This blog is moving!
At last I have discovered a way to have my website and blog all in one place.
So from now on all new blog posts will be on my new website.
I'm still writing about the same sort of things, and you can still find the old posts on this page.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Tea at the Garden Centre.

The weather was awful, although improving.
Jean and I had planned a day out sketching. We spent a little time in Peterborough Central Park but it was cold, so we decamped to the Van Hage garden centre to the north east of the city and before we indulged in a bit of retail therapy we had lunch and drew life in the cafe.
Here's my contribution.
Mary Kemp - Cafe Sketch

Monday, 28 October 2013

For Speed Choose Acrylics.

I had an idea in my head, a rework of the painting I'd just finished, and not a lot of time.
What to do?
Out came the acrylics.
Mary Kemp - "I'm at the Seaside With the Children"
Acrylic on canvas panel 30 x 30 cms.
First I put down a purple ground and after a cup of coffee drew the image and then started painting, blocking in the sea and sand and then the figures. It all sounds so simple.
The joy of acrylics is there is so little drying time.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Wish List for the Ideal Studio.

As Virginia Woolfe said "every woman needs a room of her own", or every artist needs a studio of their own.
Which got me thinking about the ideal studio, and this is the wish list I came up with.
My studio, not perfect but pretty good.
  • Close to home. Ideally walking distance, possibly in the garden, but for me not in the house because domestic life gets in the way of painting.
  • Plenty of bright clear light, either artificial if you must, or large windows for natural light. Many artists say north light but the brightness from a south facing window is useful as long as you can filter it with either blinds or paper.
  • Electricity.
  • The studio must be warm, but capable of a lot of ventilation in the summer.
  • Which brings me to good ventilation, you don't want to expire because you've inhaled too many chemicals.
  • It must be clean. Who does that is the difficult part.
  • It must be quiet or if it's not have only noises you want to hear, e.g. crashing waves, trees rustling in the breeze.
  • Easel, seat, table or flat surface, and storage.
Desirable but not Essential
  • So much space you could hold a party in it. I wish!
  • Telephone. Or you could use your mobile.
  • Internet and computer.
  • Running water. I would love this.
  • Comfy chair.
  • Mirror.
  • Radio.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Vibrant Acrylics by Hashim Akib

There are several books that I keep in my studio and this is one of them.
I don't often paint using acrylics, they dry when I am not looking.
But acrylic methodology can be useful for the oil painter, pushing you out of your comfort zone of careful painting . Also acrylic painters often operate in the realms of high colour even though acrylics are quite capable of subtle tones.
This book is a joy of vibrant colour, as it says on the cover.
It takes you through several exercises, producing a painting full of life at the end of each chapter. There is lots of broader advice, composition, materials, that sort of thing  and loads of inspiratonal encouragement.
The main thing I have learnt from this book is the use of strong coloured grounds in a painting. Having bright red or strong cobalt blue really peps a painting up.
I  bought this from Amazon, of course, as recommended by the Artist and Illustrators magazine.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Why Doesn't Fiction Have Illustrations with the Text.

Why doesn't grown up fiction have illustrations with the text?
The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton, illustrated by Tony Soper,
one of my favourite childhood reads.
Well really and truly I know the answer. It's cost.
But what a joy it would be to have just a few pictures with a glimpse of the characters and settings to fire the visual imagination, perhaps point us in the right direction.
An illustration could set the tone of a book even before you'd read it, set some apart from others, even lift the prose into a higher sphere.
As children we see pictures in every book we read, as an adult we're cheated of this small joy.
I don't think I want photographs, too specific, but a black and white line drawing, if colour is too costly, would add a great deal to my enjoyment.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Not Here , Not Now !

I painted this picture in response to a little scenario that was happening on the beach. I was not part of it so can only guess as to the story behind this frosty atmosphere.
Mary Kemp - Not Here - Not Now.
oil on canvas panel 30 x 30 cms
 I was very pleased when this painting found a new home and someone else can spend hours speculating as to what is going on.

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Importance of Consistency

Mary Kemp - Beach Scene -
 oil on canvas 30 x 30
Sometimes you get tired of painting in the same old way. One sunny beach scene after another, exploring every little nuance of a great day out.
Then you fly away from what is the core of your artwork and do something really mad and not at all how you usually paint . It's fun and opens up new avenues.
And then all of a sudden you realise that you've just got to get back to the job in hand and a beach scene calls, fresh as a summer's day, the smell of the sea on a gentle breeze and you can hear the children calling and a few sea gulls, and off you go into the world of blue skies and golden sands. There's this drawing I did of  a family amongst the rocks, and of course people walking out of the sea.
New beginnings.
Mary Kemp - Beach Scene -
early drawings
Onwards! Onwards!

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Wonders of Modern Technology for the Artist.

I have a dear friend Jean, an accomplished watercolourist. This is her website.
Sometimes we chat on the phone while I'm in the studio. It's quite nice to hear a friendly voice when you're working.
Yesterday I was struggling with a particular painting and decided to take a photo  of it and email to Jean while we talked. So we had a nice discussion and she came up with several brilliant ideas, which makes my  painting look a lot more real now.
When it's finished I may post it on this blog, but meanwhile here is one of Jean's lovely, delicate watercolours.
Jean Edwards - Colours of the Landscape. Watercolour.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Frank Auerbach

An insight into the everyday lives of renowed artists is always fascinating, especailly if you like to think of yourself as an artist too.
Frank Auerbach Head of EOW IV
National Gallery of Scotland
The one thing that that seems to stand out most is an absolute dedication to art leaving not a lot of room for anything else. Of course this could just be what they want us to believe, and it's really not all practice, practice, throw away ten pictures, keep one, don't stop for coffee and never ever hoover the living room. But I suspect hard work is the key after all!
In the Daily Telegraph I read an article about Frank Auerbach . And all he seems to do is paint.
I would put up a link to the article here but I couldn't make it work.
Auerbach is not one of my favourite artists, I can't cope with too much paint but his work in real life is striking and you don't have to like the work to admire it. He paints a handful of sitters over and over, so it is not a solitary life, just one that is quiet and safe and surrounded by friends.