Thinking of summer


I’ve finished my acrylic of a girl on the dockside. They are my sandals, my swimming towel and a mug I got for Christmas! I added a book to give her something to be doing and it gave a spot of bright red. My general painting rule is that every picture needs a bit of red in it.

Interestingly the colour of her hair and much of her body comes unchanged from the burnt sienna that I scrubbed onto the canvas to give a working background to start from. Once I had picked her out by painting in the dark surround, she didn’t need much alteration.

She’s come on nicely from the original life class sketch.



Updating a boat girl

So my first two acrylic jobs have been to do with painting red hair.

I’ve had an acrylic hanging in my boat for a couple of years, based on a life sketch I did a few years ago.

I love the picture, but I’ve always known it wasn’t quite right. The line of her back is far too hunched up. So I brought her indoors and started doing something about it (one of the beauties of acrylics and oils is that you can keep on working on them almost indefinitely.)

I’m pleased with the altered back and shoulder. She looks much more human now. I also worked a bit on her hands abs twisted her bottom around slightly.


This all required some adjustment to her hair. The model had very red hair so I stuck with that, and thought it would be nice to make more of the hair. Much more. I got a bit carried away.


I realised at this point that red hair is really hard to paint. For a start, it isn’t red, but it is very hard to say what it is. So I thought I would digress and do a little study of just a swatheof red hair. An old friend who has moved to New Zealand has red hair, so I copied one of her Facebook photos. Initially I was just going to do the hair, so I started with a green background, to emphasise the colour, whatever it is.


I really liked how that looked and decided to carry on with it as a full portrait. It seemed a shame just to stop at the hair. The first portrait I have painted for many, many years and I’m very pleased with it, even though she is tiny.


I’m still little wiser as to what colour Red hair really is, but I’ve given my boat girl even more, and I shall put her back on board later this week.



Acrylic nudes

I’ve had a busy of productivity, partly linked to getting a new acrylic “stay-wet ” palette. Makes it easy to just pick up a brush for a few minutes at any time. This is in fact the third thing I have worked on in the last few days. I’ll comment on the other two layer.

I’ve taken a life class drawing from about a year ago, and started working out up on a canvas. No especial idea, but starting out by colouring the canvas, drawing on the figure outline and then blocking in the negative shapes around her.


I’mnot sure of the context yet, but I’ve added the cloth she was sitting on, which may become a towel.


Watercolour copies of Edward Seago

Edward Seago was a 20th century English artist, famed for his watercolours, although he used other mediums too (in art, mediums is apparently the correct plural, according to who I don’t know). Very popular with the British Royal family, which is not always a recommendation but I think he is good. We were trying to copy his faint, multi layered style, but using just sponges to apply the paint. No brush work at all. I thought the bright yellow one was just too yellow, but my wife preferred it. She said it just shouts “sunshine ” which is what we are all craving at the moment.

Not my favourite pictures, but I quite like them and they are useful practice.

Watercolour, ink and wax

First class of the year. As always with Mark Kelland’s class, we learn new techniques. The problem is applying them out of the class. Today we looked at using candle wax as a resist. Laying on bright yellow with a sponge, scribbling over it with an uncoloured candle, then laying more, darker paint over. Then drawing apples with the candle and finally sponging ordinary Parker Quink over it all, It gives an effect very like lino cut printing. You would hardly guess it is watercolour. I added a few highlights by scratching through to the paper underneath.

At the end of this term, Mark wants one picture from each of us to put in an exhibition. It will cover all of his classes, not just this one.