Marina Painting this Weekend (5-6th Aug) and my Summer Painting Tour of Britain

This weekend I’m really excited to be taking part in the Marina Arts Trial in Portishead, I’ve had a small part in organising it along with the other Portishead Arts people and will be doing a demo on Saturday, wish me luck. Saturday is all about people coming along and joining in to do something arty. We’ll be supplying acrylic paint, boards and brushes, there’ll also be felting workshops and a pastel demo by Michelle Lucking. We’ll be hanging all the work around the Marina ready for Sunday which will be a day of celebration and relaxation for me as I won’t have to do a demo. I’m really looking forward to Paris, a renowned graffiti artist, painting a 25 foot yacht! I might do a painting of him painting. There’ll also be some skateboard trickery, the whole weekend is also raising money for youth projects in Portishead, you can pledge to buy one of the created art works online here, get in quick to bag a bargain, there are a limited number left.

Here’s a Marina painting from June.

Sunset catching Marina

Apologies for it being such a long time since the last post. I’ve been doing plenty of outdoor air painting all around the country, I only realised how much while writing this.

I had a quick trip in June to Lyme Regis on the South coast to paint with the very talented painters Maria Rose and Tom Stevenson.

Pink Flamingo, Lyme Regis

 

I’ve long heard about the Buxton Spa Prize competition and this year I had an opportunity to take part. I spent a warm, sunny day painting outside in the most gorgeous market town. The visit coincided with a farmers market that kept me well fed for the next few days too.

Buxton

 

I spent a weekend at Priddy folk festival at the start of July, a chance to paint and sketch some performers as well as the crowds.

I went from there to a one day course with artist Richard Pikesley NEAC and by contrast painted some arable farm scenes in Wiltshire and picked up some tips too, mostly look harder!

Farmyard and Barley

 

I then had an opportunity to paint on the Gower with a load of other artists. The weather was so changeable I was oblivious to a red sunburnt neck until it was too late, the drizzle was deceptive. Apparently it’s not enough to have sun-tan lotion in your bag at your feet, you need to put it on your skin.

Worm’s Head, Gower

 

Last weekend I took part in Pintar Rapido, Europe’s largest outdoor painting event that runs annually in the Chelsea area of London. I did a little painting of the Albert Bridge in Chelsea on the day before that I was pleased with despite having left my turps at home.

 

Albert Bridge Chelsea

The prize ceremony on Sunday was a great opportunity to meet up with artists that I’ve previously only known through social media, one of whom Adam Ralston I’ve admired for a long while and I was very pleased when he was announced as the ultimate winner. Congratulations Adam.

More painting trips are coming up, look out for a bit of Cornwall followed by a bit more Wales. I can’t wait and I hope to see some of you this weekend.

Also don’t forget the Clevedon Art Club Open exhibition which opens and I’ll hopefully get some work selected for, perhaps some of these.

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

Group Show at the Lido Cafe in Portishead & more

I’m excited to be taking part in the inaugural show of a new groups of artists and painters in Portishead that go under the banner Portishead Arts. We  have a
website where you can find details of the other artists involved.

Portishead Lido flyer

There’ll be a great range of work on show including painting, photography, jewellery and illustration so come along and enjoy a slice of cake and perhaps even have a dip in the Lido.

The show will be on for over a week from Thurs 22nd to Friday 30th of September the lido is open 9.30 to 6.30 every day (later on Monday mornings I think), I’m planning on stewarding on both the Fridays, I might take my painting kit along to paint the estuary in any quiet periods, so come and say hello.

For this show I’m focussing on local scenes, pretty much all painted within a mile of the Lido. My painting of the lido is the top right image on the flyer above.

Here’s a recent one painted after a last minute decision to walk down and catch the last light at Black Nore lighthouse. I’m so pleased I did, once again I was painting over a failed painting so it was doubly therapeutic, I’m so lucky to have this on my doorstep.

Last Light Black Nore

Last Light Black Nore 10 x 12 inches

As well as these outdoor paintings I’ll have a couple  of larger works that were painted back in the studio, such as Winter Wave.

IMG_2873

Ian Price Winter Wave 24 x 24 inches

The Autumn is always an exciting period with so many shows on, I’m lucky enough to have had a painting selected for the ING Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London which is coming up in November. More news in the next post!

I hope to see you at the show. Don’t forget you can also follow me on twitter and now Instagram @ianpriceart as well as Facebook.

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother and Welsh Dresser / Mam a’r Seld

I spent some of the Christmas break painting a portrait of my mother and have spent some more time tweaking since. Sadly she died last Summer after years of deteriorating health. Over the past five or so years I spent my time with her sketching and painting. 



She is pictured  in the bungalow she moved into after leaving the family home and is in front of the dresser holding the family china. She also has her fall alarm around her neck.





The sketch was ready many years ago! So I was relieved to make some time to start painting.



I dug out my precious lead white, I thought she deserved it. Also good evidence that all portraits go through an ugly phase. This was after the first painting session.



The second painting session showing an improvement and one discarded background.



Another of the many background iterations and showing one of the iPad images I used. This background framed her head too closely.



A close up showing the texture of the lead white paint and the way the gingham fabric was painted. I was pleased with the end result and the fabric was the least or my problems once I’d worked out how to approach it.

I’m relieved I’ve completed it as well as being pleased with the result. I’m not too upset that she didn’t get to see the finished, she did see many of the sketches and paintings over the years and she was really pleased when I gave her a painting of the cat she left behind at her family home.



I’ve another larger image sketched out, also from years ago. Hopefully that will get finished at some point.

Painting-wise something I found very useful during the process was taking a photo and making it black and white. The small size and the monochrome image really helped with identifying drawing and tonal problems, of which there were many.

2015 round up

I’m not a great fan of those round robin Christmas letters so I’m writing this with some trepidation. However 2015 has been a year of some progress so I thought it would be worth reminding you of news and any earlier posts you might want to look back on by clicking the links.

It was a year of two (unequal) halves a flurry of painting followed by a cycle of exhibiting.

I began the year by doing quite a bit of plein air painting and went on a course at Newlyn School Of Art with Paul Lewin. The course as well as being enjoyable was also an encouragement to loosen up with mixed media. With hindsight I haven’t taken this as far as I anticipated but it was certainly an inspiration to be looser when painting outside.

This flurry of activity was mostly to get things to hang on the wall for North Somersets Arts Week. Once again it was great fun to have people coming through the house and I managed to raise £200 for Black Nore lighthouse by selling cards and Helen’s marvellous cakes.

The other main painting event of the year was the Andrew james portrait course which I’ve organised for a few years now and was a great success again fuelled by more of Helen’s cakes. I get a free course out of it and am still pretty pleased with my portrait of Viv.

I spent the rest of the year (well apart from life classes) punting these paintings around various juried exhibitions the highlights being the RWA in Bristol and the ING and rubbing shoulders with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters for the first time in London.

Dusk Tanker

Dusk Tanker, exhibited at the RWA

I’m especially grateful to the judges of the Clifton Arts Club Open for awarding me the prize of excellence (which also doubled as my entry for the ROI).

Clifton Arts Club Prize of Excellence

Thanks to Trevor Haddrell RWA, Ione Parkin RWA and Ros Cuthbert RWA, what. a discerning trio.

People ask about my organisation and preparation but it all boiled down to this little scrap of paper I used for shepherding my meagre resources and time, so it’s all smoke and mirrors really. If you can read my handwriting you’ll see there are some misses among the hits so still plenty to aim for in 2016.

The Masterplan! (the only plan).

The Masterplan! (the only plan).

I mentioned not freeing up as much as I wanted and I am looking forward to a return trip to Newlyn for a course focussed squarely on abstract painting in March. I’m obviously hoping that 2016 will bring as much pleasure as 2015 but to be honest if it brings as much I’ll be surprised and very happy.

Thank you very much for taking an interest and I hope 2016 is a successful year for us all.

Another successful Portrait Course

Another couple of portrait courses done with Andrew James and smiles all around. Most importantly Andrew is looking forward to it again next year. If you’re interested register on the course page and I’ll let you know the timings when the venue schedule is available in the Spring.

This is now the fifth course I’ve attended (and organised) and I think progress is being made, portraiture is still the most maddening strand of art though.

Here’s a run through of what happened on the courses…

Course 1

We started off with some charcoal sketching followed by a quick demo by Andrew. Here’s his sketch.



Here’s my longer sketch, 1 hour I think.



Day 1 was completed with a monochrome oil painting. This was probably my least satisfying painting, I underpainted using a turpsy wash that didn’t dry before trying to apply the thicker paint on top.

Day 2 started with a demo oil painting by Andrew.



We spent some time sketching and working out compositions in charcoal before blocking in. 

Here’s my work at the end of day 2.



I found the 3rd day frustrating, battling with likeness but ended up with this at the end of the course.



The following week I tweaked the portrait, very little time was spent and very little paint was applied but the tweaks brought out the likeness more by modelling the chin more simply. Oh and I tried Joanna in a fancy frame! (Excuse the carpet).



Here’s a shot of other people’s work in progress on day 3.





Course 2

I (and another attendee) were lucky enough to do two back to back courses complete with new models.

Here are my sketches from the first day.



As I’d done the monochrome painting earlier in the week, I did a limited palette exercise using the zorn palette (only red, yell ochre, black and white).



Again day 2 started with a demo. This time Andrew tried a more conventional planned approach instead of his usual magic. The results was a more prosaic portrait but as a bonus we saw the pain he went to to complete an eye, it wasn’t just bravura brush marks. He doesn’t seem this bald usually, apologies for the angle Andrew.



Here’s some of the student work in progress.



Here’s mine after the 3rd day



I’d used large brushes for the initial block in and tried to work with them for as long as possible. Andrew made a good point that the machined finish of the board isn’t as pleasing as a canvas would have been.



When I got home. I did some further tweaking to the eyes and lips which I think brought out the likeness and removed the unflattering and untrue goggle eyed effect.



I hope you found this interesting and if you feel up to the challenge next year let me know.