Author Archive | Julian Lovegrove

Chasing The Light – It’s Exhibition time again at York Street, Ramsgate

Chasing the Light Exhibition Postcard

Every 2 years I have my own Exhibition at the prestigious York Street Gallery in Ramsgate.

This is my 3rd showing here and my work has really changed since the last time, so everything you see will be spanking new and fresh.  How exciting is that? So what’s changed I hear you ask?

Well – in previous exhibitions I was working in traditional Watercolour, sometimes with an Indian Ink drawing, and also using Acrylics, for a bright illustrative way of working. More recently I have been working mainly in Oils, and have really grown to love the way they work, when painting out in the field, ‘en plein air’ or Al Fresco as some prefer to call it.

Painting in my garden

Painting in my garden

I have always liked to work out of doors directly from nature, with the changing weather, clouds always on the move, bugs sticking in the paint, sudden showers of rain or wind to blow everything away, or cover it all with sand when working on the beach. I have painted in muddy fields, boatyards, river banks, industrial sites, mountainsides, when the mists descend and blank everything out, town centres, with their noise and traffic, on beaches with an incoming tide, in the cold of winter wearing my thermals, and the heat of summer beneath the sun cream and a broad brimmed hat. When working out of doors I am completely lost in another world, where time is unimportant, and the comments of passers by are shrugged off politely, until I am completely satisfied with my creation.

I am sure you will see all these elements in my work, and notice how different it is from the work of those who work indoors and rely on a photograph for their only reference.

Painting 'plein air' by Steven Alexander

Painting ‘plein air’ by Steven Alexander

Here is a painting of me working ‘en plein air’ by a friend, Steven Alexander, who is one of the Wapping Group of Artists, click on the photo for a biography.

So for an exhibition of mainly Oil Paintings created out of doors, plus a few watercolours and pen and watercolour drawings for those who like these best, remember: York Street Gallery, Ramsgate from 1pm 11th Oct to 12 noon on 18th Oct – For One Week Only! Miss it – and you have a 2 year wait!

If you really can’t get here – then second best is to look up my online shops either at Saatchi or at  Artfinder

They both have a good selection of my recent works.

Learning to Sketch?  – Don’t forget – If you would like to learn to sketch and draw you can get my FREE 10 Top Tips to get you started, by Clicking Here! 

Till the next time!

4 Days Painting in Cornwall – An adventure in wind and rain!

I recently took myself off to Cornwall for four days of painting ‘en plein air’.

Newlyn Harbour in the rain

Newlyn Harbour in the rain oil painting

The last time I painted there was many years ago, in Watercolours, so I decided as a change from my recent haunts, in Wexford, Ireland and the Norfolk Broads, to go back to Cornwall. My car was packed, with everything I needed and off I went to Penzance, a good base for west Cornwall, and its pretty little coves, fishing harbours, rocky coastlines, narrow roads, steep hills, and lovely hostelries.

The first morning was pouring with rain at Newlyn Harbour, so I found a little shelter and worked fast, beneath a clear umbrella, (used at weddings for the bride), so as not to cut out the light. I was in the newer part of the harbour where the large boats unload their catches, and refrigerated lorries are lined up ready to take the fresh fish onwards to the finest restaurants in the major cities. After a light lunch, I went a little way to Marazion, which overlooks St Michaels Mount. I painted the view from the beach using the sea wall for shelter from the wind. The sun had brightened up and before too long I had my second painting in the bag, actually on the floor of the car, under the front seat, where it can dry without being touched. The next day brought rain early morning, so I took the opportunity to see the excellent Stanhope Forbes exhibition at Penlee House Gallery. When I emerged full of inspiration, the sun had also emerged so I decided on a day at Mousehole (pron mousle). I set up on the pier and

Mousehole Harbour low tide

Mousehole Harbour low tide

started work and later was joined by a bus load of American artists and their American tutor, all doing watercolours. The afternoon brought continued good weather so I stayed and painted another oil of the outside of the harbour entrance and the rocks etc, with the afternoon sun on the water.

Later I went to the next cove, Lamorna, where Samuel John ‘Lamorna’ Birch RA, RWS, had lived and painted from 1892 onwards. I arrived in the pouring rain, and despite it being a lovely picturesque cove, at the end of a nightmare steep lane, with few passing places, it was quite dark and grey, so I called it a day and returned to Penzance.

The next day I was bound for The Lizard, England’s most southerly point. Hooray it was bright and dry, as I walked down to the Lizard point, with it’s rocky coast and abandoned lifeboat station and ramp, I picked up the South West coast path, and the strong winds which are usual for this coast, eventually I found a bush to hide from the wind with a view of the Man O’ War rocks, and managed an 8″ x 16″ oil painting. Lunch was with a cousin I hadn’t seen for many years, and afterwards I tackled Cadgwith Cove, which was more sheltered. A beautiful place with its own fishing fleet, duly captured on board size: 12″ x 17″, again working under the umbrella at times.

Cadgwith Cove fishing fleet

Cadgwith Cove fishing fleet

The next day I drove to the north coast at the Levant mine, where I would have liked to capture the old steam engine chimneys, dotted along the rocky coast, but the wind was approaching gale force now so I ventured up the coast road near Zennor, and stopped to do a painting, sitting in the car, which was rocking in the wind, I did manage to capture the coastal view in front of me with some success. Then on to St Ives for lunch and afterwards to Portreath, where the winds were still very strong and the RNLI were patrolling the red flagged beach. I did manage an indian ink drawing of the view before me with some interesting rock strata patterns etc. Before my journey home the next day, I managed a stop at St Mawes, on the Roseland Peninsular and

St Mawes Harbour

St Mawes Harbour

began an oil painting of the harbour area, but after about an hour or so along came the rain, so it was time to pack up and return home, and finish this in the studio. I hope you enjoy these paintings, which are all available and will be put in my online Artfinder shop after drying and varnishing. To be kept up to date with future posts, click on the box below, or this photo, and enter your e-mail address.

Next Time – My 3rd Solo Exhibition in Ramsgate, Kent

Chasing the Light‘  Not to be missed!

News from the Studio – It’s Summer, so it’s Holiday time!

Claude Monet painting from his boat, by E Manet 1874

Claude Monet painting from his boat, by E Manet 1874

Yes for many busy families it is time to get away for a week or two, somewhere hot maybe?

For this busy Artist though it’s time to assess what has been happening. OK so in recent weeks I have had works in a few exhibitions, in Whitstable, Herne Bay, Broadstairs and Margate and shortly in Ramsgate.

The Open Studio season is now over, and the Art on The Railings exhibitions are finished, here where I live and paint, so it is time to put things away and get back to some normality again in the studio. So what am I up to right now. I will shortly be giving an Oil painting workshop to some beginners in oils, that requires some pre-planning.  I’m also giving a course on Learning to Sketch, in six sessions starting in October, this is the third presentation of this course, so with some careful thought and a few fresh ideas, I’m rather looking forward to it this year.

My next exhibition in Ramsgate is with ‘Thanet Plein-Air Painters’ a small group of local artists who go out in varying weather conditions to capture the best of what our area has to offer. Full details are here

Lamorna Cove Cornwall

Lamorna Cove Cornwall  (courtesy of P Streeter, www.burnttoastcottage.com )

I’m then popping down to Cornwall for 4 days of painting at Newlyn, Lamorna Cove and the Lizard, and on my return it’s back to framing, labelling, mounting and varnishing works for my 3rd Solo Exhibition at York Street Gallery in Ramsgate. So no holiday for me, but I’m doing what I love to do, and that’s nearly as good. Click on the photo for a great place to stay in Cornwall!

Painting a Series  For a number of years I have wanted to paint a series of works with a single theme, much like Claude Monet, with his series of works based on Rouen Cathedral, Water lilies, or his Haystacks series. In the past I have started by painting one or two, but I never persevered so the series never really developed. Well this year I have fared a little better starting with a Sunset series of 8 and a gardens series of 10 so far.

Painting in my garden

Painting in my garden

Here is a picture of me painting in my own garden. I invited some friends over to join me and some excellent work was created. I hope this will become an annual event in our local Art Group calendar.

These series paintings are certainly nowhere near Monet’s standard of work, but I’m glad I have made a start. Onwards and Upwards as they say!

If you’d like to learn how to sketch, from the beginning, click on the garden photo or fill in the details below.

Till the next time, make the most of this good weather!

Learn to Sketch 1 – Getting started – Acquiring the sketchbook habit

” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”  (Laozi c 604 bc).

egg cup on a white plate pencil sketch

egg cup on a white plate pencil sketch

What an inspired thought. It still applies for all journeys, especially for those people starting out on a journey to acquire valuable skills.

Getting Started : Easy things first, you will need two pencils, (a 2b and 4b preferably) and a cheap sketchbook, I pay £1 at our local garden centre. Aren’t you glad you didn’t choose to learn the violin!

Now you need to start filling up that sketchbook, to get rid of those horrid blank white pages! My motto is

“Little and Often” ie: sketching for 15 minutes a day each day, is much more useful than say one two hour session at the end of the week. You’ll quickly start to enjoy it, even if your sketches are rubbish, it’s very theraputic. Several quick sketches are better than one detailed drawing. – Remember – you don’t need to show anyone else, at this stage, your sketch book is your own personal space. Sketch anything, I mean anything, look at the main shapes and angles, sketch them out, then look at them some more, can you see errors in your first attempt? Good, now have another go! If it is a little better, well done, you are learning to look, look again, and really look again, and check your shapes and angles, again, and have another go. Your neighbours are so glad you didn’t choose that violin!

Sketching with a pen

Sketching with a pen

Remember sketch anything, open your kitchen drawer of cooking utensils, large spoons, nutcrackers, cheese graters, corkscrews, table napkins, mats, trays, napkin rings, and when they are all sketched, try the odds and ends drawer, elastic bands, paper clips, sellotape rolls, scissors, penknife, old phone chargers, electric plugs, then on to saucepans, toasters, staplers, ok, I think you’ve got the message. The worst drawing – is NO drawing! 

How are you doing? Is that first sketchbook full yet. Write the start and finish dates on the covers, and when it is complete, glance back to the beginning, can you see a glimmer of improvement? Don’t fret if you cant yet, it may take a couple more sketchbooks to see real improvements. OK, keep going, by now you know exactly what to do, I never said it would be quick or easy! and don’t believe anyone who does! I know from my own experience, that with application and the will to succeed, everyone is capable of learning to draw well in good time.

sketch of old boots

sketch of old boots

Next time – when you have filled up your first sketchbook, you’ll be ready for some tips and suggestions to help you improve still further.

So for now – Happy Sketching!

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Is this the long hot Summer? – Learn to Paint a Sunset!

Summer:  As a keen ‘plein air artist’ working out of doors in ‘almost’ all weathers, I dream about the possibility of a long hot summer, when I can go out painting as often as possible.

My first Sunset in oils

My first Sunset in oils.  

So when it does arrive, I do my utmost to get out there and paint, most days, and re-schedule other things, for the evenings or for overcast days, when the colours of nature are muted and subdued.

So, is this the long hot summer? Will it continue into September?  I’m on a roll this year, having completed 90 paintings so far in 2017. A record for me, and what’s best of all, I’m pleased with my progress, and can see some signs of improvement in my work.

Sunsets: This year I discovered that summer sunsets are great to paint. They are not for the faint-hearted, after all, you are trying to capture rapidly changing light conditions. But you know me, I thrive on difficulties, so trying to learn how to capture a sunset as it happens is well worth the effort. Certainly they are all different and unique. Their ‘characters’ are changed by the clouds, the breeze, the time of the sunset, currently about 8.45pm where I live.  It is impossible to predict what might happen, but that is exactly what you need to do in order to prepare the board or canvas.

Sunset at Margate in Oils

Sunset at Margate in Oils

Having prepared by putting in the cloud formations and guessing how light or dark it will be at the optimum point, when it starts to happen things change very quickly, and there’s no time to mix colours, so several brushes need to be used, one for light colours, one for darks, one for the orange and reds, etc, and even then as it happens, you realise how wrong you were at the beginning, but you can’t start to chase it, you’ll ruin it all, so you then have to commit what you have just witnessed to memory, and try to finish off from memory, in the darkening light conditions.

Needless to say, if there are three artists all painting the same sunset, they will all look different in the morning, in the fresh light of a new day. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go, take a jumper, and a flask of  hot coffee.

sunset and vapour trails

Sunset and vapour trails

I am still an early learner with sunsets, so here are three of them!

If you enjoy these ‘Studio Stories’ please tell your friends and share on social media. By clicking on the last two sunset photos, you will be taken to larger images and full details plus lots of other recent work in my online galleries.

Till the next time!

 

How to brighten up your life or home – Visit an Artist in their Studio?

Yes I mean it, a simple visit to see an artist in their studio, may just change your life in a good way!

thanet open studios 2017

Think about it, most artists spend their life creating original one off pieces which rarely see the light of day in a public place or gallery. So unless you are a keen Art Buyer, Collector or Gallery Proprietor, you will never see probably 95% of all the work created.

So how to get to see it? and will it be to your taste anyway? – Well you’ll never know unless you go looking for it.

A really interesting way to see some of these creations is to meet up with the artists in their own studios. There you can see what they do, how they work, they may have works in progress on the easel, if you wish, you may have a chat with the artist, and find out ‘what makes them tick’ – You can bet that their lifestyle is quite different from yours! So what inspires them? how do they get ideas? In how many other walks of life can this happen?

I’ve never seen an opportunity to meet one on one, with professional actors, or singers, or musicians, or even accountants for that matter, in their own environment. So for a unique experience – You know what to do, – go and visit an artist on Open Studio day.

a corner of my studio

a corner of my studio

It just so happens, I am opening my studio along with 30+ other local artists on the last three weekends in August, from 10am to 4pm each day ie: 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th and 28th Bank Holiday Monday.

Here is a sneak preview of works on the easel!

In addition I have invited my artist friends to come and paint in the garden on Saturday 26th August, so do come and say hi, we don’t bite! We’d love to see you.

The Address: 21 Seafield Road, Broadstairs, CT10 2DD

So what was that I said at the beginning about brightening up your life or home? Ah yes – well you may just see a little gem that reminds you of something good, or someone special – and studio prices are usually less than gallery prices – as there is no commission to pay. A win win situation in my books!

 

Painting in my garden

Painting in my garden

How to sell your art online? 10 things you need to get right!

How to sell your art online?

Mountcutting

Mountcutting

Several years ago I decided not to try and get my works accepted by traditional galleries, but instead to try and sell them myself, directly, via online shops. This means I retain full control over each sale, including customer communications, the standard of mounting and framing, if applicable, the careful wrapping and safety of each consignment, and the settlement of any issues or problems which may arise.

Over the years, I have spoken to many artists, who have experienced problems with galleries who let them down, failing to sell their works or failing to return them, after the agreed term.  Galleries which closed and shut up shop, without notice, or who damaged re-painted or removed the frames. Not passing on the buyers details, and discouraging any direct communication  between artist and buyer. For reasons like these, many artists choose not to approach galleries.  That’s when they ask me “Q How should I sell my art online?”

There are at least 10 things you need to get right!

Chasing the Light Exhibition Postcard

Chasing the Light Exhibition Postcard

It is going to be a steep learning curve, so here goes:

  1. Choose an online shop gallery with care, compare charging structures etc,
  2. Learn to take high definition photos including, close ups, in frames, in home settings etc, and edit and correct the colour balance saturation etc.
  3. Learn how to present the works, thank you letters, certificates of authenticity, cellophane wrapping, cutting single and double mounts
  4. Wrapping and protecting the works, choosing delivery options, couriers, postal services, Insurance etc
  5. Creating a table of post, packing and insurance charges for each size or type of work.
  6. Deciding on standards of after sales service, how to respond if a customer wishes to return their work
  7. How to present yourself, your artist statement, your story, within the confines of your chosen shop.
  8. Decide on a pricing structure, who is your target customer?
  9. How will you market your online presence? Using Social Media? Create your own website & Blog?
  10. Choosing a mailing service for Newsletters, RSS feeds for your Blog, Build a mailing list.

OK so you’re thinking – Do I really have to do all that?

Well now you are starting to understand why many artists struggle to earn a decent living. By the time the sales and marketing is sorted, there’s little time left for creating original art.

I once read that the American artist Mark Rothko spent 5 days a week on marketing, and only 2 days in the studio? 

So now you know what to do – Take the time to learn how to sell your art yourself, or find a gallery who are willing to do it for you ! Not an easy choice to make!

Where to find my best Paintings? My best kept secret Uncovered!

Receeding Tide, Margate

Receding Tide, Margate Oil Painting

Hello again, Yes I’m often asked this question and I hand out my card so people can look up my web site and see my latest work. But there’s a catch!

When the weather is good I spend as much time as possible out doors in my ‘plein air’ studio – painting for all I’m worth! Why? Because like any crafts person I’m on a journey, of discovery, of learning, of improvement.

Updating my web site and writing blog posts, has to be done on rainy or cold days, or at night when it’s too dark to paint. But when I finish a painting the first thing I do is take high resolution photographs of it and put it in one of my online shops. So here is the Secret: To see my latest and best works – visit my shops online – You have a choice of two: Artfinder   click here  or Saatchi  click here

Now – about that journey of discovery, – The best way to learn is to practice, a lot, because the more practice you do the better you’ll get, bit by bit, little by little.

Sunset at Margate in Oils

Sunset at Margate in Oils

Think of the musician learning to play the piano or the violin, the same rules apply. Some used to say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient in music, to play with an ensemble or an orchestra for example. So if you are only practicing for say 2 hours a week, it’s going to take you 96 years, to get there, providing you don’t have a holiday, or illness etc, or you don’t waste time by not having a good teacher or mentor.

Don’t let me deter you from your chosen challenge, but if you intend to succeed at it, you need to put in the hours. There are no short cuts, but there are rewards, even if they are internal, ie inner satisfaction, the pleasure of achieving a valuable skill, etc. etc. So do keep at it – Remember that three years at art college, plus many hours of homework etc is an excellent start to a career, but if you didn’t go to college, like me, we have to work even more, to get to where we would like to be. Q Do you know where you would like to be on this journey?

– The subject of a future post!  Thanks for reading.

Roald Dahl said: Lukewarm is no good! – Go at it Full Speed, with both arms, become passionate about it!

 

OK So It’s exhibition season again! What are you hoping to see?

Three Points of View Exhibition in Margate

Three Points of View Exhibition in Margate

It’s exhibition time again! When we like to get out and about mixing it up at Exhibition Previews, meeting the artists and seeing what’s new!

My first exhibition this year starts on Monday 3rd April for one week only. I am sharing with a couple of exciting local artists, Gesina Triggs and Vivien Barr. We all work in completely different ways and are each inspired by different things, so the result is an excitingly varied exhibition with surprises round every corner.

It’s our first time together at The King Street Gallery in the heart of Margate’s Old Town. We chose them for their friendly welcoming nature and their cafe which provides homemade cakes and light lunches. The Gallery works hard to support and give training for disadvantaged people, so please do call in and meet everyone. Open 10 – 4pm daily except Sunday. Postcode: CT9 1DD

Do you have a favourite Gallery? One which changes exhibitions weekly, are you drawn by the Artworks, or the people who visit, or the proprietors? or the wine and cake? I always like a gallery where I can meet and chat to everyone there, especially if the Artists are present. Previews or as they are sometimes called, Private Views, are especially good places to meet and chat. They are of course usually, anything but Private – so turn up and enjoy a glass of plonk an interesting conversation, oh yes, and especially the art on show. You never know who you will meet!

Receeding Tide, Margate

Receding Tide, Margate Oil Painting

Here is a recent Oil Painting of the Receding Tide at Margate Harbour. This will be on show at our King Street Gallery exhibition mentioned above.  To see more recent works here is my gallery at Saatchi Art

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I wish I could Draw or Paint! How many times have I heard this?

How to learn to Draw and Paint

How to learn to Draw and Paint

Yes – I probably hear this more than anything else. The correct reply should be – If you really wanted to, you could learn to do it.  I mean that – I sincerely believe everyone can do it If they really want to.

Forget the books and the Dvd’s, of the ‘Get Drawing and Sketching like a Pro in 15 Minutes’  variety, or the ‘Six Easy Steps to Paint like an Old Master’. They are not going to help you. If you really want to learn, give all those books and Dvd’s away and get yourself a cheap sketchbook and a couple of pencils. That’s it, they shouldn’t cost more than £2 and you are on your way. Teach yourself, by regular practice, I mean it, It’s a numbers game! The more you do, the better you’ll get, repeat after me, The more you do, the better you’ll get.

The person who can’t learn like this hasn’t been born yet. Artists are not ‘born with a gift’and none of them achieved success, without plenty of failures. Chris Eubank, the professional boxer, said recently “I lost more matches than I won” – meaning that his failures were more frequent than his successes. Now I know we couldn’t all become professional boxers, I certainly don’t have the physique or the courage, but I do know that ‘fear of failure’ is the most common impediment to learning a skill like drawing or painting.

Sketching with a pen

Sketching with a pen

So we need to Celebrate Failures, after all, the more failures we have, the closer we are to being successful. We need to learn to ‘Fail to Succeed!’ One way to learn any creative skill, is to Experiment, try a new method, a new medium, try a subject you’ve not sketched before, if you are no good at buildings, sketch buildings, more buildings, and more buildings, until one day you will notice that they no longer seem to be impossibly difficult. I did this with my Trees, I could not draw trees, so I gave myself a year to draw and paint trees, trees and yet more trees. By learning this way, you will acquire ‘a habit of sketching’, call it an addiction if you prefer. This is vital for your future success rate, because like a BOGOF deal, the better your drawing and sketching, the more successful your paintings will become.  I speak from experience here – you won’t find this advice in any book or Dvd.

So let’s summarize:-

1) Get a sketchbook and pencils,

2) Use it daily – the more you do the better you’ll get,

3)  Celebrate failure, it’s your journey to future success,

4) Experiment and try difficult mediums and subjects, come out of your comfort zone,

5) Get the BOGOF (buy one get one free) deal – as your drawing improves, so does your painting,

6) Contact me in a year’s time with your experiences, failures and successes and tell me if I was right

7) You may find my 10 Top Tips Learning to Draw helpful, luckily they are FREE if you put your e-mail address in the box nearby or click here.