Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Paint & Politics

'Something Afoot' mixed media Bee Skelton
I've been concentrating on making work rather than blogging about it for some time now.  When I lived in Cyprus, blogging helped me sort out how I felt about all kinds of things; art, life.... the whole confusing conundrum.  After a nudge from an arty friend today (thank you Jennifer) I decided to make an effort... so here I go again boring the pants off you!

In my last blog post, those of you polite/desperate/drunk enough to read it, will have noted that I've decided I'm too old/stubborn to follow my old art school tutor's advice to adhere to a particular genre in my work.  I now don't give a toss, and I am gloriously indulging myself in whatever takes my fancy with a complete lack of guilt.

I still absolutely adore working to commission;  oil portraits of people, pets, landscapes, favourite places and houses etc etc., inspired by client photos and personal insights.  But inbetween I change gear completely letting intuition and imagination take over.

It's liberating to begin with a blank canvas, with hardly a clue what I'm going to do.  I use mixed media, usually beginning with a rough wash with acrylic to kill the whiteness of the canvas, and then things start to happen with scraps of painted papers, acrylic/oil paint, coloured inks, soft pastel, oil pastel, graphite, charcoal etc etc.  Often finished with a lush glossy textured finish to pull it all together!

With the piece above 'Something Afoot' it ought to have a sub-title (Before HS2)  I had local environmental issues on my mind, which very soon took control of the subject.  My muse, Jennifer, will probably remember during our past collaborations, how disgruntled I was about the High Speed Rail project, which is going to destroy so much of the rural landscape where I live.  With construction work imminent this picture is my homage to how my country dog-walking feels at the moment.  It is not a literal representation of a particular piece of the landscape, or wildflower meadow.  It's how I feel about it inside.  And the lack of careful thought that has gone into considering the distruction about to take place.

OK that's me done venting for today.  I don't expect what I have to say will be read by anyone who can make a difference.  But I feel better ......I think.

 You can reach me by email beeskelton@gmail.com or see more work in my Etsy Shop or website www.beeskelton.com

Monday, October 02, 2017

Happy Artist!

So much work, in and out of the studio, since my last post almost a year ago!  I won't dwell on how terrible I am at this social media malarky, you all know how bad I am ;) So I'll just carry on and pretend I was here only yesterday.

So where am I?

It used to bother me that other artists had a clear voice;  that they produced work in a consistent style and genre immediately identifiable as their own.  Those days are gone.  I've now accepted that my art personna is never going to be like that.  And finally I'm OK with it.

Currently I'm working in 3 different ways.  And I'm in love with each one equally depending on what the day brings:

I love the collaboration with clients when working on portrait commissions inspired by their photos:
commission painting from photo, custom portrait, Bee Skelton,
Custom Family Portrait - oil on canvas

Natural still life and landscape, observed wherever I happen to be, continues to fascinate.  I've always had a thing about rooms with a view, and windowsills are the focus of some recent work using what I call 'happy colours':

anemones, clematis, flower painting, still life, window art, Bee Skelton artist
Anemones & Clematis - oil on board

flower painting, still life, window art, Bee Skelton artist, hydrangea, wildflowers,
Hydrangea & Wildflowers - oil on board

flower painting, still life, window art, Bee Skelton artist, orchid painting,
Pink Orchid - oil on canvas
flower painting, still life, window art, Bee Skelton artist, roses, Cornwall, Mousehole harbour,
Roses & Mousehole Harbour - oil on board

And then the mixed media work that evolves using many layers of different paint, ink, pastel, crayon, graphite, pencil, charcoal and resin has me more excited than ever:

collage, mixed media, art, autumn, Bee Skelton artist,
Feels Like Autumn - Mixed Media on canvas
 You can reach me by email beeskelton@gmail.com or see more work in my Etsy Shop or website www.beeskelton.com

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Small painting of Golden Hare

Golden Hare - acrylic painting on gessoed board by Bee Skelton
Here in farming country it's not unusual to see rabbits and foxes along with the sheep, cows and horses.  But whilst I know hares are part of the wildlife mix, I see them less often, and when I do they're usually moving too quickly to take proper note.  Imagine my surprise when this one stopped outside my kitchen window, pausing long enough for me to grab a photo!  He is such a big handsome fellow.  I just had to paint him.

Ignoring the barred gate in the photo I composed his portrait on square 8x8 inch gessoed board using acrylic paints.  Although it doesn't show well in the photo, it was late afternoon magic hour, and the light made him appear to glow golden.  I've attempted to emphasise this by contrasting the warm colouring of the fur with the cool blues and greens of the background.

It's now available for sale unframed, so you can choose a mount and frame style to suit your decor.  Here's an idea how it could look with a frame added.  Please check my shops and website for further information or contact me personally. 

 You can reach me by email beeskelton@gmail.com or see more work in my Etsy Shop or website www.beeskelton.com

Monday, October 03, 2016

Homage to Vincent

The Orange House oil painting 10x12 in on canvas board.

 I love the location of our home.  It's situated on farmland in rural Warwickshire, England.  So it was only a matter of time before it became the subject of a painting.  I painted it in oils with a hint of Vincent on 10x12 inch canvas board.
Sketchbook study in pencil

At a local art group recently, I attended a lecture by Anthony Slinn, about Vincent van Gogh, which made quite an impression.  It was particularly interesting because Prof. Slinn has carefully researched, and physically visited locations of many of Vincents paintings.  From assessing the viewpoints, he discovered how Vincent re-imagined and manipulated the landscape to express his feelings.  Though key features are recognizable in the paintings, when compared with the locations today, it can be seen how Vincents mind and eye re-interpreted them in his unique manner.

Sketchbook study in pencil
 My paintings can begin in several different ways.  With this one, I could easily have set up my plein air easel along the lane, as Vincent would have done for sure.  Alternatively because I know the place so well, I could have used memory and imagination.  However some time ago I'd made sketchbook studies, so on this occasion I referred back to these drawings as a starting point.

 You can reach me by email beeskelton@gmail.com or see more work in my Etsy Shop or website www.beeskelton.com

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sketchbook study and painting on the farm

Walking the dogs every day I see so many scenes I'd love to paint.  This shady gap through a hedge offered a good view of a wheatfield after harvest.  Farm life moves on rapidly. Straw bales are being shifted into barns already. I needed to to be quick before they all disappeared.  A sketchbook drawing using graphite stick and watercolour did the job.

Back in the studio I tried to develop the feeling of the scene in oils on a small gessoed panel, with composition tweaked more to my liking. Having worked the sketch from life and direct observation, some how the brain retains additional visual information.  You feel back in the moment.  It's a good alternative when time or full plein air painting kit isn't available. 

 You can reach me by email beeskelton@gmail.com or see more work in my Etsy Shop or website www.beeskelton.com

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Family Art Expedition

My youngest grandson and I walked over the fields to the canal with sketchbooks and drawing gear earlier this week.  We've been having proper hot summer weather in England recently, so while drawing we planted ourselves under the fat shade of a beech tree.  Then Max posed for his photo in the sun.  

He and his brother enjoy getting involved with our homely country activities when they come to stay.  I'm so fortunate we're able to share making art together especially.


That day I had time for just one sketch before we hiked further along the canal in search of lunch.  I thoroughly fell in love with the location.  Inevitably my eye found innumerable pleinair painting spots for future visits.  

A couple of days ago I returned with outdoor painting gear and made a little painting from roughly the same spot.  It's oil on 5x7in canvas.

 You can reach me by email beeskelton@gmail.com or see more work in my Etsy Shop or website www.beeskelton.com