Saturday, November 26, 2011

Baby on Board!

 'Life has a way of knocking over the most brilliant plans'
(from the Jerusalem Train by Jon Dietz)

Isn't this quote so very true.... not only for my painting but life too...with a 'Baby on Board' you can never be quite sure what is going to happen next. (grin)

This has been a fun painting to do.  I wanted to keep the chess pieces and board quite mystical, almost like a surreal world in feel, so I kept it deliberately 'soft focus'. In contrast the baby is very much 'in focus' because, to me, he represents real life with all its unexpected twists and turns. I also chose to add another colour for the babies arms to help draw attention to his action of knocking over the king. Its fun to play with techniques to help convey a message.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anyone for a Game of Chess? WIP 4

 It's World Watercolour Day today and I celebrated it in two of the best ways possible... firstly by sharing the news with friends on facebook and helping to spread the word about this wonderful medium and secondly by painting :)

I hope you have all helped to spread the word too and have had some time to paint.

I know many of you are curious to see my progress with the chess painting. I've now completed all but my centre of interest (the baby and the fallen king)

In the traditional chess game black and white are used for the chess pieces but I wanted more colour in this painting. I did however want to keep to the opposites idea for the opposing teams so chose my colour palette for this painting accordingly using mostly the compliments of golden yellows and purply/ browny greys.

I had a bit of fun in the background castling the king (quite literally). I've added a close up below for you to see as it is hard to spot it in the small jpg of the whole painting. Don't forget you can click on either image to see a larger version.

Painting for me, is all about  having fun as well as providing opportunities to engage the viewer and conveying a message. For me, castling the  king just adds to that childhood fantasy feel that I wanted to convey.

I'm still thinking about a name for this painting. I've had several ideas from friends and some of my own.

So far my favourites are:

Baby on Board
Rookie Player
Chairman of the Board

I'm really looking forward to the next part. I'm hoping to really punch the values on the king and inject some fun additional colour into the baby. fingers crossed it works.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Anyone for a game of chess?

I seem to be averaging a chess piece a day. Glazing is never a quick process but I love how the shape and form  develop as you add each subsequent layer. As you can see below, I'm working on the gold pieces at the moment. I felt gold and pewter/silver pieces would add more atmosphere than  traditional black and white would have done.

I'm enjoying creating the strong lighting. I still need to add a couple more layers to get the depth and colour of each shadow on the floor but will work develop these further while I am working on the other pieces.

I'm still thinking of a suitable title for this painting. Any ideas?


Friday, November 18, 2011

Chess WIP 2

It is always a challenge to create the atmosphere of a painting, to put on paper what is inside your soul, to convey your vision. I didn't want to use the standard black and white, good versus bad version of chess, but instead to inject some subtle colour into the painting, to give it almost a surreal feel.  So I decided to create a suggestion of sky in the background with a break in the clouds lighting up the distant castled king. I also wanted another pool of light around the baby and the fallen king. It has taken many many layers of glazing but I'm pretty pleased with the effect.

Now to bringing the characters in the painting to life.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Chess WIP1

When my son was a young baby, we went to Switzerland on holiday and he was fascinated by a large chess set that was situated across the street from our hotel.  His favourite 'game' was to crawl around and  knock over the chess pieces. I thought this would be a fun idea to play with in a painting.

 I was also fascinated by this quote: "The chess board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature."
— Thomas Huxely

Life is full of beaurocracy, rules to obide by and regulations that stipulate what is the correct way for us to proceed, but… the unexpected sometimes happens, whether this be man made or natural, and life is all about dealing with these unexpected twists and turns as well as following the norm.

In my outline I  decided to use the image of Alexander knocking over the chess piece from my reference photo but instead of the usual sized chess pieces I decided to make each piece enormous and have the chess board stretching off into the distance.

as you can see the actual chess pieces I am using are only small ones. So I had to take a little liberty with perspective in my drawing.

 So why the big pieces? 

A baby is so small in the world and yet,  it has such a huge impact on the lives of the whole family. You can plan so much but the unexpected often happens. So, in my outline, all the chess pieces (the family members), have followed the rules of life (the game rules) and positioned themselves ready to reach their ultimate goal(to check mate the opposing king)  but the small baby just comes along and knocks him over.

I know I am going to have lots of fun with this one:)


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spinning a Tale

I have really enjoyed painting larger and am going to do more this size. It just has much more impact visually. It was also fun to creally develop the lighting effect in this painting, light against dark and dark against light to really make the key areas pop.

The spinner woman is  not only busily spinning the freshly sheared wool but also spinning her tale of life in the pioneer times. Every spring the wool would be sheared, collected, cleaned then brought inside and spun into wool to be made into clothing and blankets to keep the families warm during the cold harsh winters. Each piece of yarn that the woman spins holds this tale deep within it... it's woven into the fabric of time.

 Here is a close up of the woman. I had a lot of fun not only developing her warm welcoming and chattery personality but also the moving parts of the wheel as it wound the newly spun wool onto the bobbin.

I hope you have enjoyed watching over the last couple of weeks as her tale has unfolded. Thanks for the company.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Progress Photo's

James was watching me paint today and decided to take some photos so I thought I’d share a couple with you. It’s a good way for you to see how big this painting of the spinner woman is. The colours on the painting are a little darker in the darker areas in real life but the following photos should give you an idea of how it is looking as well as seeing me in action.  I promise I haven't painted everything with my smallest brushes:)

 I must admit with the size of this board the painting is taped too I have been painting this from all angles, even upright on a couple occasions but mostly flat on the table turning the board around so the part I’m working on is closest to me. Luckily today I could paint the right way up but it does mean the painting is upside down for you.

 As you can see, the spinner woman keeps a very close eye on me as a paint and never stops chattering to me :) I still have some of the spinning wheel and the un-spun wool to paint but the end is now in sight. I'll post again once is finished.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spinning a Tale WIP 7

I've been busy painting the folds in the apron fabric over the last few days. I'm a bit sick of red now (grin). I decided to use red for the apron as it will provide a good contrast to set off the hands. The camera really doesn't like red but I have tried my best in photoshop to get the photo looking as close to the painting as possible. Some of the subtle colours in the glazing have been lost though.

Now I am going to paint the spinning wheel. My husband pointed out to me yesterday that I had missed a vital connection between the big wheel and the smaller bobbin wheel.  Its good to have a technical person in the house. Luckily this should be an easy fix with the help of a magic eraser and some tape:)