Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Something Borrowed, Something (Mostly) Blue...

Sunset at the Beach by Adele Cosgrove-Bray; oil on canvas; 2019.
I finished this oil painting just this afternoon. It's my largest painting to date; you can see it here, balanced tentatively on my wooden French box easel, which is marketed as being portable though it isn't really, not unless you're willing to carry an attache-case-size tonne weight which requires a master of origami to unfold its various extendable bits, and which is guaranteed to spill the entire contents of its storage drawers over the floor in the process.

Light Approaches by Adele Cosgrove-Bray; watercolour; 2019.
I've begun looking for an easel which is genuinely suited to painting outdoors. It needs to be light but not so light it'll blow over with the first breeze. It needs to be suitable for both oils and watercolours, i.e. it needs to be able to offer vertical, tilted and horizontal angles. It does not need to have integrated storage, as a bag is more useful anyway. Try fitting sandwiches and a flask in an easel's storage drawer - it's never going to happen, yet oddly enough such items tend to come in handy.

On annual leave from my part-time day job, I'd decided to do battle outdoors with my old box easel despite its limitations. There's a particular scene in Birkenhead Park I've been meaning to attempt for ages. Naturally, each day that I was free to paint we had torrential rain and howling gales.

Shown above is my latest watercolour, Light Approaches, which has now been properly mounted and framed. I chose neutral colours for these as I didn't want to overpower the delicate sky. I've used a more painterly approach with this one; you can see the loose brush strokes in the pale blue of the sky, (though you may have to view it full size to do this; just right-click on the image). As is usual for me, the theme is the coastal light.

Having been an avid bookworm since childhood, these-days I read  around 45 - 50 books a year. So I recently decided to begin writing book reviews, which you can read HERE if you wish. This link will take you to my profile page on  Hubpages, and if you scroll down that you'll find 110 articles,  to date,  on a broad variety of subjects. Enjoy!

Last Saturday's life drawing group was a lot of fun. The model, Rose Mairs, wore her mother's wedding dress, (the mother being Wirral artist Marie Mairs). Rose also wore a floral headdress and bouquet created by Wirral textile artist Angela Stringer. It was good to see a few new faces among the group; also good was the sheer diversity of finished drawings, each quite distinct in style and approach.

I used a 9B graphite pencil and two sizes of sketchbook, an A4 hardback book for the ten minute poses and a larger A3 sketchbook for the 40 minute pose. Though the paper in both look similar in colour to the eye, my scanner only fits the A4 and so I have to photograph the larger one, and this comes out grey-looking for some reason unknown to me - probably something to do with light levels.

Currently on show at the Williamson Art Gallery is the Art & Photography Exhibition 2019, all work by artists who either live in Wirral or who have a clear connection to the area. Anyway, I went along to view the exhibition and found it to be more contemporary and less "safe" than in previous years. There was a clear narrative element to many of the works.

My own favourites were: Langdale Pikes by Heather Davies; Lowtide by Leslie Devonport; Harbourside by Julia Duerden; Sunlight in Cannes by Clare Flinn; Reflections by Irene Goodier; Drifting Sands by Amanda Oliphant; Where I'm Going You Can't Follow by Poppy Palin; January by Dennis Spicer;  and Lakeland (Autumn Morning) by Susan Stevens. This is not to imply that the other paintings on display were inferior; my selection is merely a reflection of my own tastes.

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