I met up for the first Urban Sketchers Southampton sketchcrawl today and here we are! Not the best weather for our inaugural meeting but worth it all the same. We plan to meet next on Saturday 3 May at 10am in Guildhall Square - come along! Here's a link to Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/usk.southampton/
Would you believe it...Here's a link to the award details: http://www.gordonbruce.com/matt_bruce/pages/memorial_award.html
I was sketching at Marwell Wildlife park last week with my students - here's a couple of pages:
I did this demonstration piece at a school workshop last week which I finished off in my studio. It took about 20 minutes at the workshop and I spent about an hour or so finishing it off. 290 x 440 mm on Waterford 140Ib NOT.
managed to find a few hours to do some outdoors sketching with my mate Martin yesterday. Here's a shot of my old fisherman's stool with sketchbook just before we left this idyllic spot near Lyndhurst. Cleared out those old cobwebs.
I'm pleased to say I have another work accepted for this year's RI exhibition at the Mall Galleries. It's the "Boating Lake" I had on display at Mottisfont last year - let's hope it sells this time! You are all very welcome to come to the PV on the 1st April - let me know - I shall be there around 6ish. Invitation to come...
Spent a morning drawing with students in the Mayflower Theatre Southampton. We were up in the gods and with low lighting everywhere except for these two boxes I sat at the front row and did this sketch in around 30 mins. I may go back next week and draw from the stalls.
Here's a selection of drawings - love the colour jug: it was her first use of watercolour - suggestions of a Mary Fedden don't you think!
Still life drawing is a challenging but satisfying genre which allows the novice to internalise, through practice, many aspects of drawing theory. Understanding the construction of objects is central in the successful representation of different shapes. In geometry the cube, cylinder, cone and sphere relate to most man-made and natural forms and understanding how to draw these shapes can help to make sense of almost anything. Here are some photographs from a one-day drawing workshop I ran for interior design decoration undergraduates at Southampton Solent University yesterday.
The collection of objects are mine and selected to represent a range of shapes, materials and textures. I have designed tailor-made drawing workshops for many different groups and age ranges for both corporate and recreational markets: happy to discuss future sessions with anyone who may be interested. I'm running another watercolour basics workshop at Red Hot Press over 5 weeks in June: see website for details.
I had a strange compulsion to layout some of my sketchbooks today - no reason, so here they are: I counted thirty dating back to 1994. I have older ones from the early 80s stored somewhere in the loft? All shapes and sizes although my favourite size is A5 portrait. On leafing through each it's amazing how every sketch tells a story and I can recall quite intimately the place and circumstances surrounding each drawing. I've always found artists' and designers' sketchbooks fascinating and so much more revealing than later more finished works. One of the best books recently published is called The Art of Urban Sketching (2012) and is an inspiring collection of drawings from around the world - a must for every artist's book shelves.
and Christmas Greetings!
...and here's one I did from a 2 minute pose...
I work with first year BA(Hons) Illustration students here at Solent and this was done by a student from Finland in 5 mins. It's me dressed as a British soldier and it was part of a project called "Uniforms" where we dress up and draw each other in our sketchbooks. The project is one-day and comprises between 25 and 30 poses all between 2 and 10 minutes each and is very popular with the students. For more images and other work from this course here is a link to our blog. PS - the animal is a stuffed fox!
Good to see the set of paintings together and framed - it's been a year since I've seen them. The exhibition is on at the Solent Showcase gallery till November 9.
You are all invited to the opening of the Port Perspectives exhibition at the Showcase Gallery Guildhall Square Southampton on Thursday 17 October. Times 6.30 to 8.00pm - see you there!
Proud artist and his art at Mottisfont Open exhibition - thanks Chris! Open Spaces is on until 17 November.
Done from a location sketch and photos I took last year whilst visiting Ludlow. Watercolour 350 x 530 mm
To date this is the widest picture I have done at over 620 mm - I'll need to invest in a larger portflio! The Flats is the open space between the Cemetery Lake and the Boating Lake and during mid August the grass was so dry it had turned brown. The mist seemed to hovver just above ground level almost opaque at its most dense.
I'm very pleased to have two watercolours accepted into the forthcoming exhibition "Open Spaces " to be held at Mottisfont House. The two works: "Mist across The Flats" and "Boating Lake (at Dawn)", were done from photos I took early one morning on Southampton Common. The dawn sky was tinged with red and the mist rose from the dew covered landscape creating a serene atmosphere which I was keen to capture. The show opens on 28 September until 17 November.
This is my other sketch done on the spot at Bramdean Common.
Yet another sunset, this one shows the view from my sister's house in Gundleton. Done from a photo taken on the ipad I lightened-up the foreground as a raw file and tweaked it in Photoshop to make out some features. I also gave the horizon a warm tone to express the fading light.
It's Wayzgoose day in Southampton on Sunday and once again Red Hot Press is hosting a celebration of printmaking by holding its annual fete. The forecast is for fine weather so come on down to the workshop and Arches artists' studios in Captain's Place tomorrow for great bargains, music, cakes and more...go to: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/10631930.Get_Arty_Around_Southampton/
I'm still waiting to start a commercial job so in the meantime I did this. I took the photograph for this a few weeks ago when the atmosphere produced this dramatic reflection on Southampton Water. I was inspired by looking at one of Turner's watercolours on-line and found an old piece of heavy Whatman rough paper which was perfect for the job! I've never done anything with so much contrast before - what do you think?
Here's some "work in progress" by my evening class students. Great results achieved in less than 2 hours - well done everybody and keep it going! Whose interested in a follow-up intermediate's class in the near future?
and what better way to enjoy it than making a watercolour sketch! A spot in the north between Fritham and Brook - a blissful break away from it all.
I did this as a final demo for the last of my evening classes. Taken from a random source on-line and copied from my ipad I timed it to about 50 mins to fit in with the 2 hour class. Done on 140Ib Bockingford NOT surface. Look out for some of the excellent work done by my students in my next posting.
This is the demonstration piece I did for my evening class group this week at Red Hot Press. Actually I completed it in my studio after introducing basic techniques and applications to landscape. We are using a Daler Rowney NOT 140lb paper which is not very forgiving and I wouldn't use it for a finished piece but good for the beginner.
This one I did in the searing heat in around 10 minutes - too hot to stay any longer!
I've taken on a large commercial project so I'm just taking opportunities to sketch outside when I need a break. Here's a few done in my A5 sketchbook over the last few days - see if you can identify locations...
Make sure you get to the Wool House this summer for some exciting arts events and exhibitions - here's link: Element Arts
There are still a couple of places left on my watercolour class starting next Wednesday 10 July from 7 to 9.00 pm in Southampton. Ideal for those wishing to revive past skills as well as for those new to the medium. Go to Red Hot Press for further information.
This is a sketch of St Andrew's church at Raveningham Norfolk. The church is a "round tower" with a Norman octagonal and castellated top. Done in around 1 1/2 hours at approx 300 x 400mm.
This view is just behind the Bear and Ragged Staff public house at Michelmersh. To the left is the lovely 12 century parish church of St Mary which has a most attractive wooden tower - a must to draw in the near future! Done on waterford "rough" surface 140Ib paper at approx 340 x 500mm.
Remember those damp misty mornings we thought would never end? I decided to capture one in watercolour as a reminder and here it is: The Common early one morning - recognise where it is? answers on a postcard...
A commission (from my son!) of this remote 17th century building in the south of France which he visited this year. Done from his photographs on Arches 140Ib paper 340 x 460 mm
This view is looking west and shows the existing tree and buildings in the background. Notice the rills which are designed to bring water from the pond to irrigate the garden.
This view was set-up as a 3D model using SketchUp and shows the view looking north towards the entrance to the existing rose garden. The emphasis in this view is the water feature and to predict how the cherry trees canopy will provide shade to visitors strolling the gardens.
I did a series of visuals for Dan Lobb, garden designer extraordinaire a few months ago and here are the results. Dan is a Gold Medal winner at Hampton Court Show and was short listed for this design competition to 3 finalists. Dan's brief was to create an innovative design for the soon to be restored walled garden at Mottisfont. Unfortunately as I write this has been put on hold and is awaiting further funding. Good luck Dan!
I started this a while ago as a result of a conversation I had with someone in the Oceans shop in Southampton. Oceans opened earlier this year as a souvenir shop and restaurant and houses an exhibition space celebrating the maritime history of the docks and cruise ships visiting the City. They sell my postcards of Westgate Hall and Tudor House and it was suggested I did one of the memorial as well. So here it is! Done on Arches 140Ib NOT surface at approx 280 x 400mm
You are all cordially invited to the First Gallery Portfolio Weekend in conjunction with Red Hot Press print workshop this Saturday and Sunday 15/16 June. You will be able to buy prints and originals straight from six artists' portfolios and I will also be demonstrating my work over both days.
Watercolour of Netley Abbey. I did this from a photo I took a few years ago on a cold early spring morning. Image size 280 x 410 mm done on Arches 140Ib NOT. One of several for sale at the portfolio weekend at First Gallery Bitterne 15/16 June.
I'm running watercolour classes over four Monday mornings in July at Red Hot Press: sign up and learn my secrets! Here's a link: Red Hot Press
Walking past the Cenotaph I snapped a photo on my iphone and did this in my studio. For a change I have included passers by to give a sense of scale. The Cenotaph is the only structure in the city designed by Lutyens and was influencial on the design of the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Unveiled in 1920 it was originally dedicated to the fallen of the First World War. Done on 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT paper in around 6 hours.
I found a large sheet of Two Rivers heavy watercolour paper and did this. I'm not sure I like this paper but it's always a challenge and is good for leaving and coming back to as it's easy to scrub the surface and wash off colour. I probably overworked this but here it is anyway.
I'm working with Red Hot Press in offering this exciting and unusual course here in Southampton next month - for more information go to: http://www.redhotpress.org.uk/courses/single-technique/sketch-books.php
...and another experiment in light and shade. Again done from a photo taken on my ipad but I limited my time to under 3 hours. It started off as a blend of Cerulean Blue, Alizaren Crimson, Antwerp Blue, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Paynes Grey. All applied wet on wet and allowed to dry after about an hour and then worked over with washes and dry brush. It's not architecture, which I love but allowed me a sense of freedom and experiment (I even sprinkled salt while it was wet!). Nevertheless a nice break after a week of commercial illustration. Hope you like it!
Just did this one after arriving at the chapel. Not from life (too cold!) but from a few photos I took on my ipad on the way in. It started off quite bright and then became quite misty and murky which seemed an attractive proposition for a quick watercolour: just wanted to splash paint on paper really - hope you like it! Done in around 3 to 4 hours on Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT at approx 280 x 380 mm.
I hadn't looked at this work since posting it on Saturday but after showing the original to an illustrator colleague today I just felt it needed a few tweaks. I don't normally work on a piece after its "completion" but I've played around with it a little - you probably won't notice (or even care) - anyway here it is again!
I love the way the tower of Netley Hospital chapel pokes up above the trees and can be seen from all aspects. I took the photo for this watercolour sketch last year and I have a feeling it was from the IOW ferry (?). The sailing boat to the left balances the composition quite well. Done in around 4 hours in the studio on 200lb Two Rivers paper.
Tim Craven shows his extraordinary skills in this joint show with Celia de Serra at the Art Stable gallery near Blandford Dorset. Tim's "day-job" is curator at the Southampton City Art Gallery but he intends to spend more time making his art in future and well worth it. Tim's love is the countryside and in particular trees and he portrays these with a most unique method of using watercolour. The initial painting is carried our using meticulous fine brush application in black and white and any colour and/or tone is added later using an airbrush. Beatiful work when viewed close-up and standing back. Worth the lovely drive to the little village of Child Okeford. On until 28 March.
This view of Fawley Refinery was taken from Weston Shore early springtime last year. It's on a heavy hand-made watercolour paper by Two Rivers. I am getting used to this surface now and plan to aquire some larger sheets - this one is 260mm x 360mm and took around 5 hours.
This is really just an experiment using a hand-made paper that I've not used before. It's a very white paper made by Two Rivers and is a NOT surface of around 140lb. The surface is less absorbent than I'm used to and the paint tended to sit on the surface and even when dry could be easily disturbed. This was both useful and difficult but once I got used to it enabled me to wipe-out and lift-off colour with ease. The view was taken from a photograph I took from within the port a few months ago. It's quite a small picture at 240 x 280mm.
The photograph I used for this view was taken early one morning last springtime and shows the power station at Fawley from Hamble. I used a 300mm lense which tends to flatten the perspective giving a more interesting composition. The image reminded me of Whistler's nocturne paintings in particular his Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Battersea Bridge (c. 1872/75) and this was a major influence for this watercolour. I limited my palette to alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, yellow ochre and neutral tint with opaque white highlights.
This view is looking up river from Mayflower Park towards the Mayflower Cruise Terminal. The river is really calm with just a few ripples to break up the surface. The large crane is the Canute floating crane built in the 1960s and has the capacity of 200 ton! Just under A3 size done from my photographs on Saunders Waterford 140Ib in around 5 hours.
A picturesque view: a snapshot of my studio in the Old Cemetery
Here's something different - a view of the Southampton incinerator from across the river. The metal dome shape can be easily spotted from all points of the city. Due to its reflective material it changes colour throughout the day and time of year. The photograph I worked from was taken on a hazy morning in early spring last year and I tried to give the structure an air of mystery by enhancing the lighting effects on the roof.
I'm due to give two talks on my work at the following times and venues:
Friday 9 November at Cobbett Road Library Southampton who are also hosting an exhibition of selected watercolours which runs from November 5 to December 1.
Wednesday 12 December at Southampton Solent University for FoSMAG (Friends of Southampton Museums, Archives and Galleries)
As a result I managed to make the front cover of the FoSMAG Newsletter this month with a dps inside.
The Daily Echo have published a feature on my work in today's TV & Leisure magazine - here's a scan:
Here's the last watercolour view showing Southampton Docks. This one portrays the four ferries: the ro ro car transporter, the IOW car ferry, the Red Jet and the Hythe ferry. The view is from Hythe pier and put together from several photos to assemble all the ferries together at one time. It took several visits to achieve this but worth it in the end.
This one probably took the longest at around 20 hours due to the detail but I think the subject matter is worth the time taken. I feel that I know these structures intimately now and worthy of further studies.
I limited my palette to just 5 colours for this piece and concentrated on the tonal values in order to create the atmosphere.
Here are details of my finished watercolours which give an indication of my brush stroke technique. I tend to work wet-into-wet using warm and cool colour until there's no more benefit in moving the pigment around and I'll leave to dry. I'll then add detail and finish with some dry-brush. I use a large squirrel hair brush for sky and sea washes and sable brushes nos 4, 6 and 8 for the rest. I buy my brushes from Rosemary & Co.
No you're not seeing double - here are my two watercolours of the Southampton docks view as seen from the Town Quay. The final watercolour is the largest I've done at 430 x 570 mm and so much easier to paint - I plan on doing everything larger in future! For this I stretched a sheet of Waterford 140Ib NOT paper which provided a drum-tight surface. Even when soaked the paper remains flat and a joy to work on. Although the smaller one was done to gain approval from the client it also helped to establish the composition and colour palette - a useful exercise.