Painting is on Pause!

This time of year in the UK the weather is sucking big time.  I go to work in near darkness and come home in the dark.  So I have been trying to paint on weekends.  When the light is dim, I don’t see very well and that makes it difficult for me to paint.  I may need to get a lamp with a daylight bulb in it.  If anyone else has this issue, please let me know how you get around it.  I also cannot paint in greylight.  As it is winter in the UK, the light is mostly grey.  I was thinking I might need to change my subject matter if my vision is fuzzy because of the light situation and start painting some abstracts again.  I went off-piste with that as I really love painting flowers, but I am struggling with trying to focus.

So, with not enough time to paint, and the light being rubbish, I also have nowhere to paint.  My usual painting area, in the dining room, at the back of the house (hence the lack of light in the winter months) is no longer available as the room now contains furniture from my living room.  My husband is decorating the living room and most of the furniture is now in the space where I used to paint.  It is very cozy in the dining room to say the least.  Because my house is very old and there is still a fair amount of work to be done, I could be out of action for weeks.  So, I have put a pause on my painting for now.  I am doing a lot more cooking now instead.

There is, however, some good news.  I found an art class I can take in the evening and it starts in a couple of weeks.  Considering the amount of creative people in this town, art classes tend to be limited to the morning or afternoon, so it is either the retired or jobless that can benefit from most of them.  Plus they get daylight to work in! I will keep you posted and let you know how it goes.


Flowers from a book

Lily - Acrylic on Canvas - 8x8"
Lily – Acrylic on Canvas – 8×8″

Determined not to let a book beat me, I tried another flower lesson.  In fact, I did two.  As usual, I followed the lesson as close as possible, but I also added a little of what I have learned along the way.  As I have a lot of acrylic paint that is not artist’s quality, I am trying to use them up by using them as a colored ground or as undercoats and using the Artist’s quality paints for the main part of my paintings.  I hate seeing paint go to waste.  If I am not happy with the above painting, it is because I feel that it would look better on a smaller canvas.  A lesson learned for the future:  when painting a single flower, either make it very big to fill up the canvas and not have so much background, or make it small.  I still have issues with the book on how the colors look when mixed up.  They do not come out the same as in the book and I feel that is an issue with publishing.  I had to make up some of my own green as I did not have the color needed to mix the green that was recommended, but all in all, I am generally happy with it.   I painted all around the edge in black and it does make the colors stand out.

As I had a lot of purples and greens left over, I decided to use them in another lesson.  Waste not, want not.

Bird of Paradise - Acrylic on canvas - 6x6"
Bird of Paradise – Acrylic on canvas – 6×6″

Firstly, no matter how hard I tried, I cannot get the camera to accurately reproduce the colors for this painting.  The blue should in fact be a purple color, as in the painting of the Lily.  In any case, I had a small canvas where I started a still life that I was not happy with.  I painted over it with a couple of coats of gesso.  When it dried, I painted a lilac ground.  Although you could still see some texture of the previous painting, because it was going to be painted over, it didn’t matter and I think makes the painting more interesting.  I used the hairdryer to dry the paint and this created a few more cracks.  Then I drew on the flower and painted it in.  All I had to do was modify some of the purples and greens and make up a red mixture.  I took the background all around the canvas.

IMG_0498These paintings now live in my bedroom.  They go with the color scheme, which is lavender.  The shelf my paintings are sitting on used to be painted turquoise and lived in the bathroom.  When my husband installed the new shower, the shelf didn’t fit in the space anymore, so I painted over it and now use it to hang my necklaces from.  I found some cheap frames from The Range, took out the glass, and popped in my paintings done on 5×7″ canvas boards.  The pictures hanging on the left are made by my children.

I painted these flower paintings a couple of weeks ago and have only managed to photograph them now.  The weather hasn’t been great with the light and being busy with the run up to Christmas, well, you know how it is.  I have been working flat out on another temp assignment and will get to have a break over Christmas and the New Year, so I am hoping to get some painting in every day as I know that it will be difficult once I return to work in January.  My eyes can’t cope painting in dim light and I get home when it is dark, so I only paint on the weekends or when I have time off.  I would be interested to hear how others get around this problem.  I may have to invest in a daylight bulb.

Thank you all for reading my blog and hopefully I will have inspired someone to get out of their comfort zone and try something new.  Practice makes perfect and I can see I have improved since I first started a couple of years ago.  So, if I can do it, I am sure anyone can.

Have a great holiday period, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, and all that jazz!  See you in the New Year!

I’m Back!

So much has happened since my last post! If you have been following me on Dream Big/Pack Lite, you will know that my husband (yes, we got married!) and I spent 5 months travelling around South America last year. I spent nearly 2 months travelling around Argentina and didn’t even dance one Tango! It is interesting how priorities change.

Ever since we came back from our travels, I have been working as a temp. I am currently working for the county council, which doesn’t give me a lot of free time. I am still trying to find time to write blog posts about our journey! I have been also trying to get back into painting and am finding it a big struggle. It is a challenge finding a balance between work, hobbies and family. I might need to get up earlier in morning!

While I have been struggling with balancing the above, my husband has been decorating the house. Last year he decorated two bedrooms and our WC. Since April, he has managed to complete the study and the hallway (up and down). It didn’t help that he ended up with a bad back for awhile, but he finally managed to get to a point where we can now install new carpet for the upstairs. Although I live in a relatively small house (two bedrooms) the paintwork was really bad; the doors needed stripping and re-finishing and the whole area required a huge amount of preparation. Preparation is always the worst part of decorating. The goal is to finish off the whole house before we take off on another adventure (and is why I am working all the hours I can!). We are getting our carpet installed this week and I don’t know if you can find anyone more excited about anything! It has been 4 years since I moved into my house, and considering I had been organising the work on it mostly myself, I feel it is about time I am finally getting the house to look the way I want it, with help now, of course! Some things are better with a friend! I will keep you updated on the progress.

I have painted every piece of furniture in my house that I possibly can. Unfortunately, my furniture painting didn’t turn into a financially viable concern, so I knocked it on the head. I still have a few pieces in the loft for sale! Unless I am going to use it or give it as a present, I am finished with painting furniture. The only things I paint now are picture frames and art.

Another reason I have come back to the blog is because in the process of Googling for inspiration and looking for art classes in my area, I came across my artwork on this blog. I forgot it was still on here! It seems that the less information I had about drawing and painting, the more enthusiastic and spontaneous I was about doing it. I have been trying to find some evening classes, but it turns out that the classes I am interested in tend to be in the daytime, when I am working. So I have been trying new things all by myself which can be a lonely journey. The upside to that is I have been trawling the internet and have found some inspiration by others and have bought a few more art books to get the creative juices flowing.

I have been trying to get my abstract on and working from Abstracts: 50 Inspirational Projects, by Rolina Van Vliet .  I am trying to be more free/loose with my painting as my tendency is to try and get every little detail. I think trying to get a lot of detail is great for drawing, but not always great for painting. I am finding the exercises in the book a bit of a challenge and will be posting how I am getting on with them.

So, here we are again, another new beginning, revisited!