February Challenge (2012 revisited)

So 12 months on, we’re nearing the end of February 2013 and I can’t help but reflect on what I was doing this time last year….approaching the end of my “picture per day in February challenge”.

At the time I kept a small diary (in words as well as pictures) and note this particular entry:

It’s funny, but despite the fact I feel so energised when I am being creative, I seem to find so many reasons not to do it, or to put a lower priority on it than other things in my life. Despite my hope that I could generate a regular income stream I guess I am still persuaded by the notion of my art as a hobby, which pushes it behind housework, shopping and a whole myriad of other things on my “To do” list. I really do need to kick that one into touch!!

That in mind I challenged myself to produce an art work per day throughout February (2012). This would be a daily attempt to either create a new piece or complete one of the bits and pieces hanging around that had been started and never quite finished…I did manage to polish some of those off too!!

End result an assortment of images/items in a variety of media:

Images from the February 2012 Challenge Images from February 2012 Challenge Day19 - 29 February 2012 Challenge Day28

12 months later and I have adjusted my priorities to focus daily on my artwork in one form or another. Some days it’s a focus on the administrative stuff and tweaks to my website, others it’s researching opportunities and competitions and on the best days of all I listen to my music and paint or draw to my heart’s content on my latest commission or my next “big idea”. Whatever the day brings, though, I relish every opportunity to explore, learn and be creative and can’t help but think my February Challenge helped my focus and kicked some of the old doubts into touch!!

Some of these items (and lots of others) are still available to buy from the KL Art Shop if you’re looking for something a little bit different for Mothers Day (March 10th 2013).

"Sunrise" Glass Plate




 

Giant Panda portrait

 


 

"Sailing" Glass Plate




 

Portrait of a Pit Man with head lamp




What is Art – L.S.Lowry? Happy 125th Birthday

“I am not an artist. I am a man who paints.”

So said the man who produced around 1,000 paintings and over 8,000 drawing during his lifetime. L.S.Lowry (Laurence Stephen in case you were wondering) has long been known for his industrial pictures of Manchester, where he was born and grew up, and specifically the matchstick people who inhabit them.

I have never really been a great fan of his work, possibly because of my own preference for realism or the extreme opposite surrealism. Lowry always struck me as just a little dull at the side of the vivid and imaginative works of so many other artists, such as Dali for example.

Then again, perhaps I was simply put off by the association of his art with the 1978 hit single “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” by Brian and Michael. Now, there was a song that seemed to spend an interminable amount of time in the Charts way back then, though strangely the reality is it actually only spent 3 weeks at no.1! Thank goodness they were a one hit wonder!

L.S.Lowry Gentleman looking at Something, 1960

With the approach of his 125th birthday I thought it would be interesting to revisit my apparent negativity/disinterest. Among the pictures I could track down on line l was taken with this rather strange picture “Gentleman looking at Something (1960). I say “strange” because there is something quite unusual about a picture where the primary source of interest doesn’t appear in the picture…I want to know and can therefore only imagine what the “something” was. Perhaps he was watching an approaching tram, given that he is stood between it’s lines?

Reading a little further I am reminded by the Winsor and Newton site that Lowry used a very limited colour palette throughout all his paintings:

  • Ivory Black
  • Vermilion
  • Prussian Blue 
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Flake White

As I start to look more closely at the range of colour he achieves in his paintings I realise just how complicated things have become these days, with a vast array of colour tubes to select from, and very little idea about how some of them have been created! The subtlety and depth of colour achieved with this limited palette really is quite tremendous.

So, I can’t say I feel more excited by the art, but I am persuaded that there is something solid about the approach and something I might learn from that. Indeed, I already have thoughts in mind about painting next with a smaller range of colour on my palette.

In the meantime though – I’ll accept it’s art, think about arranging a trip to the Lowry in Salford, and wish Mr Lowry a happy 125th birthday with a small homage: “Lady looking at Something else.” I will leave you to determine what that something is…..

© KLArt.co.uk Lady Looking at Something else



Life Drawing Adventures 1

Hurrah! It’s here! Saturday morning and I have a lovely day lined up in a pub in Wakefield. This isn’t going to be like any other day or evening in a pub, where I force myself to imbibe far more alcohol than is good for me, but a life drawing day!

OK, so I am looking forward to having a pint with lunch, but the focus of the day is a luxurious 6 whole hours of life drawing. I haven’t been doing this for long – it’s something I started when I left my job last year, and it’s something I’ve really enjoyed since I decided to give it a try.  It’s strange how people react when you say you’re off to do some life drawing – odd, “knowing” looks and sideways glances and questions like “ooh, aren’t you embarrassed” and “what’s it like”?

What it’s like is a whole day of quiet contemplation – two models, great lighting, a little chit-chat early on and over lunch, but otherwise a peaceful day stood at the easel, listening to quiet music on my i-Pod as I draw what I observe.  OK, so it starts a little less quietly…easel legs creaking into position, pencils rattling and rasping as they are sharpened in eager anticipation, masking tape gently tearing as paper supports are quietly taped to drawing boards and water quietly stirred in jars as everyone sets up their own work space There is something very peaceful and serene about the room once the initial set up is complete.

We’ll start with two quick warm up sketches – there is a flurry of activity as the models adopt their first pose and we have 10 mins to “get our eye in” and persuade any tension to leave our bodies to create the space for our creativity to enter.

I start left-handed – my non-domminant hand. The results are “interesting” – out of proportion, crude and quite ugly, but Im already starting to relax and I feel some sense of creative emotion is released in me.

Female nudes sketch 1

Female Nudes sketch 1

Feeling more relaxed I attach a second sheet to my easel for the second pose – again we have ten minutes to capture the essence of this pose and the juxtaposition of our two models.

Female Nudes sketch 2

Female Nudes sketch 2

Working right-handed this time I’m feeling much more comfortable and confident already. The result this time is a much better proportioned picture and a sketch I will undoubtedly refer to again at some point in the future when looking for inspiration in my painted work. The outside world is almost disappearing completely except for the warm glow of an autumnal sun that brings a halo highlight to the models and a stark contrast of tonal values.

I set myself up for the longer pose that will last for the rest of the day. I love the light texture to the surface of my pastel paper and the warmth of the brown sheet I select from my portfolio.  A close squint at the scene before me and I am able to pick out and capture the deep tonal values with my dark charcoal and the highlights with a white charcoal pencil. Very quickly the scene before me starts to emerge loosely from my paper. Key lines noted in outline I have captured the scene and lunch beckons, including a refreshing pint!

This short break presents a chance to reflect and my decision is made…I will focus on working the detail in this picture for most of the rest of the day. Usually sessions become a race against the clock, but today’s session presents this rare luxury of an opportunity to work a picture with a finer level of detail. The afternoon passes by with relaxed satisfaction and I create a picture that captures the mood and I feel proud of…

Image of two female nudes seated

Two Female Nudes, seated £45.00