Tag Archives: Natasha Brookes

People can fly, in the right environment

This one had a curious double gestation. I painted a large seated nude at a life class a few weeks ago. I thought it was pretty bad. When I looked at it a few days later I realised it was awful, and I wouldn’t want anyone to see it. The only solution was the ultimate one, a thick layer of paint, all over. The only paint I had in abundance was an old jar of ultramarine blue, so I now had a large, very blue canvas. I wondered what to do, and thought it looked rather under-watery. That reminded me of the short video by the Welsh artist, Natasha Brookes, of swimming in Welsh lakes, high in Snowdonia, in the winter. The video is below, but I suggest you dress up warm and have a hot drink ready, it is REALLY COLD. But looks stunning.

 //kkpj.mediatankhq.com/video/blue-hue/embed

Blue Hue

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I thought the still from the video was beautiful, and could form a basis of painting.

It is hard to avoid dropping into some terrible kitsch with pictures like this and I am not sure that I have avoided that completely, but it was fun to try. As a photograph it is wonderful, and you can’t feel the cold from it.

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The first stage was to break up the overall blue a bit. Very hard to put a name on some of the colours, and that makes it very difficult to choose colours. I just have to build them up in layers. Here I have tried to show the bright sunlight and lighter bottom area, with the deep ultramarine in between. The sun is too large and central. All this is done with a palette knife. Brushes just can’t do it.
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Next, the whole surface was completely reworked with fairly transparent colours and the sky brightness moved and reduced, again all palette knife work. Constant scraping. More like plastering a wall than painting. I’m hoping to get colour variation through overlaying different areas, rather than patches of different colours.

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Another complete reworking of the whole surface. The photo doesn’t show the colour variation very well. It was starting to look fairly deep and wet. I have been resisting the urge to draw fishes. So far successfully…

 

 

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Natasha puts in her first appearance. This is just a chalk outline to get her position and proportions. I thought this looked so ethereal that I was tempted to leave her just like this. But I could see that her legs were too long and her hand too small. So on with the paint.

 

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Some very thin white acrylic to establish shape and highlights. I tried with the palette knife, but here I needed to use brushes. You can see how much I shortened her legs, and the indications of bubbles in chalk. I was wishing I had left her in outline at this stage.

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As she stands at present, although I am sure I will continue tinkering. The colours are richer in real life, there is too much flare here. I really should use something better than my phone for these pictures.

I think the proportions of the original photo are better, but I quite like her. But is it just kitsch? Is that a problem anyway?