Thursday, 1 August 2013

July update!

Ah, me.  July seems to have gone by without my posting anything.  In truth, there's nothing much really to tell.  A couple of paintings have been finished, which I'll show you but, frankly, this unaccustomed heatwave has been an energy-sapper for me, and I don't think I'm the only one.

Being British, I'm just not used to heat in the 90s.  Well, let's be clear - I'm not used to heat + humidity.  Living on an island surrounded by water (yes, I know, the very definition of an island - let's not get pedantic, eh?) means the UK climate is generally pretty moist.  There's a reason it's been called a 'green and pleasant land'.  It's what give us UK females that so-called 'English Rose complexion' that provokes envy in those from drier lands.

The downside is that when it gets very hot here - as it does every 5-7 years or so - the humidity makes it feel even warmer than it is.  And sweaty.  Oh, so very sweaty.  It's loathsome.  Also, while we're here, the humidity in winter makes the cold seep through to your bones.  I know of people from northern Scandinavia where the temperature frequently falls to -20 who find our -2 winters much colder than they're used to, due to the humidity.

But, hey, I'm British and one of our favourite hobbies is moaning about the weather.  It is, though, very lovely to see the sunshine especially as, due to the aged feline, we've been unable to go anywhere on holiday since 2007.  I've been toying with the idea of popping down to West Wittering Beach (much like we did back in 2009 - lord, was it that long ago?) but, of course, it's the school holidays now and it's likely to be packed.  Plus I'd have to go on my own (my local friends all work, and TLH doesn't really 'do' beaches) which means there'd be no-one to look after my stuff while I go for a swim, etc.  It's all a bit complicated.  Alternatively, I could go to Frensham Great Pond for a bit of a paddle, as it's a lot closer, and has a sandy, lakeside beach.  I'll think about it...

Art classes have now finished for this academic year.  I've signed up for a one-day master class in acrylic painting in the middle of this month, and I've signed up for new, more advanced, classes in September.

The last course - the one just finished - ended with a 3-week project where we could create whatever 2-D piece we wanted, using any technique we'd learned in the course (pastels, ink & wash, mono print, pencil, acrylic paint).

I chose acrylic paint, and to do another Jewel Beetle on A2 canvas this time.  If you recall, I did a small A5 painting on canvas board of a beetle back in June.  I researched on Flickr and found a fantastic photo of a beetle on a twig.  The picture incorporated all the elements that I've grown fond of doing - out-of-focus background, botany (in the shape of the twig), and the gorgeous metallic colours of the Jewel Beetle.  Anyway, as usual, I've done a photographic record of its progress:

I'm really very pleased with how it's come out.  It's actually much greener in real life.  I've added metallic paint (which is what the close up picture is supposed to show you, but it's not clear) for a bit of added shine.

Apart from the beetle, I was looking through my selection of favourited photos from Flickr and remembered that I was going to have a go at making a painting of city lights at night - out-of-focus, of course!  I found a photo of the Empire State Building in New York which looked easy enough.

I started by painting a piece of A4 acrylic paper completely black, then, using one of my small, flat-topped round stencil brushes, put in circular swirls for the lights - I think it worked quite well:

In fact, I liked the effect so much that I've found another photo of Las Vegas at night time that I've just made a start on, and I've got a photo of London lined up as well - I feel a new series coming on!

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