Skip to content

Blue is the colour but not in that direction

The erotic oil painting that I’m currently working on is coming along nicely. I know that I am the sort of painter that “carves” a painting like a sculputre  – in that I rough-hew it into a rough guide of colour and shape, then slowly carve more and more fine details into it, to create the finished painting. I find it works well that way, as I have a basic guide for the tones – getting the medium tones on first, so that I can build up the darks and then the lights to create the form. I also need to lay on blocks of colour, then the fine details of face and hands. As well as the tones for the skin. And skin is never just a plain “flesh” colour – its a subtle mix of yellows, pinks, blues, whites, purples and siennas, all of which need to be carefully mixed and thought about and built up around the framework of the body. Or bodies, in this instance. Which is why it takes a lot of time to paint it. Not helped by the fact that if bits aren’t dry then you can find that you’ve stuck a stray finger on a bit that was nearly dry. But that’s why artists use a mahl stick.  A mahl stick is a thin wooden pole about three feet in length with a ball-shaped pad at one end, used as an aid in painting, particularly in oil painting . It’s useful when painting detail or when painting in a large area where the paint is still wet and you want to avoid touching the surface accidentally. It’s used by resting the ball-end of the mahl stick on something that’s not wet canvas, like the easel or wall, or on a spot of the painting that’s dry. Hold the other end up with your non-painting hand and steady your arm holding the brush on the stick while you paint. That’s the trick anyway, and takes a bit of practice. But it stops the smudging.

I have found that there is something else that helps me immensely with my painting.


I was listening this morning to the radio whilst I painted, to the chatter of the dj, the choice of music, followed by a current affairs programme, shortly followed by the thought that I was painting far slower than I know I can! Nah, this won’t do. I need the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Bad Company, Deep Purple, T. Rex and Slade! That’ll do it! And it did! 🙂 Far faster and more assured painting! Turn up the volume, and it works even better!

The picture is coming on nicely……


And other news of the week is that I had my second art class this week, only three of them there, but I know its holiday season, and the numbers will rise after the August vacationing month. I am finding that it’s interesting for me to find how easily I do some things, but need to explain it in far more detailed verbalised words to get my point across to the people in the class……

……We were doing a bluebell wood in watercolour this week – that awkward and complex way of achieving the look of swathes of bluebells in a woodland setting. I did the action of painting automatically, but noticed that one of the ladies struggled to get the same action in her painting. I looked over her shoulder and could immediately see why. She had painted the bluebells vertically. I explained that the way I paint them is “…..well, you need to paint them vertically, whilst moving the brush horizontally as you travel diagonally across the paper” – and although it sounds weird, that’s actually how you do it!


6 thoughts on “Blue is the colour but not in that direction”

  1. You’ve got a good surname, Jackie. Not many of us in the world. Such a simple word and yet people have all sorts of trouble with it, don’t they? Ads-head, simple. But I get Ad-shed, Ash-sheed and all sorts of weird and wonderful attempts. I discovered your work when searching our name on the net. I’ve painted all my life and I’m a landscape man. It can be hard work, non painters don’t realize how much energy is required. But then there are times when you are what athletes would call ‘ in the zone’. Painting almost without thought. Just responding to senses and the brush seems to have a life of it’s own, working itself. Of course one needs the basic skills of paint handling, the mechanics of it, befor one can respond almost unconsciously. But when you’re in that zone time is meaningless and sometimes when you’ve finished you look at your work and think, ” did I do that ?” The ‘zone’ is a good place to be but it’s not always attainable. I find a whisky or two helps. I love landscape but I also love your stockings and suspenders. Johnny A

    1. John Adshead – Hello to a fellow Adshead! It IS a good surname, isn’t it, and you’ve made me smile about having to explain it to so many people, you wouldn’t think it would cause the trouble that it does – I’ve had similar mis-pronounciations and am currently being called “Ashead” by someone of my aquaintance! And “Abshead” by a utility company!

      Glad you found me via the Adshead name on the net – it’s always good to hear from other Adsheads – someone once came to only of my solo exhibitions because his mother’s maiden name was Adshead, so the name still has a draw (excuse the pun intended!)

      And it’s also good to know that you understand the hard work and energy that goes into painting. I know that “zone” or “flow” that you are referrring to very well, and find that its rock music that helps me to get into it – finding the time flies past and I stand back afterwards realising that I did the image infront of me, just as you describe.

      Thankyou for taking the time to look at my work, whether its landscapes or stockings and suspenders! 🙂 It’s good to hear from you, and please stay in touch!

  2. I together with my friends were looking at the nice ideas found on your web blog then unexpectedly came up with a terrible feeling I never thanked you for those secrets. glad to read through them and have in effect extremely been using those things. Appreciate your simply being well considerate and also for making a decision on varieties of quality subject matter millions of individuals are really needing to know about. My personal honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

Comments are closed.