Monday, 25 June 2012

Artist of the month - Richard Pikesley, Episode 3

Had a longish day painting in the studio.  
I was working on three bigger paintings derived from small studies painted on location around Weymouth Harbour.  I often work like this, some of the big paintings are started and finished on the spot but with much of the scaling up and building up the surface being completed back at the ranch.  It’s important to me that this process never becomes routine and I’ll try to alternate this sort of work with short bursts of direct observation  On Summer afternoons the light streams into the studio and my big easel gets pushed further and further back to keep the canvas out of direct sunlight.  I try to keep the process in the studio as much like painting on the spot as I can.  There’s an element of peril working in front of a subject, especially one that’s changing all the time and this helps to drive the eye to make decisions and keeps the panting energized.  Some come off and others don’t and those that don’t are kept as reminders to myself of a particular place and time.

By early evening the studio is like a goldfish bowl under a spotlight with the sun streaming down the length of the building.  
I’d noticed earlier that the little poppies that grow everywhere here were coming into flower so I quickly gather up some of their stems and start a little painting, placing them in the full blast of the evening sun.  This is just what I need and completes a busy day with a bit of excitement.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Artist of the Month - Richard Pikesley - Episode 2

Yesterday I painted in Weymouth through the afternoon and evening.  A bright day and plenty of boat traffic through the harbour.  I’m using a little box I can balance on my lap, a few tubes of oil colours and two or three brushes.  My walk from the car park takes me through the marina and with the sun low in the sky there is a glare of reflection on the rippled water with the rows of boats in a sort of half light.  The odd flags or banners ping out little points of colour amongst the reflections from the boat decks.  Although I know the effect will be short lived I’m working on a biggish board, 10 x 24, so I dive straight in and paint here for the first hour or so, knowing that if I don’t finish I can come back another day.  

Weymouth Harbour

The brilliant patch of reflected light moves further to the right as the sun drops a little and I realise I have to leave this spot and look for another subject.  The pins and needles hit as I attempt to stand up and I spend a minute or two hopping about until the cramp subsides.  I really don’t want to waste the good weather, the forecast says rain again tomorrow so I move quickly down the harbour.  There’s a gap with a view between the moored yachts and I squat here with my back against a bollard and have a look around.  ‘My’ side of the harbour is beginning to drop into shadow but the lifeboat, moored just across the water is still catching the sun so that’s the next subject on a little 8 x 10.  The character of the water is changing all the time, ruffled by the wind and disturbed by the wake of boats.

Weymouth Harbour 1

As more dinghies drift back into the harbour and they’re turning and tacking in front of me to get back to the slipway.  Lots of boats all on the move in and out of the light and I just can’t resist it.  Too much movement to do this very big so a little 5 x 12 board and paint very fast.  Although my main interest is in the boats I want to anchor the subject against the structure of the buildings behind.  It’s intoxicating stuff with all the movement and the richness of colour reflected in the water.  Always a challenge this is what I love doing best, trying to make paintings out of what’s unfolding in front of me.   Rain again tomorrow, ah well, there’s lots to do in the studio.   

Weymouth Harbour 2

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Artist of the Month June - Richard Pikesley

June 2012

A day in the life of ....... Richard Pikesley NEAC RWS

After too many days spent doing paperwork and delivering paintings I can now have a solid spell of painting.  Of course, it’s raining.  There seems to be an inevitability behind the way the best weather’s always on days when I can’t get out.  Flexibility is the most precious thing and being able to work

Spent a few hours painting on a bend on the River Yarty.  It’s a little river which winds and meanders down to flow into the River Axe just above its estuary.  I’m making a series of paintings of these bends.  I’m intrigued by the way this tiny river can fill my vision across a really wide angle of view and there’s just something about light on water.  The way the ripples reflect sky but let you see through into the water,  and the colour of the water over pebbles, like tea after rainy days make an intoxicating subject, but very difficult.  After painting through the morning, my concentration’s shot so it’s back to the Land Rover and a short drive to the main river where a short spell with a fly rod trying to winkle out some of our little wild trout.  An hour, and a couple of fish later, and there are cattle lining the banks and my viewpoint low down in the river.  I can’t resist trying to paint what I’m seeing and I have my little watercolour kit with me, so perched on a tiny pebble island in mid stream I give it a go.  Can’t get much down before they wander off but I’ve established the germ of an idea and it’s reminded me of similar previous encounters

My sheep are being shorn as soon as we get a couple of rainless days to dry out their fleeces.  They look wonderful just now and I want to make some drawings of them tomorrow.  This will involve following them around the field as they graze so if it’s not too damp I’ll try to make some watercolours.  Everything I need is in a little canvas bag which I keep ready for use; a tiny box of half pans, three brushes and a little bottle of water. Paper cut to size in an old cigar box whose lid doubles up as a drawing board and a bulldog clip to stop it all blowing away.  They’ve got huge fleeces so they’ll look very different next week when it all comes off.