A huge lightning storm rolled over our town (and much of Southern England) this week. I slept right through it! Subsequently I’ve seen a few photos of dark purple skies crackling to life in the storm. I thought this would make a good subject for this week’s free art drop, so here’s what I made. Watercolour and silver leaf.
I’m fortunate to live near lots of public open spaces. One of my favourites is Beddington Park. I enjoy walking around it, and sometimes use it as the location for my free art drops. Some friends are organising a Big Lunch event in the park on Sunday June 4th, and I’ve made this free art drop to mark the occasion.
The background is a graded watercolour wash, subtly shifting from green to yellow, representing the move from Spring to Summer. The gold leaf represents the many meandering pathways across the park, and the River Wandle, which flows through it. This work will be hidden somewhere in the park this weekend. Finders keepers.
Anne McCrossan has many talents – and the one I want to highlight today is her work as a ceramicist. Anne works in Cornwall using local clay to make a range of fascinating objects. Through a clever use of digital iconography in her work, she blends the art of making with a nod to the online world in which some of her other work inhabits.
I admire this connection between making with our hands and interacting in a digital workd, and for some time I’ve wanted to explore this intersection through my visual art. I dropped Anne a line yesterday to see if she was OK with me pursuing this. She is, and after I woke very early today, and couldn’t get back to sleep – I got to work. My intention was to create a simple backdrop through repeating a technique of wet on wet watercolour I have used previously, combined with a gradual addition of a second paint pigment. Here are photos showing how I set up my workspace, and the finished, graded watercolour washes.
I had to make all four of these pieces simultaneously – gradually adding measures of red paint to the yellow as I move down the sheets of paper.
Once the paint was dry, I pencilled an outline of the icon I wanted to use, applied some gilding paste and gold leaf, then waited…
I had to apply the gold leaf three times, trying to fill in gaps where it hadn’t stuck to the paper properly. In the end – I got a close enough representation.
As a first attempt I am pleased with the result – I particularly like the tonal shift in the watercolour. This piece will be the free art drop this weekend, given away a little later than usual. Note to self – don’t leave it so late in the week to try a fiddly new experiment next time!
A few conversations this week have brought to mind the importance of spotting patterns in our work. One off events have their place, and what else do you notice through repeated observations? Is my behaviour today out of the ordinary, or is this how you normally experience me? Should you or I do anything differently as a result? These conversations got pretty deep at times, and as I began to surface, I thought about an artistic interpretation of what had been spoken.
But what to paint? I looked to nature first, the greatest pattern maker of all.
The bottom row emerged first, hints of something floral? The top row came next. Plant life of some sort, maybe coral? I enjoyed watching the paint strokes interact, each overlapping movement creating a darker shade than the original stroke. Mixing slight variations from my paintbox – not identical patterns, just exploring similarities.
I’m enjoying working on panoramic paper at the moment so I cut a sheet from a larger piece, and reworked the patterning.
This time I mixed my shades from liquid watercolour, blending alizarin crimson with cerulean blue and cadmium yellow. Slightly bolder tones, the basic shape the same, the overlapping, darkening shades. This piece of patterning will be the next free art drop. If you live in my neighbourhood, keep an eye out for it over the weekend.
There’s a tree outside my window, currently full of blossom. On Sunday I went for a walk in the neighbourhood and saw blossom everywhere. On returning home, I remembered I had a winter tree sketch made a few weeks ago, sitting in my ‘unfinished business’ pile. I mixed up some pinks, whites, and reds, and carefully brought the winter tree into a new season.
I shared this new Spring tree on Facebook, then put it in my Etsy shop, where it sold about fifteen seconds after I’d listed it. Head spinning stuff! I’ve since listed a short run, limited edition print of 30 which have started to sell too. Maybe it’s just the timeliness of the image, but whatever it is, I’ve not experienced such a strong and fast positive reaction to my work before now. Thank you to everyone who has shared this image online, and given such encouraging feedback. I appreciate your support.
I think this painting wins the longest title competition, in my current body of work at least. The image is intended to represent the currently underwhelming June weather we are experiencing here in London.
Painted on an A4 sheet of watercolour paper using Cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine Blue paint in varying strengths, and with varying amounts of water on the paper. I used an empty biro tube for the blown effects.
I will leave this piece of art (unframed) in Wallington as part of my ongoing art drop experiment.
I’ve just started experimenting with some new liquid watercolours, made by Winsor and Newton. My intention with these paints, is to use these primary colours to mix and blend other colours, shades and tones.
I’m also experimenting with a more themed sense to my art. I’ve recently started following Anna Laurini and I am fascinated by how distinctive her work is. One of the things I am learning from following her is that there’s so much to explore within what at first glance, might mistakenly appear to be a single idea. My thoughts around the kind of art I want to create have drifted around a lot, seeing Anna’s work is helping me to realise I can explore ideas I come cross in much greater depth and breadth than I previously thought. Less hopping from idea to idea, more exploration of each idea. This will become evident as my work progresses.
Here are the first two pieces of work created with the new paints. I’m fascinated by the range of colour brought forth from just three tubes of paint.
Although there are two works here, together they are titled Signals : Part Three. They are painted onto A4 sized sheets of watercolour paper. One piece has been bought by a friend, and I gifted them the second one. They belong together.
As you can see, I made a slight modification to my signature to fit the style of these works.