“From the Forest to the Foreshore” exhibition is beginning on Saturday. (Check here for more information.) I thought you might like to see what I have painted for it. I created 2 paintings, both of scallop shell fragments. The first 2 photos are of the actual shells.
The next couple of photos show the finished paintings. (Sorry about the strange cropping of the works, but I am becoming much more aware of copyright issues. 😦 I am wondering whether showing only some of my painting may make it less desirable to copy.)
And then making the decisions about frames. What do I like? What might a potential buyer like? What suits the paintings? The black card and the mount board helps to understand what it will look like by removing other visual distractions.
I was very happy with the framed paintings.
If you get to the exhibition, tell me what you think. I would love to know.
As I mentioned last time I am studying how to paint shells and other beachy things for an upcoming exhibition.
I wanted to have another go at shells, to experiment with masking fluid. Masking fluid is a rubber latex solution, used to retain highlights and other light areas. Watercolour painting works from light to dark, so it is easy to cover up lighter areas and highlights. They are crucial because the highlights, reflected light and shadows give life to a painting. And they are easy to lose. Masking fluid can help out.
Shells have very definite rings (that I suspect are growth rings — am I right?). On my shells they are subtle but obvious, if that makes sense. I wanted to try to use the masking fluid to develop those rings by allowing their different colours to come through. I had to think through what parts of the shell I wanted to mask; that is, what parts I wanted to be lighter than the next layer of paint. I planned to layer the masking fluid as I layered on the washes.
The photo below shows my set up. Obviously the top three shells are the real ones! You can see small dabs of paint around them. This was to help me decide on the colour mixes. I had recently bought a new paint — Perylene Maroon — and it seems to be perfect for these shells. Mixed with Windsor Lemon it makes a very potent orange and Naples Yellow makes it opaque. The shadows were Perylene Maroon and Blue Black.
The next photo shows a close up of my work in progress, with a couple of layers of masking fluid already on. The right hand shell is the underside. You can see my drawing with some masking fluid on it. This shell had much less definition, so I wanted to see if I could create it by using washes of paint. The other two were built up by small brush strokes.
Of course, the masking fluid masks what is underneath and it can be difficult to remember what is there. So when I was removing it, and it peels off easily, I had a little heart flutter in case I had done a major stuff up. Fortunately I hadn’t. However, it leaves quite definite, obvious edges, so there is further work to refine and soften them.
This is the finished work.
I love how the right hand shell has turned out. There are times when creations almost create themselves — and this was one of those times!
As for the masking fluid….I don’t know that I will use it in the final piece. I need to paint some other shells, so I may make a study of them with masking fluid. The masking fluid lines would need to be much finer than I have managed here. Also, I think it is too time consuming.
I have actually made prints of this study to sell in my Etsy shop. I usually sell the originals of my works, but I want to have the original to use as a reference. Have a look here if you are interested.
It is a little while since I have posted anything about my art work, but I have been busy painting. I am intending to put a painting into an exhibition coming up in October. It has the title “From forest to foreshore”, and I was inspired by my recent get away in Portarlington. The beach was a treasure trove for a beachcomber like me, so my painting is to be called ‘Portarlington Treasures’.
However, I have lots to learn about painting the treasures I want to include — so lots of studies. Unlike writing on the computer, there is no delete button on a lovely piece of watercolour paper. And no way to paint over it as you can with oils and acrylics. I didn’t want to be working on the final piece, panicking because I didn’t know how to go about painting seaweed or shells.
Before I start to paint something I look at it closely. Where does the light fall? Where are the shadows? Is there a hint of shadow there? Reflected light? What colours can I see?
But the most important question is what attracts me to this? I try to keep this in my mind as work.
Firstly I studied shell fragments. Scallop fishing is a big industry in Port Phillip Bay and the beach was littered with them. I did some quick studies while I was in the caravan. They helped me to realise the importance of the shadows.
At home I set up the shells, having decided on the front and back of the two halves. Then thought about my approach. I loved the rich colours, and the shadows. I played about with different mixes, settling on Olive Green and Windsor Red. Adding Naples Yellow at times would give me the opaque look some parts needed.
The quick study also told me that the growth lines of the shells were really important to give shape and structure.
This is the finished work.
And the two halves
I was very happy with the work. (It sold within a few hours in my Etsy shop!) However, I have noted things that I have to be careful of when doing the good one. I know I haven’t really resolved the area where the ridges of the shells meet at the bottom. The shadow is not right in places; neither is the white line in on the left hand one.
Also, I wanted to try a different method, using masking fluid. More of that next time.