December 16, 2013

November Holiday 2013

I have recently returned from my annual leave and was lucky to have had a camera with me. I intended to do plein air studies and only managed a few, although I was very inspired by the trip and being able to afford this time out for myself. Allot was gained least of which I would manage conveying here and now. I consider myself very fortunate to be one of the citizens of this beautiful country, for now that is contenting.

 We drove from Cape Town stopping in Worster to collect a friend of my fathers Margret who thoroughly loves to drive and had jumped at the opportunity to get a lift with us. She is a dear lady who has spent most of her life in the Karoo. I love the place, it is greener at this time of year than usual I hear. First travelling through drier parts, Boufort Wes and before that Laingsburg. We pass these and make it to Aberdeen by the end of the day. Aberdeen has the 2nd tallest church steeple in SA or some such claim. In the photo it doesn't appear too tall, as I have captured the entire building, but up close it is an impressive construction, unlike the beautiful church in near by Graaf Reneitte this one has a plaster finish, and I believe has had some restorations done on it. Its hot for the few days I am there but the clouds blow in too, by the time I am leaving the continent is being drenched.. which made for a very exciting bus trip to East London, my next stop.

The usual road was closed at some point and we ended up on a detour through muddy wilderness on a space ship it felt like, although perhaps the sleep deprivation matters in this regard. Honestly it was quite invigorating and I sketched studies of the land as we passed.

The eastern Cape is wonderful. It was so nice to be in completely different surrounds, the rock and plant life, everything new. I spent time with family and was well looked after. Thanks!

I also made my first really decent long run one day, totaling 8kms, which I was proud of. I am intent on doing more of this and will be investing in a proper bag that I can run with and in what to put all my tools. I do hope I can return again one day soon.

  Painted on and of a street in Aberdeen, on Fabriano watercolour paper. 

Painted outside a spar looking across at the hillside just before Sunrise on Sea, in my moleskin book.

November 01, 2013

South of St. James

I started this piece in the sun, and therefore had to abandon mid way into an outdoor painting. I had my towel draped over my head from the start but it just all got too intense! Anyway I have decided, I need better tools, including paper... certain of the fact that fabriano watercolour paper just won't do!! Also I miss my no.8 sable, which a friend had BORROWED while I wasn't looking! Hmmm suspect! Its true what they say about that brush though, it does the job.

Apart from the tools lesson this little painting provided a few other lessons along the way as do all attempts from life, and so a note worth making an a post worth posting! I hope I can revisit this site soon as I have it in mind a different angle.

October 23, 2013

Art cafe Arabic

This is a little experiment done referencing out of a national geographic.. I really enjoyed it, pencilling and then deciding on cerulean blue and two reds, aswell as the sienna wash first. Its small, 3x4inches, stretched before leaving for the class thismorning!

October 17, 2013

The Kom, this morning

I sat to do this in my moleskin after work the other day, I didn't finish the piece as, well really I just started to get too cold. BUT, and since I have now returned home to completely botch up the painting, and thinking i would use this photo, working from it, due to the technical help of: uploading from phone, then sitting with wi-fi on later, well.. IT WAS: a first with my new fold out chair and easil all set up together. And as I say, a hoot, except for that it got cold. Really it was a shocking choice of subject too and the lighting kept changing. As you can see mostly overcast, i just love dawn in these neck of the woods though. 

Heres said set up. And will try to insert a look at that painting too, ...perhaps.

October 14, 2013

Promo Storeyboards

Scene 1     (excerpts from the written treatment)

FRAME1: We open on a wide tracking shot outside a university in the parking lot,we see  six beautiful girls watching six handsome guys trying to impress them with their  fancy cars and latest dance moves.
FRAME 2: Cut to medium shot of our nerd walking past perving over one of the girls in the group. Cut to his POV tracking but focusing on a particular girl , the shot comes to a abrupt end as we see a big hand  & face come into shot  stopping him looking and pushing him away. Cut to a wide shot and we see the leader of the group chasing our nerd away and laughing.
Cut to leader of the Big Boys as he laughs.
FRAME 5: Cut to close up tracking shot of our nerd as he slowly looks up, we see the resolve in his eyes, he is now intent on revenge!

Scene 3

FRAME 7: Late at night, nerd's room at the hostel. It has 2 single beds, a desk, 2 bedside tables, 2 cupboards and a reading lamp, on the walls are some posters and lots of books in the book racks. There is a old ceiling fan on the roof and beams of light coming though a window from a street light outside, the room is a typical guys room, not to tidy.

Scene 5  (excerpts) 
Here we go into a series of cuts between the Big Boys the Nerd  & our girl taking video clip and emailing them to a friend using GLO BOLT. (Network provider that this commercial is for)

FRAME 8:  Hall: Cut to wide tracking shot  Big boys rehearsing, cut to our girl in the background busy on her iPad, cut to close up on her screen, we see she is using GLO BOLT and is busy sending a video clip of the Big Boys dance routine.
FRAME 9: Room: Cut to our Nerd  dancing and we pull focus to the laptop screen inthe foreground as the video clip appear. Cut to close up surprised  look on his face as he sees email
Hall: Cut back to Big Boys  ( they are looking great )
Room: Cut back to our nerd  trying very hard (getting better) focus pull to new message on the screen 

On reflection: 
These artworks taught me allot. I had to work from existing boards that were provided to me by John Bright the director of the commercial. He offered to give me the boards and treatment which I then began to make sense of, effectively and simply copying the art. That seemed like the most practical way for me to try my hand at this and discover what its all about. At first storyboard art comes across quite weak and like poor skill, but that is not what its about, the point of the PICTURES is very specific and this is what I got to understand. Its not about good art, but effective pictures, telling ones. In the copying, realising the purpose by trying to duplicate the pictures. There really is a lot to it, things that ordinarily I do not pay much mind to when rendering say a piece of my own from my head or for any other reason just about.

Story board art is very intentional and that made this exercise a nice challenge: honing perspective, scale and tone to mention a few tools that go into good picture making consciously or not.

I did a few of my own for this example too. Frames 1, and 8 through 12 are my own.
It must be mentioned also that these frames do not represent a full storyboard sequence either, they are scenes that were chosen to show the client together with a pitch to sell the idea. This also means they are more finished or detailed than would be the frames of an actual full length board perhaps..

I also realised the pure advantages digital artists have in this particular field, so my next step is to acquire the means, more on that later. .

October 03, 2013

Bay of Simonstown

My first plein air using my all new pochade easil~tripod setup. I'm not one for messing around with easy subject matter either.. in the process learning about glazes, washes, trying to find the system of layering to achieve the realized effect, a fast application, but with precision as is compulsory with the medium.. I think on reflection it was fast enough, I had really been itching to just get out the paints. My new ones also. I used some white pencil in the end for the masts. Sue me, I'm no purist!

I'm eager to start doing more of this, and want to keep improving on my equipment and method. I am considering a little white gouache to travel with too next time, inspired by the works of other plein air painters. I guess it doesn't hurt to have options, which may then open up the spectrum of possible subjects..

September 08, 2013

Jagers Walk

This is my most successful outdoor painting, it was quite a thrill. And I have been waiting to post it, so now..
The idea was, on a previous visit I sat there, thinking as usual what splendor and marvelousness was in the air (ha there's the word) and how I do so enjoy the place, no matter the circumstance, or should I imagine despite them. I think it is usual that others would also feel, or possible better manage BEING, whenever there is outdoors and these, the mass water, and on certain mornings the view is well, too much to try to describe. I came and tackled the prospect overlong, deciding on location. And eventually the urge despite my indecisiveness overcame me, I had a seat in front of the restaurant, where everyone usually sits. It is fantastic to come here and swim in the mornings, I am a familiar face among others who have cottoned onto that notion, we understand. That being besides the point, but not entirely here.


I am also deciding to enter with most conviction a competition, doing plein air painting and filming it and since I have been quite inspired in the past by this person, whose idea it is to have the competition, I am not afraid to put it here. It is a little challenge, so we shall see. Here is the link. And I will keep posts on the topic going.
I have already done a little experiment, but now what remains is to complete building my pochade easel and find a friend willing with a decent enough camera. More on that soon.

Curts Plein air Kit List:

  • Backpack:  
  • Panels/stretched paper & other surfaces (for drawing)
  • Prochade box or other including:
  • Palette
  • Brushes
  • Paints 
  • Mediums + cleaning agents [water bottle(s)/turps, Linseed & sunflower oil]
  • Masking fluid
  • Roller towel (NB) / rags
  • Pencil case (if separate)
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Sharpeners
  • Sketchbook or papers for rough studies
  • Clips to hold papers to board
  • Wet Painting holders
  • Fold out easel
  • Fold out chair(s)
  • Advertising stand (for self promotion)
  • Wide brimmed German felt hat for outdoors.

August 29, 2013

Baden bangs his Drums!

In doing this caricature I learned the value of TIGHT drawings. The process cant be skipped although I also suppose there is no right or wrong one, or way of reaching a finish.. hmm. Enjoyment is the key. Ive been thinking about art and commercialism, being payed for what you love doing is a bit of a slave mentality, someone pointed out this week. Enough about that.

Here is Baden, his birthday card I did too and posted that design in a previous post. Caricature in my understanding is meant to be loose, linework bordering cartoons. I suppose actually that IS its essence, rather than what I find i have wondered off into: more portraiture, in achieving the likeness. Its a difficult thing to just jump into though.. I would like to give it another good go fairly soon.. since this is a revisit after quite a few years now. Cartoons and characateurs being quite a specialized and established style.

I recently had the good fortune to meet a very successful and established cartoonist, who i have been inspired by for some time. Its good to be networking more these days and mingling with other creative people.

Here is a link to the figurehead of characaeur art as I have come to understand it..
Below is a few process shots of the caricature of Baden.

Pencils (this stage is NB!) and then a few washes of watercolours


Inks and touch ups in pencils crayons (Aquerelle). This is done on light Fabriano paper.

August 22, 2013

Stellenbosch Road Trip

Curt's Plein Air Discoveries:

Out yesterday with the intention to paint, in watercolour, plein-air as close to the snow covered peaks of
our mountanous southern peninsula as I could. These are a few things on reflection, as a reminder for the
future and also a way of consolidating the experience and also instilling them more in myself.

1stly, I was somewhat indecisive it must be said. So: know what your intentions are. In other words, to go
out to paint, you will be ready for it, you will know how it is done and that you can do it. This was in-
hibited in my case because I was more enthusiastic to get out, just drive out, than to paint. One could argue 
it is a fine point becasue plein air is also about getting out.. so you see. Knowing I will paint plein air
and going out TO plain air being different.

2nd Preparation is key, in watercolour nothing is left to automata, that is, it cannot be achieved in the 
act, instead it is done before in contemplation, there are no shortcuts. The PROCESS is the enjoyment.
So be certain of it all the way, otherwise bad paintings result. This sort of follows on from one as it is also in the end about being present, but is a little more media specific.. I believe this is required for transparent

3rd Be more happy with where you are than with what you will paint. Perhaps this is to trick yourself in 
some way, the point holds true again only to the degree of presence achieved. Unless I am really determined
to capture something I need to know .. FEEL like I can paint what Im choosing to, in this sense comfortable 
is perhaps also about confidence. 

Other useful points leading from or to the above: Equipment.. be sure it is all there. You need some few
basic things on hand. This must be worked out in advance too. For ease of access and quick setup. This
cannot become a shlep or uncertainty or the work will be too. I will make a new note on my kit next.

Treat it as study, all good work comes from enjoyment. If the intention is to study, to paint a masterpiece
is bonus. Take time to find a view you can paint, forget about the painting and see the world, let it become
revealed. If I am loose but also engaging with the technique I will be more effective. Draw as much as is 
needed to understand the composition before going to paint. I am of the impression, a watercolour painting
demands thorough pencil work in preparation, but this will not be a solid rule. Still, be certain of skip-
ping the rough. 

Thats all. 

August 16, 2013

Two Boats

Some boats what floats at the harbour in Kalk Bay.. Spent this day with a friend on the peer having croissants from a nice nearby cafe and take away coffee. Our ritual Wednesday mornings. These watercolour studies have been teaching me so much. As always studies and paintings, where do I make the mark, when I do, how do I distinguish? Its all about nowness. I like that lesson most of all. 

What else have I realised. .. lets just stick to paintings shall we..

August 08, 2013

Misty day at Muizenburg

I enjoyed painting this .. it had so much potential tonally, and so I'm lacking slightly on composition. What with trying to fit two cars in at one point. I did paint in a sign not meant to be painted in. The whole scene was something hard to look at much less paint, although considerable craft lies therein. Suffice it that I got to doing the sky.. and it called for another layer of colour, however I then moved on, my first wash being only yellow, eventually limiting my palette to 3 main colours.

Spending time in this way is truly a blessing of the moment. Where I like to be, and struggle to most often. I wish to do more nature though and less architecture as has been the case lately.

Muisenburg is a pretty corner though, the buildings unique and marvelously out in the open. Had a chat to Richard at Empire Books and then took a stroll, coming to sit on a bench along the somewhat abandoned feeling promenade that runs above street level atop of the putt-putt course. There used to be bumper boats there but those too were abandoned, the pool filled in.

Unfortunately this photo did not come out well enough at all. I shall do my best to fix this soon, but for now a humble lesson in tone. And a little (little) edit in photoshop!

August 03, 2013

Baden's YAMAHA

Here is my first officially finished in Photoshop : .. picture! For the record..
I can dig this program, only I DID uninstall and re-install yesterday, because my cursor changed and I didn't know how to fix that. Guess I did in the end. This bike was sketched, inked and painted first. It is for an invitation to a 60th. 

July 12, 2013

Fishook Circle

Again I am using my little field water colours, not sure if these are quality paints but they seem to work. Each time I do these I'm learning, I liked the view somewhat and did not need to change the composition as such. Though I'm not sure I end up paying enough attention to all of the components equally, rather keeping my attention on the focal areas. This is good to know not to do next time. Also I seem to think if it fades to light or dark in a corner is of some importance too.
In the end I got quite cold and this added to rushing. The idea is I suppose that of watercolours being sketchy, albeit painterly, but sketch in the loose sense of it, and thus quicker.. but getting cold doesn't count. In the end however I was pleased with this painting. I'm paying attention to scale particularly at present, and the rendering process with that in mind. Of course depth being a primary factor in good art.
Fishook! Yer beautiful

June 28, 2013

Kom Sunset

How about this: arriving at work this evening I had to double back and drove up the adjacent road parked and scrambled to collect my tools, throw them on the roof of my car, standing, and drew this without being able to see much at all of what I was scribbling.. jotted down colours, in pencil .. Ult.m~b and silver, Bright O.. ~ I made short work of it after settling inside. 5 mins, dah~dah!!

I'm realizing more and more the importance of light. Of the two paintings I did today, this one was a definite thrill! 

June 15, 2013

Spilt beans

Here is my latest chalk design done not yet a week ago at a lovely pit stop owned by a dashing fella. Gareth has run Spill the beans for some time and serves the best coffee in town.

As I explained to curious onlookers and critical by standers: chalk is a tuff choice. It is not mistake friendly, and that got me thinking and now I realize the irony, what a marvelous means to overcoming said erroneous thought. I had this in mind to some extent but still had to develop momentum as I went. I enjoyed it dare I say.

Chalk is also great in learning the values of things, tone and contrast. Colours can be whacked onto others, lightening as you go. From a very loose and subtle draft, and ending in bold painterly strokes, but which give that crisp rasp when marking. More commissions please!

Well not the best photo, will see about replacing it soon

June 07, 2013

Life drawing of Fiona with watercolour

In Simonstown at Raynos gallery yesterday. I am pleased with this result, in reflecting: colour and overall composition style, inevitably line or penciling is what is keeping my focus. The paint is like the fun reward at the end, so that too..

I did two finished studies out of the three poses yesterday morning, the other being a simple contour drawing which preceded this one.

More to come.. 

May 30, 2013

Backyard in Greyton

This week I was away with a dear friend of mine to inspect property he has just recently inherited. Allot can be told of the trip but for now suffice it to note that Greyton is one of our naturally beautiful settings, the town itself seems ensconced in mountains, which range I am unsure now. But I plan to look into it more. Truly a plein air treasure trove, and I have been very captured by my surrounds of late.

So, I got to paint on two occasions with my little waters and one of which I was pleased enough to post.. its the little peak that guards the end of Lincolns rectangular garden. It was quite fun.. especially noting how everything was in motion, clouds and the orange glow which slowly diminished. Watercolours can be so rewarding, and frustrating and intriguing..

Definitely a place to go back to, and much learnt in my process so far. More plein air rambles to come

May 27, 2013

Pipe Boat

This is a view I settled on at the end of some reckoning today, and a few thoughtful spots later, ~ I had just eaten a small portion of chips from the salty sea dog. My friend Wendy says boats are of some significant symbolism.

On the subject of process. Quite unattractive, I realize I have a lot of unnecessary strain where accuracy is concerned, like earlier stated, this lends itself to NOT SEEING altogether. Thus composition is a big factor, or a resultant one. I believe my paint use was good, and I was pleased with colour, although not tone, definitely, whilst I became conscious of this importantly at a point.

Overall a big mess, oh goodness!  A determined one, as my sisters photo of me will show. .

 I love this field experimenting..

May 25, 2013

Drawings from life

  Some more recent pieces I have done in three different sessions. Still enjoying the process and establishing what outcome I am most comfortable with. Allot of experimenting and applications of different media, papers etc. That's the fun of it I guess, and its often too easy getting carried away with wanted outcome as I can testify to from most recently.

So here I'm reminding myself a little, and so far these are my works from the kalk bay group. I am now keen to develop more along the lines of those rendering from the quicker poses.. (2min; 5min) and no doubt will post on the topic in time to come. 

May 17, 2013

Simonstown east dockyard


Today's little watercolour done in my mole skin watercolour book. I used a small set of winsor and newton block paints and a sable no.10 brush. Eventually I got to doing some of the view I am so accustomed to, and that is my biggest achievement in this. It feels like it happened by accident too and I'm not certain if that was good or bad.. well. I am glad, to have had the paints out, sitting in the sun on compass steps. There was actually a lamp post in my way, but id decided on narrowing in on a small part of the scene, building the rest up as I went. As usual a complicated subject, but that's again what's been great: as Plein air does not compromise, its about rendering what you see, albeit with license.. to portray my own impression.

Really enjoyable!!

April 27, 2013

Digital Life Drawing

Here are some other renderings of my life drawing studies. These photos I have manipulated in Paintshop so that they are more becoming, stand out more. With different effects tools in the program applied I thought they would be visually good to post. Lets see

This is Jenny again. I cant remember the length of the pose but obviously I was concentrated on pencilling shadow here, and I feel happy with the result.

Most recently (below) I did these two pencil contour type drawings, outlines for a painterly water effect perhaps. . investigating my process.. used a light pencil for tone blocking, I was taught that by Wendy by the way who I met at the group in Kalk Bay.. shes fabulous! 2H or 3H with B or 4B, I brought in other media here too.. no telling!

The below was happily enhanced to show clearly the brush work and watery patchiness of it, I used bad paper for this (unstreched) and it shows, never the less, and a bit of colour.. 

April 23, 2013

Kit and co. Drawn and painted

I have them at last< and snapped on a better camera but alas not up to all that editing, so we shall have them as they are for now, will add more as I go and elaborate some, for further commentary. I am self promoting. . . Enjoyed today's session, and posting the same day too..

The above are today's pieces.. from left to right< my last 30min, in water colour, this photo really does no justice however I have since put another wash on and will scan that soon to post anew, the others are another 30min and on the right a 15 minute pencil on paper. This was my favourite as i experienced that left hand coming out of nowhere and believe/ felt i did it justice, but it was a surprise! The middle is on toned board, pencil, paint.. 

These below are from previous studies I meant to post ..  both water colour finishes

More shortly..

April 11, 2013

Small post

I recently went up the mountain and walked about a most beautiful place. Tranquil and beautiful, and I took some photo's, so here they are. Nothing overly much to say about it though, as is the nature and spirit of being as I am then and now..

I thought to make this the next concerted plein air setting, and will await the next day like this one, it is now autumn so I am sure there will not be a shortage. Grey days, atmospheric and lending to painting, though id like to think any day is a day to paint. Part of the learning. Definitely my favourite spot!