My friend Callum Saunders shared a reminder on Facebook that today marks the start of the Autumn Equinox. His post spurred me to action and I made an abstract landscape work using a background of green and yellow, overlaid with more autumnal colours of orange and gold.
The more I looked, the less finished it appeared, so I added another note to reflect the harvest. I kinda like the way the wheat is leaning toward the setting sun. This will be the next free art drop.
Since finishing and placing the Sunshine and Showers free art drop, I’ve continued playing with the basic design and colours in my mind. This weekend I decided to scale the idea up from last week’s 10 x 25 cm study, to a 40cm x 50cm canvas.
This time I chose three shades of blue – which I initially applied with different size brushes straight from the tube, before gradually mixing the shades together on the palette and adding white, creating more variations as the work progressed. I worked on an overpainted canvas – from memory I think there were about four layers of paint previously applied before I got to work on this latest one.
I like how the previous paint layers have added depth and affected the most recent one – and the continuous blending and mixing of the three shades of blue has produced a tonal variety which I’m enjoying looking at. If you would like to purchase this artwork, please get in touch.
Edge of Glory is one of my favourite works, I enjoy making the design and looking at it afterwards. I was recently asked to revisit it using a hotter colour palette than the original blue version. I’ve been experimenting with an orange which works well alongside Cadmium Red, and in the past few days, I got the mix right.
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.