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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!

 

What do Artists do all day?

painting a still life

painting a still life

Hello again,

While it’s cold and windy outside, it is a good time to review my activity last year and to make plans for the year ahead. In 2016 I painted just over 100 works mainly in oils, ‘en plein air’ but a few large (1/2 imperial sheet size) watercolours, just to keep my hand in.

I travelled to Wexford, Ireland again in late July for Art in The Open which is 150 approx. artists, amateur and professional, working together in picturesque locations, with prizes awarded for the best work, and demonstrations and workshops available if required. Best of all, the Irish know how to enjoy their evenings, and a BBQ and several impromptu social gatherings were also enjoyed.

In August I opened my studio, and welcomed many visitors to see where I work, when at home, and displayed over 100 paintings framed and unframed, so plenty of variety and choice. I enjoy the chance to meet up with fellow artists and enthusiasts, and to chat about everything art related and otherwise.

In September I travelled to the Norfolk Broads, for four days of painting in the glorious lakeside scenery they have to offer. This was about 80 artists, and it’s now the 3rd time I have attended this most enjoyable event.

painting of boats at Broadstairs

painting of boats at Broadstairs

Now for 2017 I am considering a week long trip to Cornwall as it is many years since I have painted in Cornwall, and I just love their small quaint seaside harbours and villages, and rocky headlands. I like to paint where the Newlyn and St Ives school artists used to paint, at the Lizard, Kynance Cove, Sennen, Lamorna, Newlyn harbour, etc.  I’d also like to paint somewhere warmer this year, if finances allow. In between these visits are day trips to London, and west Kent and Sussex for changes of scenery, urban views, or an abundance of trees and Oast Houses, and rolling downs.

 

 

painting of boats at Queenborough, Sheppey

painting of boats at Queenborough, Sheppey

I also plan on painting more frequently in 2017 and hope to achieve 200 approx. fresh works.

In between painting trips, there are Exhibitions in Margate in April Three Points of View, with two artist friends, in Whitstable in June with Locus Arts, in Margate in July with Broadstairs Arts Group, at home in Broadstairs in August with my Open Studio and in Ramsgate in October for my 3rd Solo Exhibition at York Street Gallery

I also help with a Sketch Group, in Ramsgate encouraging people to sketch regularly, and I also help create a programme of plein air paint outs in and around Thanet, and East Kent in the Summer. In the Autumn I’ll present another six session sketching course for begginers in Ramsgate. I’ve forgotten to mention framing, mount cutting, cellophane wrapping, certificates to be produced etc, and posting off sold works. Last but not least – writing occasional blog posts.

Busy? Yes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Meet up with your favourite artist in 2017

This is my New Year’s resolution! It could be yours as well?

using watercolour last summer

using watercolour last summer

What do we gain from meeting Artists? –

  1. Some insight into the way they work,
  2. We can learn what motivates artists to keep creating,
  3. We can discover what it is we especially like about their works,
  4. We can get a glimpse of their lifestyle and how far they have to travel, to gather ideas for future works,
  5. We can establish a rapport with the artist,
  6. We may decide to start a collection of their work,
  7. We can learn about some of their techniques,
  8. We can perhaps improve our own creativity as a result.

I hope to do all these things over the coming months with my favourite artists.

I will meet them at their Exhibition Previews, where they are happy to discuss their work, I will visit them in their studios, during an Open Studio Event, I will see their work on Facebook, Instagram and other social media, and LIKE and SHARE their work to my friends. More importantly when I see work I really like, I will leave positive comments, and perhaps visit their web sites and online shops. I also watch their You Tube videos, I have learnt so much from these, especially online demonstrations.

As a result, wherever I go people come up to me and say “Oh I know you, we’re Facebook friends”.

So in 2017 – Go and Meet your favourite artists! Enjoy!

 

 

A Quick and Simple way to Unlock your Creativity

OK – You can start with a £1 sketch book and a 4b pencil.

Yes that’s it, starting on the path to learn a new and valuable skill, can be Quick and Simple!

Sketching with a pen

Sketching with a pen

Unlike other skills such as music, you don’t need to start with a one to one tutor, or even an art class. You can start like I did, with a cheap sketchbook and a pencil. You will need to get into the habit of carrying it with you always, so you can sketch anything you like, in all those brief moments between meetings, while waiting for a bus, waiting for people, just sitting at home in your lounge, there are a thousand items to sketch, without leaving your sofa. A small A6 sized sketchbook will fit in your pocket and will hardly be noticed in a cafe or on the train. Do you get what I’m saying.

Of course, once you do acquire the sketching habit, you will naturally want to learn more techniques and get some useful tips. You will also notice quite quickly that by really looking at things properly, like an artist does, your friends will start to admire your work, and wonder “where that skill came from”. No longer will you have to hide your sketchbooks for fear of ridicule. I’m deadly serious here – your life will improve through the unlocking of your own creativity. This is exactly how I learnt to Draw and went on to Sell my Paintings.  So what if I said you can have my Ten Top Tips – Learning to Draw for FREE – does that sound good! OK! Click Here  or in the box below to get the Pdf file link, so you can save or print it.

News from the Studio

I have become an art teacher!  Did I hear you gasp? Well I recently planned and delivered my first Six Session Course on How to Draw – from the beginning! I received thirty five applications for twelve places.

I was never a ‘teacher’ in my earlier ‘pre artist’ life, but of course I have always enjoyed helping and encouraging people to achieve what they thought impossible and so I suppose the planning and presentation were not new to me.

I am delighted that my students wanted to be shown where to start on the path of learning to draw, and that they listened carefully and responded well to my suggestions and tips, so that when the six sessions ended and we looked back through our sketchbooks, everyone had made real improvements and they could clearly see their own progress.

I think I learned as much as they did and I now know how to structure my next course which will be designed to take them to the next level. Watch this space.

Al Fresco – En Plein Air – Urban Sketching – What is this all about?

Regular readers will know that I am never happier than when sitting in the corner of a muddy field or boatyard and sketching or painting from nature, especially if the weather is warm and dry. Some call it Al Fresco, others En Plein Air, and Urban sketching is the newest and latest trend, with groups forming up in big cities and smaller towns all over the world. I recently joined in with the Urban Sketchers Canterbury having found them on Facebook, and even a bitterly cold wind didn’t stop about 40 people turning up and sketching in and around Dane John Park for 2 hours, ending in a local pub to exchange banter and sketchbooks with an occasional drink to keep out the cold. Most enjoyable, and a lovely way to improve your sketching skills. If you put ‘Urban Sketchers’ into Google, you’ll get the idea.

I'm happy when painting

I’m happy when painting

This leads me on to my next challenge. I have been asked to plan a series of Al Fresco painting days for our local Art Society. I decided to go one step further and open it up to anyone who would like to try painting or drawing out of doors on warm and dry days. It starts on 19th May and continues on most Thursday’s until early September.  I prefer to start about 9.30 – 10 am and to reward my ‘hard work’ with coffee or food afterwards, usually about lunchtime. I can’t attend all venues, but others will. Remember this is a self-help group, with no formal leadership or tuition, just a group of friendly people who prefer to work out doors from nature, in good company. You are also invited to visit and join in the conversation in our Facebook Group:  KENT PLEIN AIR PAINTERS.  where all the dates and venues are to be found.

If you live in East Kent and want to improve your sketching or painting – you know what to do!

Learn to Draw – In easy steps – To impress your friends!

Would you like to learn how to improve your drawing skills?

Shoppers and visitors in Westgate Canterbury

Shoppers and visitors in Westgate Canterbury

I taught myself how to draw, many years ago after realising that my paintings were not improving.

You see, – I had no real urge to draw but just wanted to paint and I was in a hurry!

Does this ring a bell with you?  So I got myself a sketchbook and some pencils and did a little each day, but no more than one and a half hours a week. and it cost me less than £5 to get started.

Looking back now and seeing how popular my paintings have become, I thought it was time to pass on my knowledge so I began to teach small groups at a time, and to help people struggling with various local art projects.

As a result, I produced a FREE document,  “MY 10 TOP TIPS – Learning to Draw”

Have you read it? It is designed to help get you started in the right direction and to get in the habit of drawing ‘little and often’. exactly how I learned. If you complete the box below or in the right column, I’ll send you the link to print off a copy. You will also receive future news about this subject and details of an on line course and You Tube Videos which are planned and coming shortly.

A page from my sketchbook

A page from my sketchbook

Regular readers will wonder where I’ve been, since I last wrote in mid October, Sorry! At least you know I won’t bombard you with too many updates, and I’m happy to hear your views about learning to draw and paint.

Items from the kitchen drawer make good subjects for quick 5 – 10 minute sketches, I drew these in pen and shaded them with a marker pen. Pro Tip: Put a date on your sketchbooks, so you can see your progress over a period of time.

 

Why do I paint? – What inspires me?

Wow! What a Question!  Why do I Paint?

Life obliges me to do something, so I paint.” Rene Magritte

I'm happy when painting

I’m happy when I’m painting

Because I have to! – Because of the excitement if I succeed! – I think its the same thrill that drives an athlete, the feeling that they can always do a little better. That’s the same for me. Of course, I didn’t do myself any favours. I only began this personal journey about fifteen years ago, looking at works of the masters, who had drawn and painted every day of their lives, year after year, so I can never hope to reach their standards but I still try to improve, little by little and as long as I spend lots of time trying, I know that small improvements are possible.

If I’m not painting, it’s because my mind is on something else, I’m probably procrastinating. Why do we do that? Is it the fear of failing? The true masters of any art or craft skill, are usually those who have endured the most failures, but after each failure, they have got up again, to try again and again, doggedly determined to succeed in the end.

I think this is what keeps me painting, while I’m at the easel, time just disappears, I’m lost in another world just intensely concentrating on the task in hand, thinking about how my predecessors, or today’s top professionals, would approach the task. At that moment, along comes an onlooker to say “It’s so relaxing isn’t it” ! Agh!

If only they knew the truth.

What Inspires me?

Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see.” –Confucius

Certainly I am inspired by the impressionists and the world class English watercolourist’s since JMW Turner, but artists are also inspired by ‘ordinary’ things they see in everyday life, that others don’t seem to notice. Old industrial and derelect buildings, or boats etc, which others see as eyesores, waiting to be demolished or removed. Barren landscapes, windswept vistas, crashing seas, gentle valleys, mountain paths, I never know what will inspire me next, it may be a fleeting change in the weather, a dash of sunlight on the water that lasts only a minute, and is gone.

Stormy Day at Llanberis Pass

Stormy Day at Llanberis Pass

It’s very often to do with light, and the way it falls on objects, and changes their colours or their solidity and shape.

My studio here in Broadstairs, is right at the eastern tip of Kent, which used to be an island many years ago. Because of this we are surrounded by acres of sea with only a small land mass, where the sun’s light reflects back off the sea, like Canaletto’s Venice, or Ben Nicholson’s St Ives, all these places are blessed with a ‘special’ light, beloved of artists.

Click on the picture to see my updated website & Blog posts!

 

Q Do you paint or draw?  or are you more interested in reading about what artist’s get up to in their studios?

Q Would you like to learn to sketch and draw?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Don’t forget to put your e-mail address in the box to get your free copy of

‘my 10 top tips, learning to draw’ and to receive future newsletters and offers.

 

 

Studio Stories – My New Website and Blog

Hello everyone and thanks for coming here to view my new website and blog.

Julian Lovegrove the Artist

This is me standing in front of my shed, looking the true artist!

My plan is to use this facility to engage with my followers and buyers, especially those who have met me in person or on my Facebook Pages, and later, as people get to know me. I hope to reach out to many more of you who are curious about an artists life and the creative spark that fires them.

Q Why did I do this? Good Question. I was encouraged to get more marketing savvy by a very skilled and successful ‘plein-air’ artist from Holland, Roos (Rose) Schuring!

Roos has put in many many hours of her time learning how to set up a modern website, complete with the necessary blog and newsletters, so she can retain control of her own communications and keep in touch with her followers and collectors. She says that many creatives produce wonderful work, but they exhibit or sell very little of it. 

In the past, artists had to rely on galleries, who themselves rely on their own customers, calling in to view each exhibition. Roos knows many artists who love making art,  with popular appeal, yet have cupboards full of their unsold work. Yes – That’s me!

Many of us would love to have a system for exhibiting and promoting our work, yet we shy away from marketing, and end up in the hands of galleries or agents. Lucky for us artists, Roos has produced a course to help us get online and up to date.

I have taken her advice, because I want to clear out those cupboards, to make way for new and exciting work in the future. and since I enjoy writing about these matters, of which I am so passionate, ‘Studio Stories’ the blog, seemed the correct way to go!

So this is it – My attempt to join the professionals and converse with others, who would like to hear my story and who like what I am trying to achieve.