A rose by any other name?

 

I’ve been a professional artist since I left school and joined Royal Doulton as a Paintress, like every job there’s always something new to learn. When I first moved from painting figurines to being a watercolourist I found the biggest challenge was painting on a flat surface. It was also strange to me to be painting a picture using colours which would look the same when I finished. That sounds weird doesn’t it? Let me explain, when you paint ceramics they have to be fired in the kiln in order to harden or fix the colours, however the process of ‘firing’ a piece also often completely changes the colour of the glaze. So I could be painting a ladies skirt in a green glaze with yellow highlights which when fired would be a blue skirt with lighter blue highlights.

So not painting around corners or into grooves and being able to see the actual colours at the time of painting have been new experiences for me but I am naturally artistic just like my mother and my sisters so I’ve never really struggled to pick up new painting techniques.

Generally, moving into oils and acrylics has been a relatively pain free experience too although I do sometimes still find portraying perspective a challenge.

BUT,

There’s always a but isn’t there? The one thing that I’m finding really really difficult is actually naming my artworks.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Now I’m probably with old Will on this one, does it really matter what an artwork is called it’s still the same piece isn’t it?

You’ll have noticed that to date all of my paintings have been simply named whatever they are but it seems there is a school of thought that paintings should have names with more meaning to them. Indeed a gallery owner recently told me she regularly renamed artists work because the names were so poor!

Now I’ve tried to come up with ‘better’ names but since I am really struggling, as is the modern way I’ve turned to Google for advice and it seems I’m not alone in this predicament. I found this really quite helpful article which makes lots of suggestions I particularly like the one about holding an ‘titling party’ where no one goes home until all the works are named, that is just so retro. I’m not sure it would work for me though because all of my friends enjoy a glass of wine or many at a party and so I think we’d probably get the pieces named but may not be able to remember those names the following day!

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I decided to call my latest painting ‘Long Shadows’ (bet you can’t guess why 😉 ) and I was quite pleased with that but as soon as I posted it people gave their own  interpretations which made me think ‘why would I choose name and potentially restrict the viewers personal insight’?

Maybe I should emulate Jackson Pollock and just give each painting a number?

image courtesy of  84colors blog

The world is your lobster

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Being an artist based in Cornwall and especially in St Ives, painting lots of seascapes seems like the natural thing to do and I have to confess I do love depicting the sea, especially its many moods. However I was also really pleased with the mackerel paintings I’ve done recently, especially as they are in slightly different styles so I’m now excited to expand my range of sea life with this lobster or Slobster as my son calls them.

I had no idea whether I could actually paint a lobster but I was definitely looking forward to practising my shading when adding detail to the shell. I really like painting shading and fine detail, I think it’s something which has carried forward from my past career as a ceramic artist.

As you can see from the collage I started by painting an outline directly onto the canvas, many artists myself included usually draw something in pencil first even if it is only a few guidelines but in this case I just wanted to see if I could start painting straight away.

I’m pleased to say that the outline was generally what I intended although I did need to increase the size of the claws. (my husband says that lobsters seem to be a bit like those Sci Fi space marines you see in computer games (he’s a bit of a geek), their weapons are almost the same size as their whole bodies!

After filling in the outline I gradually built up the image with shading and white highlights to give it that 3D quality. The final stage was to add some green shading to give it some contrast.

I think I might try a seahorse next, I’ve always loved seahorses.

 

A fishy story

 

mackeral 2 in progress

Hi everyone, I thought it might be nice to take you through the stages and thought processes when producing a recent painting so here goes.

Firstly I absolutely love painting pictures of the Cornish landscape and the sea, especially the sea, it really inspires me. I’m also really really interested in the creatures around me, I even love to hear the calls of the gulls (although perhaps not so much at 5am, why do they start calling before dawn?)

I’ve recently had a painting of mackerel accepted for display in the Galleria gallery in St. Ives and the owner was explaining that many many local artists produce mainly coastal scenes but the public also like to see something different. Since I’d enjoyed painting the first fishy painting so much I thought I’d have a go at another. This was a double bonus for me because I’m always striving to improve and I really wanted to try to show some the intricate patterns on the fish in more detail.

As you can imagine, living where I do, getting some mackerel to use as models wasn’t a problem and once they’d posed for photographs they made several tasty meals which was a bonus.

pixlrI thought it might be good to show the various stages in the progression of a painting so I’ve made a little collage which you can see below. So to talk you through the stages, firstly I started by getting the fish shape right, something that wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be!

Although I would normally paint the foundation colours on all three fish at the same time, in this painting I started with the top fish almost completing ‘him’ before moving on to the next.

I couldn’t decide whether to put them on a round platter or a mat but I decided I prefered the shape of the mat.

After I was satisfied with the colour and the markings I added some white highlights to give them a distinctive almost metallic wet look and some shadows to give it depth.

I’m really pleased with the result and people have already said they have a real 3D feel to them.

Do let me know what you think by commenting below.