Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Brush Strokes in November

oil paintings by Tim Irving

Like most businesses, December is the busiest period of my year accounting for about 30% of my annual turnover. Unfortunately November is usually very poor for sales and in January they're non existent. So I use November to prepare for the rush of shoppers who hopefully buy for the holidays. This year I've had my popular photographs printed in several sizes, and I've prepared a good stock of camera straps that just need finishing to the required length, an hours job at most.

I still have a list of photographs to take, but in most cases I need suitable weather conditions. So while I'm waiting for December (they usually leave it until mid to late December), I do what I normally do and paint pictures. The ones you see above are a small selection from the past seven days. These small  paintings are done as exercises to simplify form and to encourage economy of brush strokes. The idea is paint a picture using ten shapes or less, and a maximum fifty brush strokes.

These painting of mine are not very good, most will be burnt with the autumn leaves, but each one teaches me a lesson. It's also an excellent way to discover weaknesses in brushes and paint. For instance I've had to change my titanium white paint fro Windsor and Newton to Blockx, which is very opaque and covers beautifully in one stroke.  I back up the painting practice by visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to have a good look at a few masters of economy. My current fixation is Hove Beach by John Constable. He completed the sea front houses and hotels in sixteen brush strokes. The small sailing boat is seven brush strokes.

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