Yesterday was the last plein air meeting for me with my friends in Somerset West. We have had some lovely outings and have become good friends, but I am moving on. Hopefully the group will continue to go from strength to stregth. The weather was not kind to us yesterday though, with drizzle turning to heavy rain. Our location did not provide adequate shelter and we had to beat a hasty retreat for coffee and scones. I did manage one quick sketch – another happy memory to take along with me to my new life in England where I hope to be able to join another such group. Thanks for all the happy days we have spent together.
Unfortunately I had to leave my art friend’s behind as I moved to start a new life in South Africa. This entailed using my creative skills in different ways and it would be almost thirty years before I could think of artwork again. I was recovering from cancer and knew I had to slow down the pace of my life and so I looked for a way to move back into painting and I attended a local demonstration by a watercolourist. I was hooked.
i found a good teacher (Diana Carmichael – now deceased) and she inspired me greatly. I worked hard and eventually created some decent art work – mainly flowers and scenery at this time.
Watercolour was fascinating. I could not manipulate it as easily as oils and I seemed to learn something new every time I picked up a paintbrush. Now I moved to the Western Cape and had no tutor, and so I joined a local art group and my next challenge was to have a picture selected for exhibition. After several rejections I was successful and I was euphoric.
Part one – a salutary lesson
Apart from school art which was pretty basic, my real artistic journey began in 1983. We had just moved to Scotland and my husband went to work overseas. The children were at school and I suddenly had time for myself. I had always had a longing to start painting again and a chance meeting at a ladies’ group put me in touch with like minded mums. Three of us joined a weekly art class at a Technical College and away we went. I had wanted to try oil painting and this was the most common media at the time. I loved it.This was my first painting copied from a calendar photo the tutor gave me. A few months later one of my painting buddies decided to open a tiny shop in the small town she loved in and asked me for a picture to put in her window. I reluctantly let her have the above. Shortly afterwards she phoned to tell me that I was in trouble. The photographer who had captured this image had been into her shop threatening to sue me. I was infringing his copyright. I hastily took my picure back. I had learned a valuable lesson on copyright, but I was quite pleased that my painting was a close enough likeness to be sued over.
I wanted to work more loosely and so I just indicated my flower shape in pencil and then wet the whole page randomly and dropped in my 3 primaries allowing them to mix on the page and run into the petals where they wished. When dry I applied my 3 primaries once again randomly but not allowing them to flow into the petals this time. After this layer had dried I looked for shapes of hidden flowers and leaves in the background and added some darker negative painting to highlight these and the daisies. I then added some shadows,in the daisy petals and stems.
I sorted out my waterproof and non permanent pens and tried out a quick sketch using the water soluble ones. The black one was excellent, but tended to dominate the other later colours which were much finer nibs. I liked the black for quick sketches excellent.