Yesterday I went down to Kogel bay and had a first go at recording my painting process on video. heh heh it was quite fun – but there is still some stuff I have to learn about this. For a start I had been experimenting with the camcorder and only had 28 minutes of battery life left, and I have yet to buy a back up. Anycase – the only way to begin sometimes is to begin. I set up on a rock with a tripod behind me and my art box, on the tripod in front of me. phew!! Then I got the first painting going:
I got this far when the shutter on the camera closed and I realised that I had not hit “Record” – Oh yeah – beginners stuff.
Then I set up again and did this painting:
And here is the first video. There is a lot I am not keen on. For a start I had my water box down on my right and every time I cleaned my brush my big black hat flops in front of the screen. Also, I was quite nervous – now I wonder what that is about – and did not do the most amazing painting. Oh yes I also cut out a messy piece in the middle and have part one and two. A bit steam-driven but anyway here it is. Please let me know what you think. If you like I will put up the second part of the painting. It is quite a large download. Oh yes #2 – turn your volume down – I gave a running commentary on the painting but all the microphone picked up was the sound of the sea.
When I get some decent editing software I will clean it up a little and repost it.
Well I am trying to finish off a version of Animus – someone is keen to buy it but I found a blemish in the sky so am doing another version. Here is how it looks now:
The painting is 1000×700 mm on Fabriano which as an interesting horizontal grain which picks up dry brush strokes. This would have been a good sheet to stretch I suppose but anyway -
Oh yes and I have a great idea for a series of paintings for which I need surfers to model for me. The first will use something like this – modelled by my son Ethan in our verry grrreeen pool and taken by me standing on the roof of our house:
watch this space – heh heh – all I need is to make some time and practice a bit with my airbrush – oh oh oh now I shouldn’t have said that…
Here is how the Animus painting looks now – time to take the dogs for a walk up the hill:
Here is a picture, below, I did of Ethan doing an Ollie on his skateboard:
I liked the dark background as it gave definition to his upper body and arms, which were light. But I found the tree trunk offputting. So I did the picture again:
the background is more suggested than described and I liked the figure better. Any comments on the comparison? For information, here are the stages in the development of the first picture:
Subsequent note: I did this work a year ago but in moving across to this blog I got this to repost – I am not sure how that happened. (However I drew a great crit from Keith so it is well)
I have been asked to do a watercolour painting of a wedding. Cool project hey? I have spent the afternoon up at Helderberg Reserve with Phil and Lara and family, practicing the scene. This is Phil talking to his father, who will be marrying them, in the spot where they will hold the ceremony.
I did this painting and took some photos to prepare for Saturday:
This is 22×30 inches which is a lot of paint to put down. That is a little sketch of the mountain and trees at the bottom. I have to think quite carefully about the strategy for the painting.
I will have a little more time on Saturday to do the whole painting. And I have lovely sheet of Arches 600gm Cold Press waiting for just this occasion. It will be interesting painting through a service – but wait – that is what I have been practicing (o:
Here are two paintings I did of the rocks on the coast looking across to Koeel Bay.
I did this first one a few years ago. The actual picture is only slightly larger than this. (Every other painting in this post is about 570x780mm). I spent ages on the rocks. Lots and lots of glazing. The other day I was walking on the same stretch of coast and I saw my rock with a little pool in it. It was like meeting an old friend.
I did the next one a couple of years ago, for our local watercolour society exhibition where I recieved an award for the most creative watercolour.
There is a moment, maybe a minute when the sun first appears over the mountains to the right of the picture when these rocks really do take on these colours. Otherwise they are full of pink greys. Before this picture I did about five or six pictures that looked something like this:
Till it felt like I had these rocks coming out of my ears… Hey, I can see the same rocks in the three different pictures. I am not sure why that should surprise me but it seems quite fun somehow.
After doing all of these lovely rounded (quartzite and granite) boulders against the sharp shales on the shore I thought my pictures need people. These boulders really want to be filled out. So I did some people then I painted this picture:
This was rejected by for the next exhibition with the following comments.
“Some wonderful elements -rocks, water. Picture somewhat segmented. Figure too strong. Picture needs “bringing together”. ” This all seems fair comment. I really like the rocks. They were pretty much done ‘alla prima’ with some touching in a second wash. And OK maybe a bit of a third. But not much more. I was doing this the morning before hand-in (as usual). The model came from a photo.
Here is a painting from the same area I did last year.
Here is something: I like the dark background and customisable header for this blog but I think it constrains the lateral dimension of my paintings. Perhaps I should try another.
In September 1998 I trekked up to Namibia with my family. This was going to be a family holiday with a difference. I had sent almost 80 paintings up to a gallery in Swakopmund to have my first ever exhibition. A year before I had changed jobs, from a frustrating comfort zone in the oil industry to a challenging position in one of the large financial services companies. I remember my heart sinking the first time I looked across acres of open-plan hokkies with people buzzing around like bees on a honey-comb. The change was largely brought on by a journal I had begun. I was working through Julia Cameron’s book “The Artists Way”. Every morning I would get to work early and write my three pages, sitting in the parking lot. Most mornings I started by writing “So what are you doing about your exhibition”.
Back in my previous company I would take my paintings and pin them up in my hokkie just to look at.
One day someone called John pinned this note next to my painting:
So I started thinking about an exhibition. And I started working. It just happened that way. Most Friday and Saturday nights I would set up my watercolour works on the kitchen table at about 21:00 when my family were going to bed. And I would paint, often till 02:00 or 03:00. Usually I would realise I could not see what I was doing anymore from being too tired. And in the week I would put my paintings up in hok and dream about painting while I dealt with the business of Software Quality Management. And in the middle of the year I contacted Sharon at Hobby Horse. She had been so gentle with my first pictures I brought to the gallery when I lived in Swakop and had sold some of my work. I had said that if I ever held an exhibition I would give her first ops. She and Don were keen so we started organising – through fax! I sent my all of my work up to Windhoek with someone who was flying up for business. Don organised to pick up the work and got busy with framing.
My friend Melanie helped me design the invitation and wrote the paragraph about the artist. I organised with friend Roy the printer to print the invitations. And that was a mission. Eventually they had a mistake in the address. But anyway.
I had a wonderful day working with Sharon and Don to put up my pictures in the gallery. He teased me about my write up on the invitation which admittedly was a rather grand.
It was so exciting. And that night I presented my work to the town. Or at least those who were there.
Animus and anima refer to the male and female sides of our psyche. It seemed to describe the desert in Namib desert and the lush green of Cape Town. So this was not a major thesis in psychology. My two main pictures were of a boy, my son Calvin, lying on the Brandberg – at the top of Amies Gorge, looking across this vast plain to Table Mountain in the distance – Anima. The other painting was of a little girl peeping out from behind a stone-pine, from the slopes of Table Mountain. She is looking across a vast plain to Spitskop in the distance. Spitskop and Brandberg are both granite plugs that rise majestically out of the desert plain. mmmm as I write I feel the tug. We had some great camping trips out there. I remember lying next to a little fire on top of Brandberg with leopard, who had followed us all day, grunting just off in the dark. My daughter put on a tutu and posed for the Anima picture. I put a line drawing of the paintings on the invitation.
And here are the paintings. They are both on Fabriano – smooth, and are each about 760x1000mm which was a large on which to paint watercolour.
We had a few days in Swakopmund before the exhibition so we took a drive up the coast to Cape Cross, then inland past Brandberg West, where there used to be a copper mine, and round the west side of the Brandberg to Uis, where they had converted the old club into a motel where we booked in for the night. I got up early the next morning and drove back to the Brandberg where I sat on a nearby kopjie and painted two pictures. The first was sold in the exhibition but I kept one.
This is one of my favourite watercolours and I am glad I still have it. The trees in the foreground are Brandberg Acacias which only grow in that area, apparently, at least that is what my friend Buzzy told me.
It would have been great to show some of the work I had on exhibition. I really pushed my skills quite far in that year. I took pictures with my camera, as I set up the exhibition, but they were such poor quality that it is not worth putting them here. I should have taken slides but had prints. Anyway – it is OK to sell and move on.
It was dead quiet as I sat and painted. Every now and again the karoo-toads in the valley would chorus – kwa kwor kwa kwor – then fall silent. As I sat I heard a droning. Looking up I saw a cloud of dust on the road on which I came. Over the next 10 minutes the sound grew and faded and grew. Then this old old landrover bakkie came clanking past on the road below. Then the sound slowly faded in the growing heat haze. I finished this painting then packed up my stuff and returned to Uis. I have not been back since.
I am moving this blog to a new site where my watercolour life does not mix so much with my facilitation and coaching at http://conversaction.wordpress.com/
Please come and visit me at http://deg34south.wordpress.com/ to where I will slowly be moving the paintings from here.
I love painting in watercolour. When I have time that is what I do. And I want to start making part of my living from this. I have started a blog to support my marketing effort in my other life. And in December 2008 I thought it would be cool to put some of my work out there.
I have tried a few different approaches to blogging my paintings – At first I had the same username as I use in my other life. But it got messy because the same links appeared on all the blogs. And I could only have one user address. Setting up another user on WordPress took me some time to figure out and I went to another blog platform. But I didnt like it there and now I am back, with a new user name, blog address and blog name. And I think I am getting it figured out.
I am keen to sell my work and have set up a site on etsy, as I have seen other artists doing. I have yet to register as a seller, as I need to understand more of the implications. But I am keen to do that too. I would like to sell prints and originals maybe.
In the meantime, I want to build up a history of posts and a log of my work. On my previous blog I had a gallery, which was OK to get my work up quickly but I don’t think I will do this here (now that I understand blogs a little better). Perhaps I will set up a website with my work.
But now I have some serious pressure mounting from my other world. Yep, a third life. So I will post the work I have so far and get it out there. I fully intend to be painting full on by the end of the year when this third rat is satiated and put to bed. To mix a metaphor.
So welcome to the start of this part of the journey.
Well this is the first picture of the year. I went down early to Koeel bay and sat on a rock at the end of the caves beach to paint this. There were some guys surfing in what must be the only waves in the region today.
The foreground rocks are high fractured and very hard quartzites, full of planes and cracks. They have always been a frustration for me painting in this place but today I felt I was able to do them at least some justice.