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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Attraction of opposites...

The lovely sunny weather just draws you out to take photos in the garden.  Today I was taken with the Etoile Violette clematis that grows over the shed and took a photo of a sunlit spray.  Under it and totally by happy accident there is a crocosmia plant growing and the complementary colours are fabulous together.



Today I had the idea of combining them in a painting.

So I'm drawing the scene first as the crocosmia will need to be masked out carefully to show up brightly against the background. To use masking fluid, you need to have a drawing to follow.


Etoile Violette clematis


Another quite complicated painting but no one said it was going to be easy!  Purple is not the most straightforward colour but glorious when it works.  I'm looking forward to dropping in bright orange in the background washes to represent the crocosmia and of course there will be loads of negative painting to do.  Lovely!



Monday, 14 July 2014

In production mode again...the paint is flowing!

If I haven't posted here recently, it's because, for a change I've been busy PAINTING!

I thought I would share some of the work produced.

First of all the Sissinghurst lilies which were not without their problems, but I overcame most of them.  I was painting this some of the time in the seaside apartment and being wonderfully distracted by the sea view.  Not an excuse, you  understand!

Painting the Lilies


I was pleased with the end result although I realised halfway through that I had got bogged down in an over detailed background.  I simplified it as best I could, and this included sponging out and water being poured on it!  and here is the finished result.  


Lilies...finished painting


I then decided that I should finish the Clematis Montana painting started in April.  And that was quite enjoyable too.  


Clematis Montana and Ivy

Those ivy leaves were good fun to do.

And then the day before yesterday my eye was caught by the buttery coloured Day Lilies that were soaking up the sun in the garden.  So I took some photos and one of them had the light effect I was looking for where the tops of the flowers were bleached out by the very strong sunshine.  I imagined that against a dark background and was inspired.  Isn't it always the same, that you wait months for inspiration and then several inspiring subjects come along at once, just like buses!



This is what inspired me



My Painting finished yesterday

I was encouraged by some pals on facebook to do a looser less finished version and so I did.

Hope you like this little gallery...

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Sissinghurst, an artist's delight...

Even flower paintings can have a sense of narrative; they can tell a story and invite the viewer to imagine being in the scene enjoying the moment.

When I saw these lilies next to a welcoming shady corner complete with table and chairs, I couldn’t resist taking several photos and enjoying the knowledge that this would make an interesting painting.




The scene was at Sissinghurst, in the famous white garden created by Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicolson.  There are people there still who continue to nurture and emulate the couple’s sense of artistry and creative genius, as the lilies had been cleverly placed to create a tableau and a certain atmosphere.

Here’s my drawing, which I enjoyed making.  Lilies are wonderful subjects to draw, so generous and open and creating beautiful forms.  They are almost my favourite flower...after hollyhocks, daisies, irises, etc...!



There was a fig tree forming a backdrop to the scene.  Lots of detail and opportunities for negative painting!  I would have to outline the leaf forms and make the sense of depth apparent, but then I would need to subdue all this so that the "show off" lilies would stand out and take centre stage.  My only regret is that there was no chink of sunshine making its way into the scene at the time of day I was there.


But we will see where this goes...

Apricots and cream...


Here is the Irises painting I started at Keyworth.  I was quite pleased with it and thought I would show you the finished effect.




Apricot Irises



The main challenge was the colour of the irises which was a sort of apricot, a creamy base with orange and pink in it but some blue as well. 

The other potential problem was the right hand iris which might have drawn the attention of the viewer away from the focal point which I suppose has to be the top left hand iris with the eye taking in the largest iris on the way.

Anyway, I enjoyed getting back into painting again with this and my beloved irises in general.  It has been a long troublesome time with a dearth of  inspiration to get me going.  But I know I'm not alone in experiencing this.  

It would be so nice to know what you think!


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Getting into the mood for Irises...

Was working on two iris paintings yesterday, one was a sketch to get back into the mood for irises and to remind myself of their quirky shapes and forms.  I have a sizeable collection of photos that I've taken in the garden over the years.  Some years have been better than others and our garden didn't yield this year.

I use the Cayeux irises catalogues for invaluable reference (www.iris-cayeux.com) for which I have permission.

So here is yesterday's work...


This one is called Aurelie.





There's a way to go on this one of the apricot coloured irises.  I painted some of this at a demo I did for Keyworth art club last week.  The jury is still out on the composition.  I have made the right hand iris very blurred using wet in wet washes in an attempt to stop it competing with the left hand dominant flower.

Today I will work on the biggest foreground flower to make it stand out and see where that will take us.



Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Making my first DVD...SFP Newsletter article







Hi All,  I am writing this against the soothing sound of the waves breaking here at Sovereign Harbour...they are surprisingly big waves for such a lovely sunny day, the effect of a strong easterly breeze.

I thought I would share with you the piece I wrote for the SFP quarterly newsletter.  The story of the making of my DVD...

“The instruction is excellent and very clearly explained, with good filming of all stages (...) so that you are itching to have a go yourself”
 
So runs the review in the May edition of Leisure Painter of the DVD I recently released.  I can hardly believe that what had begun as a tentative idea sketched out on the back of an old painting was now a reality; because, sure enough, the DVD “Watercolour Techniques by Ann Mortimer” is out there and for sale on Amazon and on my website.

I have been sharing my way of painting with watercolour for ten years both in classes and on social media sites such as Facebook and my blog and people were asking me whether I had made a video.  It seems they wanted to actually see in real time how I did things like background washes and negative painting.

I was lucky enough to know someone involved in the creative industry (my son Steve) who had already filmed and edited videos.  And I had my spacious studio which turned out to be the (almost) perfect place for filming.  Between us we gathered together the necessary equipment, two cameras, tripods, microphones, lighting, laptops and video editing software.

We started out with the intention of filming short three minute snippets for YouTube, but soon realised that we needed more time and that a DVD was the best format.
We had noticed that the painting demonstrations on the market showed artists producing magical and masterful work but often not really explaining the theory and the principles behind the actions.  We thought that in our DVD we would try and bring a deeper understanding while demonstrating the techniques.

We had to map out the process and to impose a structure even before filming started.  Everyone knows that watercolour waits for no man (or woman) and wielding this dynamic and temperamental medium while trying to explain the whys and wherefores was a challenge.  We were only interested in producing something which would be useful and relevant and of good quality.

We used two main ways to bring clarity.  We set up a split screen situation with me explaining as the “talking head” and also we used an information panel where the important details about materials were there to be read on screen. 

There were difficulties!  many to do with the sound on the DVD.  With my studio not being purpose built and sound proofed, we became very aware of our surroundings.  It seemed everyone was out cutting their hedge or strimming their borders!  All the neighbourhood children were suddenly out in the garden, laughing and playing!

  Then I was suddenly required to become a presenter, talking, and preferably saying something that made sense, in front of a camera.  Not my main area of expertise!  There was also the not inconsiderable challenge of painting confidently while explaining difficult concepts.  Quite a taxing few days for both of us, but ultimately very satisfying and the sales of the DVD and the feedback we have received, including that great review in Leisure Painter,  make us think that it was a worthwhile undertaking.

“Watercolour Techniques by Ann Mortimer” has three full demonstrations lasting 1 hour 55 minutes and is available from my website www.annmortimerart.com and also from Amazon.  Price £15 plus post and packing.  There are three excerpts to watch on the website.

Hope you enjoyed reading that...
 Even though I am here looking out to sea in this wonderful situation, my mind is on more land based subjects, namely one of my favourite flowers, Irises.  They are floating my boat...sorry...at the moment and I 'm planning a series of paintings with them as my main subject.  Starting today...
I guess this might have something to do with the fact that I sold two iris paintings at the Chichester exhibition a couple of weeks ago.  Here's one of them...



Monday, 9 June 2014

Sales at Chichester and a stay of execution for the studio...

The Society of Floral Painters Chichester Exhibition came to an end this weekend and we went off to collect my unsold work.  Was so pleased to find that I had sold three out of the four paintings I submitted, plus some prints, cards, books and DVDs.


Stewarding with Suzanne, Sarah and Fiona at the SFP Chichester Exhibition


I had a great time stewarding on Saturday 24 May with Susan, Sarah and Fiona.  It was so good to be able to spend time among the lovely work on show, talk to visitors and to see Sarah Morrish demonstrating her botanical painting skills.  Thanks Sarah,  Suzanne and Fiona for being great company for the day.

It’s sometimes frustrating being up in the frozen North when there is so much happening here down South.  Spending time here on the South coast has been great for feeling more in touch with cultural aspects, not least of which is being able to visit some of the lovely National Trust gardens around East Sussex. 


The house sale was proving too difficult to organise and is no longer happening so I have my studio for a bit longer!  We hope to film another DVD at the end of the summer and I’m glad I will still have the perfect venue for filming.

Now I'm looking for ideas as to what to cover in this next DVD...any requests anyone?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

SFP Exhibition, the Oxmarket, Chichester starting Wednesday 21 May 2014.




We took four of my paintings, prints, cards, DVDs and books to the Oxmarket Centre of Arts in Chichester yesterday for the Society of Floral Painters Exhibition which starts on Wednesday 21 May 2014.

Always a bit of a struggle getting paintings, books, prints etc. to an exhibition, especially when it’s in the middle of a busy town centre, but it was a lovely day to take a drive along the South coast and we called in at beautiful Bosham on the way back for lunch.



Sunday, 27 April 2014

My DVD reviewed in Leisure Painter magazine...have you seen it?


Review of my DVD in the June issue of Leisure Painter magazine


Have you seen the review of my DVD in Leisure Painter this month?  It’s on Page 54 of the June issue and is very nice and positive...

”The instruction is excellent and very clearly explained, with good filming of all stages of the painting (...) so that you are itching to have a go yourself.”

Thank you Leisure Painter!

The web address where you can order the DVD at the end of the review is wrongly printed though.  So be sure to use this correct one:


To issues of a more domestic nature...our house is up for sale in West Bridgford and along with it my lovely studio!  It will be a wrench to leave both the house, which has been happy and sunny for our family, and the studio where I have had many moments of inspiration, joy and laughter with students who have come to my courses.





My studio

But in life if you do not keep moving forward, you go backwards, and I think it’s important to invite new adventures and challenges into your life in order to keep fresh and interested!

Painting is even more on the back burner now as I show people round the house and spend a lot of time tidying up!  But I feel the creative juices stirring nevertheless and I shall get into that studio this coming week.



Monday, 21 April 2014

Where has the time gone?...

I don't know what happened to the time between 8 March, the date of my last post and now.  Tempus fugit indeed!  

Well the Easter holidays happened and also a lot of activity around my new DVD.  I'm really pleased at how well it has been selling and copies have winged their way all over the world.

If you haven't ordered your copy yet, remember that it is now for sale on Amazon UK:


http://tinyurl.com/movvfw7


as well as through my website:


 http://www.annmortimerart.com/dvds.html


I notice that on the Amazon site, two lovely people have given the DVD a great review and I thank them warmly!



I heard the other day that one of the paintings I entered for this year's Patchings competition in the Artist category received a "highly commended".  Given the incredibly high standard of work exhibited at the Patchings June Exhibition every year, I am well pleased with that!


Highly Commended in the 2014 Patchings Competition
"Backlit Hellebores"

Despite all the good news, I haven't been in a very fertile place painting wise lately.  Perhaps it's because we are a bit unsettled at the moment as we are on the move.  Yes, moving house after 24 years!  Wish us luck!

But the other day I started a painting inspired by the Clematis Montana that is coming into flower as we speak.  Here's the drawing...











Saturday, 8 March 2014

My free Clematis Painting Tutorial for you to view now on YouTube.



For those of you who do not do Facebook where this has already appeared, I'm posting a link to my eleven part video tutorial featuring a Clematis painting from start to finish.

Hope you 'll click on the above and take a peek and enjoy looking over my shoulder as I go through from masking to first wash to negative painting, leaf details, shadows right through to the finishing details.

If you click on Playlist you will see all eleven videos in the right order.

Why not subscribe (it's free!) and then you will be informed of any new videos that appear.

http://www.youtube.com/user/annmortimerart/playlists

You can also get to my Ann Mortimer Art youtube channel via my website where there is a link on the homepage

http://www.annmortimerart.com


Enjoy!  And feel free to comment!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Inspiration....a strange and elusive phenomenon.



My Hellebores watercolour 


What is inspiration?  It's a strangely elusive thing.  But feel that I caught sight of it the other day when I painted these hellebores from a photo I had taken in my garden against the low Winter sunlight.  


My drawing with some freshly picked hellebores from the garden


It helps if the flower that you're painting is resplendent in the garden as the hellebores are right now.  But the photo had a mood and atmosphere to it that I really wanted to try and capture.

Here are one or two of the stages of the painting.


First wash with masking in place.


Tentative filling in of negative spaces to test colours.


More washes in the background keeping light at top centre.



Masking removed, flowers painted carefully to leave light created by masking.

As the painting developed over a couple of days, I felt that the light effect had worked and that inspiration had visited the studio that day!


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

DVD now available on Amazon


Backlit snowdrops

Just to let you know that I have made the DVD "Watercolour Techniques by Ann Mortimer" available on Amazon.

http://tinyurl.com/qcot6oj


Many people do not have a PayPal account and perhaps don't want to create one (even though it's a really useful thing to have!).  But I know that many people, like me, order regularly on Amazon so it made sense to put my DVD up for sale there.

It has been a beautiful spring day here in Nottingham and the Spring flowers are out in force...hellebores, primroses, tiny iris reticulata, crocus, snowdrops, daffodils, and many others.  Such a cheerful sight!  

I painted the above snowdrops from a photo that I had taken when the low Winter sun was lighting up the tiny bunch of blooms from behind.  I love that effect, but it requires quite a brave use of darks in the background to bring out the pristine white snowdrops as well as some deep shadows on the petals.







Thursday, 13 February 2014

Affiliates Exhibition at the Nottingham Society of Artists 15 Feb to 23 Feb 2014


Sunny Doorway

I've just been to deliver some paintings, folios, cards, books and DVDs to the Nottingham Society of Artists Friar Lane Gallery, NG1 6DH today for the Affiliates Exhibition starting on Saturday 15 February until Sunday 23 February 10am til 4.30p


www.nottinghamartists.org.uk

I've put my name down to steward on Saturday morning and so I will be there at the start of the exhibition,
so why not pop in and say hello if you are in town.  

I only joined the society last year and so this is the first time I've had a chance to exhibit and I'm looking forward to getting involved.  

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Backlit subjects...be an opportunist with camera at the ready.




One of the good things about Winter is the way the sun is low in the sky in the afternoon and creeps down and lights your subject from behind.  When I see this happening as I walk out into the garden, I run inside, grab my camera and take a photo.

That's how I caught these primroses being backlit and hoped that it would provide a good subject to paint with lots of contrast and drama.

With tiny flowers like this, it's difficult to paint them from life in the garden and so a photo opens up all sorts of possibilities.  The shadows on the flowers and leaves can be fully understood and observed.  We are so lucky to have this extra help with painting these days.

I liked the way this painting turned out.  I think it shows how you can go very dark with your background while retaining the dramatic light in the main subject.

As with everything in this game you have to paint what you see and be brave with the shadows within the flowers.  Hope you like it!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Posting worldwide...







Finished painting of white flowers on my DVD Watercolour Techniques by Ann Mortimer
Available at www.annmortimerart.com




We sent off copies of my new DVD yesterday to far flung places the USA, Hong Kong, Canada and Italy.

We sent the NTSC version to the USA and Canada and the PAL version elsewhere as there are two different compatibility types worldwide.

Amazing how the worldwide web makes these things possible.

I watched the whole DVD for the first time on my large television screen.  Never too comfortable watching yourself but I wanted to see what everyone would see.  I was happy.

My thoughts are now turning to other projects for further films, some of which will be available free on line.

There is nothing better than seeing someone actually applying the paint in front of you, and watching the nature of the brush strokes and the use of water and pigment.  I have always loved to watch others paint and the DVD answers this need perfectly.  I'd love to share my tried and tested watercolour techniques with you!

Please head over to my website

www.annmortimerart.com

and click on the DVD page to find out how to order through PayPal.

or email me at

info@annmortimerart.com

Friday, 31 January 2014

DVDs are here and can be ordered from my website...






The DVDs have arrived!

We will be shipping to those people who have already ordered first thing in the morning.

I have envelopes already addressed to people in the USA, Australia, Norway, Italy, Ireland, England and many other places.  I can't believe that there are going to be people all over the world watching me paint!  It's a humbling thought.  I am grateful to those lovely artists who are ready to put their trust in me and order this DVD.  You will not be disappointed.

We have been determined to make something of quality which will be of real use to those who buy it.

I hope all who receive it will have fun and be inspired and will share in my love of this fascinating medium.

So excited!


Thursday, 30 January 2014

DVD arriving tomorrow...dispatch imminent!

I’ve just heard from the company who are producing our DVDs that they have been dispatched to arrive tomorrow, Friday.  Exciting!

I will be sending them off straight away to the people who have already ordered.  It will be a bit later than we intended but I will email to tell everyone that their DVD has been dispatched.

We are ensuring that the correct version of the DVD will be sent to the different countries.  We have the NTSC version for the USA and Japan and PAL for the rest of the world.

Remember that if you want to order the DVD, the only way is via my website.


If you go into the DVD page on the main menu, you will see a button saying “BUY NOW”.  Click on that and you will be given clear instructions as to how to order and pay through Paypal. 

If you don’t have a Paypal account you can open one very easily.  It is a useful thing to have as Paypal is internationally recognised as a safe and trusted way to pay for all sorts of things on line.

But don’t worry if you are in the UK and feel this is not for you because you can pay by cheque by contacting me personally via the website or by emailing me on


I will email you and give you an address to send your cheque.  

So don’t lose out, order today.  It really is good value at £12 plus p and p for nearly two hours of painting tuition which you can come back to again and again.

Here’s the third excerpt I promised you...



Friday, 24 January 2014

First painting of 2014 and DVD on its way...



Sunny Sweet peas


I picked up my brushes again at last. 

I was inspired by a photo I’d taken of the sweet peas in the garden last year.  They filled the garden with glorious scent for the short time they were there.  I had to pick them often to keep them flowering and so the house was full of their lovely scent too. 

One day I set a vase on the kitchen window sill in the sun and they cast an interesting shadow.  Can’t resist cast shadows!

The painting features a glass vase; always fun to paint glass and for some reason glass in a painting always attracts our attention. 

My new DVD has a glass painting demo in it.  It’s going to be released very soon now.  There have been one or two production issues which have had to be dealt with but we are getting there!

Those who have pre ordered will soon be receiving their DVD.  But I thought I should point out to those who want to buy a copy that this DVD is only available through me and my website.  It will not be appearing on Amazon, neither will it be available via the SAA.  So be warned, if you would like a copy then please get in touch with me via my website


There you can pay through Paypal, which is a well known, entirely safe and totally internationally reputable way to pay, or you can simply send me a cheque.

The DVD is very reasonably priced at £15 plus post and packing for nearly two hours of painting tuition and loads of useful techniques explained fully and clearly.


So why don’t you go for it?  I’d love for everyone to benefit from our hours of preparation, filming and producing, which has been a great learning curve but huge fun as well.  We wanted to produce something of real quality and I think we have.

Want to have another peek at the trailer?

Here's the link




And please look out for another excerpt here on this blog coming soon!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Here's the second excerpt from my upcoming DVD available for pre order from my website

www.annmortimerart.com


Watch me as I put in the first brush strokes on the recycled glass vase.