Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Lisianthus and Two Lemons - step by step Here's another stage by stage description of how I painted 'Lisianthus and Two Lemons'
This was my set up. I really liked the clashing patterns of the orange embroidered cloth and the plate together, although I did think the scarf at the back might prove a bit too much with the other patterns, so I was thinking I might change the colours or just leave it plain.
Step 1 I outlined the shapes of the objects with a thinned mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. At this stage I was observing very closely the proportions of the objects and their relationship to everything else.
Step 2 I started to block in the colours, trying to get them as accurate as possible. At this stage I am quite concerned to get the flowers in as they can change quickly, and also to get the values correct in relation to each other. I kept everything quite low-key as I wanted the white flowers to stand out.
Step 3 The block in is complete - now the fun can begin!
Step 4 I felt a bit worried at this stage - I thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew with the complicated pattern and getting the ellipse of the plate correct! But there was no turning back...
Step 5 Phew! I was quite surprised it didn't look too bad. I had to do a couple of tweaks to the shape of the plate to get it to look convincing.
Step 6 I then proceeded to paint the orange pattern on the cloth, darkening the orange in the shadows, and I also decided to darken the background to make the flowers stand out more dramatically. I'd decided to lose the pattern on the scarf at the back and just paint it a plain blue-black.
Step 7 This is a scan of the finished painting. I've worked a bit more on the shadows in the cloth, refined the pattern on the plate, developed the shadows and highlights on the lemons and added highlights to the side of the plate and the flower pot.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

What's It Like Living on a Narrowboat?

My partner Dale and I have been living on a narrowboat for about eight years. In that time we have lived on the Grand Union Canal in London, on the Thames, cruised the midland canals for a year, and eventually decided to settle on the beautiful Oxford canal. There are advantages to living on a canal boat – the calming proximity of water, ducks bringing their ducklings to be fed in spring, sitting on the front deck in the sunshine watching other boats go by – what could be more blissful? Also if you don't like where you are - it's very easy to move! Disadvantages? Well winter can be hard. Although it's toasty warm with the coal fire burning, if you have to go away for any reason in winter, returning to a freezing ice-box is not unknown. Also space can become a bit of an issue, although for some reason I love living in a small space, and cleaning isn't a long job! The one thing I miss though is having a garden. Although some boats have moorings with gardens (we had one in London) they are few and far between. I do miss having a bird feeder and watching the birds. All in all though, I think the pluses outweigh the minuses, especially if you add in the wonderful boating community, quirky eccentrics and non-conformists all, and always there for you if you're in need of help.