Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Some You Win, Some others ...

You lose, LOL.

Now after last weeks, what is wrong with this and why?

I think I could have painted this better in pastel, Or more likely, I was painting this as if I was using pastels. I should have left white space for the middle ground trees and foliage for example.

Also there is no real contrasts in tone, yes there is some but I have mixed up recession thru tonal contrast (the hills) with aerial perspective and colour recession. There are no shadows to speak of and the result is flat and uninteresting.

Lastly, I used a small brush for the last painting, I was using a pocket w/c set. I had to use the brush quickly and scrub/move the paint around. Here, I had decided to use tube colours and a larger brush. Maybe too large for the areas of the painting where some texture would have helped  create a feeling of detail.

I am going to try this same subject again and try to improve it based on the above comments. But I will also try to improve this painting by completing it with pastels. See if I can do something with it as a mixed media work.

Watch this space ...

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A Return To Watercolour Painting

You know how it is, as an artist you want to be able to use all those wonderful media that are available and thrust at you from all directions. However, when you try a different medium, you have to learn how to use it. Of course, all it takes is practice. But to use more than one medium succesfully is difficult.

Moving from one to another often feels difficult. Just as you start to feel happy using say, pastels, you feel compelled to try another. You take out your watercolours, which you may not have used for a few weeks and horrors ... it feels like starting out all over again.

Even swapping more frequently, it feels like one step forward and two steps back. At least that is how I find it.

Now it has been a couple of years, possibly, since I did any real watercolour painting; I did try a little pen and wash but it was a very short experiment. I have been pastelling and even then painting mostly abstract and semi-abstract works. Coming back to watercolours and using a brush rather than my fingers (well thats how I feel with tiny pieces of chalk in my hand) and I am finding it difficult to make the paint do what I want it to.

I hated my first effort so much I actually threw it away - tore it up and put it in the rubbish bin. That is what I felt about it, and I have made a point of keeping almost everything I have done over the years I have been painting. The second was a little better, BUT not much, and I include it here as a point of reference, just to show that I am improving.

Those buildings look awful, and that tree - horrid!!! On the whole though in the background there is something about the brushwork which I felt was moving in the right direction. The next painting is starting to look a little better.

I even felt good after this attempt, and whats more several members of the art group were quite appreciative of it. Just waiting for next week now. Can I keep the improvement on course?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Coloured pencils, Out of my comfort zone?

Last night, my group had a demo/workshop from Carol Gordon, a local artist. Her subject was water colour pencils, what ther are and how to use them.

I must admit that I do have a set of these but have never really gotten into the habit of using them. I did have an enjoyable evening and found out a few techniques which I hope to write about in a future post. Just for my own reference if nothing else. I probably did not spend too much time lisening to Carol, but got really carried away with what I was doing - here is the completed painting. In order to spend time using the water-colour pencils, we were all issued with a line drawing to colour. Here is my effort.

An interesting little piece, and a very well worth while evening. I hope to do more work with this medium. I will talk more about the techniques and textures achieveable using water colour pencils when I have some of my own examples to show. So for now, enjoy and happy painting.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Knowle Art Group exhibition 2014

I have been very busy with my art groups exhibition over the past two weeks but it was all worth while. The exhibition was held over a very sunny holiday weekend and visitors were 30% up on our previous highest figure.

Unfortunately, it seems that money is as tight as ever despite the chancellor talking the economy up. We only sold one painting in the actual exhibition although several items which were on sale (unframed paintings and greeting cards) were sold.

We have discussed the purpose of our exhibtion many times and have always agreed, as a group, that the exhibtion is a chance to show off our work to family and friends and just to see it in a well-presented display. sales are nice but that is not the reason we spend so much time and effort setting up the exhibition. The effort is not worth the money. But let me show you a general shot of the hall after setting up the exhiubtion.

The display boards are the groups own design and made by members, they enable us to hold exhibitions in any locations but we have found the present venue to be a superb choice for our exhibitions.

The design of the boards allows us to display more paintings per foot. We have ten boards altogether which fold away after use.

The main entrance display, showing the Group Name. This year flanked by items for sale for the first time:-

Greeting cards/ post cards and unframed paintings and also a number of miniature canvas paintings which readers of the blog will know are a favourite of mine.

The cards sold well this year and from the discussions going on I can see more artists trying to make a little cash next year by copying this approach, despite the comments above!

Back with more paintings next time.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Start and Run Your Own Art group

I and a few fellow students from an evening watercolour course wanted to start our own art group because the government saw fit some 25 years ago to close eveniing classes as leisure activities. A very backward decision in my opinion.

Anyway, we had no experience of such a venture but we were all confident that we had enough experience in the business world to be able to do this and make a success of it. Of course we made mistakes but by and large we came through. The group has been very successful and we have had to introduce a waiting list for membership.

I have written a book describing some of the experiences from the past 25 years and hope that if you feel you need to start (and run) a similar group, then this will be useful to help you to start without making those silly mistakes/errors which cause some groups to stumble.

How to Start and Run Your Own Art Group by John Dyhouse

Sunday, 20 April 2014

2014 Exhibition Of KNOWLE ART GROUP

I have been a little busy preparing my entries for my art groups annual exhibition in May. Most year I have been prone to have to rush around the day before the hand over day, but this year I have cracked it. All ready for the day except for a little spit and polish of the frames.

I think I have posted all of these on this blog over the last three months or so but if you want a better look at these paintings then you could slip over to my new static web-site, PASTEL LANDSCAPES. Created under my real name, John Dyhouse, although just to be sure the first (home page) states:-


Hope to see you over there, why not post me a message to say hello; that would be great. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible now that the bulk of the effort is done.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Miniature Acrylic Landscapes

Painting miniature acrylic landscapes. Something I enjoyed last year and had been put aside for my pastels, but with the finalisation of my project Abstract Antics, I decided to get out the acrylic paints and have a little fun. I set up my pitch yesterday at my art group and found myself sitting next to a colleague who often paints quite large canvases, the contrast was stark. Last night he was working on a piece 20 inches by 16inches (quite small for him) and there was I with a pair of canvases 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

But I didn't care, I was there to enjoy myself and found myself working on a couple of favourites which I had recently worked at in pastel. Why waste a good subject?

Here are those two landscapes:


Sunset at Sea

Painting at a small size does bring its own problems and these are approximately actual size, so you can appreciate that a very small brush and a steady hand are necessary. A pity I had neither whilst painting these, :).

You can see more of my earlier work here on this blog, and also here. I have a number of these canvases and so will be working with these for a few weeks. The only issue is that my groups exhibition is very nearly upon us, just a few weeks away so I will be quite busy framing and getting ready for the big day. I sold a pastel last year and am quite upbeat about some of the art work I have on offer this year - all of which have been featured on this blog of course.