Monday, 19 April 2010

Working From Life

Owl Eye Demonstration

 I have so many wonderful friends and artists who are  letting me know they  love my latest collection of watercolours. I am also being told my work is evolving so quickly but how  is it that the difference is so great from a few years ago.

In truth writing my book was the biggest surprise to my personal artist development. Closely studying exactly why I choose colour and individual techniques to create paintings full of life really has been an inspirational experience. I have read each section repeatedly.  I understand my way of working and every single decision I make far more now than I ever have before. It was like being on my own workshops but having time to paint for myself rather than to continually demonstrate.

One area that really helps is that I always paint subjects I have seen and I paint from life as much as possible. For example I have spent so much time on farms studying cockerels. Even though I am painting them in a more abstract style I still need to fully understand how they move,their poses and characters.

Owls are fascinating me especially their eyes. So again I have been spending time just sat quietly studying  them closely.Their feather formation is so beautiful and appeals to me as an artist as to how I can capture that incredible effect in watercolour.

I truly believe you achieve more life in your results if you paint from life and know your subject well. Forget painting from photographs and study the real subject in  wonderful light .This leads to far more exciting and unique results.



Unknown said...

Thanks for the advise. I have chickens in my garden and I observe them nearly everyday. It's amazing how their character shows. I still yet have to try and paint them. They move a lot so that will be a challange for me. You encouraged me to try and do it.

Jean Haines SWA, SFP said...

Hello Merna, I hope you have a great time painting the chickens,their poses fascinate me and I find myself lost just watching them as they move. They really are gorgeous subjects so please let me know how you get on, I will look forward to hearing from you!

Mike said...

G'day Jean, from Oz,
You are so right about painting subjects you have personally photographed and experienced in their own environment. Lacey, Jack(mum's dog), Tika(cousin's old beautiful Border Collie, 16 years and still breaks into an occasional trot), and I followed mum's chooks around the orchard and took a few happy snaps after observing their antics. Your terrific demo on your DVD inspired me to attempt to paint one or two of these characters. But I didn't have the pigment you used for the eye(quinacridone purple?) with indigo. Is there a substitute for that particular pigment that you would recommend, as it is very hard to acquire such pigments out here in (almost) outback Australia?

Love your blog, always interesting.
Many thanks, Mike and his painting companion, Lacey.