Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Good Days and Bad days

Hello,  sorry I have been so busy recently that I haven't blogged.  One of the reasons for being busy is my new beginners course on a Saturday afternoon.    I am so pleased with the work the students are producing ,  they are very quick learners. Below are some of their work,  first their tonal drawings in charcoal and chalk.

Then their first painting experience doing a silhouette 

 They are a small group,  which is very good for them as they are moving forward very quickly. But this is an example of  what is causing my current frustration.  Summers are not good for me, people don;t book courses in the summer.  My regular teaching is very quiet at the moment,  students have become very unreliable and I have had to start charging them when they don't turn up,  something I don't like doing.  This was pushed by students purchasing a 10 ticket ( if they bought ten in advance they got a discount) and they going on extended holidays ( in one case 3 months) and expecting to still have the place kept available to them!  Also people just don't turn up as they have other summer plans like gardening.  I sympathise as I want to be in my garden to,  but I have a business to run and a minimum amount I have to take each week, just to stay where I am.  You would think that would free me up to paint for myself but in fact it is not,  I still have to run the sessions whether 8 turn up or only 1. Footfall at the centre is also very low as well at the moment, so the frustration of only just covering bills and of not having time to paint is taking it tole a bit and I am looking to see how I can redress the balance to allow me to still teach but perhaps not as much, so my time can be free'd up to develop my painting more

Sorry Thats all very miserable and negative.

 On a more positive note,  My new work is selling quite well at the moment.  This one sold and I have just mounted it for its new owner to be able to pick it up on Saturday.

I also have learnt a lot this week about acrylic paper.  I have been practicing my new style on pieces of mount  board. I love the way I can drip and blend colour washes and glazes.  But I thought as they were selling maybe I should start using more serious Paper ( not that mount board is a problem,  I do know artists that use it a lot ).  I did use a canvas covered board as it was a bigger painting  and I needed a firmer structure behind it,  but the board are thick and difficult to frame,  so I decided to try the acrylic paper, I have used in the past.  I discovered why I had never really got on with acrylics before...  I really dislike the paper!   I just couldn't get the effect I was looking for.  i photographed it to show you.

The painting above is acylic paper and the one below is mount board.  They are at similar stages ( apart from I forgot to photograph before I added my dark tones on the one below)  But you can see how solid the colour is on the paper an how the drips don't have any definition.  I used the same colour and strength on both,  but I didn't get that lovely glaze effect, that I am starting to enjoy .  It is a watercolour technique,  but unlike watercolours it gives me a more solid base, after the paint dries as it can't be disturbed by the next layer.

I threw the acrylic paper away,  but the board I continued with and this is the result.

Once I have measured it up and mounted it I will be putting it for sale in my re-opened Etsy  shop,  so watch out for it..  here

I will catch up again soon,

janice x


  1. Hi Janice - I feel your pain! I too struggle to find the time to do my work as I have a vile job where I have put in for voluntary redundancy! (will find out this week!). I agree that the acrylic paper is not great, except if you slap on colour quite thickly. I have found that if you prime thick card with a layer of emulsion, that this creates a good ground to work on. I have used mixed media in this way (ink, acrylic and pastels in one pic). Love your new pics by the way!

  2. Thanks Annabel, I have used emulsion, but I am told if you layer the paint on thick it will eventually sink and crack, i haven't had a painting do that myself but am always a bit wary and so use guesso

  3. Janice your new work is stunning, I can see why it is selling well. I too like to use acrylics like watercolour, but I find I lose some of the colour strength, which was frustrating me, but I see that yours was quite pastel-like in the first wash, so perhaps I just need to add more layers.

    Thanks for the tip on acrylic paper, I was looking at some in WHS yesterday (still got some of my son's school-issued reward tokens to spend from last summer) I'm glad I didn't buy it now.

    Sounds like you're starting to get your head around the teaching/painting balance thing. You can't please everyone all of the time, and surely they understand that you are running a business?


  4. I have acrylic paper too and do not get on with in. much prefer canvas. I have painted on mount before I still have two paintings in pristine condition that I painted in 1998.

    With regards to your lessons in good weather why not arrange a field trip. Go and paint out in nature, you may get more intrigue and people wanting to join your classes too.