Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peonies and Peruvian Lillies on blue table

Peonies and Peruvian Lillies on blue table
Size 28X48 Acrylic on board

Here's a few pictures of my latest painting. Again this was a little larger than paintings I've been doing recently, so it was satisfying to work in this scale. I also always enjoy working in a stretched 'widescreen' style aspect ratio. It adds such a nice passage through the painting; great for landscapes or still lifes!

The early line work.
Color plan
Me working feverishly!
in progress
in progress (detail)
The final painting again.
a detail
another detail
(I loved the compliment color of that shade of blue vase in front of the back drape)


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blame it on Christmas!

With little ones in the house there's no end to preparations required for 'the big day'; to that end some things fall of the plate! Last weekend probably in place of doing essential Christmas shopping, I finally got round to hanging a few of my paintings and photographing them (something I'd been meaning to do for quite sometime). Let's hope that too much time spent doing this and painting in my studio doesn't result in a cancelled Christmas in the Wilson household - 'Baa Humbug!' ;-D

Usually I just present cropped images of my final paintings, but if I can supply a photograph of them with the frame or even better - on a wall with furniture, it can really give a potential collector a greater feel for the final work and it's appearance.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


tulips on red patterned cloth
Size 36X18
Acrylic on board

Just finished this new painting, it was fun to put some patterning in again, in this case on the tablecloth. I vary a little how I approach painting patterns on cloths, but in this case I painted with fairly strong colors and then toned the contrasts back with a series of glazes. This is a process that works better with oil than Acrylic, since Acrylic washes do tend cover so poorly. The problem of course with oils is you have to wait a long time between each layer, so Acrylics can get the job done quicker.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the amount of tone and contrast in the cloth design, though I preferred the color tone of the little gray/blue/purple squares before glazing. I could have repainted these, but I wanted to keep the continuity across the design. Additionally of course the focus of the design is not solely the tablecloth, but I thought it was note worthy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

latest paintings

Helianthus with lemons
Acrylic on board

Stargazers with Pomegranate on green table

Acrylic on board

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To copy is to study

The other day I'd been looking at some of my older work and realizing that over the last few years, my approach to accurate perspective had tightened-up, compared to some of my earlier pieces. I've always had a love for a casual or flagrant regard to accurate perspective and enjoy many Naive painters and the works of artists like Mary Fedden. Though I don't feel I wish to push my perspective or painting narrative as far this, I do feel I'd like to dabble with a more relaxed representation; at least for a while....Whether that's one painting or a larger volume of work is anyones guess.

To get this ball rolling, and help me break from my style I thought I'd have a go at copying another artists painting. - From time to time I like to have a go at working from another artists style or even an actual painting. I tend to really suck at this, but it's a great opportunity to learn their techniques and get a feel for how they paint. It's important of course only to use this as a learning tool and not to run away with their techniques on a more permanent basis.

After a bit of thought on who and what, I turned to a Scottish painter who's work I had admired back when I lived in Edinburgh, by the name of Archie Forrest. As a painter he regualry tackles Still life subject matter and has a far more relaxed approach to both his painting and perspective. Rather than trying to work on my own painting with his techniques I decided to try for a direct copy. This in theory allows me not to worry about anything other than the art of paint emulation.

I had this small low resolution web image of this painting, which made the deciphering of some information challenging, but I wasn't interested in a 100% copy I just wanted to get a feel for the work.

The greatest challenge turned out to be working with Acrylic, because Archie's work so clearly has a strong oily bend to it. I did my best to emulate this with some dry brush scrubbing over areas and working quickly in one area before moving on.

Here's what I came up with... the colors aren't quite as flat and bright as they appear (fire the photographer!)

Lilies by Forrest (no idea what the original painting is called)
Acrylic on board

I quite like the end result, of course the original painting is wonderful, so even a mediocre copy should be enjoyable. More importantly, it served as a break and springboard for me when going back to my work. I plan in my next few paintings to have a more relaxed perspective incorporated into my next few paintings, and hopefully this little exorcise has helped me break a little from usual method.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

a triptych

Sunflowers and Lilies on long table
triptych - 30X24 (each panel)

I love painting triptychs and indeed diptychs too. Planning the structuring of the overall piece is so much fun. I try to make each section or panel hold up in it's own right, but still relate to each other. Additionally planning the lines within the painting becomes more interesting, because each panel division serves as a line too.

This is a painting I did last year, but the other day I had a collector considering it and then I thought, "well why not..."

I changed lots of minor things, - the colors inside the lilies, the color of the pineapple foliage bit (what are those bits called?), the lemons and sunflowers (a little), the segmented apple, etc... The end result is much tighter.

The final painting looks great, I love the way with a multi panel painting you can choose how much space to place between each panel as you hang them, to create a very different effect. I frame each separately; though I try to frame them in something contemporary that does not intrude or break the continuity of the three paintings and their relationship together.

a detail of one panel. (I like the way I handled the vase in this)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Visiting the Post Impressionists!

At the risk of writing one of those blog posts with ill founded personal opinions that will follow me around for years to come, just be thankful I'm not giving a painting by painting run down....

I tend to be very 'wishy-washy' and evasive when I'm asked for my influences, and because I paint colorful still lifes many label me with Cezanne and Matisse. One assumes Matisse for the palette and Cezanne for the subject matter. I confess each have works that I like but there are many artists I prefer. However having said that, I know my passion in painting begins with the Post impressionists and though it may not end there, my first and possibly deepest love is rooted in much of this art.

So with great anticipation I took a mornings trip into San Fransisco today to see the second show of art from the Musée d’Orsay at the De young museum. It was in short, fantastic!

Earlier in the year I'd seen the first installment called 'the birth of impressionism' and had been rather deflated by it. The first few rooms had been composed of french Pre-impressionist art; which let's face it is kind of stuffy and not as interesting as what other countries were producing at the time, e.g. Goya (to name just one). Additionally the first show had been very overcrowded, and nothing spoils an exhibition more than having to fight for space to get in front of each and every painting! Plus you know early impressionism, well it's nice enough, but to me it's not as exciting as what came later!

The latest exhibition is titled as 'Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, and Beyond' which let's face it a pretty broad and all encompassing banner; well the 'beyond' bit in particular. I have to say however, they did a good job of presenting a lot of variety. Personally I can find something I love in most post impressionists, and there was lots to choose from. They had a full room of Gauguin, who's pretty good and a nice selection of pointillist paintings too with a good number of Seurats. They also presented the Nabis movement well and had a some great works that I liked by Maurice Denis and Vuillard, (more about Maurice Denis later). But best of all was a shared room featuring 10 paintings (approx.), of Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec. I died and went to heaven, what could be better than Van Gogh and Lautrec in the same room!

Van Gogh - Bedroom at Arles (love this room)

Other things worth mentioning - They had only one Picasso, but it was a nice one and a Still Life! In the initial room they had a few Monet, Renoir and a Sargent, which though nice, should have been placed in the previous exhibition. Plus Sargent, though a fantastic painter is a strange fit for either of the exhibitions, if you ask me. They also had a nice Degas in the first room, I probably should say he too should have been in the first exhibition, but here I'm biased. I love painters who draw with the brush, hence Lautrec and Degas are always at the top of my list. To my mind Degas always made his oils appear pastel like in their appearance, which is a style I very much admire. So you can put a Degas in any exhibition and I wont grumble.

Picasso - large still life

I left the show feeling like they'd accomplished a lot with such a wide range of styles and movements within the umbrella of 'post impressionism and little more besides'. It was nice to see the collection and people enjoying it, sometimes I feel people forget the importance and beauty of a period that yielded so much exploration. This exhibition served as a good reminder.

Maurice Denis - landscape with green trees

Actually I have to say Maurice Denis was a bit of a discovery for me, I really liked some of his small paintings and will be Googling him a little to find out more about an artist I've obviously previously over looked.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

An article

I'm very flattered and fortunate to have had a fellow artist (Erin Fickert-Rowland) want to write an article about me. Do check out the article and read her blog postings!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Got there in the end.

I struggled a little with this painting. Mainly in deciding what to do about the tablecloth. For a while I worked with the patterning in place, I then tried different colors; eventually I painted over it and the whole painting started to come together. Phew.

Pottery wine jug with fruit
Acrylic on board Size: 20 X 24

One of the original source photos I took.

The patterned cloth (at it's worst and most fiddled with).

Clematis, Star fruit and limes on white

Acrylic on board

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New ideas

Tulips with color
Size 24X18 Acrylic on board

This is my favorite painting of the moment.* I think it's because it's pulled together a number of processes I've been exploring of late into one painting. In some senses it illustrates a direction I want to explore further. Many of these 'concepts' are pretty subtle, but one example is placing dabs of color throughout the painting that relate to other areas within the painting, these are sometimes done as small flecks or tones of color shining through from the under painting, or as very clear defined brush strokes of color. This technique of course isn't new in the world of art, or even new to me; but recently I've been consciously engaging it and acting on it in a more dramatic fashion. (This can be seen in the backdrop with the pink on the left having sympathetic 'blobs' of pink on the right, surrounding the flowers).

Another more compelling idea I've been exploring is having swathes (or bands) of color moving through the painting, this can be seen with both the usage of the pink and the blue around the background. This week I'm completing another painting with a similar color plan to this, to reinforce in my mind some of these ideas. I'll post it when it's done.



* Over the years, I've come to realize that my favorite painting is not always anyone else's favorite. These things are very subjective and personal. Generally in a solo show it's my least favorite painting that sells first, so there you go what do I know! As a rule I find it best to love them all and keep quite about which ones I like the best; just breaking the rule a little today with this post.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sometimes I just can't help myself.

Sometimes I just can't help myself; sometimes it's easier to say leave a finished painting alone, rather than finding yourself tampering. There I was just about to varnish my painting and I thought, well why not. Dark blue becomes white/pink.

I thought it would be improved if I allowed the Delphiniums to stand out more by giving the paintings background a higher key color around the flowers allowing them to do this.


Delphinium with melon No2
size: 12 X 9 Acrylic on board

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Underpaintings - Plums, pears and lillies

I tend to always use an under painting when painting a still life, for me it's a little like building a good foundation for the house to be built on; in other words, 'it keeps me right' as I progress. I enjoy to paint colors within my under painting that either harmonize or contrast with my planned colors for the final paintings. Then as I paint later stages of paint I allow it to show through in areas to create interest and depth to areas of color. Additionally the under painting also creates greater complexity of color in the final painting.

Here's a couple of examples.
example color plan: stargazer lilies with fruit and chair (size 40X55)

example color plan: Tulips with bell peppers and limes (size 20X24)

This latest painting felt a little different to me, because I consciously chose soft pastel hues with unusual color choices.

the under painting

The painting mid way through.

I think because I was planning on leaving a lot of color showing through I kept the colors throughout the painting fairly close together in relationships; - the green/ yellow tablecloth, with the yellow ochre back drape, coupled with yellow and brown/red objects. I did this somewhat subconsciously, but I'm glad I did.

This is the final painting. I think these dramatic pastel color hues poking through the final paint have worked well in this case. Giving both the tablecloth and background drape a lot of energy and warmth, especially when studied close.

Plums, pears and lillies. Acrylic on board size 24X18

I took these details (below) to show the under painting really showing through and reacting with the foreground colors.



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

fiddling going nowhere...

fruit and milk jug on patterned cloth
12 X 26 Acrylic on board

I confess I fiddled rather a lot and largely needlessly on this one. The final painting is even fractionally different from this! For a while I had a different edging on the table cloth, but it was too distracting. Additionally I made a lot of changes to the tone and color of the Papaya, but the end result was always much the same....oh well. Sometimes it's hard to realize you're spinning your wheels... moving on.

More small paintings

Pear with Papaya study
9 X 12 Acrylic on board

Lemons with cherries
9 X 12 Acrylic on board

Delphinium with melon No2
12 X 9 Acrylic on board

Saturday, August 28, 2010

smaller paintings

Have been painting a run of smaller paintings. Enjoying the process of working faster and simultaneously on a few at one time. I frame these in a different style to my larger works, they go in a clean cut float frame that has a simple maple finish. I think this gives them a nice contemporary or modern feel.

Bread, Papaya and tangerines
12 X 24 Acrylic on board

Study of beets.
8 X 10 Acrylic on board

Helianthus with plums
11 x 14 Acrylic on board

lemons, plums and blue vase
9 X 10 Acrylic on board

Blessing or a Curse?

my 'thinking or contemplation chair'

Like many painters I'm a huge proponent of painting standing up. I tend to feel as a practice, it helps keep the art energetic and loose. However, a 'thinking chair' set back from the easel can be an invaluable tool. I use mine a lot; while taking a moment to step back and break from the painting, an opportunity to contemplate how the work is going and where it needs to go next.

I have to say however I'm guilty of having a chair that's perhaps a little too comfy. Last few days I've been spending too much time in it and not enough time at the easel!