I spent the day at the ashmolean museum in Oxford yesterday. Glorious things there, it is one of my favourite museums. They have an outstanding collection of Chinese ceramics, and this 18th century vase was one of my favourites. I didn’t paint in the museum. Just did some sketches and took notes. Very hard to paint a deep dark blue vase on a black base. There was also a Japanese waterfall enamel base which I am trying to include in my “Vermeer” painting. Not easy.
I’ve been looking at too many Vermeers. with their checked floor tiles and rich furniture. I am tempted to put a Turkish rug over the table, but I’m sure that would be a step to far.
My naked girl advances. I have let Manet and Vermeer get involved, which I may come to regret. When you do a tiled floor there is nowhere to hide…
I decided I needed a change from town and landscapes so I have turned to one of my favourite drawings, a very relaxed semi reclining pose from a beautiful model. The drawing is a mess, but I think it catches the pose and even the light. As a painting, I’m going to turn her round, as I have a long term plan for a triptych, with her facing in from the left.
The context I’m still working on, but I want red and green to dominate, so I have hung one of the robes my wife brought back from Nagaland behind her. I don’t know what the green rectangle is yet.
A lot of work still needed on the figure, her head is to big for starters and the perspective keeps changing. No idea what she is sitting on yet.
Blocking in some of the general colour and shading. Much correction of perspective. The canopies on the right were actually bright red, but I think that would upset the balance of the picture
Carrying on with my troll through old travel sketches, I have one of Ravenna that I have always liked.
There are some big gaps in the sketch, which I made whilst we were having a coffee in a cafe. I had a look at Google Street view and found almost the same view, which will help me fill in some details. It does seem like cheating a bit, but I didn’t take any photos whilst we were in that spot.
I’m using one of my cheap canvases and I can see why is cheap now. Very thin, and it shows wrinkles easily. But it will do. First I sketched the sketch in pencil. Then I scrubbed burnt sienna over it and then blocked in the sky and the big pine tree.
I wanted to try to produce a painting from one of my travel sketches, to see what I could do, long after the event.
I chose this very simple and atmospheric landscape I sketched at the Pakke Jungle Camp in Arunachal Pradesh, where we stayed for three nights.
It was sketched from up in a tree house outlook point, jutting over the valley below. We were being eaten by insects, so couldn’t stay more than a few minutes. That was two years ago.
I thought the vertical format was good, so bought a very narrow canvas and crammed it all in. I meant this to be the acrylic under painting, but I don’t think I can improve on it, so will leave it as it is. Some of the mid -distance yellow looks a bit fierce, so I may tone that down after I have looked at it for a while.
I added a great hornbill in the dead tree as we saw them every day and I love them.