Saturday, 23 May 2015

Why Paint?

"North Yorkshire Moors at Twilight"
This is the introduction for my six week watercolour course for beginners called 'The Magic of Watercolour':
Why Paint?
"It seems to me that making marks or painting has been a fundamental part of the human experience since the dawn of time. Even the old caveman took time off from making grunting noises and dragging his wife round by her hair (do NOT try this at home!!!) to make exquisite paintings on cave walls that have survived to this day. Using basic materials and simple colours they recorded what was going on around them and the animals they depended on for survival. So people have always painted and always will I hope. In pre-camera times painters used to record events and places in paint but even back then the vast majority of people painted not for posterity but for enjoyment. Today more people than ever before paint for pleasure and you are now one of them. Obviously there are many factors but one of the main reasons for painting has to be that its fun. We are here to enjoy ourselves. Please, please promise me that you will never forget that. When all is said and done it is only a piece of paper. Winston Churchill painted for fun as a pleasant antidote to the weighty responsibilities he carried on his shoulders and he famously remarked – “I could shout at it, curse it, screw it into a ball, throw it in a bin and it never once did anything back to me…it is just a piece of paper!”. This is a very good lesson to remember unless of course you really want to live and paint in a cold attic, drink absinthe and maybe even cut your ear off to be a ‘proper’ artist." 
 I have reproduced it because I think it is so important to establish the 'fun' principle right from the start. If we enjoy doing the painting then people will enjoy looking at it. It is important to remember the principle when things don't turn out as we would like them to. It is all part and parcel of the process and providing we learn from our mistakes then we can still enjoy the experience. So whatever stage you are in your painting journey...relax and have fun!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bluebells in Sewerby Park

"Bluebells in Sewerby Wood"
I went for a lovely stroll this morning through the woods in Sewerby Park which is just across the road from us. We go there just about every day and it has been exciting seeing the walk change from week to week. We had an abundance of daffodils and wood sorrell but the aconite has had a poor year. Now though it is the turn of the bluebells who seemed to appear overnight. I have had a few attempts at painting this iconic symbol of spring but they are quite tricky to do justice to. Despite being blue and congregating in large groups they are well camouflaged under the green canopy. This is last year's effort painted just after they first appeared and before their proliferation. I concentrated on just a few in the foreground and did the rest of the painting in a loose impressionistic style. It's not bad but I still think I can improve on it. Happily today has inspired me to have another go and I will let you see the result in due course....maybe this will be the one I am finally satisfied with!