Today I'm going to explain how I make the initial drawing for the painting onto my panel, using comparative measurements.
Here's a photo of the subject.
To make the measurements, I hold out a paintbrush, keeping my arm straight at the elbow. I mark the measurements with my thumb on the paintbrush.
First I measure the height of the arrangement, and then keeping my thumb in the same place on the paint brush, and my arm still held straight, I rotate the brush by 90 degrees to compare the measurement to the width of the arrangement.
I find the height of the arrangement is slightly greater than the width, so I mark a rectangle with these proportions by eye on my panel. I'm using a mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine blue thinned with medium to make the drawing. If I make any mistakes, I can easily wipe them away with some white spirit.
Next I make some comparisons of the main proportions within the still life arrangement.
The first comparison I make, of the width of the flowers to the height from the bottom of the jug, shows the width is approximately 3/4 of the height
Next, I note that the width across the bottom flower to the right hand edge of the jug, is approximately the same as the width of the top flowers.
I find the height of the jug, and compare it to its width. I find it's about twice as tall as it is wide.
I plot the points I have measured within the initial rectangle I marked out.I draw another rectangle divided vertically in half to help draw the jug. I find marking the halfway point helps me to keep the jug or vase symmetrical.
I check the angles of the sides of the jug with my paint brush.
Here I'm working out the relationship of the handle to the rest of the jug.
Now I have enough information to plot all the outermost points of the arrangement, at this point you can carry on using comparative measurements to complete your drawing, but I usually fill in the rest by eye.
Heres the finished drawing. The proportions aren't 100% accurate, but they are close enough to make the painting work.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.
I've been meaning to paint cornflowers all summer, and finally today I got round to it. Just in time too , most of the cornflower plants on my have died back now and I just have one with a few flowers left. Heres a photo of the arrangement.
Here's the initial block in. I use hog filberts for this stage, I like the texture these brushes create, which is useful for suggesting details which would be fiddly to paint in.
Next I use some small round kolinsky sables to pick out some details, I also build up a little impasto here and there in the lightest parts.
I mix up a pile of colour for the background, and with another sable, cut in the outer shapes of the petals more accurately, tasing negative shapes. To give a bit of variety to the edges, in some places I paint the petals back over where I cut in with the background.
Heres the finished painting. When Its dry and varnished I'll update this photo with a better one ( this one is taken on my phone)
Oil on panel 4x6" (sold)
I painted this back in June, just as all the flowers were starting to come out on the allotment.
I felt the need to get on and paint them because time is so short and I never get to do all the paintings I'm hoping too in each season.
I stayed up late to paint this little study under the studio lights, and I'm glad I did as I still haven't got round to doing a larger painting containing these flowers.
The posy contains nasturtiums, roses, sweet peas, cornflowers, calendula and nigella.
Oil on panel 5x7" (sold)
I was pretty excited to be able to paint the first rose from my rose bush which grows on my allotment. Its a lovely old fashioned type but I don't know its name as I inherited it with my plot when I took over a couple of years ago. It does tend to suffer quite badly with black spot so fingers crossed I get a few more before it gets too badly affected.
oil on primed card 6x4" available from Newbloodart
There's not much growing on my allotment at the moment but this cardoon seed head caught my eye. Cardoons are like giant thistles - this seed head is about 4 inches across. The flowers are an incredible violet blue and the stalks are also incredibly tasty!
I haven't painted anything with this kind of fluffy texture before and I really enjoyed giving it a go. I think Ill try including it in a larger still life soon.
Oil on primed card 4x6" available from Newbloodart
It was great to find a couple of calendula flowers still growing on my allotment yesterday. Looking forwards to some spring bulbs coming through soon as well.
I perched this arrangement right at the front edge of my shadow box which gave the lighting a softer more natural feel. I was surprised to be able to capture the intense orange of the petals but I think maybe the subdued lighting helped me with this.
I am a realist painter, working in oils, painting landscape and still life.