A very good friend who shares our love of India has a big birthday shortly. I painted her this card, which is loosely based on a photograph I took at Ranakpur Jain temple in Rajasthan several years ago. Getting the feel of heat and brightness is always difficult.
I painted in oils for quite a long time, but never really came to terms with the medium. I think it is just too chemical based for me. One of the big advantages of oil paint is that its slow curing allows you to work and rework things, to the extent of scraping it all off and starting again. But I like to work fast so that is of limited benefit. Classes also tend to do a lot of still lifes, which I find boring, or working from photos, which I just don’t like much. These two show just a big bunch of flowers, which I do like, and a self portrait of a grim looking me, which proves some point or other.
I mentioned in an earlier post, that my copy of Klimt’s “Eve” was one of the girls who kept me company on my boat in the dark cold nights. Many sailors have maritime pictures in their boats, but I work on the basis that when there is a storm raging outside and you really wished you weren’t there, you want pictures that take your mind off the mess you have got yourself into. These girls do it for me.
And it is not just girls. This oil of the Keralan Backwaters is one of my favourites and lives in my boat.
This bunch of flowers in a grassy field is the last oil painting I did, about three years ago. I like it, and it hangs from a pin board in my office. A mixture of oil painted flowers on top of a scratched oil pastel background. A technique I had never used before, or since. I haven’t touched oil paint since than and I don’t think I am likely to in any near future. Too much equipment, chemicals and cleaning needed. I have switched almost completely to dry or water based mediums.
In contrast, the picture below is nearly the very first oil painting I did, about 12 years ago. As a first go I thought it wasn’t too bad, but might just demonstrate I haven’t made much progress. I did start a copy in oils of a Peter Breughel painting when I was about 15 and I still have it somewhere. I may dig it out sometime.
This painting is an oddity. Firstly it is a bit of a fraud. I painted it during an art class where we were looking out over this beautiful valley. A hot air balloon did drift across, but there was only one and it was dark blue. I sketched it in twice as it passed, planning to work up the one that looked to be in the best position. But I decided to work up both, and blue didn’t work, so they became red and yellow.
The other oddity is that this is the only painting I have ever sold. I have given many away as cheap presents, but when this one was put in the annual exhibition for the art class, someone from Dorset who was just passing through said they wanted to buy it. I hadn’t even put it on sale. So now it is hanging somewhere unknown in the south of England. I rather miss it.