Thursday, 30 June 2011

Door without purpose.

In the nearby village of Earls Barton is a very nice church, and it is the sort of thing I like to take Photo's of. Recently, while looking at some photo's, I noticed what looked like a door halfway up the tower close to the clock. I wondered if it was there to provide access to the clock, but that made no sense. Then I thought that maybe it wasn't a door but a shuttered window of sorts ... but it looks like a door. Intrigued, I made some enquiries and what I discovered is quite interesting.

This church is famous for its mixture of architectures dating back to c970 a.d. Apparently, it started life as nothing more than a keep (tower) and it was used as a place of refuge by local peasants to escape marauding bands of Vikings who sailed down the River Nene. At times of danger, the locals would climb a ladder to the keep and then pull the ladder up behind them. There was a small church close to the tower and many successive modifications to the church eventually brought the two buildings together. At one time, the local priest was known to give his sermons from the doorway to his congregation below. Architecture from every century from the tenth onwards is represented in the fabric of the church.

I understand that the door we can see today is the original door and now I know why it's there it no longer seems so pointless. Any one who likes to look at old buildings, especially churches, should put this one on their 'must see' list.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

My graphite favourites

As some of you will know, as an extension to my art forum I like to give artists the opportunity to Showcase some of their work online. I have just launched a new Showcase and have decided to make use of it myself on this occassion.

Rather than show off a cross section of my work in different mediums (media?), I thought about what pleases ME the most. LOL ... I actually reflected on how some of you displayed you own personal favourites around the New Year and I thought what a great idea that was. Anyway, I reflected on the 3 mediums that I use. Although I enjoy getting messy with watercolour and get a great deal of satisfaction from pen work, I chose my pencil work for this Showcase.

I feel that I have turned a corner recently with this medium and that makes me feel good about my art. Each of the pieces I have displayed are pleasing to me in their own way. I found a massive amount of satisfaction and achievement with my first portrait (Capt. Jack Sparrow) and took forward what I learned from that one into the next one of John Wayne. But of all of them, the picture that I like the best is the Old Shed. I'm not even sure I can say why I like it most, it just touches the spot for me and I get a deep sense of self-satisfaction and contentment (with my art) every time I look at it.

Though it hasn't been that long since some of the pieces were posted on my blog I hope you'll hop over to the Showcase and have a look. And, as always when I'm posting about the showcase, I'll remind you that if YOU would like to showcase some of your work, then please contact me.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer is here!

For a while now I've fancied trying my hand at drawing something silver. I like the way black and grey pencil strokes can combine on white paper to make an object look metallic and shiny. But though I've had the notion at the back of my mind for quite some time, I've not come across a suitable object to draw. By suitable I mean, takes my fancy.

Anyway, at the weekend, despite the frequent showers, we decided to have a barbecue and when I fished out all the paraphernalia what did I find but my stainless steel utensils. No, not silver, but the same difference as far as a drawing is concerned. "Ping" .... it was like the proverbial light bulb being switched on.

I was very pleased with the initial drawing of the objects but they didn't stand out from the background enough to 'shine'. Since lights come from darks, I shaded the background and that has worked just fine. This isn't one of my favourite pieces, but it was a great exercise .... and the burgers were good too.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Cotswold Chimney

As I explained in my last post, a couple of years ago I saw this chimney and it appealed greatly as a watercolour subject. Well, I've finally managed to paint it and it's proven to be an anti-climax. I imagine we're all the same with regards to getting satisfaction from our work - some pieces please us, and others we're not so sure about. For me, this is one of the others. I don't know why it is, but I didn't get an inordinate degree of pleasure from doing this one and I'm not very satisfied with the result. Could it be that the enjoyment of doing a piece has a bearing on how satisfying it is? It is quite remarkable to me that I found more satisfaction  from doing the 20-minute pen sketch, than this 3/4 hour painting. Oh well, 'tis done now ... onward and upward. ;-)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Love these quickie's

A couple of years ago I was in Chipping Cambden in the Cotswolds waiting for my wife and friend who had popped into a shop. Looking up I was taken by an interesting chimney stack and roof arrangement and just had to take a photo with a view to painting it one day. I still will, but I just came across it and decided it would be a great exercise with the pen. With the interesting perspective and many angles, to attack it without pencil guidelines was a great confidence booster. Taking just 20 minutes tops, it represents another satisfying 'quickie'.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

First Sale

I'm just back from visiting our local "Art in the Park" exhibition in which I entered my "Steel Worker" painting. Guess what? It has sold!!!
This is a first for me and I have mixed feelings over it. I thought I'd feel hugely excited but I don't. I'm very pleased that someone liked it enough to pay real  money for it but I am going to miss having it hang on my wall. Still, I had a count up and there are 70 paintings in the exhibition, of which only 14 have sold, and I find that very flattering, especially since we are only 2 weeks into a 6 week run. It's a big confidence booster that's for sure. I must make a bigger effort to track down some other exhibitions. ;-)