RWA Open Exhibition and back to Cornwall

I’m really pleased to shared that I have a painting exhibited in the RWA Open Exhibition which opened last weekend. It’s the most prestigious open exhibition in the region and I felt very privileged to have attended the varnishing lunch on Saturday. So many fantastic paintings on show, really exciting but with a a good chance of the artist being in the room and not knowing what they look it was a bit frustrating, badges of the paintings pinned to the artists next year!  The exhibition runs until the 3rd of December.

I’ve also had a recent trip to Cornwall doing some more plein air painting, enjoying some turps dribbles in the sunshine.

In contrast to the turps dribbles I also did some palette knife painting with Newlyn School of Art while I was down there, watch this space for more local palette knife work over the Winter, if my future experiments succeed.

Don’t forget you can also follow me on twitter and on Instagram @ianpriceart as well as Facebook @ianpriceart for more recent news or just browse the updated galleries on my website.

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To Hail and Back, a painting trip to Cornwall

Much to the frustration of my long suffering wife, I only get up early on holiday. This wasn’t hard the first morning of my trip as I’d pulled the van over in a lay-by on the A30 near Penzance sometime after midnight, after a fitful night woke to the sound of manoeuvring juggernauts. I was in Cornwall for an indoor course at Newlyn following on from an outdoor painting course last year. I’d decided to top and tail it with a few days of painting on the coast.

I was near to St Michael’s Mount so I turned onto the Marazion road, squinting into the dawn,  seeing glimpses of the mount to my right. I pulled in at Perranuthnoe which I thought might be a likely painting spot, gathered my things and set off. Along the path I realised what a stunning dawn I was missing behind me so decided to turn my back on the mount.

I used a pink board and the painting session stopped abruptly when I had my first hail shower of the weekend. I have to thank the hail for causing more of the pink ground to show through, I think this sketchiness improves it.

The shower passed and I moved on to the Mount, I used a smaller board expecting the showers to return and wasn’t disappointed, they did. One feature of hailstones is that they land in your thinners and you don’t notice until you find a large globule of water lurking at the bottom.

Back at the van I had a late breakfast and coffee in some satisfaction having completed two paintings. I drove across the Cornish peninsula to the North coast and headed towards Pendeen. It was on the schedule last year but was too foggy to use;  I was keen to see what I’d missed. Pendeen lighthouse was a spectacular but very exposed spot but I found a little nook with enough shelter from the fierce wind.

I used a larger board, 1ft by 2ft, and thought the view along the coast would work on this elongated format. I wasn’t quite sure if the weather was going to hold so I was as free and splashy as a I could with the initial dark painting hoping that much of it could stay to add interest and save time. I’ve included a close-up showing the thinners giving a rocky effect towards the bottom. Once again the hail struck but I was able to retreat to the van to block in the sea and sky before returning to the cliff to capture the frothiness and patterns of the waves.

The next day I moved to Porth Nanven facing The Brisons, it was wonderfully sheltered from the wind. The dawn was a beautiful peachy orange as I attempted to capture it.

The effect was fleeting and I realised in the process that I ought to be prioritising painting the more transient bits at the outset and not painting the rocks! I’m happily still learning.

Next was breakfast and off to Newlyn for an abstracts in oils course I’d booked myself on. My gloopy efforts from the course are still dripping and un-photographable but I may share them at some point.

After the course I ended up at Carn Groose near St Just which has panoramic views of the North coast. Once again a pre-breakfast dawn painting, this time looking back over St Just and a mine chimney.

I tried to grab the dawn much more quickly in this one, hence the heavier brushwork.

After some food I settled down on the headland at Carn Groose, looking towards Land’s End, a favourite painting spot from last year.

I really wiped, scraped and splatted the surface on this one, I’ve included a close-up.The board was only 1 foot square, I think I would have benefitted from a larger canvas for this session and got even looser.

I was prepared for more hail but I ended up  worrying about having not packed sun cream and sat next to a very large pile of my discarded coats and jumpers. The only disappointment of the day was afterwards when talking to some people who had been sat above me. They had been watching humpback whales (now long gone) breeching on the horizon to the right Land’s End. I was oblivious. Next time.

A fun and educational experience all around, perhaps an annual one at the very least and am already looking forward to returning.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sea Can Be Turquoise?

I’ve spent quite a few days down in Cornwall over the last few weeks on a family holiday closely followed by a course with Paul Lewin at the Newlyn School of Art. I’ve never had much success with sketching out of doors so I thought some exposure to some new ideas on his Coastal Painting mixed media course could help.

I did a few plein air oil paintings around Mousehole where I stayed and also in Newlyn. Because these were fitted in around other things they came out a bit tight but it was good to get into the swing of things before the course started. Did you know the sea could be turquoise? Mousehole is a great place for an arty break. Ken Howard even has a studio there.

Despite the turquoise sea it was pretty chilly and fogbound when the course started. The woolly hat I found in my pocket got used. Thanks to Sarah for the arty photo (note beard has gone for the Summer).

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On the course we were encouraged to make multiple sketches initially of various compositions and to get a good tonal range using water soluble graphite pencils. I’ve tried these before without much success as mentioned but they seemed to work better in Cornwall. Not worrying about where the dog has wandered to or is eating or barking at or chasing helps to improve sketch quality I think.
Here are the inital paintings from Porthgwarra, getting to grips with gouache.
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After a few days painting and sketching at Porthgwarra the final day was at Carn Groose on the north coast near Land’s end where I found a 2m by 3m ledge at the end of the headland which had spectacular views in every direction and was unnaturally sheltered.
Being at he end of the headland I wasn’t interrupted by anyone passing, even Paul struggled to find me.  The sea fog eventually lifted and I was eventually able to take off my hat and coat that hat been welded to my body for three days and apply some sun block. I was able to get into the techniques I’d picked up and completed these three paintings looking in varying directions from that single point. A real treat.
The Brisons from Carn Groose

The Brisons from Carn Groose

Lands' End from Carn Groose

Lands’ End from Carn Groose (I’ll straighten the horizon line).

Cape Cornwall from Carn Groose

Cape Cornwall from Carn Groose

Carn Groose to Land’s End (still wearing waterproof trousers!)

The course gave me a prod to persevere with outdoor sketches and also reignited my previous enthusiasm for water-colour. I found adding gouache to extend the range of effects and paint over any messes and define things without the slow death of using masking fluid to be really liberating. The most surprising thing was that is allowed me to play with paint splashing and dribbling outdoors in front of the subject which I’d previously only done (very enjoyably) using oils indoors. Getting oil too splashy outside would generally result in your efforts dribbling to the bottom of the painting on the walk home.
Overall a great use of a few days at the course and lovely to spend time in a beautiful cottage in Mousehole too, thanks to Adam and Helen for their cottage. My next step is to apply some of the things learnt to the greys and browns of the Severn Estuary.
Most of these paintings will be on view during North Somerset arts week, Mayday BH and the following weekend, 2-4th and  9-10th. My venue details are included in the North Somerset Arts Week Brochure entry.