Friday, March 1, 2013

Aldburgh, Suffolk - Oil Painting - Paint Mediums

Aldburgh, Suffolk - Oil Painting by Tim Irving
I'm staying with coastal themes for this week. With the weather as dull as it is I need to work with a bit of colour. Of course it's always nice to visit Aldeburgh, famous for it fish and chips, welsh rarebit, pork pies and Adnams fine ales. Not to mention four art galleries.

A day in Aldeburgh is always a treat but the painting didn't go smoothly. I'm having a few problems with my paint handling at the moment which made the painting session a struggle. There's been a subtle change in the transparency/opacity and the viscosity of the paint. Thinking about it now it's so obvious, I feel foolish. After fighting with two other paintings, I realise the issue is my paint medium. When I paint outdoors I usually add a small amount of Liquin to the paint for the under-painting, Liquin speeds up drying and I can finish the painting in one session. But a couple of weeks ago I ran out of Liquin and started using turpentine, I've been using it since. I know now that the change of mediums has tripped me up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Clacton Pier

Clacton Pier Essex, Oil on board. By Tim Irving
Helter Skelter, Clacton Pier, Essex - Oil on Board
After working on Parisian street scenes for the past few weeks I can see the attraction of coastal locations. In fact anything with a bit of colour is very welcome at the moment. I painted this small study to give myself a holiday from French limestone.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cambridge Corner Oil Painting

G Peck, Chemist - Painting by Tim Irving
G Peck and Son - 9" x 7" Oil on Board
Weather! We've had weeks of cold grey days, then yesterday the sun came out. The transformation was dramatic, I noticed the shoots of snowdrops poking up out of the soil and bizarrely the postman was wearing shorts. Warm sunny days are such a rarity in February I was completely unprepared, I had to get out and capture an image, but what? The trouble is you can't rely on the sun, I didn't want to spend too long travelling on this beautiful day, I wanted to be out in the air, but where?

After breakfast and a walk with the dog, I was still at a loss. The day was just too perfect and it threw me. It was then that I decided to visit my local art gallery, for gallery time is never wasted. I had the idea that I might find something to paint around Cambridge market on my way to the gallery, this proved false as it was too busy with everyone enjoying the sun.

But I found my painting directly opposite the Fitzwilliam Gallery in Cambridge. It's the little chemist (pharmacy), I pass two or three times a week. The copper shield above the door reads "G Peck and Son, Dispensing Chemist, Est 1851".

Friday, February 15, 2013

Six Corners of Paris Oil Painting

Paris, Six Corners - Oil on board, by Tim Irving

I painted these small, 5"x5" views of Paris over the past week as studies for a larger painting I'm about to start. These paintings will be sold individually but I couldn't resist mounting the paintings in this beautiful frame. I picked up the frame together with its original painting, an amateur life study which is signed and dated 1929, from a charity shop.

I'm enjoying architectural painting and these miniature Flatiron buildings are my current obsession. Paris has dozens of narrow corner buildings. Most going back to the original Haussmann plan of 1853, but new narrow corner buildings continue to be built to replace old ones as they become derelict.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Custom Strap for Leica Monochrom

Leica Monochrom with custom cord strap

I'm grateful to Marc Mennigmann for sending me this photograph of his Leica M-Monochrom with a custom strap from your truly. This is the first time I've seen a Monochrom, a niche camera from a niche manufacturer. Marc is a very capable photographer specializing in low light, black and white, you can see his work at his web site. You can purchase the strap at my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Version of Queen Victoria Gothic Florin Ring

victoria florin ring - Photograph by Tim Irving

I was delighted with the ring made from an 1875 Queen Victoria, gothic florin. The jeweler "Pasquale", had agreed to paid with another florin (1874), which I put in the mail during the middle of December. Last Monday and totally unexpected I received the ring pictured above.

The jeweler had made the ring using the one I sent as payment, this one retains the original coloring to show the gothic text and decoration in greater detail. There are no problems with the original ring but Pasquale is a perfectionist and wanted to make make a variation of the original. It's fabulous, it retains the gothic feel but looks contemporary.

The last ring I owned was a gift for my 21st birthday, I lost it before my 22nd birthday and haven't wore jewelery since. But I do like this ring with its symbolism and the story behind it. I've sent Pasquale a note of thanks and another florin for his troubles.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5th Dimension - Paper Cup

Like Amazon reviews, sometimes the user comments on Youtube are more entertaining than the actual video. I'm a big fan of The 5th Dimension and Jimmy Webb whose videos attract some creative comments on Youtube:

"This is the best song about paper cups that I've ever heard!"
"Here inside my paper cup, everything is looking up"
"I must admit it`s in my " paper cup songs " top 5 !!"
"I've heard they really would cut up...tear it up...and cut a rug at those live performances."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sketchbook Pro for Nexus 7 Tablet

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro

January in England is very dull. So dull that I have to walk the dog by 3pm because by 4pm it's dark and I can't see what I'm treading on, or in. Therefore most of my creative pursuits involving colour are done between 9am and 1pm. However, thanks to Santa I can now draw and paint in colour even in the dark, I have a tablet with SketchBook Pro.

My tablet is a Nexus 7, I use it to check my email and listen to radio stations around the world using tunein. I can store and edit photos as soon as I've taken them using Photoshop Touch, and I watch arts documentaries from the BBC archive, like the one below.

Tove Jansson documentary on BBC iPlayer
I installed SketchBook on Christmas Day, it cost $2.99. I made drawings over the holidays, each one a little quicker and a little more pleasing than the last, then on New Years Day, I happened to see a review of SketchBook Pro on "PC Advisor" web site. After reviewing SketchBook Pro they gave it 3.5 stars out of 5. I ask you! This app costs less than a cup of coffee and a lot less than a tube of paint and they give 3.5 out of 5. Not only that, but the reviewer didn't show any drawings, which leads me to assume he can't draw. So I'm here to redress the balance and give you my honest opinion.

My own experience of SketchBook is that it runs smoothly on my tablet, it's easy to learn and that it's a pleasure to use. The biggest hurdle to drawing on a tablet is using a stylus but this can be a big advantage. I discovered years ago that my paintings improved if I used a bigger brush. (Ron Ranson demonstrates using a 2 inch brush and an eye patch). Using a stylus feels like painting with a big brush. The stylus (I use a $2 stylus from Amazon), initially feels clumsy, like tying shoe laces while wearing boxing gloves, but after a few goes you start to adapt and get a feel for it. As you can see below, the stylus tip is very big, which is good, it stops you fiddling.

Brushes - Photograph by Tim Irving
Painted in oils with brushes shown

Big tip of stylus can feel clumsy - it stops you fiddling
One you get a feeling for drawing with the stylus SketchBook Pro has everything you could possibly need for drawing. It has 150 brushes, each one adjustable. Infinite colours presented as either, colour picker, colour chart, colour wheel etc, plus you can store favourite colours and brushes in a library. Between the brushes and the colour controls it's possible to make any mark, fat, thin, opaque, transparent, scumbled, cross hatched and anything else. I drew the matchbox below with Sketch Book to illustrate a few of the painterly marks you can make

On my tablet the brushes are pressure sensitive, just like a real brush.You can draw with layers! Like using clear acetate you can put each part of your drawing on separate layers, foreground, distance, sky, colour and figures. You can choose from 3 canvas sizes, it's possible to draw on a big canvas that can be exported as a Photoshop, PNG or JPEG file.
SketchBook Pro painting by Tim Irving

Going back to the "PC Advisor" review, what's not to like? Improvements! An Albrecht Durer auto drawing mode would be a nice addition to the next up-grade. Other than that I can't see what else is required.

I love this little app, it does all the above and more for less than the price of a cheeseburger.
I give SketchBook Pro ♥♥♥♥♥♥

SketchBook is available for Android devices, Ipad and Iphone.

Music from Mali

Fatoumata Diawara - Sonkolon


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