Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Art and craft work

County Kilkenny Art – The view from Ballycuddihy – charcoal and graphite drawing

County Kilkenny landscape art The view from Ballycuddihy
Charcoal and Graphite on paper
nigel borrington 2019

The view from Ballycuddihy – charcoal and graphite on paper

In my last post I uploaded some photos taken in the hills at Ballycuddihy county Kilkenny, I want to use these images and others as the source for a series of both drawings and acrylic paintings.

So over the weekend I started with a charcoal and graphite drawing. I like very much using these two drawing materials as I like to strip an image down into its monochrome tonal values before returning to repeating the painting in acrylic or oil paint and bring in colour paints. I plan this time however to paint these landscape views using acrylic paint, using black and white only, keeping the finished work to a maximum of ten grey scale values.

Here I have used the charcoal in both willow stick and compressed block form to produce a series of tonal values, using a brush to soften the charcoal into different grey values and tonal grades.The fine details in the drawing are created using graphite.

I am happy with the finished results considering that the drawing was completed within four hours, I have learnt many things here and will repeat this technique many time so that I keep getting to know much more about using charcoal and pencil together.


A Weekend in an Art Course – The art of colour mixing , Rod Moore

Art Courses 2019 – The art of colour mixing , Rod Moore

I have been into art and painting most of my life and you never stop needing to learn new areas or keep going back to basic and practice old ones, so at the start of this year I registered on a Udemy course run by Rod Moore (Rod Moore, Complete Colour mixing course for artists).

I started the course last week in the evenings and so far its very good, I like very much the structure of the courses run by Udemy as they are perfect for adult study allowing you to use your spare time to gain new skills.

Here are some of the basic colour mixing techniques I have covered so far…..

Creating a colour mixing wheel.

Here the colours provided in my watercolour palette are laid out on the very outside of the wheel, working inwards I have mixed the primary colours of Blue, Red and then Yellow to show the results of mixing primary colours.

Mixing Blue, Reds, Yellow and Greens.

Most sets of paints contain more than one type of Blue, Red, Yellow and green paints, so in the above images I have worked on taking all the paints in these groups one by one and mixing them with the other paints outside the selected group. The first image for example is using two versions of green, the second two versions of blue – then mixing these with all the other remaining colours.

This type of colour mixing produces some very interesting results and helps show just how different the results of mixing different Blues, Reds, Yellows and Greens with other colours can be.

Landscape colour mixing – wheel and chart.

As said above different available paints can fall into the basic descriptions of blues or yellows and reds, but are individually very different from each other, in the images above I have painted a colour wheel that uses more earth versions of these primary colours.

These versions of the Primary colours (Blue,Red and Yellow) when mixed help to produce results much more likely to be used in Landscape Painting, you can see that they results in a much more earthy looking colour wheel than one produced by more standard primary colours.

I have also produced a colour chart on the right hand side of this page that shows the same mixing results but in block of colour, the standard mixing chart is in the centre of the page and as you can see this produces a much more vivid set of resulting colours, ones much less suitable for landscape painting.

One thing I have noticed while working through these exercises is that watercolour paint does not mix very well compared to Acrylic or Oil paints, which both produce much better stronger results. Its harder to get watercolour to produce many different levels of the mixed colour and for these results to have much depth to them , so my next stage is to repeat all these exercises using artists acrylic paints.

So all in all I feel great about working with this course and had a very enjoyable time over the weekend, I am not intending to turn my blog into just Art and Painting so for now I will return to some photography but its be great fun sharing something different 🙂


A weekend with colour …….

Colour mixing,
WaterColour and acrylics

A weekend in colour

This week I started an online course in colour mixing for watercolour and acrylic painting, so during this weekend I plan to spend as much time as possible learning colour theory.

I worked on the course in the evenings and have already used up a few pages of a new sketchbook, including the pages I have posted here.

I feel that one of the most important things I have learned so far, regardless of the type of paint used (Watercolour or Acrylic) is that I am getting to know them very well, how to mix the basic colours included in a sets of paints and what the results look like. Not all colours act the same even when used without mixing them, some colours produce very smooth results others produce a very grainy texture, some colours don’t seem to go into the paper or canvas very deeply others act more like a dye and the moment they touch a painting surface they stain and fix themselves in very quickly and most likely permanently.

The use of colours

When I first stated painting some years back, I would spend a large amount of time trying to match every single colour in a landscape I was painting, however I feel that since these days I have learnt that doing this is not only exhausting it also does not always produce a good painting. Colours can be used much more effectively when limited and balanced so that they are used to compliment each other. When colour is used to highlight areas in a painting or to soften other areas they can make some parts of a painting stand out and others while still included, fall into the background of the finished work.

It’s all these areas and more that I want to study and regain complete understanding again of both in practice and theory, I can then move onto producing colour sketches and full paintings again.



Colour mixing, using just Primary colours

In order to produces all the colours you want to include in a painting you actually only need three , The primary colours (RED,YELLOW and BLUE), what does counts here however is the type of red, yellow or blue you start with in the first place as this will allow you to produces very different final results.

So this weekend I plan to uses as much paper as possible and produce a colour notebook that I can use during the year to help me when producing any paintings I start working on.

If I get time I will post on my progress but if not, I will on Monday post some results and my thoughts on what I worked on.


Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland – The Landscape of Poetry – Poems by Mary O’Malley

Connemara
county Galway
Ireland
Nigel Borrington
2019

Connemara, Co. Galway

Mary O’Malley is truly the person who has written Connemara, her writing laced with the fierce beauty of the landscape, and the sounds of the sea. In ‘Porpoises’ she sends our minds out to sea from the most westerly point of the county:

The sky is close.

Out from the once manned rock

White electric light

Arcs over the Water

Difficult not to agree with her when she states that the sea is “just the place from which all things make sense”.

Pierce Hutchinson, also writing on Connemara, said:

There are chinks between

the neat stones to let the wind through safe,

You can see the blue sun through them.

But coming eastward in the same county,

the walls grow higher, dark grey;

an ugly grey. And the chinks disappear:

through those walls you can see nothing.

Perhaps our poetic landscapes remind us of that – to keep our hearts alert for experiences of water, wind and wonder.


Histories Best Artists – Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington
kron-flower-1987

Leonora Carrington

Born 6 April 1917

Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire, England

For me leonara Carrington is one of histories great Artists, Personally and I feel the best female artists of all time(IMO), although correctly she fought all her life again the label of “Female Artist” and just wanted to be call an ARTIST period !

Her work should be much better known and would be so but for a few facts , she was producing art at the same time as some the now best known European artist, who would later become house hold names but also she lived and worked during the Nazi period of European Art theft and art control, because of this she ended up in the end making her home in Mexico in a period when no one took anyone not working in Europe or America seriously.

In 1936, Leonora saw the work of the German surrealist Max Ernst at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London and was attracted to the Surrealist artist before she even met him. In 1937, Carrington met Ernst at a party held in London. The artists bonded and returned together to Paris, where Ernst promptly separated from his wife. In 1938, leaving Paris, they settled in Saint Martin d’Ardèche in southern France.

The new couple collaborated and supported each other’s artistic development. The two artists created sculptures of guardian animals (Ernst created his birds and Carrington created a plaster horse head) to decorate their home in Saint Martin d’Ardèche.

With the outbreak of World War II Ernst, who was German, was arrested by the French authorities for being a “hostile alien”. With the intercession of Paul Éluard, and other friends, including the American journalist Varian Fry, he was discharged a few weeks later. Soon after the Nazis invaded France, Ernst was arrested again, this time by the Gestapo, because his art was considered by the Nazis to be “degenerate”. He managed to escape and, leaving Carrington behind, fled to America with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, who was a sponsor of the arts.

After Ernst’s arrest, Carrington was devastated and fled to Spain. Paralyzing anxiety and growing delusions culminated in a final breakdown at the British Embassy in Madrid. Her parents intervened and had her hospitalised. She was given “convulsive therapy” and was treated with the drugs cardiazol, a powerful anxiolytic drug (eventually banned by some authorities, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)), and Luminal, a barbiturate. After being released into the care of a nurse who took her to Lisbon, Carrington ran away and sought refuge in the Mexican Embassy. Meanwhile, Ernst had married Peggy Guggenheim in New York in 1941. That marriage ended a few years later. Ernst and Carrington never resumed their relationship.

In 1939, Carrington painted a portrait of Max Ernst, as a tribute to their relationship. The portrait was her first Surrealist work, and it was called The Inn of the Dawn Horse. It is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The person in the painting is a cross between a male and a female, who is seated in a room with a rocking horse on the wall.

She also painting this portrait with him as the main character ..

Portrait of Max Ernst
Leonora Carrington
Oil on canvas
date created: About 1939

From the very first time I viewed Leonara’s art works I was captivated, her paintings are full of mystery and magical subjects, without falling into more traditional and classical mythological stories.

I found myself wanting to understand more about the fantasy world that her painting capture, a world of hidden meanings, I still don’t fully understand and here in this video she tells us not of over analyses art and just to enjoy living in the moment. However just looking at her creations you know she must have held many stories in her mind, I will keep looking and discovering!

Leonora Carrington

(6 April 1917 – 25 May 2011) was an English-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. She lived most of her adult life in Mexico City, and was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s. Carrington was also a founding member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico during the 1970s.

Looking at many of her painting you can clearly see that her life and work is the source for the movie Pan’s Labyrinth, Director: Guillermo del Toro, Writer: Guillermo del Toro , set in the falangist Spain of 1944, about a bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world, the very same kind of fantasy worlds Leonora Carrington imagined and reflected on in her work.

The best surrealist movie of all time 🙂

Leonora Carrington – Imagination is everything !!!


Looking at Great painting “The Stour”- John Constable, UK 1776 – 1837


CONSTABLE, John
Great Britain 1776 – 1837
The Stour 27 September 1810
oil on canvas
23.8 h x 23.5 w cm
dated ’27 Sepr. 1810′ upper right
John G. Johnson collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, bequeathed in 1917

Since I returned to Ireland from a holiday in Germany during November, I have found myself turning to my drawing and painting much more again. This is only natural I feel during the winter months , so far this November and December we have had nearly 200mm of rain here in county Kilkenny, (amazing when you think that this is more than double the about for the entire summer) so its been hard to carry and use a camera as much as in a normal winter.

To help me get inspired and make a start I always find myself looking at my most admired classic painters like John Constable.

To me Constable is one of the most misinterpreted classic artist, mainly due to the fact that today his art work has become Synonymous of twee landscapes used on box’s of chocolates and for jigsaw puzzles. Yet when he was starting his carrier as a painter very few people would take on landscape painting and expect to make a living of any kind. Most of the artists of his day would paint classical works reflecting upon mythical stores or portrait works as commissions for the super-wealthy of his day.

The idea that an artist as good as John Constable was, would spend his time painting open landscapes, farms or rivers made little sense to any of his tutors or his peers, many disowned him for doing so. It is this fact that pulls me so much toward his work, he was one of the first of his kind and cutting edge!, sketching and then painting from life, mostly outside in the surroundings he was painting.

The simple truth is that he was and still is very cutting edge when it come to his abilities to capture people in the landscape, if it were not for the fact he did so and produced so much work, little memory would remain of the places and people he captured.

    The Stour 27 September 1810

The Stour is one of the first of his painting I ever looked at and I still love this painting very much today, I love the loose use of the oil paint and brush work, the limited palette of colours but above all the atmosphere he has captured.

Its also painted in the format I love the most, at 23×23 a Square format. Its not easy to compose an image in a square! but I feel that the results can produces a great painting or photo with great concentration on the subjects you want to capture the most.

Painted Between 1808 and 1816 – the year of his marriage to Maria Bicknell – Constable spent most of his summers at East Bergholt, sketching in the fields and the surrounding countryside. From 1810 he began to paint images of the River Stour, and the activities associated with it, particularly in the area near his father’s mill at Flatford. Indeed, the bulk of his subjects during the first half of his career are images of Suffolk. Many of these are rapidly executed, evocative sketches, painted entirely, or substantially in the open air – often depicting transient atmospheric effects.

Constable painted this view outdoors in the vicinity of Flatford Lock at sunset. He cut his canvas to fit into the paint box he carried, and pinned it to the opened lid while painting.

The landscape around the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale had been admired by poets and artists before Constable (Tate 1991, pp. 53–54), but he made the area particularly his own by painting it over and over again. Constable wrote in later years: ‘I associate my “careless boyhood” to all that lies on the banks of the Stour. They made me a painter (& I am gratefull)‘ (Beckett VI, p. 78).


Digital Drawing – Winter in the Hedgerow, December 2018.

Digital Drawing
Tone Brushes, MyPaint with Wacom Pro M Tablet
Winter Hedgerow
Nigel Borrington December 2018


Monday 1 hour drawing – The Fisherman , Ink on paper sketch ……

One hour sketch
Fisher man on the rocks
Ink on paper
county Galway
Nigel Borrington 2018


Drawing from the Irish Bogs …….

Drawing from the Boglands
Digital Drawings
Nigel Borrington 2018

Back in June this year Ireland was in the middle of a 8 weeks drought and even the Boglands had become dry. At one of our nearest Bogs we had a large wild fire which I visited to get the below images. Since then I have been working on some drawings of this event. This is a great subject for ink on paper type drawing.

The above image is just one that I have completed so far …..

Bog fire Gallery

After the Wild fire
littleton bog, tipperary Nigel Borringtpon


Drawings from the Hedgerow …..

Art of the hedgerow
Digital Drawings
Nigel Borrington 2018