8 Studio Discoveries

Starting the serious tidyup in my studio in anticipation of the arrival of a couple of Studio Creative Consultants (aka relatives), I reacquainted myself with various things:

1. Box of 48 Sennelier Oil Pastels hiding underneath a couple of mostly used A3 sketchbooks.

Sennelier Nature all-natural pigments watercolour
7 of the Sennelier Nature all-natural watercolour

2. Plastic pill organizer with watercolour squeezed into each day. I knew it was Sennelier’s limited edition natural colours, but just as well I’ve this photo to remind me which colours they were.

3. Two unused tubes of Green Gold, one Golden, one Winsor & Newton. The Golden version is a Series 7, so not an insignificant find (read: it’s an exquisite but expensive colour).

4. Postcard sent by a friend from Tuscany in 2011 featuring a painting by Pierro-della Francesca, Madonna del Parto, that she said had its own museum in a hilltop village.

5. Postcard from National Portrait Gallery in London of one of my favourite paintings in their collection, Justin Mortimer’s 1992 portrait of Harold Pinter, which is two-thirds red negative space. (Both postcards had got shifted from the front of a shelf to between books.)

6. Exhibition catalogue Monet et l’abstraction/Monet and abstraction, which delayed the tidyup for some time as I flipped through the pages. Monet’s late paintings, where he uses nature as a starting point but it’s mostly about pattern and colour, as some of my favourites. “The object no longer defined the pictures subject, which was now subject to the painterly gesture … The image is no longer a hermetic snapshot of reality, but a place where sensations are assembled in a duration that is also a state of harmony, an even expanse in which memory is fed by the simple pleasure of seeing.” (page 95/6)

7. A note in my handwriting that says: “I have the beret of awesome artiness.” I’m still pondering this; I imagine it came from a conversation with the In-House Art Critic about different hats one wears in life.

8. Handful of reference photos of big waves I took at Storm’s River, South Africa in 2007 (“real” photos, on photo paper). It’s where most of the photos were taken for my article Sea Painting: Understanding What You’re Trying to Paint.
Big Waves at Tsisikamma

Passing Place

Passing on the way from the hairdressers?
(For those who haven’t encountered one, the diamond-shaped roadsign indicates a passing place on a single-track road. More modern versions are small white squares with the words “passing place”, which I find aren’t as easy to spot from a distance when driving. This photo was taken on the lower part of the Quiraing Road on the Staffin side.)

Passing place sign with sheep on Isle of Skye

Sheep, Daisies and Seascape Cupcakes

Thank you to everyone who came to the official opening of my Edges Exhibition last night for your support and enthusiasm, conversation and comments. I greatly appreciate it. Thanks also to Skye Baking Co for the delicious catering, including assorted mini-breads and the cupcakes themed to my paintings — sheep, daisies, and seascapes.

Sheep, daisies and seascape blues... cupcakes made by The Isle of Skye Baking Company for my exhibition opening.
Sheep, daisies and seascape blues… cupcakes made by The Isle of Skye Baking Company for my exhibition opening.
Sheep, daisies and seascape blues... cupcakes made by The Isle of Skye Baking Company for my exhibition opening.
Sheep, daisies and seascape blues… cupcakes made by The Isle of Skye Baking Company for my exhibition opening.

Not the Road to My Studio

I pondered doing an April Fool’s about this being a photo of the road to my studio…

Stuck in an Artistic Rut

For the record: when taking the photo my feet were securely on a stretch of single-track, tarred road.

Turner Painting Canaletto Painting Venice

This detail from a Turner oil painting of Venice, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1833 over a decade after Turner visited the city, shows Canaletto painting one of his magnificent views of Venice. As the wall label in Tate Britain (where I came across it) pointed out, Canaletto’s canvas on his easel is “already improbably framed”. This tiny detail in the painting, so easily overlooked, makes me smile every time. The rest of the painting doesn’t do much for me; I prefer Turner’s wilder pieces where he paints mostly the atmosphere and weather.

Turner Painting Canaletto in Venice
“Bridge of Sighs, Ducal Palace and Custom-House, Venice: Canaletti Painting” by JMW Turner. Tate Britain. Oil on wood. 511 x 816 mm.