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Shimmering on the edge

Well its been a reall arty weekend starting with the workshop I went to on Saturday which slightly enigmatically was described as for acrylics or oils. I’m used to using both and know that they react differently in drying times. One takes minutes, the other takes well, days if you’re lucky but usually weeks. So, which one was the best to choose for a workshop……… Mm….. I’ll opt for the acrylics as they dry quicker and that should mean I can work faster.

The tutor was a delightful woman who taught us well, showing us different techniques, some I’d never heard of before – like painting acrylics onto silver craft paper to let the silvering shine through and create an extra depth to a painting. She enthusiastically showed us her work, which was in oils and explained about experimenting with textures in landscapes, and seascapes in particular. This workshop was about seascapes, and I’d taken along a selection of photos I’d taken in the south of France on a holiday a few years ago, not knowing exactly which one I would do, but knowing I had enough choice for atmospheric shimmering seas there. As it was, I did something I’ve never done before, and thats saying something! As we had to wait for one layer of acrylics to dry before going on to the next layer, and since I had two photosAcrylic paints that were different, but both appealing, I thought I’d paint them both at the same time. So in the waiting time, instead of watching paint dry, I painted another picture. And also found a new tool to paint with since I hadn’t got the think I needed, I improvised, as I’m of the opinion that if you’re an artist, you can paint with anything!

The first painting was taken on a beach with a small cliff off to the left, with a headland in the distance and a rocky outcrop just behind the cliff, with some small pines growing out of them, the sea lapping on the pebbles of the shore in a horizontal format. Ok, so the sky will be lemon yellow, the beach bright pink, the sea dark prussian blue, and the trees black. That was the first very textured layer. When it was dry, I scraped a half  layer of azure over the yellow, beiges over the pink, turquoise over the prussian blue, and dark greens over the black. That gave me some vibrancy to the painting, with one textured layer contrastingly over the other. I built up the layers leaving the first layers showing through in parts, and at the end of the session am happy with the effect. I might add more acrylics to it next, or maybe some oil pastels to make the colours softer and bring out the shimmer on the sea with the white sunlight.

In between doing that I painted the second painting, which was from high on  a cliff looking down onto a beach below, with a headland in the distance and a bit of sky above it, with lots of shimmer on the sea, and in a vertical format. Again I painted the sky lemon yellow, and the headland deep purple (trying not to sing Smoke on the Water), the sea prussian blue and the beach lemon yellow. When that was dry I painted this picture with more trditional colours of cobalt blue sky, lilac headland, azure and lime green sea, and beach of raw sienna although the underlying colours still shone through, and the shimmering sea was the focal point of the picture. Again I shall probably finish it off with oil pastels at some point to sing up the colours.

And my tool of choice for this workshop? Well I needed a palette knife for the textures but hadn’t got one with me. Needs must, and you’d think it would have been easier to use a brush, but no, I wanted the paint applied thickly. So, the next best thing was a disposable plastic knife which you’d think was an inferior implement, but it wasn’t! As it had enough give in the plastic blade to apply the paint, and the serrated part made some lovely effects that a palette knife doesn’t do! I’ve found a new way of painting!!! Better than a palette knife!