Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Developing paintings in the garden

The really hot weather has now moved on and the fresh rain and cooler temperatures have seen green become the predominant lush colour. As well as that on a very cheery note birdlife and wildlife is everywhere and there's a real atmosphere of the gardeners winged and crawling friends becoming much more industrious, including biting me.  Its sunny right now a warm 21C here in Brinscall with a mild fresh breeze. Above are banks of pale cream and light grey clouds travelling Eastwards stretching in long long lines from North to South. 

A gallery owner told me a few years ago that art buyers never bought green paintings, Im sat here pondering on that thought as I try to unscramble all the different greens in front of me. Ive made life harder by bringing out the wrong watercolour box. My garden watercolour set has loads of different yellows blues  greens and mauves that make an eclectic array of shades and tones. But having got up from my little camp stool to answer the phone, make coffee, answer the front door to the postman and become side tracked by my email pinging on the ipad, there's no way I'm going to get up again.

At the latest demo I did I was asked how to tackle a garden painting  by a lady who did not like to travel far from home but who wanted to paint outdoors. So here are a few easy notes Restricting your palette has a positive to it, I had to be more thoughtful about tone and brushmark in my small A5 sketch book. There's a simple pleasure in sketching and making art outdoors, but be warned if you think that you can go and sit on your bottom and get it right straight away your in for a rocky ride. Looking doesn't come naturally, well only to the super gifted. You have to train your eyes consciously to look and control your vision of what's around you. If you can stand on a high point and take a look at a view. Try and stand so that the light is sideways onto your subject matter. It really helps if its a nice sunny day with a low sun. Shadows and bright areas will be uniform and create lines between you and your subject.In front of you will be a mass array of tangled shapes and trillions of verdant hues. Over this will be a pattern of light and dark divide into blocks maybe squares maybe triangles maybe arches. Next take a look at the high ground or hedgerow or wall or rooftops. The dark line or squares create an horizon line for your sketch that may be straight or broken by taller plants or trees. Concentrate on finding three areas of interest that are formed by a fork in a tree, a dark curve of a bush meeting a light straight path and plot where these intersect. Mark these points or intersections, don't join them up just yet or better still ever.

You may be able to pick out some interesting geometric shapes and meeting points in the image above, straight lines and curves abound as does bright shade. Its a somewhat overgrown path in my rear garden where rocks, plants and brass lanterns find a changing jumbled home.

The overgrown cracks in the old paving make for soft lines that keep a constant geometric shape against the tall plants in the bedding as well as the planters and rocks. Once you have made a start on your drawing and feel that its a third complete stop at that point and take hold of your brush and a simple primary colour palette. Use the brush like your pencil or drop into your sketch blobs or shapes. Keeping it as loose as you can. Remembering which is your coffee and which is your woter pot. Coffee tastes good and also acts as a nice raw sienna whereas the water pot tastes awful and leaves a colour like mud. Give me coffee anytime. That reminds me its time for some more coffee. I will also prepare three boards for the next stage. I use 30x30cmx3mm board covered with a few layers of white emulsion coarsely brushed on to give texture marks and interest. The white paint incidentally which reflects colour back out to the viewer. Finally I add a wash of scarlet red acrylic I blob a little on the board and then use plenty of water to spread it out. It doesn't matter if it blotches or runs, it all adds interest. (Well within reason). Im going to go and do that now.  My next blog will move us onto a basic plein air oil painting in the garden. Blogging and chatting about making art is great with the ipad as I can stay in the environment that I wat to talk about. Great fun.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

UNFRAMED FRIDAY See new work and grab a bargain

Unframed Friday at Falcon Mill Studios
3rd August 2018 
10.30 - 5pm

Visit the studio . Grab a bargain and see my new work

further details from myself 
Rob Miller 07841140562

More about me 

Find Falcon Mill 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

RA Summer Show 2018

Image may contain: 5 people, crowd

As usual the RA summer show throws up a discord of protests from working artists and art followers about its lack of artistic quality . For me its not the subject matter or narrative that I disagree with. My issue is with the RA a central organisation of British Art putting together a show which in the main people laugh at because it lacks skill, knowledge and I suppose artistic attitude. For me it betrays British painters and artists and is a contributing reason for the falling influence on society of British 'plastic' art.

Sunday, 22 July 2018


Its interesting that the abstract expressionists of America coined the word plastic to represent two dimensional art . The thought occurs to me that it was easier for them to dismantle classical art ainto abstractions and colour fields then it will be for the modern painter to give up using plastic in her  studio. Personally  I'm getting more and more unsure about the amount of plastic that I as an artists use and how we are  Dealing with plastic. I've decided to make this a part of this blog and here is a link to a positive video that doesn't just talk about it but gives alternatives to using plastics. I think glass and metal have to be the main two elements. Heres a practicing artist whose has tackeled the issue head on australian oplastic artist

As a landscape painter I profess to be a supporter of environmental protection from my waste, the materials I use and the waste thats derived from the industrialists who make the raw products that are then made into art materials. I'm looking first at making a list Acrylic paint, paint tubes. synthetic brushes, jars for mediums and turpentine, tidy boxes, palettes and boxes especially watercolour just the start of what will be a long list. One intention is to make a toxic corner by putting all the worse materials into a corner and painting it.

Image result for plastics and artist painting equipment

Monday, 16 July 2018

Garden Pochades Brinscall Lancashire . paintings in oil

Rob Miller Arts

New work on hedgerows and gardens inspired in part by a book I found Cezanne's Garden by Dereck Fell and a second lovey book on the Spanish Impressionist Sorolla.  Im not sure if its right to describe Sorolla as an impressionist like Seargent his work is impressionable but does not have the same mark making as Monet etc. Moreso he was able to combine the colour theory that he gained quickly in France with the impressionists into his repertoire of experience.  For me his journey begins with his poetry and his unity with nature and the land.

The journey began with the work outs I started for the walled garden at Lingholm Estate. Gardens are complex things, they have a subtle structure and a challenging varety of greens. To make smaller paintings have a purpose its important I think, not to make minitures, which is easily done and is a trap to lure the poetic impressionsist into the docility of copeyists. 

I've just started to up the scale a little 40x60 and now up to three one metre square paintings. There's also a developing set of watercolours and work in mixed media. 

Thanks to the great weather. I developed an different approach to painting this garden then I with the landscapes. South East facing and set high on a slope above a valley surrounded by mature trees the garden developed its own narratif. In the past I have moved on from one scene to the next almost like a child in a sweet shop who is looking for the one with most sugar, here though in a more confined space and where distant landscapes were allowed discrete viewings through the trees and hedgerows I found myself painting the same structures from a different viewpoint or in a different light.  

Summertime view over fields and rooftops
towards Wheelton Moor and Great Hill
oil on board

Summertime Approaching Storm Garden Shed
oil on board

Brinscall and White Coppice
oil on board

Early Summer Hedgerow with Foxgloves
oil on board

Detail Hedgerow with Foxgloves
Oil on Board

Detail Hedgerow with FoxglovesOil on Board

Late Spring Hedgerow with daffodils looking South East
oil on board

Early Summer Hedgerow Foxgloves
oil on board

Late Spring Hedgerow with Poppies and daffodils
oil on board

July looking North East Hot weather Chestnut Tree
oil on board

July Mid Summer Hot looking North by North East
Darwen Tower and Butterworth Brow