On view in Clifton, Bath Society of Artists and the Mall Galleries this weekend

A good week, when I got back from the private view of the Royal Society of British Artists I checked my email and found I’d had a painting selected for the Bath Society of Artists exhibition. I’d also braved the snow last weekend for the “meet the artists” at the Clifton Arts Club Exhibition at the Clifton Suspension Bridge visitor centre. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to paint some more snow so I drew in the punters by painting the snowy gorge.

So I’ve got work in three diverse, exciting venues currently.

The RBA private view was rammed and it was a pleasure to meet some new plein air painters I’d not had the chance to talk to before, Neil Pitcher, Karl Terry and others. It runs at the Mall Galleries in London until the 31st of March.

Some paintings from #beastfromtheeast2 at Clifton Suspension Bridge. The “views of the South West” exhibition at the bridge visitor centre runs until the 25th of March (open 10-5).

 

And a few chilly paintings of the Portishead coast from #beastfromtheeast1 a few weeks ago.

Beast from the East 1

The Bath Society of Artists is a prestigious regional exhibition and I’m delighted to be selected after not having the opportunity to submit last year. My recent painting of Botallack which was painted on the spot got selected. The exhibition is at the beautiful Victoria Art Gallery in the centre of Bath and runs until the 12th of May (check out the excellent permanent collection upstairs too).

Bottalack

You’ll also have a chance to see my work more locally in April at the North Somerset Arts pop up shop in Nailsea. 11-22nd April, 65 High Street, Nailsea, BS48 1AW.

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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Everything has gone green

I’ve previously favoured a muted palette so at this time of year with all this lush, verdant growth wherever you look I feel a bit intimidated.

My theory is that evolutionarily we are programmed to discern differences in the many shades of green to help guide our ancestors to sources of food and water. Also green in Spring is especially acid. How many works of art can you think of that accommodate the true strength of these greens? It’s very easy to foul up a painting that includes green.

Many artists today (myself included) and throughout history have worked around this by downplaying the true strength of green to ensure a harmonious picture. Even Constable browned down his greens.

Gone Fishing, Usk Reservoir

Gone fishing. Avoiding green at Usk reservoir in the Brecon Beacons.

I decided to try to focus on this weakness, tackle it head on and paint more green, more strongly.

I sought some advice from artists about how they made such strong and believable greens. Mix your own greens from warm and cool blues and yellows, avoid viridian, practice with sap and hookers green and use premixed light green moderated with earth colours came the conflicting advice.

Here are more of my recent plain air paintings, my main finding is that the right green can be arrived at by many different routes but the important thing is to maintain the true variety of greens across the painting by careful observation. Sadly its easier said than done, I’ve not found a silver bullet and more practice needed.

There’s no better way to practice your greens than to paint outside at this time of year.


A bit more green, Liberty leading the trees, also at Usk reservoir.
I also had a green disaster at Carreg Cennen castle. Total rework needed, no image to protect your eyeballs!

 

Friesans, Catcott


An improvement, Friesans on the Somerset levels. Also some camera glare, may crop this one.

Some views around the Hope Valley in the Peak District including Castleton castle. There’s plenty of variation in green between these paintings but plenty more to do.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this. You an also follow me on twitter and now Instagram @ianpriceart

What have Bristol Drawing Club, Adebanji Alade, Zorn, me and Kate Middleton got in common? #painting #portrait #palette #kate

I was lucky enough to get to see the ROI exhibition in the Mall Galleries last month, the painting that stood out for me was a painting of a homeless person by Adebanji Alade. The most remarkable thing about the portrait was that it used the Zorn palette only Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, White and Black!
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http://adebanjialade.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-face-of-homelessness-earls-court.html

The link shows a demo of him making the painting. I was impressed by the range of colours from such a limited palette.
 
This palette is name after the Swedish artist Zorn who specialised in paintings of Scandinavian ladies on the way to have a bit of a goosepimply wash in a fjord, brrr.

 

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This spurred me on to have a go and find a subject to try out the Zorn palette on. I’m a big fan of Bristol Drawing Club (http://bristoldrawingclub.blogspot.co.uk) where pub and sketching people meet seamlessly. What’s not to like? At one of these get togethers I sat opposite Jim for 60 seconds, sketching each other before we shuffled along to the next person, a bit like speed dating with pencils.
I ended up with this sketch, thank you Jim!

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 I thought I’d captured Jim as far as I could tell from our 60 second meeting, so I thought it was a good candidate to work up into a little painting.

 
First thing I did was to see what range of colours I could get out of this palette so started mixing. This is what I got…
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I thought that was plenty of colours and set about painting using the sketch and some imagination to fill in the blanks in the sketch. I wanted to keep the colours separate and patchy and after an hour or two ended up with this…

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OK, not a BP portrait award winner but a useful lesson For me on how useful and harmonised a limited palette can be and also a good reason to ignore anyone that is dogmatic about not using black in paintings, black and yellow ochre gave some beautiful olive greens.
 
Encouraged by this I had another crack, this time with a model called Ella who was darker skinned, I think the palette worked here too. Thanks Ella. It’s also pleasingly different to the Jim one.
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When I was looking into limited palettes and in particular using black I stumbled across this article. http://willkempartschool.com/the-3-myths-of-black-in-mixing-paint-colours/  I was staggered to find a painter I was familiar with that painted large portraits using only Mars Violet (a dull red with a purple twinge), Blue-black and a bit of white.
 
 Here’s one of his works…

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Pretty amazing for such a limited palette eh? It shows that accurate tone trumps hue every time. I must have a go with this palette next time out.

 
The artist is Paul Elmsley, he’s considerably better known today than he was when I first thought about writing this a few days ago, now what else is he famous for?
 
Oh yes…

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I think he admitted himself that he was more cautious than he would have been with any other commission. Understandable I think and a pity if his career suffers. Thought this was a bit harsh ….

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Plein air work from Portishead

I went out with only a little amount of light left and had to stop after 30 minutes painting when I could just about distinguish light from dark. Quite pleased and hopeful that I can put on a a reasonable show of plein air work for the arts week.

Hopefully it’ll snow between now an then there seem to be so many snow paintings that look fab don’t there.

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