At the field’s edge, new painted series begins!

So a new series begins! I’m very excited to be working on new subject matter and as usual, my plan is to explore the theme for as long as it holds my interest. I’m currently experimenting with size, format, composition and also different times of the day.

'Morning light', Oil on canvas, 30cm x 30cm, £350 currently unframed.

‘Morning light’, Oil on canvas, 30cm x 30cm, £350 currently unframed.

All of a sudden I’m feeling much more free with the brush and colour, it’s as though I have worked through a problem and now enjoying the fruits of my labour. I’m sure this won’t last for long so I must enjoy it while I can, before I hit another wall!

'Morning light 2', Oil on canvas, 30cm x 30cm, £350 currently unframed.

‘Morning light 2’, Oil on canvas, 30cm x 30cm, £350 currently unframed.

You can see in this piece that I have painted from the same position but chose to move the horizon higher, giving more space for the small stream. As I mentioned in my previous post about working in a series, there’s so many advantages to it. I find that I start to get ‘tuned’ in to my surrounds, I start to understand more and more about the colours and why the colours are there. For me, this is what painting is all about. It’s not just about copying what you can see, it’s about the balance of looking, investigating, understanding and making a tangible picture which somehow sums up your feelings and interests in a place/still life/portrait.

'At the field's edge', oil on canvas, 30cm x 25cm, £350 currently unframed

‘At the field’s edge’, oil on canvas, 30cm x 25cm, £350 currently unframed

I’m very happy to see on reflection of the pieces I have already made that each piece is particular to the moment/s. Each one  has a certain feeling, colour scheme and composition. This is a sign that I am really trying to observe and respond in the moment. It’s easy to paint what you think you can see, but much harder to paint what you can actually see. They seem to be really drilling this into the contestants on BBC’s ‘The big painting challenge’.  By the way, are any of you watching this series? If so, what do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions so please feel free to add your comments below this blog entry.

'At the field's edge, dusk' Oil on canvas, 30cm x 25cm  £350 currently unframed.

‘At the field’s edge, dusk’ Oil on canvas, 30cm x 25cm £350 currently unframed.

This one is probably one of my favourites so far from the new series. The surface is so richly textured due to this piece being painted on top of 2 old paintings that I wasn’t happy with. It’s very interesting painting on such a textural surface, I love the way the loaded brush drags across bumps and leaves hints of previous layers of paint and colour showing through. It really helps to soften edges and is something I am probably going to explore more in this series.

Evening shadows, oil on canvas, 120cm x 80cm, in progress.

Evening shadows, oil on canvas, 120cm x 80cm, in progress.

Evening shadows, oil on canvas, 120cm x 80cm, in progress.

Evening shadows, oil on canvas, 120cm x 80cm, in progress. After the second session.

Finally, here’s 2 photographs of a new painting in progress, ‘Evening shadows’. This is the largest canvas that I have ever produced outdoors to this date. Working larger comes packed with it’s own unique problems and challenges, the main one is adapting your approach to mix larger quantities of pigment. I am using a single brush on this large piece and also a very limited palette of a single yellow, blue and red (plus titanium white). I’m looking forward to working on the 3rd session to try and resolve some of the problems visible in the painting’s current state, most importantly, getting the shadows to read as though they really are moving into the distance.

Please feel free to stop by my Facebook Fan Page for more frequent posts. 

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The great obsession. Painting the old cottage ‘en plein air’.

What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.”
Eugene Delacroix

Now, I’m not trying to say I’m a genius but…..

The quote above from the painter Delacroix makes me feel better about my 2 year obsession. I’ve painted this beautiful 19th century cottage in rain, snow, wind and occasionally even the sun!

It seems that each time I paint it, I notice something new or feel as though the thing/s I have tried to express can be done even better, clearer and with more confidence. This is why there is a stack of paintings building up in storage of this humble little building.

I think this is one of the biggest advantages of working ‘en plein air’ (out in the open air), you have a chance to take in the changing light, feel the temperature of your surroundings, hear the wind and wildlife. Most of this would be missed working in the studio from a single photograph.

Painting the cottage allows me to explore a variety of problems, ideas as well as to experiment with new ideas of colour and painting in general. Each painting in the series tells a unique story, in the way it was made as well as stories you might bring to the piece. I’m not sure how much longer the series will last but for now at least, I will carry on enjoying being in the moment.

Here’s my latest from the vast Cottage Series, Morning sun, Spring, Oil on canvas, 45cm x 35cm, £400.

For anyone interested in purchasing one of these pieces, you can find my contact details here.

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Keep watching!

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Rejection, use it to fuel your passion!

Me with my drawing, 'Sarah'.

Me with my drawing, ‘Sarah’.

So for everyone dying to hear the verdict regarding my two pre selected portraits……It’s bad news I’m afraid. Both pieces were rejected and I have to be honest and say I am disappointed that not one of them was selected for the show.

However, I feel more creative and determined then ever! It would be very easy for me to shut down completely after such a blow but if you want to get anywhere in life, you have to get back on the old horse and keep on riding.

At the start of the year I made myself a list of targets for 2015, mainly open exhibitions to enter as well as targets relating directly to my work. It’s important now that I focus on the next target and push myself to do the best that I can.

I find that if things go well for a sustained period of time, I get complacent and begin to settle into a safety zone. In many ways, it’s quite a positive to be knocked back from the show because as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am now asking myself questions about my work and reassessing the things I am doing.

I want to encourage everyone (Artist or not!) that if you encounter difficulties, bad news etc, fix yourself on a long term dream or aspiration and carry on!

I look forward to sharing new work fuelled by this rejection 🙂

Keep watching

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I’ve been framed…..Open exhibitions, tips and reasons to enter.

I’ve been framed…..Open exhibitions, tips and reasons to enter..

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I’ve been framed…..Open exhibitions, tips and reasons to enter.

On the 14th of February I made a visit to the Mall Galleries in London to drop of 2 preselected portraits for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition, 2015.  Tomorrow, the 17th of February it will be announced whether my pieces have been accepted into the show. As you can imagine, I am very excited but at the same time feeling rather nervous.

This is the second time I have been shortlisted for a major exhibition, the first was the RA Summer Show last year in which I was unsuccessful in the final round of judging.

Foam Plane, Shortlisted for the RA Summer Show 2014.

I find the whole process gives me a real sense of focus and has really helped me to develop as a professional Artist. Through entering these open exhibitions I am forced to reconsider prices, framing, subject matter and much more.

Pricing alone I find is a very difficult thing to get right. In a strange way, putting a low price on a piece of Art can undervalue it’s worth, the viewer might ask ‘what is wrong with this piece of Art for it to be so cheap?’. Likewise, over pricing can have different negative effects.

When I was younger I used to price according to how much I was attached to a piece, rather than the scale. This can cause the viewer great trouble in understanding why a 4 inch x 6inch painting is priced higher than a piece 10 times the size. Now my approach is to pitch my prices according to size, regardless of how fond of one piece in comparison to another I might be. This seems to be working and also making the problem of pricing much less work for me as an Artist.

Another great thing about entering open exhibitions is that as an Artist you have to make real decisions about what to submit. My number one tip for any Artist is to only submit what really represents you, not what you think the Judges might want. Obviously it’s no good submitting a portrait of your daughter into a wildlife exhibition (although children really can show an animal side!)

Tip number two which I discovered reading a blog by someone else is to try to submit a series of works that seem to sit well together. I’m guessing that the members of the judging panel would much prefer to view a coherent body of work rather than pieces with no connection at all. It will also show that you are able to take a subject and explore it more fully than working on one painting of one subject and then moving onto the next.

I am an Artist that works across a range of subject matter, however, I also try to work in a series which can be clearly seen in my still-life paintings of Roses and Chestnuts.

Finally, a couple of reason that I enter open exhibitions. As I have already mentioned, entering open exhibitions is a great well to develop yourself and raise your game so to speak. I am now more confident about pricing and presenting my work. Secondly, having been accepted into a major open exhibition gives us as Artists a certain credibility and also visibility. My guess is that we can help our supportive clients to gain confidence in us through raising our public profiles.

One of my dreams is for the Art work that has already been purchased from me to multiply in price,  a gift to the client for having believed in me at an earlier stage in my career.

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I look forward to sharing the news of whether my works have been accepted or declined…..

Keep watching

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2 pieces pre-selected for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters show 2015

Me with my drawing, 'Sarah'.

I’m really excited to share with you that I have had 2 of my works pre-selected for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Exhibition 2015. So I’m not actually yet in the exhibition but it’s a nice feeling to know that the judging panel have decided that they would like to see these two pieces in the flesh to make their final judging decision.

'Sarah', charcoal on paper, 27cm x 36cm currently available

‘Sarah’, charcoal on paper, 27cm x 36cm currently available

I’ve always loved portrait drawing, trying to pin down something of the sitter on paper, canvas or even in clay. I’m becoming more interested in the sitter’s gaze and plan on making many more portraits over the coming year alongside my landscape painting.

Sarah's Hair, Oil on panel, 29cm x 29cm, currently available.

Sarah’s Hair, Oil on panel, 29cm x 29cm, currently available.

Portrait painting is a very tricky business indeed. I find drawing very liberating and free and I want to try to get a sense of this in my painting. It is very easy to loose this freshness of touch in painting as there’s so much more to consider than in a drawing, colour choices for a start. I really enjoying seeing the physical painted mark, the decisions that all stack up and work together like cogs in a machine to create the overall image.

Fingers crossed for a positive result in February. Keep watching.

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Happy New Year! Review of portrait entries for the Royal Society of Portrait painters

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Happy New Year to everyone (although slightly later than usual!). This is my first post of 2015 and I wanted to start by saying a huge thank you to all of my followers, old and new.

Last year was very fruitful for me in terms of Artistic progress. Looking back I feel as though I made some great discoveries about myself as an Artist, gaining a greater understanding of my subject matter and also developing professionally.

I am now officially a full-time professional Artist after making the important decision to leave my part-time teaching post. If I want a chance of making it as an Artist, I realise I must focus solely on Art (and of course being a loving husband and father!).

And now you see, I have no excuse for not getting anywhere with my creative work, there’s nothing to stop me except myself.  With this in mind I am working on entering some of the UK’s most prestigious Art exhibitions in the hope of being shortlisted to showcase my work in top profile galleries. I had a taste of what it feels like to be accepted in 2012 when I was successful in entering a self-portait into the Ruth Borchard Compeition.  Although I didn’t win a prize it was a great feeling hung among leading British Contemporary Artists.

I am based in a small village called Sprotbrough in South Yorkshire and although I have a great amount of support from the locals, this isn’t going to get me very far in the long term. I realise that entering open exhibitions and competitions is a great way to widen my net of viewers and also gain credibility as a serious Artist. Entering such sort after exhibitions must surely show the commitment that an Artist has for their profession?

You see, it’s not as simple as just taking a couple of pictures on your phone and shooting them off to the curator. I’ve taken hours carefully selecting the body of work to enter to the Royal Society Of Portrait Painters open exhibition. The things to consider are many and then there’s application process and even the fees. Thankfully, as a ‘young’ painter (under 35 apparently! ) I get a reduction on the entry fee, £10 per piece.

Obviously, before you can even begin to think about entering these exhibitions, you must first have at least one painting you think is good enough! For years, I avoided open exhibitions because I always felt that my work was still developing. I realise now that my work is always going to be developing and this is something that I believe should be celebrated. All we can do as Artists is to offer our very best at any moment in time and this is what I am planning to do from this point onwards. 

If you have read the great length of this post, thank you! I look forward to posting news of my progress, success and even my failures over the coming year.

Keep watching

Andrew

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Painting at Dusk

Completed a couple of days, Winter cottage, Dusk. I spent 3 sessions on this piece, returning to the same spot each day. Dusk is a very magical time of the day, the subject appears to glow and everything seems quiet, it’s as though nature is preparing itself for the night.

Winter cottage, Dusk. Oil on canvas, 18inches x 14inches.

Winter cottage, Dusk. Oil on canvas, 18inches x 14inches.

Despite the positive comments I have had about the cow in this painting, it’s actually a horse in a jacket! You can’t win them all I suppose.

This is a painting from a large series of works exploring this old cottage in different seasons, times of day and weather. I often describe painting my subject as ringing out a wet cloth. What I mean by this is that I will stick to a subject until I think I have learnt as much as I most possibly can. Sometimes I do this by working on a piece for multiple sessions or by making rapid paintings one after another in a single session.

Winter cottage at dusk is a possible submission for the Royal Society of Oil Painters in 2015.

I now dedicate the rest of this day to painting…..

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A cold start!

The weather has suddenly changed in South Yorkshire. I’m now resorting to wearing two pairs of jeans and countless layers of shirts/jumpers/coats. Here’s the results of the first session on this new piece, ‘Winter Cottage, morning’, Oil on panel, 18inch x 14inch.

A painting in progress. Oil on panel.

A painting in progress. Oil on panel.

I still have much work to do on this piece, it will be nice to compare this initial sketch with the finished piece later on. My work is becoming more and painterly but is still firmly rooted in observation.

I’m hoping to work on a second version this afternoon, weather permitting. Do you paint outdoors? feel free to comment and share tips.

Keep watching for the finished piece.

Andrew

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Congratulations!

Congratulations to the new owner of ‘Tracks’ from my Summer 2014 series Fields. I would like to say a public thank you for your continued support.

This is one of my largest outdoor paintings, probably the climax of the field series. The painting is now waiting to be framed before being carefully packed and shipped to the South of England.

'Tracks', Oil on panel, 80cm x 56cm SOLD

‘Tracks’, Oil on panel, 80cm x 56cm
SOLD

The focus of my field series were the tracks running through the fields, the imprint from the tractors as they work the fields drilling and harvesting. One of my favourite times to paint was during the late afternoon/early evening. At this time there are long shadows and these are great to paint as they skim across the wheat. Here’s what I’m talking about.

'Tracks through the wheat' Oil on panel, 46cm x 26cm Currently available

‘Tracks through the wheat’
Oil on panel, 46cm x 26cm
Currently available

Here are a few more from my Field series.

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With Christmas fast approaching, right now is the perfect time to invest in Art either for yourself or a loved one. please feel free to contact me to purchase an existing piece or to create a personal commission. I am now able to ship worldwide so even though we might be opposite sides of the globe, you can still own an original Andrew Farmer!

Keep watching!

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