Friday, 9 May 2014

Out and About

Easter Break etc


Hello once again and thanks for the company! It seems a while since I last posted anything, yet I guess it was really only a week or so ago. Since then we have been closed for the Easter break, our local group at Margaret's was also missing a week as Margaret had some business to attend to which meant she could not accommodate us at her home, so we have all been left to our own devices! I've been trying to keep busy on some of my other work (some acrylics I have promised someone as opposed to watercolour), and Brian has been very busy going about the organising of what is to all extents our main exhibition - the summer one at the Waterways Museum in Goole. Earlier followers may remember we hold it aboard an old river barge, which has to be one of the best venues for an exhibition we can think of.

Before diving in to what's in store for this blog post, I have to put you all out of your misery and tie up a loose end from the last blog post I did. My local art friend and travel companion Philip - who completed his Mexican Bandit Zapata has indeed struck again, with a new work started in his beloved acrylics. Instead of going off with a complete curve ball, he has sort of gone off on a tangent and kept to his 'western' theme. His new work is of the famous North American Indian Geronimo.

Philip's Geronimo start.

As you can see from the picture at the side he's doing it using that textured paper that is suitable for both acrylics and oils. Like I always do I will endeavour to keep you all up to date with this work as progress (or not - you can't be too sure with art) is made over the next few weeks until Philip deems it completed and fit to hang at maybe this years Summer Exhibition aboard the Barge. Maybe you would like to pop over and have a look at it in the flesh (so to speak) if he did?

I have to admit that we are indeed keeping a close eye on him as we speak and type as the more keenly observant of you will have noticed a distinct lack of yellow ochre at the moment. Last post we explained of Philip's continual use of that colour, and how he finds a way to justify and include it in each of his works. To try and put it into some kind of perspective, if Phil was, shall we say, some sort of cowboy, then he could very well be referred to as the 'Yellow Ochre Kid' - such is his affinity with the colour.

I am sure that it's only a matter of time before it rears it's earthy head upon his palette before transferring it's way into his current work. If you ever get the chance to invest a few pounds (we are English), then go for yellow ochre stocks and bonds, I'm sure you will reap a handsome profit upon your investment - as long as Phil keeps painting, that is!

There are some other pictures I took on my mobile of the latest work that some of our members are undertaking at the moment and I have posted these below.

Terry's pencil work.
Another of Terry's works.
Terry has been working on this left hand side picture for a number of weeks now, each time bringing his materials in and quietly working away. He said that he was wanting to try and capture quite a busy city street scene (unfortunately I can't remember which city) that includes a busker sat to the left hand side and the low, setting sun, casting long shadows along the pavement, added to this is a lady wearing a red tee shirt which grabs your attention, but does not take over the composition as there is so much more going on. We think he's done a really good job on this and everything in it works very well indeed.

On the right hand side is the traditional - 'and here's one I made earlier'. This is more the style I have come to know from him since I have joined the Society. Terry has quite a large portfolio of portrait pencil works of various folks - some famous, others not so, along with a very nice selection of members of his family and friends on the Continent who have either asked for him to do a portrait of someone special, or he has decided to have a go and see if he can work something out as a suitable gift.

Overall he's done a terrific job, taking great care, pride and attention to each and every drawing he works on.

Right, what else have we been up to then I hear you all crave? Well, something that is a little unique to us and hopefully something that we will do again and again - especially as it gets warmer!

Earlier in the year as we were all sat around painting and chatting away, thinking of new things to have a go at, it was suggested that for something 'different' did the Society fancy doing a 'plein air' session one day? I think every member there said 'yes', which was something of a pleasant surprise. So with this last Monday the 5 May and being a Bank Holiday here in Britain and the College being closed we decided that would be a good time to put our master plan into action. We chose what was thought to be a good piece of riverbank to sit along and have a go at in our various favourite mediums, time was agreed and from that there was to be no stopping us!

However, as the 'Famous Five' brave, hardy souls who met up at around 6.00pm soon found out, the venue was perhaps not as inspiring as we had at first thought  - so a quick Plan B was hatched. We drove a few hundred yards towards part of the docks, hoping we would find suitable material amongst the ships and port architecture. Wrong. We only found one ship to be in, and that was as near head-on to us as makes no difference. True, there were two other smaller vessels, but at almost binocular distance away from us, well, they were always going to be a challenge.

Four of the 'Famous Five'
The reverse side of this board read - 'No sketching from this point'.

Not inspired we decided to turn back and maybe find ourselves that elusive subject, when one of the ladies (unsure which) pointed and said 'Look at that!' And there it was, a nice piece of algae encrusted concrete in the shape of a dividing point in one of the dock areas. Embedded onto its surface was an old, metal, weathered bollard and a light stand to which was attached a lifebelt. Perfect! After taking some reference pictures (I think we all turned up with either a small camera or mobile) we got to choose our spot, and away we went. It was such a simple subject in many ways it was perfect, but it also had enough of a challenge for us to set about it with some respect. I think the other four were straight into their sketching mode, leaving me the only one using colour from the start. Most of my watercolours are quite pale, often weak, which is something I have been aware of for some time, so this was going to be the first time I set about painting with plenty of raw colour. My aim was to try and use Charles Reid's technique, but I think I need a lot more 'trying' yet! During the time we were there we encountered a Dutch Captain who had come across the North Sea with his wife and daughter. He makes the run quite regular and we all had a very enjoyable chat as they stood and watched us tackle the subject, each in our own way.

The 'Subject'.

I reckon we worked for maybe an hour before it got too cold and then started to rain, so after deciding we had all got enough material, we then decided to call it a day (or night) and head for our nice, cosy, warm homes, with slipper heated by the fireside awaiting our safe return. Well, I can dream.

Below is my attempt, which I proceeded to take to Margaret's the following night where I tried to tone down some of it. The water has not come out coloured as I thought it would, so I have learnt from that - far too blue and not enough grey, but the algae etc did not end up too bad after a few washes to 'dirty' it some.

My version of the subject.

Right, enough for this week's blog, so I hope you have enjoyed reading it and will look forward to the next instalment.

P.S.  -  I have already got an updated photo of Phil's Geronimo, to be revealed next week!