Monday, 8 February 2016

Summer Memories.

I've had in mind to paint this picture since last summer, but was searching for a way of telling the story of grandad watching the children as they clambered on the rocks. I was going to put the girl's brother and sister in, but in the end I kept it to two figures.
Mary Kemp.
Beachcombers at Hunstanton.
Stage one.

Mary Kemp
Beachcombers at Hunstanton.
Not finished yet. I'll post it when it's done!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Mood Paintings

I thought a lot about this piece. I want to talk about painting and mood, and whether the mood of the artist, and the mood of the subject are intertwined.
Of course no one really knows about the inner emotional state of the artist when she's painting a picture, unless it's written down, and mood and feeling can change over the creation of a work, especially if it's very complex.
Mary Kemp"Tranquility"Oil on canvas panel. 12" x 12"
Was I feeling tranquil at the time? 
But there's no denying that when you look at certain paintings you get a distinct feeling for the disposition of the artist.

My fondest feelings go out to the artist Beryl Cook. In her lifetime she injected such a surge of gaiety into art that it left the establishment reeling. You only have to ask people to name a modern day artist and it's not the great and the lovies of the art world, but Beryl Cook's name that springs to mind. Go to the website. It's a joy!

So if Beryl Cook wins the prize for the most cheery artist  I think Egon Schiele wins the prize for the most tortured artist. The biography of his short life, he died of influenza at 28, reads of someone grasping at every bit of life he could possibly get but was obviously never satisfied. Even his paintings of sunflowers have a dried, tortured starved look about them.

His work and life is so different to that of Claude Monet whose art speaks of abundant rural life and being settled. Did you know that he became so wealthy in later life that when the owner of his favourite stand of poplars wanted to cut them down he bought the land himself, leaving them to live and be painted another day. I'm sure that sort of comfortable life feeds into his art.

Is it a conscious decision to paint as you feel? Do many artists put that into words. We're very encouraged these days to talk about our art. Everyone needs a back story. I know a fellow artist who says "I like painting trees, that's it. No reason." No inner turmoil. But not very interesting. Her trees are lovely, non challenging and sell well. She's a nice person too!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Lindisfarne Painting in Progress

A painting in progress. "Lindisfarne Experienced".
Sometimes you struggle with a painting. The idea of it is so clear in your head yet the execution is as tricky as eating a bowl of soup with a knife.
Mary Kemp
Lindisfarne Experienced.
Oil on canvas panel. 30 x 30 cm
This painting has gone back and forth like a bouncing ball. Colours have changed! I've painted out a second figure, and the tonal balance has come and gone like colours swirling in the mist.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Why I Love"Inspired by Light" by Ken Howard.

What better book to read on a miserable grey day than Ken Howard's personal view "Inspired by Light".
I used to think of him as a rather dour painter, all greys and muddy browns, not letting the joy into his paintings but just because you don't use bright blue and lemon yellow straight from the tube doesn't mean there's no passion there!
Only artificial light in my house today!
I had to buy my book (a late Christmas present to myself) second hand from good old Amazon. Actually it looks in pristine condition to me so was it bought first and then never opened?

Monday, 25 January 2016

Poppies for a Dull Day. Painting Recipe.

I struggle to paint these dull days. It's not as though I can't see what I'm painting because I've got daylight lamps, but somehow lack of sunlight drains your very life blood away.
Today was just the sort of day to paint some cheer-you-up, life-affirming poppies!
Mary Kemp. Poppies.

I've been dabbling with several small pieces recently, on 6" x 6" boards kindly cut by my husband, the ideal size to experiment on and work out composition and colours. Some of them I've quite liked and others I've scraped off and started again!
Paintings of poppies usually involve that great colour combo red and green, well loved by the colour theorists and advocates of the colour wheel.
I used alkyd oil paints, and these are the colours.