Thursday, 22 December 2016

Still Water

I saw this painting in terms of contrasts: light tones and dark tones, bright colours and dull colours, smooth texture and rough texture. From that point of view the grey, stained and dilapidated side of the harbour was just as important as the placid water reflecting evening light.

I was just thinking to myself that in years gone by, I had a tendency to overdo the darkest tones in a painting - basically, to make them all a flat, uniform black which never looked right. Now I know better, I suppose, and I make a point of getting some variety into the darks. At least I've learned something!

The scene, by the way, is the inner harbour at Dysart, on Scotland's East Coast. There's always a lot there to catch an artist's attention.

Monday, 19 December 2016

A Moment Of Calm Reflection

A quiet summer evening, with a single yacht lying alongside an ancient stone pier, her prow catching the light of the setting sun... I've painted this scene a couple of times before, from other angles.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Abstract Flowers

I had just started work on a painting of a boat when defects in the paper's surface produced horrible blotches. After a bit of cursing I decided to have some fun with the paper, rather than waste it. I wet the whole sheet, then poured on red, yellow and blue paint. As the resulting mess dried, I threw salt all over it. This causes white blotches to appear everywhere - so the original paper defects were barely noticeable. I selected two vertical 'slices' of the paper and did these two paintings of abstract flowers on them: "Wildflower Blue" and "Wildflower Red".

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Cherries And Glass

For this still life I dropped some luscious red cherries in a plain glass and set this on a reflective black surface. I scattered a few more cherries round about, along with three glass spheres I once bought in an antique shop. The set-up was lit from above and produced some beautiful highlights and lots of light/dark effects. While I've done similar paintings of cherries before, this is the biggest one yet at 14 by 21 inches (unframed), which means that everything is larger than life. The cherries are almost plum-sized.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Walking On Sunshine

This painting is adapted from a photo of a street scene in Glasgow. I took the photo shooting directly into bright sunlight - not a great idea if you want a good image. What I got was an image full of lens flares and weird blobs of colour. I replicated a few of these and eliminated most of them as I was painting, trying for a more realistic feeling, but I particularly wanted to keep the big flare of light in the shop window (top left) which was a challenge to get right.

The title was going to be "Urban Light". Then while I was out driving, with the car radio on, the DJ played that old hit by Katrina and the Waves, "Walking On Sunshine". That sounded like a much better title!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Boats On An Old Stone Pier

At Aberdour, just a few miles from where I live, there's a small harbour mostly used by yachtsmen these days. As winter approaches some of the boats are lifted out for storage on the stone pier. My painting shows them lined up along the pier on a peaceful, cloudless evening, with a golden light in the sky. The water was quite still and reflected the colours in the sky.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Demo at Cupar Art Club

Recently I gave a watercolour painting demo (demonstration) at Cupar Art Club in the North of Fife. I really enjoyed doing it - they're a great bunch of folk up there in Cupar. The theme was 'painting from photos' and I combined elements of 3 different images of sea and shoreline to produce this demo piece. It's basically a sunset view from Aberlady Bay in East Lothian, looking towards Inchkeith island and the Fife coast. I was trying to create a quiet mood but with a bit of colour to lift it. Not necessarily a painting I'd frame but I'm still fairly pleased with the result.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Cottage Windows

I saw these twin windows as I walked along a street in the pretty Northumbrian town of Corbridge. Their windowboxes crammed with violet, red and white flowers intrigued me. How much daylight were the people inside getting? Still, the windows looked superb from the outside. I have to say I enjoyed painting the stonework just as much as I did the flowers.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Aine Divine Deconstructed

Once in a while I like to try my hand at a collage work. For this one I 'deconstructed' a self-portrait by Aine Divine, the well-known portrait artist, and reassembled it on a new background. I showed it to Aine and was relieved when she said she liked it!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Five Boats

Wandering around a quiet local harbour, I saw these dinghies tied up to a landing stage. The bright sunshine that day created strong shadows and the water was still and as dark as ink. Looking at the scene from an artist's point of view, the main thing I noticed was the rhythmic pattern set up by the boats. Then there was the range of colours, made up equally between cool blues on one hand and warm beiges, oranges and browns on the other.

I'll be honest - not long after I started this painting, I kind of lost my way and thought it wasn't going to work, so I stopped. It had something to do with the look of the water, which I hadn't got quite right. Three weeks later, I took a fresh look at the painting and realised it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. So I restarted it, deepened and darkened the blue water, and took it to completion. I feel satisfied with it now. It just goes to show, you shouldn't abandon a painting too soon. Give it (and yourself) a rest, come back to it later, and maybe have another go at it.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Pole Dance

For some time I've kept a blog called Ken Young Paintworks, where I post small paintings which I offer for sale on the Daily Paintworks website. I also paint larger paintings, mostly watercolours, and I've decided to start a second blog, Ken Young Art, for those. So here I go with "Pole Dance", a brand-new painting featuring pink climbing roses entwined around a metal pole. The size is 25 x 35 cms or 10 x 14 inches if you like your measurements Imperial. I spotted these roses while visiting the beautiful Alnwick Gardens in Northumbria, in Northern England, last month. It was a warm day and I'd taken refuge from the sun on a shaded bench. I looked up to see the roses swaying gently in a breeze against the summer sky, much as I've painted them here.

"Pole Dance" is the first of 20-plus paintings that I need to get ready for an exhibition at the Dundas Street Gallery in Edinburgh next February. My friends Roy McGowan and Colin Joyce will also take part. I'll post more information about the exhibition as time goes on.