Monday, 17 September 2012

Flower power

I don't seem to have posted much up for a while. I've been trying to squeeze in some plein air sessions when I can along with a few encounters in the studio. A mixed bag of results but I've enjoyed visiting one or two spots at local allotments and even found a nice display of flowers to paint on the campus at work on my day off (quite strange being there when there's almost nobody around). Anyway, to the paintings. If my studio efforts lead to something worth keeping I'll post them up. In the meantime, a few plein air pieces (click to enlarge)

Wild flower display, OU campus (oil on board 8x16in)

Wild flowers, OU campus (oil on board 10x13in)
Both of the above were done on the campus at work where there has been an incredible display of wild flowers as part of a newt 'hiberaculum' for a protected colony of the great crested newt. I really wanted to get an interesting abstract design using the colours and rhythms of the flowers and avoid getting too much detail (which could lead to something horrifyingly twee). It's tricky as there's not much structure to work with but the subject was too good to resist. I think the top one works a bit better (the brushstrokes seem more dynamic) and I might be tempted to do something bigger in the studio with the aim of really letting go with some strokes of colour :)
At the allotments I've had one or two fruitful sessions with the odd turnip too :) After one session at New Bradwell allotments I was chuffed to be rewarded with a bag full of runner beans from a kind plot holder. I now have a freezer drawer full for the winter!
Allotments, New Bradwell (oil on board 11x14in)
Whilst painting the one above I was accompanied by a cockerel which had a home behind the fence about 2 metres away. Don't start me on cockerels! Anyway, the light kept changing...sun in and out but I found some sort of happy medium in the end. I liked the jumble of stuctures amongst all the vegetation.

Sunflower 'totem', allotments at Wing (10x13in - oil on board)
This one was done in the midday sun and I persuaded a plot holder to let me in so that I could bag what seemed like the best spot. He told me what all the plants were and I can't remember any of them apart from the sunflowers! The composters were known as the 'Daleks' and the tall green plant on the left was about 2 metres further to the left but I decided to use it to improve the composition and contrast against the dark trees behind.
Stoke Bruerne lock (oil on board, 11x14in)
This was quite a complicated subject and because there was a lot happening in the scene I opted for a bigger board (11x14 is one of the biggest sizes I use on location). I soon discovered that locks are quite active places and the water levels/boats keep chopping and changing. I preferred the subject with the lock empty as there was enough going on around it. I also liked the way the sun caught the inside of the lock on the far side. It's a tricky subject but the vertical anchors of the tree and pole helped make the composition stronger. The foreground railings were handy too.

Reflections, Stoke Bruerne (oil on board 10x13in)
This one's all a bit civilised for my liking but I fancied having a go at the reflections. The building is actually an Indian restaurant!
Lots of framing to be done for the upcoming show with the Plein Air Brotherhood at A&K Wilson gallery, opening October 2nd. Then it's the Royal Society of Marine Artists annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London (October 17th) for which I had 2 paintings accepted. Looking forward to it and I'll hopefully have a few more paintings to post up soon.