Minimalist Mastery

YachtClubSmall.jpeg

The Yacht Club

Once again I have succumbed to buying another watercolour (above) by Jim Spencer,
while my own painting efforts are still “in progress”.

I just can’t help it with this artist.

He is a master of minimal technique, producing paintings that grow on me over time.

Paintings I can breathe into.

RedSkyAtNightSmall

Red Sky at Night

This mastery of minimalism to maximum effect is something close to my heart as you might know if you have read any of my thoughts about software development.
It is always something I aspire to, to the extent that I even use “Red Sky At Night”
in my talks to demonstrate the idea.

All I have to do now is get to that place with my painting!

Also for those who are still waiting for my ACCU talk transcripts.
I am still working on the next one.
Its amazing how long it takes to transcribe a 75 minute talk!

An Artistic Day Out

Today was one of those wonderful, surprising and unplanned days. I decided to take a look at the art in the Open Studios 2016 event going on around Newbury.

First stop was to see a studio of an artist who looks like she is going to be one of my favourites. So much so that I am posting a couple of her pictures here from her SAA website with her permission.

Her name is Pearl Hailstone and it was lovely to turn up at her studio and get offered some tea and biccies(!) while we chatted and she gave me some great advice for my budding watercolour skills. I just love the colour contrast and loose style of her painting so have taken on her advice and will have to give it a go.

Thank you Pearl for such a warm welcome and a cuppa just when I needed it.

PearlHailstone_DartmoorTreesAndFence

Dartmoor Trees and Fence

PearlHailstone_TheOldLock

The Old Lock

Another artist of note was Sarah Moorcroft whose work I saw at the Insight exhibition at New Greenham Arts. It literally jumped off the wall and hit me in the eye! She has some stunning high colour contrast ink on paper work which is well worth a look down at Pineapple Palace.

It was great to see some art piece and then think, “Hmmm, how was that done?”, and then be able to actually go for a short drive to talk with the artist and ask them.

One of those great days when I felt I was in the best of the universe’s flow.

Merry Christmas 2015 and Happy New Year for 2016

Hi folks,
Just wishing you a good holiday time and hope you have a wonderful 2016. To this end I have got my painting set out again after a long absence and have painted a scene based on the shape of high-altitude lightning. A phenomenon known as a Sprite. What I find fascinating is that although the lightning is short lived I could imagine how it would look like an angel to those of a more religious nature. Hence the painting for Christmas.
All the best to you and yours.
Charles.
Angel Night

PAINTING: Holiday Time in Wales

Just had a lovely holiday in one of my favourite spots – the Elan Valley in mid-Wales. No mobile coverage. No internet. Just walking, painting and reading. Wonderful!

I had tried to do some painting the last time I went but did not get far. This time however was a different story. So here are some pics of me trying to get a bit of a looser style. (had a recent workshop with Jean Haines which really helped) These are just photos and I have adjusted the colours to try and match the original paintings, but since they are not proper scans they are not as good as they could be.

Hope you like them anyway.

A painting starting out as a playing wash. I love watercolour!

Star Gazing
A painting starting out as a play wash. I love watercolour!

Just an abstract wash looked at in a different way can make a picture.

Cliff Castle
Just an abstract wash looked at in a different way
can make a picture.

First go at trying to capture the Elan Valley dams.

First Dam
First go at trying to capture the Elan Valley dams.

Still trying to capture the Elan Valley dams.

Dam
Still trying to capture the Elan Valley dams.

Had  great fun playing around with some colour wash ideas. Yay!

Four Colour Play
Had great fun playing around with some colour wash ideas. Yay!

Decided to limit the colour wash components to just 6 here. The blooming seems to work I think. I like this one. Can you see the green man?

Three Colour Play
Decided to limit the colour wash components to just 6 here. The blooming seems to work I think.
I like this one. Can you see the green man?

Not sure about this one. Just trying some ideas from a book by Kees van Aalst.

Church
Not sure about this one. Just trying some ideas from a book by Kees van Aalst.

This was an extract from a painting I was about to throw away! But then I got my frame cropping guides out and find I liked it.

This was an extract from a painting I was about to throw away!
But then I got my frame cropping guides out and found
I quite liked it.

Since I liked the first abstract box, this was a try at reproducing it. Hmmm. Not quite sure.

Since I liked the first abstract box, this was a try at reproducing it. Hmmm. Not quite sure.

Thanks for viewing.
All paintings are of course copyright © Charles Tolman.

PAINTING: Observation and Painting Dancers

I recently discovered a lovely painting of Tango dancers by Pat Murray which prompted me to get in touch with her for some tips about painting dancers. The things she said – see below – reminded me why I love painting so much – when I get the time – and how it all hooks into a phenomenological observation process. I love how she notes that it does not matter about the accuracy of fast sketches because so much still goes into your subconscious. I have definitely experienced this with my ‘Rose’ painting and the one of my daughter, ‘Princess’.

Fascinating – a true life’s work.

Unfortunately the original of this watercolour has been sold but you can get hold of prints from her website.

Watercolour by Pat Murray

‘Afternoon Milonga’ : Watercolour by Pat Murray

She was very helpful and provided these thoughts about the above painting:

“I also provide the portrait version of ‘Afternoon Milonga’ as a print now as a friend who dances Tango said that British Tango dancers would relate to the church hall image as so much Tango is danced in places like that in this country.

This painting was inspired by watching a friend dance at an afternoon Milonga in a church hall in Sneinton, Nottingham. Try as I might, I could not locate the exact place but tried to recreate the atmosphere that I’d remembered. Late afternoon light was filtering down from a high window and the music was beautiful and melancholic. I’m sure you know what I mean.

I actually did some lightning sketches, a bit ropey but that act of observation is crucial as so much goes into your subconscious mind. Also it helped me to identify the exact moves that float my boat. In my case they are the more subtle ones.

I did three quick tonal sketches from freeze framing youtube footage. You will see these provide me with reference for where the light and shade fall. I think watching carefully and really fast drawing is the trick. Even if what you do is wildly innacurate, you will capture some of the movement.”

I suspect that the hall in question in Sneinton is the Hermitage Community Centre because I think I can see the big window from the painting in the header photo from their site.

Pat very kindly sent me the following digital copies of her sketches.

Tango Sketch 1

Tango Sketch 2

Tango Sketch 3

Many thanks Pat!