Cat. No. 1198 Qinghai Maqin - 100cm x 100cm - Oil on LInen - 2018
I have been working on this painting for a while. It is quite large, 100cm x 100cm, and I wanted to capture the same color feeling and looseness as the small plein air sketch I did on site. This turned out not to be so easy, particularly getting the color harmony. It took me several months and I had to scrape it off many times before I was happy with the color.
Below are some details of the painting so you can see how I tried to keep the brushwork interesting. My approach to painting is currently moving towards a fusion of abstract expressionism and realism. It's a very fine balance: make it too abstract and you lose the feeling of the place, make it too real and it loses the interesting abstract shapes and brushwork patterns that make the painting more interesting to look at up close.
Cat. No. 1196 Qinghai Maqin - 31cm x 23.4cm - Oil on LInen - 2017
Here is the original plein air sketch. It was a very difficult painting situation. People were moving all the time and standing in front of us blocking the view, we were painting in the middle of the road so had to move occasionally for delivery vehicles for the stores, the sky was continually changing with heavy rain clouds scurrying across the sky that continually changed the shadows on the mountains, and then this awful music started playing! The next store who was selling cars, (not quite sure the connection with Buddhism there?) not to be outdone started playing even more loudly in some kind of duel to outdo each other in volume. At that point the concentration started to go downhill rapidly. Who said plein air painting was easy? Anyway, I liked the result. I managed to keep the sketch nice and abstract but captured the lovely color harmony of the various Tibetan items of clothing, and the tents, contrasting with the grays of the surrounding mountain landscape.
The past two weeks I have been painting in Xinchang Old Town in Sichuan Province, China, The town is very old and still has the flavor of an ancient Chinese village. Mass tourism has not yet arrived in this village and so people go about their lives much as they have done for centuries. With the occasional modern influence of course. This three wheeled vehicle stayed in one place long enough for me to be able to paint it. The pink umbrella to shelter the driver from the summer monsoon rains worked nicely against the grays of the street and sky.
For students of the Virtual Art Academy, this month we are adding some new videos made specifically for watercolor artists to help you improve your sense of color and learn how to create beautiful color harmonies. See Lesson A10 in Workshop A.
The setting sun intensified the glowing red roses outside my studio in northern Italy. The background of the forests behind and the blue Alpi Apuani mountains provided the perfect backdrop for the blooms. Getting my brushes warmed up for giving a workshop in a couple of weeks time!
Just finished this 16in x 20in piece. The park is on the Ligurian coast just south of Genoa. It has lovely gardens overlooking the Mediterranean sea, and with the hills and beautiful villas of Genoa rising behind it. The light late in the evening was wonderful to paint.
Here are some paintings I did recently in Xinchang, an ancient Chinese village on the outskirts of Shanghai. I was taking part in an invitational paint out with five American and five Chinese artists, amongst whom were my good friends Ken Cadwallader and Kevin Macpherson, two very fine painters. It was an interesting week that culminated with an exhibition in a beautiful historic building in the center of the old town.
These are the homes of the Kazakh shepherds on the high grasslands near Xiata in the province of Xinjiang, China. It is fascinating to see first hand the life of the sheep herders here. They live a fairly simple life in sheepskin yurts on the plains, surrounded by this magnificent scenery. The colors on the grasslands at sunset are rich and varied, and the backdrop of the Tian Shan mountains is amazing. The best light is just a few minutes before sunset. I had to work extremely quickly to capture the colors here before they changed too much. It was dark before I packed up my gear.
Here are some paintings I did in Xinchang, an ancient Chinese village on the outskirts of Shanghai. I was painting with a group of five American and five Chinese painters in an invitational paint out. My friends Ken Cadwallader and Kevin Macpherson were part amogst the American painters.
The travel blog of artist Barry John Raybould