanent mauve oilbar plus ultramarine.....both well-spread and left to dry a little, before adding titanium white paint and adjusting the tonal values up and down. Once dry, the details of waves and the column of light were added in tube-paint, using the same colours as the oilbars. The sun was worked with pale yellow and a blob of titanium white.

Foreground grasses brushed in over a dry oilbar layer, adding flowers using a mix of ultramarine, alizarin crimson and a combo of zinc and titanium white.

New painting coming shortly...

, 08:23 - Permalink

I noticed it's been 10 days since my last post, so just a quick update....a new oil painting is in progress, a sunset, around 16x12 inches which I hope to complete this week. My local group's annual Christmas show is just over a month away, so now is the time to sort out the four pieces that I'm going to display.

My earlier work "Hartland Cliffs" was quite a large one for me, using oil-bars with oilpaint....I enjoyed doing that one and the current painting is also using the same mix of paint. I plan to sort out more ideas for incorporating these oilbars into paintings. They seem well suited to things like rocks and other subject-matter requiring broad texture-like treatment.

I am looking through my ideas-book also for my next pastel painting; the recent two used a hatching technique that seems to have attracted quite a few views on Pinterest, so I'll be looking to explore that further.

Finally....my gallery on DailypaintWorks is now closed, I am sad to leave but it is not economical to remain right now. I have re-established a gallery at TheArtistStudio.co.uk, where I've been Artist of the Week for the past seven days.

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.

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