This post is more about sailing than painting but I'm posting it here because it tells the story about how I found inspiration to paint after a serious crisis. Without inspiration you can't paint, well you can go through the motions, but your work will reflect your state of mind and that will become a barrier which is hard to climb over.
This video is the English version of a lecture I gave in Swedish for an audience of creative people at the town theatre in Landskrona, November 2013.
At last I've had time to update this blog with a couple of new activities. My time has been totally taken up by preparing work for two exhibitions, one in Sweden in September the other in Finland in October.
|From my exhibition in Sweden at Galleri Pictor , together with Vibecke Fischer .|
This is a 5 minute video from my exhibition at Gallery Vihinpuu , Kokkola, Finland
|Porto Heli watercolour copyright Elizabeth Tyler 2013|
The subject for this watercolour painting, I have just finished, is unusual for me in that it is seen from a further distance than I normally choose. I've taken a pause from the close up, in detail, frogs eye views I often become totally absorbed in.
As the view is seen from a boat the sea makes up most of the foreground as opposed to more traditional paintings of coastal towns where the sea is in the background.
Painting in a boat has it's problems of course. The repetitive rocking motion of the boat isn't a great problem as long as it is caused by a light breeze with soft small waves. Your body and brain compensates so you don't even think about it. When the wind really gets up to something near gale force or when a motor yacht charges by at full speed ploughing through the water like a bulldozer, that's a problem.
The other problem in this case was a very high motor boat that moored in front of me, taking my view. I had to wait for the wind to change direction before I could get a glimpse of my subject again.
|Sitting in the cockpit trying to get the last details done.|
|My subject on th left, the obstruction in the middle, my boat "Aquarella" on the right.|
|Pebble shore watercolour 36 X 46 cm © Elizabeth Tyler 2013|
The challenge here was to be able to create the impression of depth and distance. I wanted the background very soft and diffuse but still keeping the foreground extremely sharp and detailed. I often try to use this effect when painting both watercolours and acrylics but it's equally challenging every time.
The water was very shallow, barely covering the stones, but even so the blue colour was really intense, reflecting the late afternoon sky.
In the painting all the stones and the foreground were masked first with Art Masking Fluid so that the water could be painted freely. Prussian blue and Winsor blue (red shade) were used, plus a touch of burnt sienna where the waves stir up the sea bed.
At first I had painted the stones in the water too clearly and defined so they looked like they were lying on the water instead of in the water.
So I went about scrubbing all the edges with a trimmed, wet hoghair brush. The streaks of white in the water were done in the same way. I finished off by drawing lines with a white aquarelle pencil. These lines were also scrubbed to soften the impression and create distance.
|Softening edges with a trimmed hoghair brush|
|Pebbles watercolour 25 x 45 cm © Elizabeth Tyler 2013|
In this watercolour I wanted to show the enormous diversity of the pebbles and stones. Not only in colour but shapes and sizes, surface textures and markings. Even the sand under the ripples of water is not just yellow but has it's own special character and is after all a compromised collection of minute and microscopic pebbles with similar colours.
|"The Net" acrylics on canvas 180 x 110 cm © Elizabeth Tyler 2004|
If you look closely, the intricate network is tied and sewn together with small knots. The fisherman's patience for this tedious, time consuming work must have been far greater than mine when I painted it all.
|Helenium 95 X 40 cm © Elizabeth Tyler 2011|
The painting I was working on previously is now finished and framed. As the subject was seen in the warmth of the late afternoon sun, I've called it "Evening Glow". It is now representing me in the group exhibition for all the artists participating in the annual open studio event "Konstrundan" here in southern Sweden. The exhibition in the Landskrona Art Hall opens Good Friday along with all the artists studios. We are 148 artists here working with many different techniques so the event is usually quite popular. I have been taking part in this event since 1997 and the number of visitors has increased every year. Normally over 2000 in my living room during the 10 days so I won't be painting for the next couple of weeks and tomorrow I'll go to bed early.
In the meantime the snow has slowly vanished from the garden, the days are longer and spring is almost here. The magpies have moved up into the pear tree where they're building a nest. I'd like to paint that too but it's way out of reach, they know what they're doing so I'll leave them alone now.
|Magpies acrylics on canvas 35 x 110 cm © Elizabeth Tyler 2013|
|Garlic acrylics on canvas 90 x 120 cm ©Elizabeth Tyler 2002|
The painting was sold a few years ago but the other day I was glad to have the opportunity of seeing it again in its present surroundings, a beautiful private home in Helsingborg, Sweden.
|Painting "Rocks", acrylics on canvas 150 x 110 cm © Elizabeth Tyler 2013|
Step by step, week after week I worked on this painting and now almost 2 months after I started, the finishing touches are added. At least I think these will be the finishing touches, the last brushstrokes, the final blobs and the umpteenth layer. I just have to leave it now for a while to let it rest and mature by itself. I might contemplate picking up a brush again to do some small adjustments but right now I need to do something else. It's often necessary to turn your back to work that has demanded so much attention for so long. In a few days I'll be able to see the painting in a new light and decide if more has to be done.
|Entrance hall of the Assa Abloy company Landskrona.|
Although my painting is from the Mediterranean, the subject is universal and coincidentally matches almost as if tailor made for the hall.
|"Over and under" acrylics on canvas 150 x 110 cm © Elizabeth Tyler 2009|