Friday, 31 December 2010
The painting above is not one of mine but as I had been talking about values and prices of paintings I thought it appropriate to post it.
The painting is by a fine artist called Clive Richard Browne (1901-1991) a Norfolk artist whose work is represented in the National Collection and County Art Galleries. I don't generally buy contemporary works but I do occasionally buy a painting that takes my fancy. The painting above is in my studio and I bought it for £40. It is oil on canvas in a wooden frame app 26in x 20 ins. The artist is not particularly well known these days and the shabby gilt and plaster frame didn't help it when I bought it from a dealer.
Never the less it is a far better painting than you could get for many times that amount these days. A British Impressionist from the Norfolk School. I bought it because I liked the work. Because it is not very valuable I felt no great shame in taking the frame off it and pressure washing all the plaster and gilt off it and painting it dark brown.
It could do with a clean and restoring but the cost wouldn't justify it. I have in the past touched up paintings for people. I am not an expert and would n't do it on a painting of any value. Although with all due modesty the matching was pretty good and would have needed an expert to locate it.
So my point it is possible to pay a fortune for a poor painting and buy an excellent one for next to nothing.
Price doesn't necessarily guarantee value or quality.
Despite what anyone says paintings are simple ~ what you see is what you get ~
Anyway today I did finish my still life barring any final details. So life is slowly returning to normal.
Thursday, 30 December 2010
The painting above was about 3ft x 3ft and never made it. It is of Clevedon Pier and after I finished it I decided it was not for me and it was part of the next cull.
Anyway I am feeling a lot better today, got up and ventured outside. Yesterday Geraint popped in to collect a painting. Nice to see him and we had a short conversation about today’s values money and society. We were both coming from the same direction. I really find it hard to understand the value of money. There is a limit to what you can actually spend without just throwing it away.
We are very lucky living in a comparatively rich country. We have a house clothes and food after that anything else is a bonus. I don’t do the lottery as far as I am concerned I have already won it. I have a wonderful wife and – family, I don’t need a fortune.
So we do contribute to charity and are happy to do so.
There again there are others who have totally the opposite philosophy! When I took posters around the shops in Carmarthen advertising the Macmillan Cancer Support Exhibition one shop refused to display it. As I may have said before I had been previously a good customer.
On the upside all the others agreed so she was the exception.
These values for me also make their way into art. How do you value a painting?
For me it is simple how long did it take me to paint? What is a reasonable sum to expect on the basis of time labour and materials and the tax to be paid? No different to any other commodity.
I have seen new artists at their first exhibition brimming with excitement and enthusiasm only to wonder why no one had bought a painting at £1000 that had clearly taken them an hour to complete. I guess if they had their boiler serviced and saw it took an hour they would conclude the plumber was taking the mickey if they were presented with a similar bill.
For most artists painting does not either pay well or at all. I am lucky too be passionate about painting and manage to make a modest living, which is fine.
Talking of which tomorrow I expect to be painting again for the last time this year!
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
The painting above is of Llansteffan and although it is sold I thought it appropriate for the weather we have been having.
We had a good Christmas but as luck would have it I have caught a dose of man flu. So I haven't felt much like doing anything except feeling sorry for myself. I have work to do but I can't see me getting around to it for a couple of days. Anyway hopefully by the weekend I will be back to good health and painting.
Friday, 24 December 2010
This painting is now in the third quarter of completion. I have as you can see painted the main objects first and will finish by blocking in the background and finishing with the last details. The reason I did it this way was because with a lot of detail it would be all too easy to drag backgound paint with the arm, brush, or hand onto the work. The item behind the plate is a sugar shaker used for shaking sugar onto delicacies. I had not seen one before but I found it in an antique shop for £8. It adds height to the composition.
The easel in the picture is one of five I own. I have one studio easel, one field easel and a tripod easel. I also made two easels from 2"x 4" lengths of wood with bolts and wingnuts. They are very adjustable and cost me about £12 each to make. I tend to use them most when working indoors. It is important to be able to place the area you are working on at the right height, for me about shoulder level. These easels are infinitely adjustable within the height of the easel. I use the Julian field easel outside and although it is heavy to carry around (about 13kg +) it is quite practical. The Julian does have an annoying habit of sliding shut with your work on it. The two knurled nuts that hold the lid and easel upright do not tighten sufficiently. I will change them for 2 x 5mm wing nuts one day.
So I have done my painting for the day. A coffee pot was delivered that I bought as a prop off ebay and I have taken Alex to the Gallery. Friends and family are now arriving and it is probably time to become more sociable, well it is Christmas Eve!
Thursday, 23 December 2010
Painting and Sailing have something in common you (well I do) become completely absorbed in both practices. In sailing (particularly in the Bristol Channel) there is nearly always too much to think about to let your thoughts wander. In painting within seconds of starting to think about the painting I am fairly oblivious to other thoughts or outside influences. We no longer sail having had to sell our yacht for family reasons.
I do however still have a great respect and attachment to the sea. The painting above is sold but shows a Brixham Trawler entering St Annes Head and is based on a painting that has been in the family for several generations.
So despite the chaos that is Christmas I have for the most part been in a state of inner peace and concentration with a brush and paint. Today I decided to start on a second Still Life. The first hour was spent considering the props and the composition. Three days or so painting is a big commitment so it is essential to get it right from the begining. After working out the composition I then consider the order of painting. Do I do the background first? Do I put an overall ground over the surface ? Do I start at the top and work down?
Am I going to use glazes? There can be good reasons for choosing anyone of the above.
Then I get ready to work. I am by nature a tidy person not obsessed by it but I like a clean organised work space. There is less chance of accidentally spilling paint or damaging your work and it is easier to know where everything is.
So today went well, I think. I have got the main elements down. Being Christmas Eve tomorrow, even I may not be able to seek solace in my small studio. But you never know!
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
The painting above is of Alex and is not for sale. It has obvious references to A bar at the Folies-Bergère paintied by Manet during 1881/1882. The figures are reversed and naturally my wife is better looking. I enjoy the work of the impressionists by and large, particularly Manet. On the whole my least favourite is probably Monet. His lilly pond paintings do nothing for me truthfully. There again my work probably wouldn't appeal to him so that's probably honours even.
I probably like Manet because he was fairly unique in that he bridged the two styles of Impressionism and Realism. In many ways my work flits between the two. I also have in the past undertaken an homage to Dejeuner sur L'Herbe by Manet and also Olympia.
Today Alex fought her way into and around Tesco's for 4 hours doing the Christmas shopping. Quite ironic really as we don't know who is going to get here. One daughter, husband and grandchild have been trying to get a flight home from Las Vegas for the last 5 days. One son in law's parents are coming from Ireland.
Well if no-one gets here then I will certainly be well fed and watered. I spent the morning searching for props for my still life series. I went around the Antique shop next to Carmarthen Castle. It is quite easy to while away an hour there in any case. (Yes while away the hours is grammatically correct "while" in this case is a transitive verb apparently).
I found several items but none were perfect. If I am to spend two or three days on a painting it has to be right. The nearest was a Coalport Vase but the shape was a bit stubby, pity because it was in perfect condition and only £18.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
The painting above is of Pidgeon Wood Aberglasney. Aberglasney is a Mansion in the Towy Valley with a magnificient garden that goes back to at least the early 1400's. The Mansion was saved by a trust when it was in a derelict state and the gardens have been restored retaining some of their unique features. There is still work to do but the place is truly a jewel in the Towy Valley.
I have painted quite a few paintings and sketches in the gardens most of which have been sold.
Now I confess I am no gardener in fact I hate cutting the lawn. I do enjoy lovely gardens but I have no real interest in knowing the names of the plants or reading gardening books.
So Alex and I are members of the gardens and we visit it regularly throughout the year. We also exhibit once a year in the Mansion for a fortnight. As Alex says," it is a magical place".
The person who has been in overall charge of bringing the gardens back to life for the trust has been Graham Rankin along with his wife Frances. They are both leaving now to work on another challenge. So good luck to you both, what a great job you have done.
Today I did some work on my waterclour techniques. I am trying to reduce the time I take to complete a watercolour sketch or painting. When I am working at home this is not an issue but when I am outside speed is an important factor. A scene may change rapidly with the change of light or sky so it is important to get the painting down or you end up painting 2 or 3 scenes in the same painting. I am quite a quick painter if I need to be but there is always room for improvement. Today I also heard from David Cowdry (a fine artist and friend ) who unfortunately has been sufferingly with bad flu.
Monday, 20 December 2010
The above painting Cattle near Libanus sold last week in a gallery. Libanus is on the Brecon to Merthyr Road and you can see part of the Brecon Beacons in the background. It is a very warm painting (predominently browns as opposed to blues). This is in sharp contrast to the walk I had this morning.
I was still without a car and walked in to Carmarthen and out to Tesco's and back to get some provisions.
The pavments were slippy with dirty snow and ice but it was a nice bracing walk.
I then made a stew for Alex and her mother who had decided to risk the bad weather to get home. I put a steew on then found time to potch with my painting of Tretower. Having looked at it there were a couple of areas I was unhappy with. There was a lack of overall harmony. Basically I felt that the foreground needed to reflect the colours of the sky to unify the painting. Also the hill on the right was a bit dark.
Anway I am fairly happy with it now but don't rule out a final amendment.
Alex and her mom got home after a 6 hour drive.It normally takes three hours. The M4 was apparently pretty bad with snow but worse going the otherway as it was completely blocked by a jacknifed Royal Mail lorry.
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Today after clearing snow and walking the dogs I got down to working on the still life. As you can see above it is coming on now. The final version may be slightly cropped and I will add the final details over the next few days.
I did succumb (from succumbere, to lie or recline) to the glass of wine and very good it was as well. Fortunately I finished that part first. The plate did have cheese on, no not really. Still lifes are a genre of painting, that of inanimate objects. I don't do a great many but it is nice to have a change. I chose a Masons Ironstone Mandalay plate because... thats what I had and its nice and intricate.
After painting I watched the rugby on television and now I have Salmon in the oven for supper.
Tomorrow not sure yet.
Friday, 17 December 2010
Today I awoke early let the dogs out to find 2-3 ins of snow. I watched a pretty disastrous end of innings for England in the Ashes Test, and then walked the dogs. It was very quiet and we were walking on virgin snow, all very pretty.
I was a little bit delayed in starting to paint today, as the carers couldn't get to my mom. I did however get several hours painting done. I also opened a good bottle of Rioja at 10.30am. Now I do enjoy a drink but don't get worried. I still haven't touched it. I may have mentioned before I am doing a small series of Still Life Paintings and I needed a prop. A glass of wine. The painting is under way but will probably take a week. I took a while to sort out the composition and palette but I'm unusually still not quite 100% on the background tone. I am doing the rest of the painting and then I will fill it in after.
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Monday, 13 December 2010
Paul Stokle came in today and we had a good chat he exhibits in the King Street Gallery (http://www.kingstreetgallery.co.uk/) and is a painter I greatly respect.
Sunday, 12 December 2010
Saturday, 11 December 2010
You would image your archetypical library dweller would be "Mr Squint" with apologies to author Jenny Partridge. I know this is probably politically incorrect but it is also factually incorrect.
Books, yes of course.
Friday, 10 December 2010
Touch Wood ~ we have been doing well generally and still have work lined up but who is to say when things could change?
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Today we sold cards a watercolour painting of Llansteffan and I had a commission for a large painting. So all in all not a bad day. Still not that many people but the one's that came in bought.
The other good thing about exhibitions is that you get a chance for "feedback", what people like don't like, and of course the expert witness. Today I had the expert witness who pointed out a technical error in one of the paintings. He was actually quite correct, although this is not always the case and in those situations its a choice between arguing the point or just agreeing. Generally I would just politely listen and let them go on their merry way.
As I say in this case my friend was quite correct and I readily conceded the point. It is always useful to be kept up to the mark. To err as they say is human and I am very human with all the frailties attached. I was grateful he only found one minor technical error in 61 paintings. I am sure I could have found more if I tried really hard.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Monday, 6 December 2010
Sunday, 5 December 2010
As Alex was in the middle of printing cards labels et. al. for the exhibition this was not greeted with amusement.
In the end Alex went out and delivered three framed prints to a customer and I sat trying to out smart (out guess would be more accurate) this machine. After three frustrating hours Mrs Compaq was working again.
Unfortunately the weather forecast for tomorrow is not great and our Private View could well suffer. Still there's not much we can do about it. Maybe its time to have a glass of pre-dinner wine!
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Friday, 3 December 2010
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Wednesday, 1 December 2010