Three new pieces up for sale over yonder - firstly, a watercolour painting/ink drawing from a lunchtime last month. I've drawn the National Monument - or, er, Edinburgh's Disgrace - a couple of times before, but this was the first time I've done a decent watercolour & ink piece of the unfinished Parthenon.
The monument dominates the top of Calton Hill, just to the east of Princes Street. It was designed during 1823-6 by Charles Robert Cockerell and William Henry Playfair and is modelled upon the Parthenon in Athens. Construction started in 1826 and, due to the lack of funds, was left unfinished in 1829. This circumstance gave rise to various nicknames such as "Scotland's Disgrace", "Edinburgh's Disgrace", "the Pride and Poverty of Scotland" and "Edinburgh's Folly". - Wikipedia
The small size of the watercolour paper I worked on fitted a window mount perfectly, so it's looking rather natty, all ready to go into a frame.
Also, there's another piece from the first life drawing session this month - a complementary colours painting that inadvertantly has a hint of the Obama-ize photo filter about it.
Finally, here's a still life oil painting from last weekend, returning to the thrilling world of citrus fruits.
So there you have it. Play us out, U2!
A rather so-so life drawing session today, with no pieces that leapt out as personal bests and more than my fair share of mediocre work. Even so, I still enjoyed myself, savouring the very process of drawing and painting even if the results were no great shakes.
With the short poses, I went back to charcoal in my ongoing yet inevitably doomed attempt to draw fast charcoal pieces as well as Henry Yan. Ha! Not a bit of it. Back to the ink next time (which seems to result in better short pose pieces) or keep on keeping on with the charcoal in the hope that eventially it clicks? Dunno.
Next up, a couple of 15 minute poses where I put a couple of apparently-fast-drying oil paints to use for the first time. One piece turned out pretty well, the other not so, but neither dried any faster than the water-mixable oils of previous sessions, so slightly regretting getting them. Ach well, they may yet prove themselves in underpaintings.
And, as with a few weeks back, finishing up with a long pose drawn using Conté pastels on pastel paper. Struggled a bit with the proportions here, and I'm not sure I won in the end, but it was a good challenge trying to do so.
You can see the other pieces from today that survived the end-of-session cull at my Flickr page. The soundtrack? BBC 6Music for the first hour or so, then back to Swans' remarkable To Be Kind again. It's pretty much the only opportunity I get in the month to listen to something so enormous, so powerful - it doesn't really lend itself to the commute, given one track alone is pretty much the length of Aberdour to Edinburgh. Still, something different next time. Sonically and artistically, I think today I got a little too stuck in my ways.
Two new pieces up ye olde artte shoppe. Firstly, a still life that was painted back in April but has taken bloomin' ages to dry off enough for varnishing. It's a #naptimeoilpainting (the hashtag I use whenever publishing a picture of one on Twitter) and has a nice curvaceous energy to it as I rushed to get it finished before The Boy returned from his brief sojourn to Nod.
Secondly, one of the oil paintings from life drawing earlier this month. A nice quick one, working with three colours and very little time.
As muttered the other day, I've not written any blog posts about making art for weeks on end because, er, I've been making art. Which is good! Since it clicked that I could splash together quick oil paintings during the Boy's naptimes, rather than noodling around online, my painted output has shot up from zero to plenty. Between this and my daily drawings, this year's already been more productive artistically than the last three years combined.
Even so, it's a bit shoddy if I'm posting new paintings up on my Facebook page (when they're probably only going to be seen by 4 or 5 people, thanks algorhythms) but not doing the same here, on my own cheery corner of the internet. So this is a bit of a catch-up splurge, with all future new pieces getting a post of their own. Click through to each piece to learn more, such as my struggle with the identity of a lemon.
As you'll see, it's all still life oil paintings, because a) it broadens my repertoire beyond naked bods, b) the lighting for painting landscapes isn't very interesting at midday and c) they present an interesting challenge in their own right. They've made me aware of my own limitations just now, but the more I do, the more I learn. On top of that, I'll be making my way through Michael Friel's Still Life Painting Atelier book over the coming weeks and months, so I'm hoping by the end of the year there'll be a tangible improvement in my work - which means I'd be able to ask more for it. Hooray! Until that happens, I'm keeping these all priced pretty low - I think they're good (wouldn't stick them up for sale if I didn't) and look rather lovely up on the wall, I just know there's better to come.
If there's one frustration about narrowing the focus of my blogging to artwork, it's the way it's shunted music out of the way. While I can't make the stuff, listening to it remains hugely important to me and I love the sheer variety of great new music. I've wanted to yelp enthusiastically about new tracks but not really had a decent reason to do so on an Artblog. And then... eureka! All I need to do is make a drawing, painting, sculpture, something inspired by a track, and I can yelp with impunity!
So, starting off, here's a sketch I made this morning en route to work, inspired by the title track from Daniel Avery's debut Drone Logic. I first heard this on Mary Anne Hobbs' weekend show a few weeks ago, and have played the bejaysuz out of it ever since. It's a splendid throbbing slab of techno that does a lot with relatively little, bringing to mind (at least to mine) images of AWOL drones circling the world listening to Walkmans. I think the above picture could've been clearer in that regard but, hey ho, such is life. Listen below and see what it conjures up in your own noggin...
Finally. It's been three months since my last life drawing session, and although there's been a whole lot of drawing and painting going on since then (plenty of which I've failed so far to blog about, but it's no bad thing if you're too busy to blog about artwork because you're too busy making the damn stuff) there's still nothing like a good solid three hour life drawing session to bring out the best in me. Today's session started, perhaps inevitably, with some rusty, hesitant ink drawings of quick 2 minute poses, a fair few banished to the bin, my brain flapping around in the usual OH-GOD-I-CAN'T-DRAW-ANYMORE way - it's okay, I'm used to this.
Still, the poses chosen by the model were absolutely superb - something about these Sunday afternoon sessions at Look & Draw seems to bring out the best in models - and eventually my brushstrokes loosened up a bit, as I remembered it wasn't about recording every little contour but instead capturing the energy, to summarise the pose rather than document it with precision. Shown here are the best, there's a few more up on my Flickr page.
After these, on to three longer poses (10, 15 & 20 minutes) where I dug out oil paints in the same complementary colours as I used at the start of the year. These turned out pretty nicely, although the second one unintentionally looks like it's been run through an Obamamize filter...
Onto the last pose, 45 minutes, where I used terracotta and white Conté pastels on pastel paper. Not a major leap forward in my work or anything, but it's okay.
I think there's a few pieces there worth popping up on the shop, so they'll go up in a week or two, and it did me a power of good to have those hours of nothing but making art. Fingers crossed it won't be another quarter of a year until the next time.
Music! The short poses were soundtracked with the furiously astounding debut from Perfect Pussy (not a band to Google at work) memorably described by Pitchfork as "a hardcore band fronted by Joan of Arc" and who sound like the best live band on the planet right now (ooh they're playing Glasgow at the end of July oooooh)...
Then the longer poses were backed to terrifying effect by To Be Kind, the new album from Swans. It's everything the reviewers said it would be, a shattering piece of work that's probably too hefty and powerful to be used as backing for anything less than planet-colliding.
One of the excuses I gave myself over the last few years for not drawing or painting was that “there’s not enough time.” This was, of course, bunkum. While free time has been a rarity ever since that big fat positive in summer 2011, there’s always been pockets of it to be found. Minutes rather than hours, sure, but time all the same. Instead, I wasted it online, consuming other peoples words and pictures rather than making my own, telling myself I didn’t have any time, that even the simplest sketch was too great an undertaking.
Well, nuts to that. As part of this year’s reboot of whatever creative spirit I’ve got left, and triggered by the daily action, I’ve learned to seek out those little pockets of potential in the day. One cracker is the 40 minute commute to work (of which more shortly). Also on workdays, there’s my lunch break – usually just half an hour, but still! 30 whole minutes!