Saturday, October 27, 2012

The value of a sketchbook.

Here is one of my five minute studies done in Nice while enjoying some vino at the beach restaurant.  A pencil and watercolour wash over some quick pencil drawings of sailing catamarans.  Underneath is a quick watercolour impression of two pigeons waiting for crumbs on the beach.  It's not quite a work of art, but an ideal reminder/memory while reinforcing the anomaly of the sails catching the wind to drive the boats, yet leaving the deck chairs anchored on the beach.  (even though all the beach umbrellas/sunshades had been removed after one or two decided to take flight.)
Simple sketches can say a lot, a bit like taking shorthand notes as an aid to memory.  The combination of the three elements on this page recall the strong wind, (pigeons reluctant to fly around, the lack of umbrellas, and the heeling catamarans) all are now committed to memory and filed away until the time when I wish to emphasise wind in a painting, upon which I will slip this and other sketches out of my collection to help create an image that will convey the required impression. 
This is where these simple sketches, or other simple plein air studies come into their own.  You may get a more detailed rendering of the subjects from a photograph, but you do not get the same memories or hints about the actual reality of the day, how you felt, whether the day was fresh or just humid or cold or even balmy.  These significant details become apparent in an artist's sketch book, not their photo albums.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

 Yes, I'm back from my travels again.  Nice was as beautiful as ever, with it's warmth and changing light throughout the day.
The temperatures were up into the 20's (centigrade) and even the wind was warm, if a little strong.  The sail boats were enjoying the breeze though.

The beachfront along the Promenade des Anglais was much quieter, reflecting the end of the tourist season.  The vacuum was filled by the fishermen, now fishing where sunbathers and swimmers were to be seen earlier in the year.
 It was nice to see the mounted police officers dismount and clean up the manure from their mounts, with a shovel they carry for that purpose. 

I spent a pleasant afternoon watching the catamarans racing in the bay of angels, often looking like star-trek warbirds as they heeled over running across the wind.  A definition of pure indulgence must be sitting in  a seafront restaurant eating beautiful food in the sunshine while graceful catamarans speed over the sun-dappled sea in front of you.
Alas, now it's back to work and the grey dark of an irish winter.... least until March.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Packing for the trip...

I'm in the middle of packing my little haversack for our trip to the Cote D'Azur.  It has reached the stage where I seem to have more than enough room to add lots of stuff I don't need for the trip.  Economy packing is a habit once developed is automatic.  I hear others complaining about Ryanair's baggage limits, yet I find I don't need to carry half the volume of baggage that would fit into the 'box'.
As it is I'm about to add my watercolour painting gear into a half empty bag that already contains more clothes than I need for the week. 
I'm glad to see the temperatures are forecast to be in the low 20's (centigrade), so no winter woolies needed. 

I'll leave you with a taste of Nice from our trip in March, and I'll post some more when I get back. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Another blue period...

I have been painting some works based on my plien air paintings from Derrynane in Kerry.  I will post them here before my trip to Nice next week.  It seems so long since I was there in March, and our Paris/Giverny trip last month!  Back to the paintings though, rather than my gallivanting, they have turned out rather blue.  It's not surprising as they are three seascapes, with mostly sea on the canvas.
The three images are a little bright, but the photography was done under less than ideal conditions.  However if I didn't take them this morning, I wouldn't have any images to upload to this post, and it's unlikely I'll get time before I go.
I think the three of them need a little more work, particularly the foreground on the third image, though where the green in the photo came from, I don't know!  If it photographs that green, it definitely needs another look on the canvas, although it doesn't look too bad in the first image.  I must take the next photos with my fuji camera rather than the Nikon, it may be that the polarising lens is altering the colours, and the bright sunlight wasn't helping.
As for the blue, looking back at my images from my Plein air trip... the Kerry ocean was very blue in the sunshine.