Welcome to March! We’re starting to feel a hint of autumn in the air in the mornings and evenings in New Zealand, but it’s still very hot during the day. Hot enough that we’ve put up a pool in the backyard—for the kids and us. ⛱️
I don’t have any paintings to share with you this month, but I am (belatedly) working on one for my mum for her 70th birthday, so I’ll share a photo of that once I’ve sent it to her in Australia.
I do have a couple of sketches and a bunch of other stuff that I hope you’ll enjoy.
Always an excuse for new materials
I’ve bought one of the Van Gogh watercolor sets (made by Royal Talens), which is affordable and has great reviews. I’m looking forward to using it more when I’m out and about, instead of pencil and charcoal. I’ll still do drawings, because I know they’re valuable, but I really want to up my painting skills, and my understanding of colour and light.
I’ve also bought a few new panels to try, including a linen one.
Things I've made
The reason this tree looks creepy is because I started filling in the sky and then realised I probably should have started with the leaves. 😆
The artist always comes up against resistance from nature in the beginning, but if he really takes her seriously he will not be put off by that opposition, on the contrary, it is all the more incentive to win her over — at heart, nature and the honest draughtsman are as one.
—Vincent Van Gogh, The Letters of Van Gogh
The image of an artist holding a pencil at arm’s length is perhaps a bit of a cliché but I'm always surprised at the reluctance of students to try this simple technique. I still measure carefully and frequently in the early stages of building a painting and know I would be fooled into making many elementary mistakes if I didn't.
—Richard Pikesley, Landscape Painting: The Complete Guide
Just keep going. It’s the only way.
—An experienced artist friend to me recently
Artists I like
- Jill Miriama Smith – a Kiwi, Christian artist. I like the variety in her work, and I can see the influence of Colin McCahon (and maybe Gretchen Albrecht) in some pieces.
- It takes a lot for a photograph to grab my attention, but Paula Petherick’s florals do just that. I saw two large, framed prints at Flagstaff Gallery, and they were stunning. The composition, the delicate light and shadow, the colour. They had the feeling of paintings for me. And then I read her About page: “Paula is a fine art photographer who uses multiple layers of texture and still life composition to create works with a painterly quality…. She is greatly inspired by the works of the Dutch Masters and the early European Masters, with their use of light and drama.” Well, there you go. 😊
- I really enjoy watching Turner Vinson paint. So much paint! So much expression!
Crappy photos of cool things
These were taken using the terrible camera on my Android phone.
Other bits and pieces
- Mitchell Albala on The Artful Painter – I really enjoyed this interview and found the discussion on notan and picture formats particularly interesting.
- Rebecca the Art Tutor recommends building one skill at a time. I really struggle with this. I’m impatient and want to try everything and improve quickly! I do like her idea of building your own curriculum though.
- Vincent Van Gogh as a street artist spray painting his iconic sunflower
- A new direction for William Kocher, whose work I really like.
- “Technical skill as a painter is not everything”. Interesting article—and comments section. My view is that technical skill and artistic vision are equally important. That’s why I’ll continue to work on both.
- An interesting discussion on different ways to apply gesso. I tried to use a credit card the other day but I think I still prefer a big brush
- Take the first step, suck, and keep going. (via Colin Walker)
- A cool little video on plein-air painting: