Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Artistic Explorations: Commission Geoflow Large

This blog, my website, my Facebook page, local exhibitions and galleries are great ways to promote my artwork. It's a wonderful feeling to hear and read that someone appreciates my paintings, prints and photographs. The icing on the cake though is if someone buys it or even commissions me.

Last month I was approached via Facebook by someone who purchased a photographic print on canvas after seeing it at North East Open Studios in 2012.

Ythan Estuary print ©Fenfolio2012

She and her husband were now looking for a colourful painting to be hung on a large wall in their house and "Geoflow" caught their eye after checking out my website. It was created and sold in 2011 and consists of 6 panels, each panel represents a natural element whereby the Western (fire, earth, water and air) and Eastern philosophy (Wu Xing; wood, metal, fire, water and earth) is combined.You can read more about the concept in this blog article.

Geoflow ©Fenfolio2011

After discussing the details, measuring up the wall and designing some options in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for them to get an idea how it would look, I sent them my proposal. I was delighted of course it was accepted! It meant the run up to Christmas would be busy for me so I started work rightaway.

Compared to the previous version this painting would be 4 times bigger. Each panel measures 80 x 15 cm. Because it had to stand out in a large space and the customer likes paintings in impasto (thick paint where painting strokes are visible) I had to build up the various layers of texture and acrylic paint carefully, with enough drying time in between. All in all it took me about 5 weeks to complete!

I laid out all canvas panels in my living room (my studio is too small!) with 5 cm in between each panel. The centre of the circle was carefully determined and a circle was drawn in pencil with a string (with the help of my supporting husband). Below is a summary of the creative process per element.

Work process "Wood":
1. Applied Golden heavy molding paste in two layers for the top section (bark)
2. Base colour of a mix of Galeria VanDyke's Brown and Paynes Gray
3. Thin layer of Golden regular gel semi-gloss in the circle
4. Mix Cryla Lemon Yellow and Phtalo Green with Golden extra heavy gel matte. While still damp, add extra yellow and green with palette knife for light and dark areas
5. While still damp, draw lines with shaper and remove excess paint
6. Dry brush Cryla Phtalo Green and dry brush Cryla Lemon Yellow
7. Paint circle lines in mix Galeria VanDyke's Brown and Paynes Gray with toothpick
8. Drybrush mix Cryla Phtalo Green + Lemon Yellow in top section
9. Satin varnish

Element "Wood" ©Fenfolio2015

Work process "Earth":
1. Sculpted ridges with Golden light molding paste with palette knife (3 layers)
2. Layer of gesso
3. High horizontal areas painted in mix of Galeria Pale Umber and Buff Titanium with gradation in tone and colour nearing vertical ridges
4. Cryla Zinc White for highlights
5. Golden soft gel matte and sprinkled fine sand found in Yell (Shetland) which includes schist.
6. New layer of Golden soft gel matte to seal sand
7. Vertical ridges in between higher areas painted in mix of VanDyke Brown and Black
8. Galeria Black Lava Gel medium on dark areas
9. Galeria Satin Varnish

Element "Earth" ©Fenfolio2015

Work Process "Air":
1. Applied Golden Fiber paste for area outside circle (2 layers)
2. Layer of gesso
3. Painted area outside circle in mix of diluted Cryla Zinc White and Quin. Deep Purple
4. Diluted Cryla Maroon
5. Undiluted Cryla Maroon
6. Undiluted mix of Cryla Maroon and Deep Violet
7. Top: added mix of Cryla Deep Violet and Paynes Gray
8. Added Cryla Zinc White to higher parts in texture
9. Inside circle: painted in mix of Cryla Quin. Deep Purple, Zinc White and touch of Deep Violet
10. Inside circle: mix of Golden regular gel semi-gloss, Cryla Deep Purple and Zinc White.
11. Inside circle: Cryla Zinc White to higher parts in texture
12. Galeria Satin Varnish

Element "Air" ©Fenfolio2015

Work process "Fire":
1. Base colour of a mix of Galeria VanDyke Brown and Payne's Gray
2. Outside circle: added mix of Cryla Pyrrole Scarlet and Lemon Yellow with Golden extra heavy gel matte with palette knife (two layers)
3. Inside circle: added mix of Cryla Lemon Yellow, Pyrrole Scarlet with Golden extra heavy gel matte with palette knife
4. Galeria Satin Varnish

Element "Fire" ©Fenfolio2015

Work process "Metal":
1. Inner circle: glued kitchen foil in folds with Golden soft gel
2. Inner circle: diluted Cryla Payne's Gray
3. Inner circle: dry brush Cryla Payne's Gray on higher areas of texture
4. Outside area: glued kitchen foil flat Golden soft gel
5. Outside area: slightly diluted Cryla Payne's Gray, press in cling film and take off immediately
6. Galeria Satin Varnish
Element "Metal" ©Fenfolio2015

Work process "Water":
1. Outside circle: base colour of a mix of Cryla Payne's Gray and Ultramarine
2. Layer of Golden regular gel semi-gloss
3. Mix of Golden regular gel semi-gloss with Cryla Ultramarine, Phtalo green, Phtalo Blue Red Shade, Manganese Blue and Zinc White with with palette knife (2 layers)
4. Inside circle: mix of mainly Cryla Zinc White and Golden regular gel semi-gloss with a few touches of same colours as above
5. Galeria Satin Varnish

Element "Water" ©Fenfolio2015

This is the complete painting hung on the wall.

Geoflow Large on wall ©Fenfolio2015

As you can see the hanging was quite awkward because the wall is really high and everything had to be aligned perfectly. A few good tools and some great teamwork we managed to do it in two hours. The customer is delighted with their painting and that means I'm happy too. What a wonderful way to finish 2015 on such a high note!

Geoflow Large on wall in newly decorated room

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

At the end of December I always like to take the time to reflect on what I have been doing in the past year. You can read all about that in my latest newsletter.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! I look forward to keeping you informed about all my outdoor and creative activities here in 2016.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Artistic Explorations: Figurative study (3)

My latest work I created during the Figurative Study course at Grays School of Art is called "Contemplation".

Figure painting "Contemplation" ©Fenfolio2015

First I collected scraps of paper which I covered with acrylic paint leftover after each art session (because I don't want to waste anything!). Over the years I had quite a pile! I used this as a collage background and glued it on an A2 greyboard. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of this. It was relatively dark, highly textured due to the layers of paint and had a wide variety of strong colours. Once dry and in the classroom I painted the model in acrylic paint and gesso. I painted the negative space around her first with gesso, then added dark and light tones in the model.

Close-up of "Contemplation" ©Fenfolio2015

Close-up of "Contemplation" ©Fenfolio2015

Close-up of "Contemplation" ©Fenfolio2015

This process of starting with a very busy background and then "pulling" the model out, is really up to my street because it's very liberating! More will follow here soon...

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Artistic Explorations: Relief Printmaking (2)

Next year Jaap is planning to do a solo circumnavigation around the house by kayak, paddling down the River Dee to Aberdeen, following the coastline to Edinburgh, then take various rivers, canals and (sea)lakes via Fort William to Inverness and then make his way along the Moray and Aberdeenshire coast back home.

For his birthday in November I had plenty of ideas what to give him. The most important item of course was a GPS tracker so I know exactly where he is during this expedition! But I also wanted to give him something personal in the form of a card or print.

Inspiration came from one of the photos I took of him in 2013 while kayaking around Soay, an island next to Isle of Skye.

Jaap kayaking along coastline of Isle of Skye ©Fenfolio2013

The initial image was cropped into a square format and reversed in Photoshop so that the composition of the print is the same as the photo. I then traced the outlines of the mountains and kayaker. As I had plenty of soft lino and block printing ink available I wanted to create a reductive lino print. This is a process where all colours are being developed from the same block. For each colour layer more material is being removed from the block. Each color is then printed on top of the previous.Unfortunately I didn't have time to take photos of each printed stage as I was really working on a tight deadline to have it ready on his birthday!

For the best results a printing press (for relief printing) is being used but as I don't have one at home and didn't have time to go into town to print at Peacock Visual Arts I decided to try it just by hand. To register the block correctly during each printing process I first made a registration board (from mountboard and pieces of card) so I could align paper and block in the same way each time.

My work process:
1. I first took away the hull of the kayak and sleeve and printed in light blue. This revealed the white areas.
2. The sky was removed and some areas in the water. Then I printed in light purple. This revealed the sky and some water ripples in the back. The top of the hull in light blue is a very lucky error as I forgot to take away that area. It was created due to a slight misalignment while burnishing by hand!
3. The distant mountains and some other areas in the water were removed. It was then printed in dark blue. This revealed the light purple areas.
4. I removed more areas near the horizon and some ripples in the foreground. This revealed the dark blue.
5. During the last stage I removed most of the water that was left, the paddle shaft and spraydeck. Then I printed in orange to reveal top of kayak, buoyancy aid, glove, hat, paddle blade and some ripples.

This is the final result:

Reductive linocut print in 6 colours ©Fenfolio2015

Because 5 colours (except white) were placed on top of eachother it was slightly darker than I planned for. I was also not very happy with the grainy effect due to the burnishing by hand only. After I took a photo of the print I cleaned it in Photoshop and replaced the colours into more vibrant ones which Jaap prefers.

This is the result:

Photoshopped version of reductive linocut print ©Fenfolio2015

Finally, I manipulated a bit further as I wanted to have a more generic design that could suit any kayaker. The image was changed into greyscale and a posterize filter was applied. This design will be used as a Christmas card for all our kayak friends!

Photoshopped version of linocut in greyscale ©Fenfolio2015

Monday, 9 November 2015

Creative inspiration in Cornwall and Devon

It  already seems too long ago since we got back from our holiday in Cornwall and Devon end of  October. I brought along my sketch materials but hadn't been able to do much because there was so much to do and see, especially with the glorious weather we had! However, I was immensely inspired by the landscape and artwork from local artists and I now have lots of ideas to follow up in my art studio during the winter.

During the first week we rented an apartment in artistic and pretty coastal town St. Yves overlooking the bay. For Jaap's birthday (almost a year ago!) I gave him a visit to Barbara Hepworth's Garden and Museum. He really admires her sculptures and actually made a wooden sculpture himself a few years ago inspired by one of hers.

One of Barbara Hepworth's sculpures, Source: Art Cornwall

Jaap's wooden sculpture inspired by Barbara Hepworth

Below is a selection of her stunning sculptures we saw in the garden and museum.

Barabara Hepworth sculpture © Fenfolio2015

Barabara Hepworth sculpture © Fenfolio2015

Jaap framed by one of Hepworth's sculpures © Fenfolio2015

Massive sculpure in tropical garden ©Fenfolio2015

Detail of Hepworth's work ©Fenfolio2015

Hepworth's studio ©Fenfolio2015

Sculpure tools Hepworth worked with ©Fenfolio2015

For more information about Barbara Hepworth, visit Artsy's Barbara Hepworth page where you can find her bio, over 20 of her works, exclusive articles and up-to-date Hepworth exhibition listings.

From St. Yves we explored its surroundings and made some beautiful walks along the coastline.

Digital collage image I created with apps ©Fenfolio2015

Digital collage image I created ©Fenfolio2015

Pretty houses and streets in St. Yves ©Fenfolio 2015

Digital collage image I created with map of Cornwall

Cornish sea and rocks ©Fenfolio 2015

Walking along coast path to between St. Yves and Zennor ©Fenfolio2015

Funky sea cliffs ©Fenfolio2015

We had a wonderful day at Trengwainton Garden near Penzance.

Palm trees thrive here in mild climate©Fenfolio2015

Silhouette of fern on tree trunk ©Fenfolio2015

Digital collage I created of an autumnal still life ©Fenfolio2015

Digital collage of Trengwainton House ©Fenfolio2015

Our most memorable walk was to Kynance Cove and Lizard Point! Especially the cafe which you can see on the far right on the image below was well worth a visit.

Kynance Cove ©Fenfolio2015

Kynance Cove ©Fenfolio2015

Stunning geology along the coast here ©Fenfolio2015

Textures in the sand ©Fenfolio2015

Textures in the sea ©Fenfolio2015

In our element! ©Fenfolio2015

Lizard point is the most Southerly point of the UK ©Fenfolio2015

Love is...©Fenfolio2015

Pampus grass decorating the cliffs ©Fenfolio2015

Colourful Cornish house ©Fenfolio2015

Another lovely walk was from Mousehole to Lamorna Cove.

Beautiful harbour at Mousehole ©Fenfolio2015

Pretty houses in Mousehole ©Fenfolio2015

Before we left Corwall we visited The Eden Project; a huge garden with various themes and an educational centre. We were blown away with what we saw and I especially was amazed by the way they combined art with nature.

Recipe for Eden ©Fenfolio2015

Bee sculpture ©Fenfolio2015

Butterfly sculpture ©Fenfolio2015

Cone sculpure ©Fenfolio2015

Sculpure created with garbage showing how much
rubbish one person throws away in his lifetime

Chandelier ©Fenfolio2015

Palm in tropical biome ©Fenfolio2015

View from top of tropical biome ©Fenfolio2015

Lovely sketches were displayed in the tropical biome ©Fenfolio2015

This appeals to any artist! ©Fenfolio2015

And this should ring a bell to any scientist! ©Fenfolio2015

Torquay was our next base. Apart from soaking up the strange mix of posh, artistic and rough culture in this English Rivièra city, we also explored Dartmoor and walked up granite hill Haytor.

Torquay Pavilion ©Fenfolio2015

Sand artist at work on the beach ©Fenfolio2015

Two artists at work en plein air ©Fenfolio2015

Beautiful fishing pots in Torquay Harbour

On top of Haytor Rocks in Dartmoor ©Fenfolio2015

Dartmoor's juxtaposition ©Fenfolio2015

Dartmoor ponies ©Fenfolio2015

We were blown away by our visit to pictoresque art and craft village Cockington Court, just a couple of miles away from Torquay. It was their annual Apple Festival so we enjoyed tasting various ciders in the village garden, listening to live music and seeing the various artists  at work in their studio. One artist in particular we were inspired by was Deborah Treliving. We spoke about how she creates her work and she showed us her printing press. One of her collagraph prints got Jaap's attention from the moment we stepped inside and I encouraged him to buy it. For the first time we will have artwork from a different artist on our wall!

Deborah Treliving's art studio in Cocking Court

Jaap bought this lovely collagraph print

Deborah recommended us to visit the gallery of Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey where she's a member of. There we saw an exhibition of prints and paintings by Michael Honnor which I thoroughly enjoyed. Jaap was not so impressed as he didn't like the mainly monochrome palet of his work.

Blurb about Michael Honnor's exhibition

One of Michael Honnor's lithograph prints ©Fenfolio2015

One of Michael Honnor's paintings ©Fenfolio2015

The cake in the café was delicious but the icing on the cake actually was the exhibition of sketchbooks from the artists of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen itself! It was such a privilege to see what these artists did with their sketchbook and why they keep one. It was an eye opener and great material I could use for my own workshop Creative Sketchbook which I was going to organise for the Stonehaven Art Group a week after my holiday.

Exhibition Sketchbooks: Life Illustrated

Deborah Treliving's blurb about her sketchbooks

After a few days spent in South Devon we continued our journey to the north and visited Lynton and Lynmouth. Halfway we stopped at Simonsbath, stretched our legs and made a walk through the rolling hills of Exmoor.

Exmoor landscape ©Fenfolio2015

In Lynton we unfortunately had our first day of bad weather, but that didn't deter us from walking along the coastline near Lynton.

"Beware of man goats" ©Fenfolio2015

The scenery is almost like a fairytale ©Fenfolio2015

The weather was much better the next day and we walked from Lynmouth (also called "Little Switzerland") to Watersmeet and back via the coastal path.

Lynmouth was severely flooded in 1952 ©Fenfolio2015

Beautiful trees along the way ©Fenfolio2015

Fluffy cuties in farmfield ©Fenfolio2015

Coastal path to Lynmouth ©Fenfolio2015

The last few days of our two-week holiday were spent in Liverpool which was the European Capital of Culture in 2008. The museums and architecture in general was fascinating! While visiting Liverpool Cathedral we were treated with an amazing rehearsal of the girls school choir, singing a song from a famous and recent film, twice!! I had goosebumps, it was so beautiful.

Inside Liverpool Cathedral ©Fenfolio2015

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral ©Fenfolio2015

Glass artwork in Liverpool Museum ©Fenfolio2015

Stone suitcases as sculptural artwork ©Fenfolio2015

Iconic skyline of Liverpool ©Fenfolio2015

Albert Dock ©Fenfolio2015

Liverpool's symbol the Liver bird ©Fenfolio2015