The joys of a controlled environment! Yesterday I was seriously doubting my ability to draw or paint, and after the fiddling fronds disaster, the thought of trying again made me sick to my stomach. Cue the still-life epiphany, and faith and balance have been restored. All in the world is rosy once more.
I’ve noticed that most of the #stradaeasel daily art uploaded to social media is still life. It makes sense, as most people have busy lives and don’t have the daylight hours available to them to paint – as will be the case for me when I return to work next week. I’ll be forced then to paint in the evening, so I may as well start now.
I found a cheap desk lamp, raided my fruit basket and linen draw (ironing basket, actually), and got comfy in my well-lit studio with Fine Music Radio and a glass of Calitzdorp’s finest for company. And I had all night to paint, with nary a change in the light . Bliss!
Finally, a piece I enjoyed painting, and that I’m happy to post.
The intention was to capture the essence of this leafy display with just a few considered brush strokes of inspired colour. But four hours later I found myself lost in a confusion of blobby dawbs and ever-changing sunlight. I didn’t enjoy the process and the resultant painting sucks, but I have to post it as part of my learning curve.
I had stupidly placed myself in the exact same crappy lighting situation I had endured on day 4 – sitting in bad light, looking out into bright sunshine. I am obviously a slow learner.
By late afternoon I had to wrap my paintbrush in a band-aid to prevent the sun’s reflection from blinding me. Even nature was begging me to stop!
At the end of the day I had to admit that my undertaking to paint scenes from my home each day was not going to work, not at this stage. I am too inexperienced to complete a daily painting of any worth while still learning about (structural) perspective and dealing with rapidly changing natural light. I need simpler subject matter and controlled lighting. I need still life!
The challenge to paint from life remains. But at least that life will be still, and I can control the elements!
In keeping with the ‘paint smart’ plan, today I thought I’d stick to a simple floral scene. I love the cobalt skies and scarlet flowers I see from my front door, and what could be simpler to paint? I’d forgotten about the many surrounding structures that frame and enhance the image…
Today I learnt a valuable lesson – EVERYTHING is about perspective. Perspective and light.
oil on board – 42 x 30cm
This light was moving fast. I had no time to figure out vanishing points, instead I held my breath and just painted what I saw. About an hour into it, I started to relax and have fun.
Not the ideal light to paint in.
Despite the reigned in subject matter, it still took too long to paint, so back to the drawing board tomorrow – ha ha!
Gouache on paper (13 x 9cm)
This is where I sat when painting the kitchen on day 2. I love this little room and spend a lot of time in here reading or just enjoying my plants.
I’d hoped that a smaller painting would require less time and effort – which wasn’t the case! I’m going to have to paint a lot smarter if I’m to survive this month-long challenge.
This is proving to be a lot tougher than I had anticipated. It took me most of yesterday to paint the tiny painting below, and I was concerned. How could I justify spending an entire day just painting? Then I remembered that I had taken leave to paint – to do exactly this. Mission accomplished, guilt abolished.
oil on canvas board (20cm x 20cm)
This is my kitchen as seen from the conservatory/ sunroom. My plan for today (day 3) is to sit against the washing machine and paint the spot where I spent most of yesterday. That’s the plan, still undecided on the medium.
I Googled ‘lessons in perspective’ prior to tackling this and can now inform you with complete authority that this is one point perspective. A simple, straight on view. Today’s painting (if all goes to plan), should be the same. I’ll tackle 2 and 3 point perspective when I’m good and ready.
I also did some reading up on grisaille – here I’ve only used it as a guide for tonal values, but with time permitting, I’d love to try and do it properly.
Happy new year! I woke up today with a hangover, despite the fact that I’d remained well within the limits last night. Only much later did I realise it was ‘carb flu’, which confirms that Christmas is over and common sense prevails. Thank goodness!
Day 1 of the STRADA easel challenge: My head was too fuzzy to choose a scene from my home to paint, so instead I sketched the street where I live. I love the view of the mountain from across the road and have always wanted to paint it, so perhaps this will lead to something more detailed in future.
My perspective needs work, but overall it was fun sitting out in the street and just making art.
In January I’ll be participating in the STRADA Easel 31 day challenge, where I’ll create a daily painting from life (no photographic references or imagined images permitted) in the hopes of winning one of their magnificent easels.
Because in my head, all that stands between me and a perfectly captured landscape is a STRADA easel.
To provide myself with enough time to paint without jeopardising my day job, I’ve decided to use my house and garden as reference. So each day I’ll be painting and posting a favourite aspect of my home.
Roll on 2019, my brush is poised and my home is (almost) at the ready!
This weekend the Simondium Country Lodge hosted the charming Garden Ideas Market .
With spring around the corner, gorgeous weather predicted for the day and a chance to experience the magnificent views on offer, I was in!
(Franschhoek Wine Tram with the majestic Simonsberge in the background)
On a hot Sunday morning, at the height of a January heatwave, my friend Julie dragged me off to Bree street to experience ‘community building and healthy recreational activity’ in the form of Open Streets Cape Town.
Reluctantly, I went, with no real grasp of the intent behind the event – I returned enlightened, sunburned and spent! Open Streets is a platform for change, where people can gather en masse and integrate organically, just by interacting in a space that’s usually off limits.
Tulbagh, famous for the ‘wtf?’ earthquake of 1969, was the natural choice for yet another earth shattering event in the form of my ‘wtf-th?’ birthday. It was also the weekend of the Tulbagh Arts Festival, so I gathered the clan and we headed out to the country.
Terry, an old varsity buddy, owns the beautiful Wild Olive farm and guest cottages just outside town. We’d booked the Guinea Fowl (of which we saw many) which slept six comfortably. The cottage was beautifully appointed, the cosy fire place put to good use on the chilly spring nights and the sweeping views down the valley, breathtaking.