Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Magnolia Tree

There's been more procrastinating than usual about getting this blog done - mostly because I couldn't decide if the latest painting was finished or not. Always a tricky one that. Anyway with this painting I carried on using smaller brushes to put in more detail than I normally do. The subject, as you may have guessed, is a magnolia tree and comes from a photo I took at my favourite National Trust property at Cliveden, Berkshire.

I was drawn to the image because of the foreshortening of large branch coming towards the viewer and the tree's dramatically curved and twisted branches in general. The stunningly white flowers were at their peak and the petals themselves seem to match the tree in forming interesting shapes and shades. It was a lovely sunny day when the pic was taken so the sunlight created complex shadows over the tree and ground. So for starters the composition of the painting came quite easily, I just had to edit out some the of smaller branches so the painting wouldn't be too cluttered. Here follows photos of the painting from sketch to completion:

Initial sketch of Magnolia Tree

Magnolia Tree, Cliveden - Early stages

Magnolia Tree, Cliveden - more background

Magnolia Tree, Cliveden - final
I also have some exciting news. While I was on the Cookham Art Trail, visiting artists' houses, (see previous blog) I mentioned my sabbatical work to local artist Mandy McAllen. A few days later I was offered a three-week slot (23rd July to 13th August) to show the work at Elizabeth House Gallery in Cookham. What a great opportunity and it's a lovely light space to show work.

The gallery has enough space for 15 to 20 pictures so to make sure I have enough I decided to get one of my giclee prints of the 'Cows in Dorset' framed and some other paintings I have. At the picture framers I was assisted in choosing the frames by an artist who works there one day a week. He was very helpful and talented too – check out his website – he paints beautiful landscapes in acrylic of the Norfolk coast.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition sounds as wonderful as ever. I plan to trot along there at some point, I always find it uplifting and there's something for everyone - a great day out.

Next in my sights for a painting is a chicken. And with a wing and a prayer it won't take as long to paint as the magnolia tree did.

Til next time...