Thursday, 23 April 2015

Why Instagram is Great.

Of all the social media platforms I think I like Instagram the best.

I consume Instagam more than any other media simply because it's a straight forward visual feed.

What you get when you sign in is picture after picture after picture, a seemingly never ending stream of visual delights.

Peterborough Central Park.
And you get to add visual effects!

I think sometimes words detract from the image that we see. There's so much in this very connected world that you are forced to appreciate on every level, with sight, words and sound. It's good to have something that is biased towards the visual. ( I'm sure music buffs and writers have their favourite platforms too).

I follow 66 people on Instagram. Not a lot, mainly artists and photographers and a few friends. I have even less followers, and only post every now and then.

But I like posting because you get the chance to enhance your image and enter a surreal world that perhaps is remembered as a filter with weird names like Hudson and Lo-Fi, Earlybird or my favourite X-pro II.

This week I posted a video. My first! It was pretty boring really, just a panning shot of one of the painting on my easel. Of course the painting is pretty exciting but my video technique leaves a lot to be desired! Something else to work on.

video

Look for me on Instagram, maryfkemp. and see what I love.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Story of a Painting. "Stroll Along the Beach, Mother and Child and Border Collie."

I want to tell you a story, a story of how this painting came about, and of a whole host of others.

It starts two generations ago, back to when I was a child and our family holidays were spent on the Devon coast, always during the Whitsun bank holiday and always when the sun was shining.


"Stroll Along the Beach"
Oil paint on canvas panel. 40 x 40 cm
Available from my website

We'd do what was usual for us, build sand castles, drink banana milk shakes in little cafes and visit the occasional stately home or ruin. We'd paddle a lot in the sea, we weren't a swimming family, and we'd tease sea anemones in rock pools.

But what I really wanted was a dog to keep us company while we did all these things. I suspect I wanted an extra companion that would think I was amazing, because I was, except no one else noticed it!

So when my son and his family gave this border collie Grace a home I was overjoyed. She is a lively and an extra member to their family.

Sadly she is indifferent to me.

She features in a lot of my paintings recently, and this is the latest.

See more of Grace on my website.




Thursday, 16 April 2015

Sky Colours.

Earlier on in the week I said I would post a blog about sky colours because it's a subject that crops up a lot for those of us who paint landscapes. 
We don't always put vast amounts of clear sky in our compositions and  most of us paint with colours a lot more low key than in this graphic. But when I'm struggling to nail those colours and make them credible this little exercise has proved very helpful.


I painted this on an off-cut of mount card. We have a lot around as Alan is a picture framer and a wizard with the mount cutter. I just can't seem to get the hang of the mount cutter, or any of the equipment for that matter!
The medium I used was inks. I used to paint with them a lot, in my spooky landscapes phase. I love the strong luminosity of colour, much better than watercolour.




Monday, 13 April 2015

The Painting on the Easel.

Last week , as we digested the Sunday newspapers' magazines I came across a most haunting photo of Barbara Hepworth as a young woman looking out to sea. The picture was grainy and you couldn't see her face, but the pose spoke to me and I felt I wanted to incorporate something similar into a painting.

Of course you can't crib from someone else's photo, but you can approximate their pose, so I persuaded my grand daughter to model for me, which she did without too much fuss, and this is the painting on the easel. I've added a dog because my grand daughter likes dogs.




On Thursday I think I will write something about sky colours, a bit of a passion of mine.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

How to Mix Black Without Using Black.

Sometime in the dim and distance past an art teacher told me never to buy black paint, and that restriction has more or less stayed with me ever since.

I have been known to purchase the odd tube of ivory black but it's never right.

What this teacher was hinting at, but never actually said, was that there are several ways of mixing colours together which will produce a black.

The theory goes like this : if you mix equal quantities of the primary colours together you will get black. The variable in this is that you never get pure red, blue or yellow in a tube.

But there are colours that mix together that create a very passable black, and possibly more interesting than black straight from the tube, because a smidgeon either way gives a unique take on this non colour.

Here are a few combinations that I've come across:

And if you know of any others  I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

5 Self Help Books for Artists.

I'm a sucker for a self help book, a nicely set out plan of how to be instantly happy, successful, popular, paint better, be thinner, be fitter and healthier, or even rule the world.

There's something reassuring about a life plan laid out in  manageable bite sized stages like a Mary Berry recipe.

So here, if you need a little encouragement along the way, are some of my favourites.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Boats at Walberswick.

This is the picture I'm working on at the moment. I'm using oil paints on a canvas panel. Lots still to do.
When it's finished available from my website.

The drawings and colour sketches came from a trip to Southwold and Walberswick in 2010.
I had a hard time tracking the boat drawing down as for that trip I used several different sketch books. ( Note to self. Keep it simple!)
In the process of searching  I pulled down 5 years worth of old drawings on top of me!
I'm now doing some serious rethinking of storing old sketchbooks.