Friday, 29 April 2011

The end of the Royal and the beginning of a new one

Now I've finished the oil painting of the Royal Crescent at Bath I can get on with something that is long over due.... something as important as painting, and exhibiting, and promoting myself as an artist...

And that's updating my website. Its been long over due whilst I sort out my life and get sorted in my new home. I've been in discussions with my webmaster and he and I are in agreement of the best way forward for it. But it probably means finding a new template for my new website. He showed me one last night that seems to be ideal, although until its all set up and running I can't fully tell. But, it is only the basis of the website, and I can personalise it as much as I want or need. But I also know from past experience that it also takes a lot of time and effort to get it up and running. That's ok, I don't mind that, as its my advert for the world and to the world. And if it makes the art more accessible, and attractive, and sells more of it, then that's got to be a good thing, surely. I've not put my prices up in three years, but they will be going up in the very near future...... so, before that happens, and before I update my website, please take a good look at it, and if there is anything that catches your eye that you want to purchase, let me know as soon as possible!

Earlier this week I had an unexpected surprise in that the people I bought the house from called in to see me. I knew he was calling in to pick up something from me that he needed urgently, which had been delivered to this his old address as modern technology doesn't allow for some address changes to happen quickly for some daft administrative reason known only to them, but I hadn't expected both of them to come, and was delighted to see them, and delighted that they wanted to both come and see me. I welcomed them in with a hug, and a kiss, and over cups of tea and coffee, showed them my artwork hanging on the walls, and the new painting I've finished recently, and finally got to be hanging vertically on the wall whilst it dries. They admired my taste in art, and we talked of many things. It was good to show my new house (their old one!) to them, and to show what I've done so far. Still a lot more to do, but it'll get done in time.


I watched the Royal Wedding this morning and loved the pomp and ceremony of it, the sense of history that England is so good at. It made me smile, and feel proud to be English, and to celebrate the start of the marriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton. I was very taken by her poise, her elegant looks, her relaxed demeanour, but her sense of duty for her acceptance into the Royal family, and being married to a future King. But, most of all, as I sat and watched her, I wanted to draw her, and put all of it into a painting of her. She is truly beautiful.

Monday, 25 April 2011

April light, saints alive and time travel

It's been a strange weekend.

It started when the Vikings came to town.
They seemed a nice bunch of lads the night before when they'd been supping ale with the locals and dancing on the village green. They'd brought their own tents so it wasn't far for them to stagger afterwards, so that they'd be ready for the big fight on Sunday. They might have been a motley bunch, but they were dedicated to their craft, and put on a good show and since it was Easter Sunday, they did their own version of arising from the dead without any discernible wounds to show. St George was there as well, along with his trusty steed - except it was a she, not a he - St George that is, which was a little odd, but no one seemed to mind much. The dragon turned up as well, I'm not sure what sex that was,  but I must say, that after watching enough sword and sorcery movies over the years, I was expecting something, a little more, well, scary, really. Something with real teeth, and claws. Or at least some smoke. And not a painted cardboard box head, and a green blanket for a body, and the legs of two guys underneath, in shorts. But still, it was good for the village, and fun for the kids, and everyone seemed to turn out, so a good community spirit for the big weekend combining Easter and St Georges Day.
I was happy to have the weekend off from painting. Well, actually it became a good DIY weekend, and some long awaited jobs got done around the house, which will make my life easier in the long run, and I'm all for that.

So, that left today. A bank holiday, and nothing planned. No friends to see, no day out planned. And certainly not taking the car anywhere near the sea since the roads are always gridlocked on days like this. But the sun shining brightly as it has done for the last three weeks, and the day beckoning me out.....

I needed a walk. Somewhere without bank holiday crowds, or the need for a vehicle.

I left the house with camera in hand, just in tee shirt, jeans and walking boots, and headed out of the village, into the late afternoon sunshine, following a route I've done many times since I moved here. Along past the old cottages, past other houses large and small, and up along the side of the road out and up the hill, and it was at that point that I veered off to the left up a footpath, new for me, following it until it crossed another, and then became a bridle path, and then came to another. I turned right, up the hill, and stopped at the side of a blue bell wood, the flowers full and delicately scented in the warm April air, the light low through the trees casting diagonal shadows through the long grass.  After a moments pause, to admire the interplay of light, I carried on along the wide dusty path, seeing a small cottage in the valley below me, and coming to a jumble of an ancient farm ahead, the path veering off again to the right, and across a small field, and over a stile, and diagonal over the next meadow to the hedge, and then I could see where I was headed as I recognised the familiar road again. Too soon to head home yet though, and I turned right along a bumpy track and dissected the path I'd followed about forty minutes earlier and this time went down the hill, along the dusty track towards the edge of the large bluebell wood. I didn't want to enter it, as I shall save it for another day in the near future. I wanted to see where the track was leading me, it went on, beckoning me at each turn, drawing me on, the sunlight on the ground interspersed with shadows from the trees and hedges at the side of the pathway. It was wide enough for me to walk easily, and I carried on, and on, taking photos as I went, of the trees, and the light, and the bluebells. There were many other interesting paths off on either side, and I will happily investigate them on future walks. But today, was about this dusty walkway, and where it went....
Onwards, into the sun..... the time gently wore on..... the countryside lush and green on either side...

And as I turned a bend, I came across one of the things that I had least expected. If I'd expected anything...


What the f....... ! Er, what are yooooou doing here.......?
The bison just looked back at me, with the blank stare of being used to being there, and not as perturbed at seeing me, as I was of seeing them. I stood for a while, since I don't recall seeing them in the flesh before, and then I carried on with a smile, aware that the next field was full of deer, and amazingly the one after that was full of lamas. Where on earth have I walked toooooooooooo?! I know it was a long walk, and a long track, but still, not as far as the Americas, surely!? LOL

I had to turn back at that stage, unfortunately, and leave that question for another day. It was getting late, and I noted the time and headed back the way I'd come, taking loads more photos as I went, in raptures over the low light, and the sunlight back lighting the leaves through the trees. Wow! I want to paint all of them, I am sooooooo inspired to paint everything I see.......!!!!!!

The magic of the weekend wasn't the dragon, or St George being a woman, or the fighting vikings coming back from the dead, or even finding bison where you least expect them in the middle of the English countryside.

No, the magic, for me, was the light, low and bright, through the leaves on the trees....casting its magic for an artist to see!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Royal Crescent at Bath - past present and future

When I was first asked by David and Martyn to paint a large picture for them, I was more than happy to accept. I would far rather do commissions than exhibition work, because then the client gets exactly what they want, and I tailor the painting to fit their needs. and I do this by listening to what the client wants. Sometimes its a short request, sometimes it's a longer one.

The brief was to depict them both walking infront of the Royal Crescent at Bath, on a windy Autumnal day, their three dogs with them, and the parents of one of them off to one side accompanied with their dog, and the sisters and their husbands of the other standing some way back in the background. As well as that, there would be the brother of one of them and the mother of the other, both up in the clouds to show that they are no longer with us, but are close in heart, mind, and soul. The colours of the painting were to match the particular colour scheme of their sitting room, and preferably weren't to have much green or blue in it, which made it somewhat interesting, as half of it is sky, and a good third of it is grass! As well as that they wanted the painting to be dramatic, and not be lost against the strongly patterned wallpaper of their lovely period house. It was to be in oils, and show movement as the wind picks up the leaves and blows them across the grass. And there were to be eyes in the trucks of the trees, showing happiness.
Ok, all of that is possible.

It helped greatly that they sent me a large selection of photos to work from - of themselves individually walking infront of the Royal Crescent at Bath, and of their dogs, and the other people in the painting. They also kindly sent me some pictures of the room where the painting is to hang, so that I could bear that in mind for the positioning of the colours and edges of the painting. Its on a block canvas which is 3 inches deep, so it will stand nicely against the patterned wallpaper and not be lost against it. I was to be working with browns, creams, plums, purples, reds, silver, white, and black.
So, I knew who I was painting. I knew the setting where I was painting them. I knew the palette of colours I was working to. I knew the size of the painting (31 x 47 inches) and that it would be in oils.

But, to start with I wasn't sure how I was going to show the wind.

And then, it dawned on me. I would paint the wind as an entity all of its own. In silver, since that was one of the colours requested.  The wind would start high up on the right hand side of the painting, and swirl around and across the painting, swirling around the people in the foreground, depicting love from the beloved people in the sky, and movement of the wind as it swirled the leaves in the picture as well.

I started with a simple pencil drawing, and that went on to another pencil drawing which is the first picture I am showing here, and that is the image that was transferred onto the canvas and then I started the acrylic under painting of garish colours you can see in the second image, to give the oils a depth of colour. And only then I was able to start the  oils proper and that evolved eventually to the finished subtle painting as you see it here. Its had many hours of work put into it, and I am delighted with the result. There is a lot of texture in the paint, particularly in the silver of the jagged wind, and the oils have really lent themselves to the movement and texture of the grass and leaves and some of the clouds. If you click on each image you can see far more of the detail in the pictures. There are a lot of colours even with the limitations of the palette, and a feeling of distance through the aspects of the wind and clouds. I love the bright red of the shadows of the foreground around the main figures, and the curvature of the Royal Crescent. There is a large Wow factor about the painting, for me, and its certainly a conversation piece pulling loved ones together. And I absolutely adore the wind! It's racing across the canvas, in a rush to be on its way.  The whole painting is a landscape, and a portrait, a surreal, spiritual, realistic, abstract painting that pulls a lot of my talents together to create something that is totally unique, and special for the people it is intended for.

The painting is entitled "David and Martyn at The Royal Crescent at Bath - past, present and future". And the photo here really doesn't do it justice, but whilst its drying and I can't move it upright for a better photo, this is the best I can do. But when you're standing infront of it, you can see the nuances of detail, the texture in the paint, the movement in the wind, the leaves as they whisk across the grass, the details in the faces of the people, and the animals, and the feel of the place depicted, and the Autumn day as the clouds scud across the sky.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Stroppy cow to the dogs bollocks

I love going to the different art workshops I attend regularly. I always go with a happy upbeat feeling, one of knowing that I shall be spending the time doing something I really love doing, being with my artist friends, and shall learn something useful along the way too. I arrived at the one at the weekend with that feeling. There weren't many of us there, only eight, and I knew all of them well from being in the same local art group. The male tutor didn't know any of us.

So, it was somewhat strange that within ten minutes of me walking through the door that I was spitting mad, in a stroppy mood, and marked down as a trouble maker as far as the tutor was concerned.

It happened innocently, as far as he was concerned, and ominously, as far as I was concerned.

We had all set up our places within the room, and since there were only eight of us there, and not the usual 20 or so, there was loads of place for us to work in and we could all have a double table, rather than one small one, which is sometimes the case, and which I always struggle with, as I like space around me, and enough workspace to work from.

Then, he wanted us to move to the front of the room, to two small semi circles of tables shoved up together, so that it would be easier for him to see what we were doing.  I think it was at that point that I got stroppy, not helped by the fact that two other women there started muttering under their breaths, too. I started to move my desk, then I thought "Sod it!" and moved back again. He didn't say anything, but I noticed he didn't make any eye contact with me for the next hour or so, and when I asked a question, he ignored me totally, much to the amusement of myself, and one other woman there who also noticed, who twinkled her eyes at me with a knowing grin. I continued with the session, and then the annoyance was compounded by the fact that he asked us all if we knew how to sharpen a pencil. I think I do, yesssssss. I said out loud at that point to someone else, out of hearing of the tutor "I think I'm in the wrong class". But I stuck with it, and knew the importance of getting a sharp point on a pencil, because otherwise how can you draw properly with it. But I didn't need to be shown it, which was the next step he went to as it was passed around the room for us to wonder and wow at. Oh dear, this is going to be hard going.....

I'm not sure at which point things started to change. Maybe it was when he asked the group what mediums we paint in, and I said with complete confidence "Oils, acrylics and watercolours", maybe it was when I told him about the large and important commission I'm doing of an oil painting, maybe it was the fact he realised I could draw when he saw what I did when he got us doing three ten minute drawings of  each other. He certainly stood behind me as I was drawing, and said "Perfect!" before moving on. Maybe it was when he saw how I could use watercolours too, to fill out one of the drawings into bright colour. Maybe it was when he said to me when he watched me painting "I've never met an oil painter who could understand how to paint wet-in-wet in watercolours before!" and I said ""Well you have now"" and one of the other women there said to him about me "Well, she's clever!!!!". 

By the end of the session, he was a big fan of mine. Big! He loved my art, he loved the fact I did erotic art, he liked me as a person, and he was eager to see my website.  I shook his hand, with a smile, and thanked him for an informative and helpful workshop, as I gave him my business card and we said our goodbyes.

I'd really enjoyed it, particularly when he'd got us doing the three ten-minute poses as three of the group volunteered to sit and pose. Two of them sat in the chair when it was their turn, doing nothing more than a normal pose, but one did a pose with her head in her hands, her face looking down, and I loved it, and really enjoyed the drawing part, almost more than filling it with colour afterwards. I've missed it, and missed the way my pencil flew across the paper, making marks, drawing the bare outlines, then filling them out with more and more detail, my eyes following the lines infront of me, and copying them to the paper infront of me. I also liked the fact that with the other artwork he got us doing, after that, it was the expression and body language we were to draw as much as the person depicted. It was all most helpful and interesting to me as an artist and a person who likes people.


And the reason I wouldn't move? Not just because of the tightness of us all bunched up together, its because I'm too much of an artist to want to leave the light of a large sunlit window overlooking sun filled blossom trees, to move to a place in the room where the light was far dimmer. I'm like a moth, I need to be by the light.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Almost there

The response is good, the feedback positive. But it's not quite complete yet. A few more changes, and hopefully it will be finished then.

I always have mixed feelings about my art - I put as much as I can into it, of myself, invariably have positive feedback (actually, I can't remember when I last had negative feedback, other than someone being upset by their feelings over my Enigma painting because they didn't like the faces in it because of what it reminded them of - so, that doesn't count, as such..!). And then, when artist and client are happy, the painting goes to live with them. I always feel a little sad when it goes, but also am happy that it will give others happiness through viewing it, so it has to leave me, for that to happen. But then, I can look towards the next idea, the next painting, the next commission. And I am always excited at the prospect of that! 

But sometimes I see some of my paintings when I go to visit friends, and that is always nice for me too - like visiting old friends of my own! Twice this week, that has happened, and I like to see my art, and to hear from my friends how other people in their lives have looked at the paintings and been affected by them in a positive way. But art does speak to people, and I am always astounded when I hear someone say that they have never thought of art, or paintings, and don't have an interest in it. Surely, all of us have ONE painting that we want depicted, one thing that is the most special thing of all, to us, for us to look at daily, and get mental sustenance, inspiration, hope, happiness, pleasure, and a feeling of loving fulfillment from. It doesn't matter if that painting is a special place (whether its Naples, New England, Nagasaki or Nuneaton), thing (motorbikes, mangoes, military mustard pots or Ming vases), person (lover, lovers, loved, lost, or liked), or action (sky diving, skiiing, sailing the Seven Seas, sewing sequins, shampooing the cat), we all want something. I just want the opportunity to paint it for them.

I am pleased my contact in New Zealand is still interested in my career and where it is going. We spoke briefly this week on the phone, early morning for him, late night for me, catching up on each others lives. His affected stupendously recently by the earthquake there, and listening to his voice as he described it brought the enormity of it all into my life.  

Friends visiting last night were eager to see how the Royal Crescent at Bath painting had progressed since their last visit a fortnight ago. And I was more than happy to show them, although I explained it wasn't fully completed yet...

People come into my life, and some are affected hugely by my art. My life is my art. If I can affect them, through what I paint, I feel I have achieved part of my lifes plan. And, that's got to be a good thing, surely?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Wet anticipation

I worked hard on it yesterday, music blasting out to encourage me, as a last flourish after all the weeks of work I've already put into it, and I've done as much as I can of the Royal Crescent at Bath. I feel that it is finished. I've read through the two full pages of notes that I made from the Clients instructions, and I have abided by all of their requests. I look at the picture, and love it. But, until the Client is happy with it, its not done.....  and I won't sign it, that final finish to a painting, til then.

I am awaiting feedback from them, and can do no more til I have it.

Its been hard to take a photo of it for them though, to enable me to show them what it looks like, since it is a large painting, and currently lying flat whilst the sides of the oil painting dry out on the box canvas. Its hard to take a photo from far enough away to get it all within the image, and keep it as square to the photo as I can, so it can all be viewed in one go. But I have done the best I can, standing high above it, on a chair, with my arms high up in the air above my head, whilst leaning over the picture and trying to keep the angle horizontal, whilst not being able to see the image whilst I'm doing it! But one of the images is good enough to send them, with an accompanying letter explaining what is in the picture, and how it relates to the rest of the painting. 

So, I can't show you the full image here, because it may not be finished yet. But, I'll give you some little tasters so you can at least see bits of it.....  There's loads of colour within the picture, and my most favourite bit was the "wind" -which I did last for greater effect of the texture within it - I've painted it in silver oil paint mixed with some safflower oil to soften it and make it more fluid, using a palette knife to apply the paint in jagged shards to emulate the effect of a sharp wind on an Autumnal day.  That alone took two hours to do, to get it right. I even painted the wind going around the sides of the canvas as it disappears out of sight.  The rest of the picture is full of texture too, as the grass, and leaves blowing over it, are slabs of solid oil paint, applied flat but with a twist to show movement and form.

Its funny, this waiting time, when the client is full of excited anticipation of what the picture will be like, and the artist is full of a calm and controlled anticipation of hoping the client will like the picture.

I only get excited when the client says they love it.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Going up in the world

I had a real good painting session yesterday on the Royal Crescent of Bath painting that is my current commission. It's taking longer than a painting would normally do, but that's because of two reasons, which together make a larger practical problem. Firstly, its in oils, so its taking ages to dry between stages, and secondly, its a block canvas, which means that I can't keep it vertical AND stand it on a surface if all of the sides are wet with drying oil paint. So, you would think, put the canvas horizontal then, and that would be the logical answer. Except that's not how you paint pictures. If they are painted lying flat on a horizontal surface the verticals in the picture get lengthened to compensate the eye. Painting it on the vertical, or at least a strong diagonal will help to view it better for painting. But, a picture isn't viewed from close up, its viewed from a few feet away, so the artist should always stand back a bit every so often to make sure that it looks good still from that distance away, and that the tones are right, the shapes are right, there aren't too many "coincidences" (that's where things in the foreground fit exactly into something that is in the background, like if  a cloud shape is exactly the same shape of a tree its behind,  or if a house roof in the middle of the picture ends exactly where the horizon ends, that sort of thing) and that it just "feels right" to the artist.

So, all in all, the picture has to be painted vertical, and from a distance a way. And I can't do that, because of the wet paint.....

I'd done as much as I can, up until yesterday, and I stood contemplating the picture, with a mug of tea in my hand (one of my best thinking times, whilst drinking mugs of tea!!!) and I was itching to get on to the next stage, and knowing that it might be a week or more away before I could do anything whilst the paint dried. MMm..... that's not good enough, I want to paint it NOW, whilst the momentum is there, whilst I feel like doing it, whilst I'm in the floooooowwwww....

I know!

I've got an idea!!!!

The obvious one really!

And easily remedied...

....I'll stand on a chair, whilst the painting sits on my work surface on the flat, and I can both let all four of the sides dry, because they're not being affected, and see the whole of the painting from a distance, because I was far enough above it, to see the whole picture from a distance of four feet or so away. YAY! Ingenious!

And because I was in the flow, and able to carry on with my momentum, and was playing the right sort of rock and dance music that gets me going, the painting went well, the colours were right, the paint went on thick, and fast, and now has movement within it, with the texture as well as the flashes of colour put here and there.

Who'd have thought it! My best painting aid this week, was a chair!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Love it or hate it

I had a very pleasant visit to the area of Eton and Windsor over the weekend, staying with two good friends of mine, and on Sunday morning made a visit to the main interest. That castle, the one that overlooks the surrounding countryside so solidly and stands so majestically and beautifully. It's been a great number of years since I was last at Windsor, or its castle, and thoroughly enjoyed being a tourist for a couple of hours, in the spring sunshine, and wandering around the town. Shops have come and gone, as they do in ensuing years, and my man and I wandered around with no particular plan, down one road here, along a side street, turn left or right as the fancy took us. And then as we passed an expensive looking gallery, he asked me if I wanted to go in? Yes, I'd like that. We walked in, as visitors, nothing to show to anyone that we were any different to any other visitor. We both looked at the art, not together particularly, just looking at the paintings in our own time. The girl who worked there did what gallery staff should do, and made full eye contact, smiled, and asked if there was anything in particular that we liked. I smiled at her, and nodded at a painting infront of me, and said evenly "What happened to her arm?" and she followed my gaze and said equally evenly "That's how the artist wanted to depict it". I frowned slightly and asked "Why?" then went on to say what a fabulously painted picture it was, I am an artist and can see how much work has gone into it, I admired the image of the girl sitting in the chair, the setting, the representational painting that was virtually a photograph, but the wrist of the girl was all wrong, infact I had presumed the model was deformed to start with, with an amputation, since the wrist literally looked like it had been cut off just above the hand. Bearing in mind the rest of the picture was astonishingly correct in its depiction, even down to the patterning in the carpet, why indeed had the artist been so negligent in painting her hand and wrist? I know if I were to buy the painting even at the high price that it was, that it would annoy me for ever more, since I'd always be looking at the fault within the painting.

The gallery girl and I chatted, she was friendly, and nice, and easy to talk to. They had some Rolf Harris paintings there too, and I admired two of them, particularly one of a Venetian canal, full of light and colour, veridian and lime green and reds all full of contrast and life. And then I looked at the two tiger paintings that were also his, and couldn't understand that they were even the same artist. They looked heavy and wooden in comparison. What had gone wrong there? I'm not overly critical of artwork, I know if I like it or not, and can tell if its captured the ambiance or not of the subject, whether a famous artist has painted it or an amateur. But, I do have to wonder, at a big gallery like that one (one of a well known chain) showing work like that. For those prices I'd want something closer to perfection, no matter who has painted it. And certainly if I was a buyer I would too!!!!!

I was pleased though, that as we talked, the gallery girl listened to what I was talking about, about speculative art, and framing, and making your life as an artist, and made the comment "You seem to understand as much about the financial side of art as the art" and I agreed that I needed to. That it is as important as the painting of pictures for me. I am in the business of selling my paintings, so I have to be. And I know that you can't say what is THE best painting, because anyone would argue with you, as they would prefer their own favourite against yours, because they had seen and picked up on something that you hadn't. And that is because brains are wired up differently and react in diverse ways to various stimuli.

So perhaps, its a wonder that any artwork makes the connection then, between artist and buyer. I know I am always absolutely delighted when someone says "I love it!" about a painting of mine that they have bought. And know then, that I have got it right. That connection.  And that's what its all about!!!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Explanations and updates

New friends came to visit last night to have a drink with me and my man and chat about life, generalities, specifics, people, work, families, hobbies, and all other diverse subjects, and have a bit of a laugh as well, as is usually a case of a social visit. They hadn't been to my house before, but they did know I am an artist and about the piece of art I am currently working on.   So, it was nice when they sat in my lounge, drinks in hand, and he immediately commented on my art hanging on the walls. Most of them are landscapes of one sort or another, although a couple of them are somewhat surreal. He really loved them, and said how talented I was which was very kind of him, and went on to say that his father is a watercolourist, so that made the compliment even more of one, if he had some understanding of the technicalities of painting. His favourite picture in the room was "Midnight Blue" as shown here, and he said he really loved the deep blue of the sky in it, and he nodded in smiling agreement when I said that I wanted to depict the feeling of a couple going out for a drink in Venice, and almost being able to hear the muted sound of music coming from a bar nearby (as in any music, not the one with Julie Andrews, nuns, jack boots and the goats!).

 I indicated one of my favourite pictures - Enigma -  the one of faces on a black stormy background and asked them both what they could see in it. They both looked at it, from a distance, and shrugged, as they couldn't see anything, then she said an interesting thing. She said "She's a lighthouse, and its a sea picture". I looked over to it, and tried to see what she was seeing. He could only see the faces he said. and she replied "You've got to look deeper than that, beyond the surface..." And went on to explain that the woman with the brightest face at the bottom is a lighthouse, and the others are lost at sea, and she's leading them back. Wow! I'd never looked at it like that before. And that is why I love this picture, because other people see such diverse things within the art. Things that I never intended, but they see them as clear as anything. How wonderful!!!

We spent a pleasant evening, and it was only after they were about to go when she said "I want to see the picture!!!!" and I knew she meant the one I'm currently working on - of the Royal Crescent in Bath with the spiritual, surreal, abstracty feel to it, and limited colour scheme. I took her to my studio and she and he stood before the picture, and the smell of oils and turps filled their nostrils as the room is rank with it. They stood in quiet contemplation of it, as I explained the thoughts behind it, whilst trying to keep my fingers off it, as its still wet and drying slowly, as oils do. They loved it, and could see how it was evolving, and how the picture is developing. I need to make it more dramatic though, and lighten the whites, and darken the darks. It also needs more movement within the picture, as it is depicting a windy day, and it needs more leaves blowing around in it, and more depth of interest in the grassy areas. But, I'm really pleased with the way its going. It's just that I can't work on it as fast as I'd like, as I have to wait for bits to dry before I can work on the next stage. Not helped by the fact that it's a block canvas and each of the four sides have to be painted as confidently and completely as the front of it. But, I think its going to be a good one.... its going that way!