A mixed bag of odds and sods

My time for painting this week has been quite limited due to forces beyond my control, so this week’s post is a bit of a motley assortment!

I had to travel to Ticehurst in Kent on Saturday to collect the work that I’d had on display at the Greenfinch gallery since early January. The fact that I had work to collect is a bit of a giveaway that it wasn’t exactly a sellout success.

Speaking to the owner, it would seem that my paintings were appreciated by visitors and other exhibitors alike for their quality – but they just didn’t ‘connect’. I totally understand this. When I look at all the paintings I’ve sold, there’s usually been some form of an emotional attachment, a memory, or an evocation of a happy place in someone’s mind. It’s only natural that without this, my paintings may be admired for various qualities, but that they’re unlikely to become ‘must haves’.

What was great about this experience for me was the boost it gave me, just to have my work selected to shown there.

I’m hopeful that I’ll have the opportunity to have my work there again sometime in the future.

Lazise, Italy

So while time for painting was short, it wasn’t so short that I couldn’t turn my attention to a quick splash about. Here’s a view of Lazise in Italy:

Promenading in Lazise, Italy

It was the sky that really attracted me to this view. On the one hand it was quite plain, but on the other, it was richly varied with reds, oranges as well as blues and greys.

Once I’d painted the sky, I started to lose a bit of interest in this painting, but I think this was partly because I was a little distracted while I was painting it! This feeling only increased once I added in the figures, but in such a way they appear as a line of people that might have just disembarked from a massive cruise ship and were now bearing down on the viewer in a most intimidating fashion!

Ah well, at least I enjoyed painting the sky! And even when the results are sometimes a little disappointing, it always feels good to get the brushes wet!

Royal Institute for Painters in Water Colour Catalogue – online now!

I was excited to see notifications from other artists that this year’s Royal Institute for Painters in Water Colour exhibition is now low online!

Naturally, I rushed over to the Mall Galleries site to have a look! Here’s the catalogue so you can have a little appetite teaser prior to the main event in a few week’s time:

The catalogue for the 2023 Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour exhibition

After scampering through the catalogue, I saw no sign of my painting and suddenly panicked that maybe the whole thing of having a piece of work selected had just been a bad dream! Fortunately, when I turned to the full alphabetised list of selected artists, there I was in black and white on page 33! From this listing, it appears that there will be 449 paintings in the exhibition, and apparently, the split in works is roughly 50:50 between works by members and works chosen from the open submission.

DIY watercolour tinkering

I’ve had a bit of a bee in my bonnet of late. It’s ever since I started to do more plein air painting. I’m happy with one of plein air setups but have been working on a lighter-weight set up. What it’s been missing, however, is somewhere to put things while I’m painting, such as a water bucket, sponge, brushes palette etc.

I’ve been ruminating for a while on various solutions and have seen other people’s solutions, but as anyone that knows me well will know, I do like a bit of tinkering. Over the weekend, when the time for painting was a bit limited, and once all the various parts had arrived for me to realise my idea – I got the trusty old black and decker workbench out and set about the task!

The ingredients for this concoction were a ukele clamp (bear with me on this one), an old aluminium catering tray and a few nuts, bolts and washers. Here’s my step-by-step recipe:

I’m really pleased with how this turned out and can’t wait to try it out! The clamp attaches really securely, and my concerns about it not being strong or stable enough were completely unfounded! It may be that I need a different-sized tray in due course, but I’m hoping this one will suffice. It’s definitely big enough for my Frazer Price Palette Box, and my larger palette can balance over on the top edges of the tray, though this does feel a little precarious. I need to see how this performs on a real painting trip next before I consider any additional modifications.

Thoughts on A mixed bag of odds and sods

7 thoughts on “A mixed bag of odds and sods”

  1. Some excellent work in that catalogue, John, but almost all the titles are dire. Does this mean that watercolour artists are completely devoid of imagination/humour?!

    1. Haha, very possibly Rob, I know that titles are something I certainly struggle with. I called mine Brighton Pavilion, because it’s a painting that features Brighton Pavilion (and that’s pretty imaginative for me!) Oh, realised that for some reason, my gallery of images that show my plein air modifications didn’t load – I’ve corrected this now. Knowing that you’re a bit of a tinker yourself, I thought you might like a bit of Heath Robinson!

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