Begin it now

Warm Night, Southern Sky – acrylic on canvas, 605 x 910 mm, 2015.  For sale at The Christchurch Art Show, June 2015.
Warm Night, Southern Sky – acrylic on canvas, 605 x 910 mm, 2015

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” W. H. Murray

As I mentioned last week, I’ve started preparing for this year’s Christchurch Art Show. It will be my first exhibition* and all artworks will be for sale. I’ll be surrounded by talented artists and awesome art (there’s a video of last year’s event on their website) and I’m a little nervous about it ― but when the opportunity presented itself last year (a nice lady from the show contacted me, having seen my work on this blog, and suggested that I apply), it seemed like the right ‘next step’ for me and my art. I’m now doing my best not to stress about it but I have quite a few large and large-ish canvases I need to paint in order to have enough work for the four-day exhibition. I’m telling myself: one painting at a time… and the show isn’t until June…

‘Warm Night, Southern Sky’ is the first of those canvases ― one down, (at least) six more to go.

THE CHRISTCHURCH ART SHOW  11th–14th June 2015
Tickets on sale now : )

My thanks to Kathie Pugaczewski for making me aware of the W. H. Murray quote.

Red sky at night, original photo – Christchurch, 2012
Red sky at night, original photo – Christchurch, 2012

This is the second time I’ve used my ‘red sky at night’ photograph as a reference for a painting. The first was an ink and watercolour sketch (click here to see the post).

* Strictly speaking, I have had student exhibitions and I did take my work to a mini market last year — this event, however, is much (much) bigger. And scarier. Onward and upward.

A little light relief

Through the trees — acrylic on canvas, 100 x 305 mm, 2014
Through the Trees — acrylic on canvas, 100 x 305 mm, 2014

This is one of the smallest paintings I’ve ever done! It’s based on this painting and this photograph that I posted last year. It may still be autumn (officially) in Christchurch but this month has felt a lot more like winter ― the sunny glow coming from this little canvas has been very welcome here in the art cave.

Behind the lines

My painting Between the lines has taken me on quite a journey over the last couple of weeks. Some time ago (at the end of posting Paradise), I asked: How CAN you tell when something is finished? Fellow blogger/artist Gabriel Garbow commented: ‘…at some point you have to say, “I’ve taken this as far as I can. I’ve learned all this painting has to teach me.” That’s when you sign it and *move on*.’

I’ve taken Gabriel’s words to heart. Asking if a painting has anything more to teach you really is a useful way of telling when something is finished (with the definition of ‘finished’ being ‘it’s okay to stop now’). I’m happy to declare that Between the lines is finished. And it has taught me a lot…

Work in progress #1 – underpainting – figuring out the composition, the lights and the darks
Work in progress #1 – underpainting – figuring out the composition, the lights and the darks

WIP #1  I used an earthy orange colour (a mixture of yellow ochre and naphthol red) for the underpainting because I wanted the sky to be dramatic and the sunset to glow. I added ultramarine blue (almost everywhere except the sky) and titanium white.

Work in progress #2 – building up colour with glazes
Work in progress #2 – building up colour with glazes

WIP #2  I was tempted to stop at this point because I really liked the simplicity of it and the colours looked stunning. But I felt there was more to learn, so I kept going…

Work in progress #3 – continuing to build up colour, adding details and texture
Work in progress #3 – continuing to build up colour, adding details and texture

WIP #3  I added more layers ― experimenting with transparency/opacity ― and ended up adding so much white that I lost a large chunk of the sunset. I kept going…

Work in progress #4 – adding more layers
Work in progress #4 – adding more layers

WIP #4  I began putting lights over darks and darks over lights ― which, rather predictably, kept turning the sky green and so it needed to be repainted ― and slowly, something magical began to happen. Encouraged, I went on to paint the power lines (thank you rigger brush #2), made a few adjustments to the trees and the cityscape… and signed it.

Between the lines – acrylic on canvas, 305 x 405 mm, 2013.

This is only the second time I’ve used an underpainting (the first was The colour of snow) and I love the results. The way the colours glow is not just a trick of the light coming from the computer screen. Underpainting really does add depth and luminosity.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Between the lines

Between the lines – acrylic on canvas, 305 x 405 mm, 2013.
Between the lines – acrylic on canvas, 305 x 405 mm, 2013.

Telephone lines – Tauranga, 2013.
Telephone lines – Tauranga, 2013.

I have a thing for telephone poles ― I know I’m not the only one.

Painting this was a bit of a mission and took, on and off, nearly two weeks! I’ll post my work-in-progress photos later in the week to give you some idea of the to-ing and fro-ing this painting had to endure.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Sunlight is green

Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, 205 x 295 mm, 2013.
Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, 205 x 295 mm, 2013.

Here, as promised, is my painting of the sunset in Hagley Park (taken from the same photo I sketched last week). If you’re wondering about the title, it was inspired by something I read in The Acrylic Artist’s Guide to Exceptional Colour by Lexi Sundell. Apparently there is research to suggest that sunlight is not yellow but pale green. Think about that for a minute. Green is a cool colour but sunlight is warm. Other research suggests it may be pale blue. Whatever it is, it seems sunlight is not a warm colour. I don’t know about you but that thought really messes with my head.

Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, detail.
Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, detail.