Sunday, 12 February 2012

What Happened To January?

Suddenly it is nearly Valentine's Day - a significant one for Maddy's family as it is a family name and birthdays tend to be concentrated around it (my family name is Gaius) - but where did January go?  I seem to have spent far too long in the studio fiddling about and not enough time outside.

I did manage a short burst at the beginning of January and on some days the weather was kind as this little 8x6 inch panel shows:

I worked some of the sketches up into pastels - some more successful then others:


I have also been working steadily on several larger oils of the Venice sketches.  I tend to start with a charcoal and acrylic underpainting - to see if the composition is likely to work.  I find scaling up very difficult, especially if I change the aspect ratio of the panel or canvas, so charcoal and acrylic is a quick way of shuffling the main elements around before I commit to oils.  This 12x16 of the Redentore and the Dogana shows how they are started.  I then add acrylic until I can see how the shapes and tones will work and then launch into oils to finish:

I have also been having fun with monotypes in oil paint on an acrylic-primed paper.  I am just feeling my way at present but eventually I hope to develop a reliable technique and perhaps then add further work into the basic print (in the same way that Miro used to add colour after a print had been pulled from the plate, thereby creating a unique piece):

Among The Angels

Fuchsia (after Mervyn Peake)

Yesterday I had my first decent day of the year - bitterly cold but fine, looking out over Otmoor from various locations.  First I just had to join the other villagers on our 'piste' - a favourite part of the hill on which we live that becomes a 'run' in winter.  The ice was perfect and I broke the village record.  No-one has ever reached the stile at the bottom end of the field (where the slope finally runs out) in the 29 years we have been here but yesterday at least 3 of us managed to bury ourselves in the hedge next to it.  I was using an old, wooden Bavarian toboggan, quite long with narrow runners: the other two had modern plastic things.  After all that excitement I walked away from the crowds to paint 3 panels throughout the late morning and afternoon in cold sunshine:

Towards Otmoor Range

Beckley Park

Middle Park Farm and the Oxford Plain