Monday, 12 October 2009

Painting Day

On friday I spent the day at my illustrator buddy Joe's house for a bit of painting. We started off by braving the October drizzle to paint cows and small landscape sketches in the valley below his house, taking inspiration from the American artist Nathan Fowkes in trying out the use of warm, complimentary underwashes as a base for the rural scenes. It was great to get back outside painting again for the first time in a while, and I'd forgotten how enjoyable it can be to work alongside another person rather than in the isolation that is imposed by much of my work.

Eventually driven inside by the rain, we had a crack at some still life, something Joe practices with admirable frequency but which I've neglected almost entirely over the past couple of years, at least as far as paint is concerned. As Joe switched from watercolours to oils, I pressed on with my acrylics and we set to work on an old feathered hat. Tricky translucent reflective shadowy feathers! I was quite pleased with that (at least with the feathers themselves), and I finished the day on a few smaller objects plundered from a bowl of dried fruit and pine cones (I'm sure there's a name for that stuff).

There really is no substitute for painting from life in terms of furthering one's understanding of structure, material and most vitally how light interacts with objects. Obvious really, but it's something that, aside from life drawing, I kind of just neglected as I moved towards the end of uni, concentrating purely on completing projects.

I've most definitely got the painting buzz back, the sheer enjoyment of using paint just for its own sake, just to try to capture that essence of a subject. My girlfriend has sent me a gorgeous bunch of white roses and eucalyptus for my birthday, and I'm going to have to have a go at painting those before they go over...

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