Friday, 27 October 2017

Drawing again

We went away for a few days to the New Forest, staying in a mobile home on the same Forest Park on which our daughter and her three children were staying - in another mobile home.  It was great to have the children round in the morning and to set them all to drawing with a brand new set of Sharpie pens which I'd bought for them, and a stack of printer paper. 

As I'd just been working through Paul Heaston's Craftsy course myself I had a go at one of his panoramic drawings of a room interior.  Have to say I loved doing it.


As soon as I'd finished it I realised I'd got in too close to the subject and so had lost any context of the caravan itself.  So the next morning I turned round and drew facing the other direction towards the windows at the front of thy caravan.


This seems to work rather better so when I got home I did another one of our back room


Again a little too close-in, so this weekend I'm going to do one of our lounge and try to get all three walls in - ahead of me and the two sides.  I've loved doing these and highly recommend Paul's course, Sketch Your Point of View.  A tip - don't whatever you do pay the full price of it - register with the site and you'll get endless emails from Craftsy with special offers - eventually the course you want will come up at about half the original price. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Vintage Paper

William of the Vintage Paper Company (located in Stromness in the Orkney Islands), sent me a sample pack of some 60 year old paper.  Its 167lb paper manufactured about 60 years ago.  and is mould-made from cotton rag with gelatine size.  I couldn't wait to try it out and so started work on a painting of Prospect Cottage, Dungeness, Kent.  I have to say, I loved the granulation on this paper and when I painted the black cottage with Daniel Smith's Lunar Black (which contains iron) the result was very appealing (you get some idea of it from the photograph below).

Prospect Cottage
I also received a hot pressed paper, which is very creamy and smooth.  This is a paper which has been made specially for the Vintage Paper Co. and its very beautiful stuff with its deckle edge.  It seemed to demand something more detailed than the subject above so I thought I'd try a floral painting - not my thing at all. Nevertheless I set too and you can see the result here.


The light was coming from the side in this photograph so it rather emphasises the texture of the paper which is actually quite smooth.  I'll post another one with light from above here.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

21 Small Paintings completed

Well, I had it in mind to fill a sketchbook with finished small paintings - not sketches as such, but as finished drawings and paintings. It took me about two months to do all 21.  I then had to write in all the commentary on each one (some background to why I painted it and what it is) and then to do a title page and an index and also write title and author in white gel pen on the black cover.

I think it worked out quite well and while I still don't really know what the point is of it all, I like what I've produced and will see it as a marker of what I did at this stage of my life.

Here is a video of the finished book


All the paintings can be seen on my Instagram account @tom_cunliffe_art

When I had finished it I felt as though I never wanted to do it again - towards the end it felt a little fussy and laborious, but within four days of finishing it I had a great desire to start another one and have now done three paintings for it.  Here they are (click on any image to see it larger)




I've been painting for many years now and its hard to say how much happier I am with painting what are basically sketches.  I no longer have to worry about whether something will look good in a frame.  I don't worry about how the painting will turn out. Somehow, these little paintings always turn out good enough to make me feel happy with them.  


Monday, 11 September 2017

Developing a sketchbook

My latest sketchbook seems to have taken on a life of its own.  I somehow find myself trying to fill it with finished paintings all in the same format with a text description on the left hand side.   Its like creating a hand-written, illustrated manuscript book.  I see quite a few other people doing this sort of thing on Instagram.

I still have my other sketchbooks for location work but this one is going to be an artefact in its own right. ("artefact"?  What on earth is that I ask myself.  The dictionary says, any object made by human beings, especially with a view to subsequent use, a handmade object, as a tool, or the remains of one, as a shard of pottery, characteristic of an earlier time or cultural stage, especially such an object found at an archaeological excavation - oh well, I hope that doesn't sound too pretentious).

Here are some new paintings from it.






Thursday, 31 August 2017

New Sketchbook

There's nothing like a new sketchbook to get you painting in another direction.  Rather than the usual random collection of images, some good some bad, many mistakes and occasional successes, I've decided to make this new Strathmore 400 series sketchbook a complete work in itself, filling it with the same style and format paintings until its full. 

I've done eight so far and here are three of them.




I enjoy working in this small size (8" by 5") and with such lovely paper to work with the whole experience is a pleasure, encouraging me to do one a day or thereabouts.


Thursday, 24 August 2017

Virtual Paintout - August 2017

This month the Virtual Paintout was set in Buenos Aires.  It is wonderful to have to explore these beautiful locations in Streetview month by month and by the end of it I feel that I have far better knowledge of the locations, particularly having painted two or three scenes in it.  I also take the opportunity to do a bit of research about the places too so all in all its a great exercise.

Here are my three paintings from Buenos Aires.  The first one comes from a rather run-down part of Buenos Aires and this block looked positively ramshackle.  But what a great structure.   I loved doing this one and introducing the lovely red for the ground floor.

Apartments, Villa Madero


The second one is set in La Boca - a touristy shopping area, part flea market and part gift and souvenir shops with everything painted in bright colours.

Caminito, La Boca
Lastly, I painted the lovely Basilica below.  The Streetview images show an elegant, shady area with the tall trees providing deep shadows around the glistening white building.

Basilica Nuestra Signora Del Pilar

So, all set for September. I wonder where we will be going next month?

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Seaford Head

Its always nice to get out and about with sketchbook and pen. I went up to Seaford Head with Margaret last week, on a beautiful sunny day, and sat at a picnic table drawing the view up the Cuckmere Valley.

The wide-angle camera lens doesn't do justice to the rolling hills however and has the effect of flattening everything out.


I much preferred drawing it and focusing on the distant hills, while also getting in a more panoramic view in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.



A couple of days later I found myself with an hour to spare in nearby Brighton (while Margaret took t the grandchildren to the cinema) and so sat in the Old Steine gardens and drew a couple of buildings.  No time to colour them in, so I did the watercolour painting when I got home.


I made the lampost far too big and shoujld have done better with the foreground generally, but time was short and this was the best I could do. Here is a photograph of where I was painting from


If I'd had longer I would have added the fountain in but it was really quite tricky with fish curled around the base.  A job for another day perhaps.