This blog is moving!
At last I have discovered a way to have my website and blog all in one place.
So from now on all new blog posts will be on my new website.
I'm still writing about the same sort of things, and you can still find the old posts on this page.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Recipe For a Small Painting

I paint a lot of small pictures, quite often to sort out in my mind a colour palette that will work.
This is one I painted last week and thought I would share with you the colours I used.
Mary Kemp
"Far Horizon"

6" x 6" mdf board
3 layers of Winsor and Newton gesso
Layer of pale lemon acrylic

Changing to Winsor and Newton Griffin alkyd paint.
  • The sky is cobalt blue fading to a pale cerulean and white with pale lemon at the horizon. (I don't particularly like the way the light looks on the horizon  in this photo so I may change it to be a bit whiter.)
  • The mountain is violet with titanium white.
  • For the layer below I used pthalo blue. I haven't used that for a while. For a long time it was my go-to blue colour , then I went off it and stuck to cobalt.
  • The sea called for pale cerulean and cobalt blue, and I let the pale lemon ground show through as sparkles of light.
  • For the surf I used the interior designers favourite, magnolia, a mixture of titanium white, cadmium yellow and raw sienna.
  • The sand colour is tricky. I didn't want it too yellow so used buff titanium, not available in alkyd so I had to use conventional oil paint, the slightest touch of Naples yellow and violet with titanium white.

Unusually at the end of this I wrote all the colours down. It's something I should do more often, because I cannot count  how many times I have looked at a piece of artwork down the line and thought "That looks good! I wonder how I did it" and then I have to work it out all over again.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Peterborough Open Art Exhibition. 2016. A Personal View.

This is my personal view of the 2016 Peterborough Open Art Exhibition, ( I would have put a link in here but the website of Peterborough City Council had only a call for entries, nothing about the actual exhibition).  At the end of this review I'm going to crunch some numbers for the artists among us.
The winner! "Camera" by Ingrida Bagdonaite

I visited on a quiet Tuesday lunch time, there were three other people looking round.

The gallery, consisting of three rooms leading one into another, is a beautiful space, airy and well lit and shows off the work at it's best.

Because the judges didn't choose any of my submitted work I didn't approach this visit with a great deal of enthusiasm.  Could it be that I was just a tad jealous? There, I've said it and now I can get onto the exhibition itself.

I thought the hanging of the exhibition was well presented and peaceful, show casing each piece to advantage. There was a definite muted feel about the galleries with the occasional pop of garish colour. I was left wondering perhaps if how the pieces looked together was more a priority than the actual artwork.

The Winner: of the Maxwell Memorial Prize.
"Camera" by  Ingrida Bagdonaite was a large painting of a camera, many layered, print and oil on canvas. It had an eeriness about it as though we were seeing it through skins of time.
I also liked the other painting by Ingrida called "Goggles"
Highly Commended: City Drawing by Jane Walker , acrylic and charcoal on paper. Of course being charcoal it was very dark.
The Best Drawing Award went to Boon Yik Chung for las Vegas Pigs Farm, except it wasn't a drawing it was a giclee print of a drawing. Which admittedly was skillful and engaging but it was not the actual drawing.
Newcomer Award was given to Mark Mathod for "Alan Bracegirdle" a photomontage. Not just something to look at more a work to ponder over. I quite liked this in an odd sort of way.
Silage Grass V by Gareth Brown
Goggles by Ingrida Bagdonaite

My Favourites: 
"Connection " by Diana Savostaite a pastel and charcoal drawing on paper executed with assurance and panache and some colour.
"Natural Treasures" by Sarah McGonigle which was a beautiful classical botanical illustration in watercolour. A little gem!
Best of all "Sillage Grass V" an oil painting by Gareth Brown. Such detail, such precision!


Approx 400 entries, 76 chosen.
Of those chosen:
Oil/acrylic on canvas or board: 26.
Mixed Media 11
Drawing: 7
3D: 6
Watercolour: 3
Giclee prints:3
Other prints:2
Video: 2
It has been said that the exhibition looks a bit bare and more work should have been chosen.
If you are an artist of course you want more work displayed, particularly your own art. If you are a curator I suspect your aims are different. After all you only want the best, looking the best.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Long Lost Days

As time goes by I find my children have slipped away to become adults and I can only see the children they once were, and the times we had as a family, from a distance.
Mary Kemp.
"Seaside Early Morning"
Oil on canvas panel. 30 x 30 cm.
I hasten to add there's been no falling out or tragedy. They're still talking to me and we're in touch often. It's just that they've grown up, and I think a lot of my painting harks back to the time when we were a young family and I was so busy I found no time to paint at all. A quick sketch was all that I could manage.
I can't say I want those times back again. It was such hard work, so I'm content to see the next generation growing up and enjoy their company, and of course paint a picture or two.
All these thoughts have inspired a new series of paintings, still featuring the subject that is at the heart of all my painting, the seaside, but the figures have become more in the background, as I strive to capture the feelings of those long lost days.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Website Volunteer. That's Me!

This past month I have devoted a whole chunk of time to putting together a website for the rather brilliant Welland Valley Art Society that I belong to.  Let me say straight away I rather admire the other artists involved so it was no great hardship. More a pleasure really.
Our new logo.

But it's amazing how things escalate. and you end up putting all your energies into a project just because you want to get it right. A bit like painting a picture.

It all started after I read a shout out for volunteers from the hard pressed committee. Somehow I manage to find myself volunteering to set up the society's facebook page, and before I knew it I'd volunteered to completely revamp the website.

For this project I used the same company as I do for my own website, clikpic, because I know how it works and there's no need for a special programme on the computer. I'm really hoping I shall have a co-conspirator to share sorting out all that content that needs putting up!

And now I'm going down to the studio to do what it's really all about. Getting the brushes out and painting!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Two Biggest Stealers of Painting Time

As I reach for another chocolate biscuit I am reflecting on the day's work. It's been rather bitty if I'm to be honest.
No sooner have I got into one train of thought and something else has dragged me away.
This is a detail from the painting I am working on.
There are two big stealers of my painting time, the internet and life.
The internet I can do something about.  DON'T LOOK AT IT! Simple really. But in my pocket is the ever present mobile phone. I might need it to take a photo of PROGRESS. An important email might come through!!!! And then comes a pause between brush stokes and here I am looking at facebook. Ah, what a cute kitten! Another artist to follow.

Sometimes I think it takes up more time than that thing called life. And that's busy enough.

And of course there's getting your art out to the big wide world. Now that could take every waking minute!

 The only solution is to get up early, leave your gadgets behind, forget the domestic and PAINT.