31 JULY 2009 Alan Furneaux

Let me tell you about my friend Alan Furneaux.
Alan is a British artist living in Cornwall UK.
We got to know each other when he lived in Brighton, and we were both opening our houses for the Brighton Festival as part of the Fiveways Artists Group.
Alan moved across to another part of town after a couple of years, and later hundreds of miles away to Penzance, but we kept in touch.
I have always liked his paintings, and we've co-operated since exhibiting at art and trade fairs.
Alan occasionally returns to Brighton, and we met by chance in a pub earlier this spring.
So we chatted and discussed the price of fish, discovering that he shared my interest in the possibilities and challenges promised by 'plein air' painting.
On a later visit we went painting together for a morning in the grounds of Brighton Pavilion.
His blog is well worth following, because he has found that plein air painting is right up his street.
His new work is just super. The paintings are local landscapes and seascapes in a 'faux naif' style.
But don't be fooled by the exuberant looseness of his technique, because these are really very well painted artworks.

Have a look and see for yourself.

I have pinched one of the latest images from his blog to show you what his new work is like.
I hope that he doesn't mind.

30 July 2009

And our final winner collects her prize draw choice. Phew!
There were eight winners from last May when we drew one a day from the visitors to our Open House exhibition.
Vanessa Cooper chose one of Frans little egg prints.
It is to go in her new house, which she moves into today.
Hence the delay in her collecting the chosen print.
Here she is with Fran and the picture.

25 July 2009

Another Open House winner collected his prize yesterday. Here is Tim Shawcross with his choice of print. Tim chose 'London' which is a 'collectors print'.

19 July 2009 Garden Gadabout

Here in Brighton UK we have an annual event that raises money for a local hospice. All over the city people open their gardens for a day or two and charge a modest one pound sterling entry fee so that other gardeners can come and visit. All money goes to the charity. Host gardens take months getting ready, clearing up, etc. Some even lay on tea coffee and cake, while others put on art and craft shows. We ourselves have opened up for the last couple of years, and last year we laid on a free wine tasting at the same time. Visitors can have a wonderful time.
This year we didn't open, instead we spent yesterday 19th July visiting other gardeners gardens. We were delighted to discover how many enchanting gardens lay hidden behind rows of ordinary terrace houses.
Here is a picture of a comma butterfly posing for the camera in a garden just down the road from us.

18 July 2009 Here we are again!

Good day. No, I am not dead, on holiday, or having a breakdown. The gap since my previous posting has mostly been because ...... I have had a big birthday. The 'three score years and ten' birthday in fact. That means that everything from now on is a nice bonus :-)
We had a lot of things to do before last weekend, when we had planned a garden party.
The whole point of the party, and a new gazebo, was that we could host a barbecue and paella event. When we opened the gazebo package we discovered that gazebos are not waterproof. The suppliers even say that the gazebo can catch fire if exposed to naked flames.
Readers in the UK will know that last weekend in southern England it rained, lots of rain, heavy rain. We had advance warning for the previous week. So we decided to waterproof our garden with tarpaulins. They had to be sourced, bought and erected. What the weather forcasters didn't tell us was that it was going to be windy as well as wet. Putting tarpaulins over sheds, gazebos, and pergolas covered in thorny roses is tricky at the best of times. In windy conditions it is much more fun.
The party went well, nobody got soaked, the extra big new paella pan was used twice to feed about 100 people. I drank a little too much.
The wonderful surprise was that my family had persuaded John Crampton to come and play a live session in the evening. He is good. Click here to see.
Todays image is provided by my mate Adrian, who took this shot showing John playing with my neice 'G' dancing to his music.
Afterwards there was the clear-up operation.
So no new painting for a while. Hey ho.

10 July 2009

Regular readers of this blog, if there are any, may have noticed a lull in proceedings.

This does not indicate a catastrophic tsunami, or a nasty bout of swine flu. It just shows how fickle the creative muse can be.

However we have been busy making prints, fulfilling orders, etc.

Plus our ongoing priority and first love which is paperwork, records, and accounts. Not really, I am joking about that.

The pause in production of new paintings is partly due to the lack of looming exhibition deadlines. And partly because there are so many interesting directions to go. So this is a chance to take a long look at what to do next.

Please be patient.

3 July 2009

Local colour is the kind of thing that they tell you about in art school classes. The teacher will show examples that demonstrate that an object will reflect colour from surrounding objects.
Here is a close up of a bit of the 'Stinking Rose' painting from May 21st blog.
This shows that the tomato colour is reflected onto the plate and the garlic bulb. Blinding bleeding obvious eh? It happens the other way as well. A red tomato will also reflect the colour of its surroundings. If it is next to a green lime for instance, there will be green on the tomato skin. When you paint the tomato skin you would need to add green paint to show it.
But, we all know that the tomato was red, not green. Same as we all know that my plate was white not red.
This brings us to the subject of painting what we know versus what we see.
A child would know that the tomato is red and would be puzzled by any suggestion that the artist should paint some of it green.
This brings us to the subject of naive painting, where the artist is untrained, or where the artist paints as though he/she was untrained.
It is attractive to see a painting created by fresh untutored eyes. For example we have a collection of our childrens and grandchildrens paintings on our walls. They are delightful. But the paintings are often wrong because the kids are painting what they know before they learn to paint what they can see.
Sometimes I manage to shake off years of learning and make pictures using my child eyes. Sometimes I paint using all the skill and sophistication I can muster.
I dunno which persona I prefer, cos I like them both.

But why are tomato's red in the first place?
Ah-ha! There is a biological determinist answer to that in a future post.

2 July 2009. Local colour.

Well OK then, following Alan's comment on yesterday's blog, this is what I do when not painting pictures.
First thing is open emails and answer anything that has come in overnight.
Second thing is write the blog about previous day.
So yesterday I went to the local tip to get rid of stuff. Went shopping for food. Varnished some canvas prints. Packed parcel for shipment to Australia. Ordered tape and stuff online from Lion framing supplies. Chased payment for overdue invoice from online gallery that sold prints in April. Went to local surgery for blood test. Few more phone calls. Painted inside of studio door. Watched ladies semi-final tennis match on TV. Researched online for chicken coops. Went to pub for evening meal with friends and talked about holidays.
So where is the interesting thing there?
Ah-ha! 'Painted inside of studio door'. The issue here is 'local colour'.
The outside of the door is painted bright red. The studio is black timber outside and white inside. Red door outside looks good next to our bright blue Johnny Woodford bench. This morning it looked even more striking with the yellow weed bucket. [see illustration] But in the hot summer the studio door is often hooked open, and the inside [white] colour looks wrong in the garden.
So yesterday I painted the inside of the door with base red coat.
But the inside should be white so that when painting inside there is neutrality in the colour space.
Now we will have to see if the introduction of a splosh of red colour into the neutral studio space will have a detrimental effect.

Artists have to be aware of this 'local colour' effect. It is even dangerous to wear bright or strong coloured clothing when painting a picture because it bounces coloured light onto the painting surface and pallette. Then when the painting is shown in a different display space the colour is wrong.
I will report on the effect of the new red interior later.

1st July 2009 .. now we are 6 months old!

This blog started 6 months ago. Originally the plan was to join the 'painting a day' movement and post a new daily painting on the blog.
Well, the best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay [or something like that ... apologies to Robbie Burns and all our scottish readers].
Fact is that one new painting a day proved an unacheivable goal because we are also running the existing successful paint, print and publish business [ Crabfish Ltd.] that takes up most of our effort and time.
So the blog switched to ' a daily painting blog' sometime later. Even that is difficult to keep up sometimes.
Please accept my apologies.

However, looking back I see that I have painted 84 new paintings, and published them as limited editions. Wow!

You can see the collection of 84 paintings and prints by clicking here.

The blog acts as a diary reminding me of six months interesting experiences, exhibitions, meetings, developments, experiments and events.

So, what next?

Well I hope that the blog can get better at the task of posting something interesting for our readers, thats you!
Please click on the comments link under the daily message to tell me where I am going wrong and where it is allright, if it is.

What would you like to see in this blog in the future?

You can cut and paste and email to... cr@crabfish.com ...if the comments button doesn't work, or if you want to post a private message.