These three photos show the progress of my latest painting for my forthcoming summer exhibition in Elie. Originally I was going to paint this scene as a long thin canvas with just a strip of sky at the top. Then I decided to make the sky more important. When I am spending time on Elie beach I often look up at the sky, watching the fluffy candy floss clouds go by. I admire all the beautiful shades of blue which match with the paint colours on the doors, gates and window surrounds of the houses. This is a big canvas (100cm x 100cm) which is unusual for me. It was fun to paint, especially all the swirls and textured dabs that make up the sky. Hopefully we will have lots of days that look just like this soon.
I am looking after my next door neighbour's chickens at the moment. Brodie is 'helping'. They don't have names so my daughter has called them Hazel, Snow-white and Minnie Mouse. You can probably figure out which is which. They have an inner run and an outer run but getting them to go back into their inner run is a challenge. That was, until we discovered how much they loved spaghetti (cooked). At first we tried plopping a dollop into the run. They all loved the look of it and raced over to have a closer peek...through the chicken wire...they couldn't figure out that they had to go INTO the run to eat it! I guess this is where the phrase bird brain comes from. Once we realised we could coax them in with some worm-like strands of spaghetti, it was job done.
I love painting birds, particularly seagulls and pigeons so getting to know these three girls has inspired me to have a go at painting hens. Just need to think of the right setting now - not sure if they will look quite right walking along Elie beach or waiting for a bus on Princes Street :-)
Here is the finished painting - the holiday makers have arrived! I have added some people, bikes, dogs and seagulls. Now it looks like a typical bustling summer's afternoon in Elie. The lady in the foreground on the left, putting a bunch of flowers into the basket of her bike, is my Mum-in Law who lives in the village. She got that lovely new bike for her 80th birthday!
My new creative work space seems to be working well. I have finished plans for my next series of paintings - which took me off to summer days and happy times (a great place to be when its actually pouring with rain and freezing cold outside!). I have started the first painting of the series. I think it is going to be called "Summer Shops and Chimney Tops". It is a scene of a colourful, bustling street in the height of summer in the holiday village of Elie using a bit of artistic license to show the gorgeous beach and sea behind.
Below is the first few stages - from the initial sketch to about halfway through the painting. I don't normally paint a wash first but I saw it on another artist's blog and it reminded me that my art college tutors used to tell us to do this (although I preferred painting straight onto a white background) so I thought I'd see if I preferred this way of working now. This painting is quite exciting for me as it is the first time I have painted on canvas for about 10 years.....so far I really like it!
I am about to start work on a new series of paintings so I decided to give my desk a complete over-haul this morning. I work at my easel when I'm painting but when I'm at the ideas and planning stage, my desk is where you will find me. It is normally piled high with paper work, sketches and notes mixed in with the odd sheet of kids homework plus other household stuff. Not anymore! My desk is now more ready for action than it's ever been (chocolate biscuits and all). You can see how it came together in the short video below.