Marion's Landscape Painting Newsletter - January 2012

WELCOME to my January newsletter, Dear Newsletter Readers,

Dear readers I asked our I wish you a really happy and healthy 2012. I really hope it is a year when you can move forward with your creativity and paint in a way that brings you/and the sense of satisfaction.

In a few of my previous newsletters I have suggested that I may be able to add pages to my website about painting out in the landscape. Finally I have done this and if you would like to see these pages please follow this link

If you're anything like me it's the time of year when you start looking at your diary and wondering what events you should be taking a look at. Please take some time to consider if there are exhibitions you should take part in; perhaps there is an open studios event near you. Also what about painting courses or painting holidays. These become booked up incredibly quickly - I have just secured the last place on a course today. I'm really excited and I am going to Plockton on the West Coast of the Scottish Highlands. It was only the other day that I commented to my husband how much I would like to be immersed in and paint some different scenery. Having searched Google images of Plockton it is certainly going to be different. I will not be going for several months but I'm sure you'll hear more about it in future newsletters


Is it finished? Is a question that is so often asked by aspiring artists? The painter wishes to know should they stop. Keep painting? Or chuck it in the bin and give up altogether?

Painters find it can be really hard to tell if painting is finished or not. Would another few brush marks help or overcomplicate the picture? I'm not really sure that there are any fail safe rules that you can follow. However the best advice I can give you is something that I have tried and tested. What it all really boils down to is living with your picture. What I mean by this is putting it up on a wall; propping it up on a book shelf and literally living with it. Each time you pass it take a glance at it. Soak it in; really understand the painting you have created. By doing this you are training your eye to consider if the painting is finished and if you have achieved all you wanted to.

In the following sections of pictures and writing I will try and explain what I mean from a real example. Firstly I want you to carefully look at the image above. To paint this picture I was working from a photograph I had taken whilst holidaying in Sardinia. We had driven past this view several times and I loved the layers of trees as they hugged the hillside. Understandably being in Sardinia and especially being there in August meant that the sunlight was very strong and I loved the dense shadows the trees cast on the foliage underneath.

When I started to consider painting this view I knew I wanted to match the heat temperature and atmosphere with the rich Mediterranean colours. When I first painted this picture we were in a fairly unsettled state being in temporary accommodation and living in a new part of the country. I'm not sure if this affected my work or not but I could not decide if this painting was finished. Normally I do just know; I often feel very excited probably a bit like a small child does; when I have finished painting and I'm really pleased with it. This one was different. I even put it on Facebook and asked for some comments but you know what it's like your friends was very kind to you and commented on the warm colours and how much they liked it! I wondered if I was being slightly harsh on myself so I mounted and framed the painting but I never put it on a wall; in an exhibition or in a Gallery. Somehow I just knew it was not finished and I wasn't happy with it.

I do not like to be beaten by anything, so probably well over a year after I painted this picture I opened up the frame took the painting out of the mount and started working on it again. However I would like to add that I looked and looked at it ages before deciding what to do. In many ways I did still like it and didn't want to ruin it ever. Basically what I decided I needed to do was create more interesting patterns and shadows across the whole painting and knock the sky back by changing the tone of it.

Quite a lot of my paintings experimental so I simply propped this painting up sprayed it liberally with water I added lots of orange, blue and fuchsia acrylic inks and re-sprayed them. The beautiful inks began to run and deepen the quality of the original painting. This is an exciting but slightly risky way of working as there is a crucial moment when you need to lay your painting flat or all the colour will run straight off it. I also felt there needed to me more shadow at the bottom of the tree shapes; suggesting that the foliage closest the earth was darker than the foliage at the top of the trees where the sun would be hitting it the most. To achieve this I added dark coloured inks of blue and orange whilst the painting was still wet, this meant that the colours would run and create soft edges which are what I was trying to achieve. Finally once the painting was dry I repainted much of the sky in a cooler tone. Aboveis a photograph of my finished image. Is it finished? My answer is now definitely yes it is a painting I am really pleased with and I am really excited to be able to say it is re-mounted and framed and now hanging in a gallery and hopefully soon will be bought and bring much pleasure to its new owners.

Have a great few weeks, let me know what your upto and I will be in touch in February.