Friday, 27 November 2009

November Art Tips

Three Clouds in June  
mixed media on paper 7"x7"

  • If you feel like giving up, then give up, but just for a day. Tomorrow is a new day and hope springs eternal.
  • I always have an old rubber glove in the studio to get a grip on those lids on paint tubes.
  • Give your paintings a line dominance- straight lines against curved or curved against straight.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Under The Influence

Crescent Moon   acrylic on canvas (12"x 10")

I've always admired the work of Mary Fedden and Winifred Nicholson. Their use of colour and beautiful simplicity of subject matter excites me. So I waited with longing for my Winifred Nicholson book to arrive.
When it did I pleasurably feasted upon her colours, lyrical lines, her soft blending of sky to sea and was transported to where she had been, to her very life and there we became friends, her and I.

Somehow I'm always looking to my next work, new work, a new way of expressing my choice of colour and subject matter. One day I like what I've painted the next day it's 'old hat' and I must go on searching for that which satisfies. Of course I realise that will never happen. 'But it's the journey' I hear you cry and you're right- so on I go! 

Spring Light     acrylic on gessoed board (9"x7")

I wandered back to acrylics for these two. For 'Crescent Moon' I used acrylic gel with the paint and a knife in the final stages. For the above I already had a lovely textured ground by previously covering a piece of hardboard with texture paste. This meant I could use brushes and still have my texture.

P.S I sanded this one a little, when it was dry, to bring out the relief of the ground.

Monday, 19 October 2009

October Art Tips

Resting,Cambridge Botanic Gardens. Oil on canvas  24"x18"

  • Give your paintings a temperature dominance- make either warm dominate with cool accents or vice versa.      
  • Overlap objects in a composition- they must never just touch/kiss. This will give you interesting shapes with innies and outies!
  • Odd numbers of things, for instance, fence posts, trees, etc are always more interesting in a painting than even numbers.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

How to Make Reed/Dip Pen

When you want a bit of a change, something to make you loosen up your drawings, try a reed pen.

While tidying up the garden I was cutting back some leycesteria formosa and thought it would make a perfect pen as the stems are hollow. You could use anything with a hollow stem such as bamboo.

Here I have gone into the wet ink with plain water and a brush to give the sketches tonal value.

Step One

Slice off the top of the stem with a sharp scalpel or craft knife revealing the inside. (I cut one and there was an earwig inside! It's all right I missed it.)

Step Two

Sculpt the edges down further.

Step Three

Slice across the top

 Step Four

Make a cut into the top if it's quite wide. If you've made a narrow top leave it.

Have fun but please mind you fingers!                                            

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Busy, busy, Treasure Tree, busy.

Well I've been so busy with animations on The Treasure Tree that I haven't had time to paint with the real stuff. I'm getting a bit crabby so I must do so soon!

This is the end of a scene from Daniel in the Lion's Den. King Darius can't sleep because Daniel is in with the lions and he thinks he's being eaten.

The scene starts in the dark with the king tossing and turning, losing his pillow, etc until morning. All the odd shapes (round the edges) don't show on the animation stage just on this image.

I do some illustrations in Adobe Illustrator CS3 and bring them into Flash CS3. It's CS4 now.
The remainder are done in Flash and animated there too.

Do you get grumpy when you can't paint? I'd love to know that I'm not the only one. Perhaps you have ways  and means of dealing with it? Please do tell.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Sir Cedric Morris Iris's

 Iris 'Benton Dierdre' (watercolour 12"x11")
I did a quick watercolour to illustrate this post. It's nice to go between different media. I used 140lb rough paper for this but had tried out colours on a cheaper 90lb paper watercolour pad. I tend to keep the pad for my for 'fiddling' as I call it. Somewhere where I can just paint and play about, test colours and generally get to know better how watercolour reacts, without the pressure of producing a painting as such.

This is one of the irises I bought last Sunday at the NCCPG  (National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens) plant sale at Helmingham Hall from Sarah Cook. Sarah was head gardener of the beautiful National Trust owned gardens at  Sissinghurst  in Kent  for 14yrs. After finding one of Sir Cedric Morris's iris seedlings in a border her passion began. Sarah, upon early retirement, decided to search high and low for lost Sir Cedric Morris irises. Many iris seedlings were bought at Benton End where Sir Cedric Morris opened the East Anglian School of Painting in 1937 and held annual sales of the irises he had bred. You never know you may have one in your garden! I'm sure Sarah Cook would like an email if you do as she holds the national collection of Sir Cedric Morris iris introductions.

The irises I bought are pretty much just rhizomes at the moment but I'll be painting them in oils, in situ, when they are in all their glory next spring  (as ever in gardening though, hopefully!).

Monday, 21 September 2009

My Easy Clean Palette

I thought I'd share an idea I had which seems to work well. I use a piece of perspex (clear acrylic sheeting) as a palette. The trouble was that I had to scrape all the dried oil paint off, far too often for my liking so now I just cover it in cling film (food wrap). Wrap it right round, that's easiest.  When it gets too messy I just cut down a couple of sides with a craft knife and throw it away. The sheet is then ready for some more wrap.

Don't forget to save any spare workable paint first on scrap of paper or something.

I spent a beautiful afternoon at Helmingham Hall Gardens in Suffolk yesterday at a plant sale but I'm going to tell you about that later this week. It has a lot to do with Sir Cedric Morris and tall bearded irises.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Sticky Fingers

Remember when you were a child and you thought nothing of sticking your fingers or hands into the wet, sticky paint and splattering, smoothing or streaking it across whatever surface was available?

Well there comes a time, in the process of making art, when there is nothing for it but to stick your fingers in the paint and apply with great and wonderful abandon!

I do it all the time. Go on I dare you. Could you?  

Monday, 14 September 2009

The Artist's Cat in the Artist's Garden

                                                        The Artist's Cat in the Artist's Garden 
                                                                  Oil on board  28"x 24"
It's not a matter of changing one thing for as soon as you make a mark you have to make another somewhere else to balance the first one.That's why painting isn't as simple as some people think!

I worked on the painting as a whole rather than just the seat and ground underneath.
Our cat is actually white (mostly) but because here he is in the shade with only little patches of light on him he actually looks far from white.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Quote by Andrew Wyeth "Artists today think of everything they do as a work of art. It is important to forget about what you are doing – then a work of art may happen."

Don't be precious about your work. If you have worked on a painting, it's not good and you know it, throw it away or paint over it.

The next one will be all the better for having worked that one.

If you think it's good keep it for 6 months. If it's still good frame it. You may find your idea of good has changed though. Then throw it!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Right For Now

Here I've used the painting knife so the whole is unified. I like the reflected light (I'll talk about that another time) under the seat and patches of light on the cat. I'll leave it a while and see.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

My Father

15 years ago today my artist father, Cyril Hamersma, died. He was an amazing, encouraging, innovative and complex character. This site created by my sister Bern Ross shows much of that. . . Miss him.

September Art Tips

* Always look at your painting in a mirror. Any mistakes will show up more easily.
* Squint at your painting. You'll see tones better. Always light against dark, dark against light.
* Use baby wipes to clean oil paint from your hands. It's much kinder :-)

Still Putting it Right

I've almost finished 'The Artist's Cat in the Artist's Garden' but the photo was blurry so I'll take another one tomorrow. I expect I'll have to leave it a while to 'cook' where I can't see it and then when I look at it again with fresh eyes, anything that jarrs will stand out.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Putting it right.

Here I have started to remodel the seat and cat- just with a brush for the time being.

Bad drawing. My very 1st blog post!

Now here's the thing; when I start a painting I get all excited and 'gung ho' about it and don't draw things properly. So when I calm down and realise what I've done I have to change it. Very annoying it is too. Do any of you have the same problem?

So this is showing that I've had to scrape back the seat and the cat.