Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Artist in Residence Week

 As always I had a marvellous week at Nature In Art Museum and Art Gallery as their artist in Residence. Although it was an unexpectedly quiet week, considering they had a new exhibition just open, I had enough folks coming in the studio to see what I was up to to stop me getting lonely and I got a good amount of painting done into the bargain.

I started the week working on the two bulls painting. I got the trunk of the right hand bull blocked in and then moved onto putting the texture and detailing in on the head and altered the front leading leg a bit. To get the feel of the skin being dust covered and caked in mud I use a dry brush over the blocked in sections. Once that was done I then moved onto the left hand bull putting in the lower sections. Then in my enthusiasm to keep going, as I was about to start the ear, I remembered I had to stop there to allow the lower sections and trunk of the other ellie, I had painted over the last two days, to dry before continuing.

As this painting is to be of specific individuals, I took care to suggest the creases and folds on the forehead and trunk from the photo reference I had. These lines form a pattern unique to the individual, so I am trying to get them right. The other telltale markers are the ears and tusks. I would not be so fussy if my painting was not to depict named individuals and was more generic. I'm hoping Dr Kate Evans of The Elephants For Africa Trust can identify the two bulls so that I can name them in the title of this piece. 

So I then started the next painting of the three bulls crossing the flood plain, as I described in my last post. I roughly sketched in the tree line with pale green paint thinned with liquin and then with a similar thinned mix of burnt sienna I drew in the elephants and was pleased that my feel for them was improving as I needed few alterations to my freehand drawings to sketch them in. Obviously when I come to paint them there will be refinements, for example enlarging the head on the bull to the far left.

Once that had dried over night I went over the whole canvas with a thin burnt sienna wash (thinned again with liquin to speed the drying time up) I then pushed the easel into the line of the heater airflow and fiddled about with other things and had long chats with folks whilst it dried for an hour or so.

I then did a mix of white, ultramarine and alizarin crimson with liquin for the sky and applied it to the canvas, including the deep edge sides and top. Once it was on, I felt it was a little too dark, so I paled it down a little with white, working wet into wet. 

Again I waited for it to dry for an hour or so before starting to add in the tree line, working as I always do from the horizon coming forwards as I progress through the scene. The photo I printed from my computer  of the background did not show up the lovely warmth of red tones in the reeds and vegetation so I am adjusting my painting to compensate for that. 

This is as far as I got before I had to stop and pack up to come home. I hope to continue this at home over the coming weeks as and when I can inbetween finishing off the larger two bulls painting.

Thank you to all those who popped in to see me, whether planned or by accident, it was lovely to see and meet you. I hope to be back there next year again.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Artist in Residence - Nature In Art

Today I head off to Gloucestershire and the wonderful Nature in Art Museum and Art Gallery to set up their studio for my week there as artist in residence. The museum is closed on Mondays so I have the day to myself to hang my work, set up the display tables and get myself 'settled in'.
This year I am back to being on my own for the week as I wanted to be able to show not only my general wildlife paintings but also have an area dedicated to showing my Botswana work so far and some of my zoo work. It has been a long time since I showed work from my job as the wildlife illustrator at Bristol Zoo, so I thought it was time to have a little display for that too.
I shall be working on the oil painting I started sometime ago of two bull elephants, which I hope I can crack on with and get near finishing.

And for the times when I am waiting for areas to dry etc I plan to start another elephant painting this time of three bulls striding out across a flood plain.  I've had this painting in mind for many months but couldn't decide on the composition or quite how I was going to approach it. I think I now have a plan in mind that I am happy with, so with any luck I hope to start to get something on the canvas for that too.
The museum is open Tuesdays - Sundays and I shall be there this week until Sunday 14th. If you are in the area please do pop in and come and chat to me.

The museum is a wonderful place to visit and has a lovely cafe for snacks, teas, coffees and lunches. There are also two special exhibitions on at the moment that wold be worth viewing....

Until November 25th
British Wildlife Photography Awards
The 90 winning and short-listed photographs from the 2012 competition. World class images celebrating the diversity of British fauna and flora and their environments.

October 2nd - 21st
Portrait of an Audience
A display from the Roses Theatre , Tewskesbury. 46 images celebrating their diverse audience