Where to now?

I’m having a bit of a directional crisis at the moment and would appreciate some feedback. I recently approached a local gallery for representation and whilst they absolutely love my soft pastel work, they are reticent to take my work on – basically because they battle to actually sell soft pastel landscapes. Whilst the bulk of their comments were really inspirational, I was left wondering whether I’m going in completely the wrong direction.  

I also know, from experience, that pastel works do not sell – no matter how much everyone raves about them, that applause doesn’t often translate into hard cash. So, should I stop working with this medium and concentrate on developing my style with acrylics or oils? 

Anyone who knows me, understands that I do not enjoy working with oils but I decided to have a go with a scene from outside my window yesterday.    This is the source image (quite heavily pixelated):

I toned the paper with an acrylic wash first – I used Arches for Oil paper, which is just about the best you can get and cracked on. 

I use water-soluble oils – mainly Cobra. After waiting for it to dry up a bit overnight, I fiddled about with it some more today and this is where I am now:

Looking out across the winter fields

I frigging hate it! It needs so much more ‘honey’ – it’s not glowing.    I know that if I did this in soft pastels, it would definitely glow and have a bit of spark.  The way it looks now (to me) seems dull and lifeless.   I will probably fiddle about with it more, perhaps with a honey glaze, not sure yet.

I then decided to re-do a soft pastel work that I did last week – this one:

And for this attempt, I used acrylics. This is the result:

‘Sunlit autumn stream – acrylics’

How I test myself with this is to try and take almost the same amount of time that I would have done when making the soft pastel painting. So I forced myself not to fiddle about too much (with the acrylic). I did not use the best quality acrylics, they are student grade. I toned the paper a burnt ochre but now when I remember, I actually used a green toned paper for the pastel one, so maybe that’s why the acrylic version isn’t sparking as much.

Here they are side by side:

Aargh! Come on, give it to me on the nose (I can take it) – should I pack it in with the soft pastels or what?   

Evening storm over the fields – Oil version

I decided to try this composition/subject out using water-mixable oils on paper, the underpainting was in acrylics. The paper I used is Daler-Rowney Heavyweight Finegrain 200gsm and was A2 or 59x42cm The actual painting is 57×39.5cm (there is a small border around it). This is the final result:

‘Evening Storm over the Fields’ Oils on specialist paper 57cm x 39.5cm

Insomnia

Insomnia collage, oil and gouache monoprinting on acrylics. A3 mixed media paper 2020

Spectacular Red

Spectacular Red 2019 Oil, cold wax medium and sand texture paste on speciality oil paper. A4

Commission – completed

The brief I was given from my client was to paint her a picture of her field, which lies behind her offices and home in a rural area of South Norfolk.  She wanted a representation of the field in winter and depending on how that went, would probably ask me to do another painting of the field in summer.   The field or meadow doesn’t have any major features in it, other than a small coppice of trees and a separate area for her rescued chickens.   I knew that she didn’t want me to include the chickens in the finished painting, so I couldn’t mess about with that idea, which was actually what I wanted to do!  Chickens make excellent subjects for paintings!

I did have a few issues with the process of painting the required picture and had several different ideas of how to approach it.  So, I decided to present her with three versions last Friday and let her decide which one or ones she wanted to keep.

The first one is a realism approach taken from a photograph.  I wanted to capture the wintery light and bare branches, the grass was still quite luminous and deeply green.  This is on stretched canvas – 19″ x 16″.  Acrylics over inks.

 

Trees R 1

The second painting was more like the kind of style I enjoy doing, especially when it comes to depictions of trees.  Also on stretched canvas, same size (19″ x 16″) but portrait style.   I used an acrylic ink underpainting, topping it off with oil pastels and oil paints.

 

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The third painting was totally abstract and processed using gels, inks and acrylic paint on an artist canvas board.  This is about twice the size of the stretched canvas paintings.  I forgot to take a photo with my Canon before I took them to the client, and only have this mobile phone photo.

ABstract field

My client was so thrilled with all the paintings that she’s decided she wants all of them!  She is going to get them professionaly framed and then I will return to her home and take photos of these paintings in frames.  I am overjoyed that she really liked all the work, her husband especially liked the middle painting.  She has also decided to feature the paintings in prominent areas of her home – originally she was only going to place the paintings against a wall in one of the corridors leading into her house.

New oil pastels painting

‘Summer Glade’

Oil pastels, oil paints and ink on A3 paper.

(pictures on right, to show detail)

I was going for a loose feel with this one, the underpainting seems to set it all off sparkling.

New series – flower studies.

These are the first in a series of flower studies.

All on A3 double gesso-ed acrylic paper.

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‘Cosmos – mixed’

Oils blended with glazing medium on acrylic inks background.

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‘Daisies in sunlight’

Acrylics on acrylic ink background.

 

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Oil pastels and paints – blended with glazing medium on acrylic ink background.

‘Cosmos -2’

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‘Pastel poppies’

Oil pastels blended with glazing medium

New small painting

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‘Little Field’

Acrylic inks, oil bars and oil paints on gesso-ed multi_media paper.

This small painting is available to purchase here

I am using this post to test out connection to my existing blog community on WordPress.  I am not certain that my website is visible to you all and I’d appreciate comment if you can or can’t see the website via this post.

My website address is:  http://www.janiceheatherscott.com

 

Various … oil and soft pastel experiments

‘Oil Poppies’

Approx. 12″ x 8″

Underpainting of alcohol inks, added area of gold metal effect medium, then overpainted with oils (not artist quality) on canvas board.

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I didn’t have any linseed oil or other mediums, as well as cleaning solvents, so was hesitant to try out these oils but then discovered that I could use Baby oil to dilute the paint and to clean the brushes, also much better on the skin!  So far the baby oil doesn’t appear to have created any dull patches – the paint is still wet, I expect it will only be dry and fully cured in a month’s time.   The oils and canvas board came with the set I describe below.

Soft pastel studies – my first attempts using this medium:

‘Dartmoor landscape’ from reference photo in a book.

Approx. 11″ x 7″

Soft pastels (not artist quality) on cheap scrapbooking type project paper (blue).

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‘Orange landscape’

Approx. 5½” x 7″

Soft pastels (not artist quality) on cheap scrapbooking type project paper (blue).

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Footnote:

I was given a compact artist’s kit comprising oils, acrylics and watercolour materials, plus palette and sample canvas boards, sketching pads, brushes, painting knives etc. etc. for a Christmas present.   These sample paintings are the results of playing about with the stuff in the kit.

I have never used soft pastels (chalk pastels) before and am finding them really fun to work with.  I enjoy the way I can layer over the colours and blend to get quite interesting effects.  This has inspired me to try and purchase better quality soft pastels as soon as I can, as well as some good quality paper – I’d like to turn out more impressive work in the future – so watch this space!

I hope everyone who visits this page had a lovely Christmas and everything of the very best fo 2017 – let’s hope it’s a positive year for all of us!