Thursday, 31 January 2008

Snap Happy!

A question that's often asked- should artist's use photographs? Yes! And No! it isn't cheating!
For my 'gallery pictures', if I have to work from them, I almost always use my own photos.
For more imaginative stuff, or murals and window paintings, I really need refer to other people's. It would be impossible to take photos of all the famous riders in the Tour de France, or a harvest scene from the 1800s.
And for Art Classes photographs from magazines and the internet provide a quick and easy way to have the best images available for the project in hand.
As soon as photography came in, artists used photos, and not always their own, as we can plainly see- naughty boy, Gauguin!
Two thousand years ago the Camera Obscura was first recorded- a primitive pinhole device which projected images onto a surface. Leonardo Da Vinci also mentions it, saying "We did not discover this" and artists were using it as a drawing aid as early as C15th.
Those of you who saw the film from the book 'Girl With A Pearl Earring ' may have noticed that Vermeer had his own Camera Obscura. Another Bad Lad!
Photos are best used intelligently, not copied blindly, and always with a good knowledge of basic skills.
I really don't think there are any rules!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

In the public eye

It's much too cold to set up to paint outside... I've been looking to see if there's any difference in the work I do from the 'real' and from photographs.... the outdoor work might be livelier ( changing light, the call of a cup of tea or nature could lend a sense of urgency!), but the standard's no better 0r worse.
Very often a photo gives a viewpoint that the artist couldn't maintain - looking up at a building or over a wall, for example, or, dangerously! a good view from the middle of a road.
And it's still important to draw regularly from life.
Spectators can be a distraction when working in public - when I was a student I hated onlookers ("Aye, I've a second cousin twice removed who does grand watercolours, beautiful!") but working on murals and window paintings cured me of that- you just have to get on with it, too bad!
For the Tour de France in Plumelec I was painting a life-size portrait of a rider, inside on the window of a bar. As a final embellishment I started painting a ribbon in the colours of the French flag along the length of the window.
By now it was 'l'heure de l'apero' and the bar was packed. A silence fell behind me as the clients watched the painstaking progress of my loaded brush. When I'd done the final flourish, I turned round and gave a bow and a great cheer went up!

Monday, 28 January 2008

A first Hello

And Hello! I'm Caroline and I'm an English fine artist in Brittany. Here's my website which I share with Alastair, my accomplice
A quick glance will reveal that we ( like most artists who live by their trade) turn our trained hands to various tasks- to mural painting, portraits (people, pets,houses), window paintings, personal work for galleries.
I run regular workshops in Drawing and Painting, here in the large room that was the old village cafe. Classes are day-long. and on a monthly basis as I've found that evening courses are less well attended- folk don't want to trail out on a wet dark night, and neither do I!
It also means that , for students who live further away, it's worth the journey if they're doing the longer hours, and they can drive back in the light.
I try to balance the classes between, say, learning to work accurately-(which is difficult and often unrewarding, but the basis of any success in future work) and workshops where everyone is delighted with what they can achieve.
For two fortnights of the year I'm tutor at a chateau near Angouleme . There's a lovely studio in a converted barn, woods and fields, donkeys, solar-heated pool, great food and wine.
Heavenly- though I sometimes feel like an Artistic Redcoat!