Despite having many things to be thankful for, it was hard not feeling down hearted at the thought of a month in Lockdown. I've decided the best way to get through whilst maintaining some sort of sanity is to find something to give me purpose, motivation and focus - something to occupy my mind and hands.
Following a discussion with fellow artist Paul Straker, we've decided to take on a couple of art challenges and we invite you to join us. We're prepping boards and sorting canvases in readiness for starting on Thursday. The challenges are as follows:
1. A painting or drawing each day.
Quick sketches in any medium, any subject... keep it simple, no pressure to create a refined piece. Aim to spend no more than 30-90 minutes on it, depending on time available. Some days will work better than others, but just have fun and see how much you can improve in the space of 4 weeks.
I'll be doing a combination of charcoal sketches and oil sketches. For charcoal sketches I'll be using tinted paper, around A4 size with a variety of pencils, charcoal sticks and chalks. I'm using it as a way of experimenting with the art materials I have. If you've just got pencil and plain paper - that's great - see how far you can push the simplest of mediums. For the oil sketches I'll be using board and canvas around 5x7", 7x9". I've found small off cuts of mount board that I'm prepping in a number of different way - coating in a few layers of primer or mounting with canvas sheets. Use any surface that can take the medium you choose to use - chop big pieces up into standard sizes so if you happen to create that master piece or want to give the finished sketch as a gift or just hang on your wall, you can buy a standard frame. I'm using oils but you can use whatever medium you prefer, it may be an opportunity to experiment with a number of different mediums. Have a rummage in your art box!
2. Traditional still life
I shall be starting with a tonal underpainting, then building up with layers of transparent glazes. I've prepared a couple of boards 10x12". I'm anticipating, once I've completed the underpainting, to be adding a glaze every other day, but we'll see. I've taken lots of photos of quinces from our garden and will be using one of these as reference. Feel free to use them too - I've included some of my photos at the end of this post - or find objects around the house that interest you.
Oils is the best medium to use for this. I'll be using Liquin by Winsor and Newton as my glazing medium. Subscribe to my blog posts so you can be kept up to date with my progress as I do this; I'll be letting you know how I'm painting it, what colours I'm using etc so you can follow along. If you've never tried oils, this is a very effective way of achieving a fantastic still life painting - you'll surprise yourself!
I intend to post weekly on our progress so you can subscribe to my blog posts if you want to see how we get on. Please feel free to join in and send me photos of paintings you've done, but please don't feel pressurised to paint every day if that doesn't work for you - the idea is to keep occupied and feel connected during lockdown.
Do contact me if you want any tips or advice - I'd be delighted to help. You can paint any of these with basic sets of colours - please get in touch if you want help colour mixing, I really enjoy the challenge of colour mixing!
If you use any of the following photos, do feel free to paint whatever background appeals to you - different colours, different position for the horizon - and do straighten the horizon! The cardboard I was using to sit the quince on had a bow to it so it's a bit wobbly...