Saturday, 16 October 2010

Folksy,whimsical, Naive....What?

I get many different descriptions of my work, ranging from Folksy art to Whimsical.
I'm not quite sure what it is.For me, it just is, what it is.I don't like to pigeonhole it into category.
When I first started to paint, I tried to paint in the very traditional way, but somehow my heart was never really there.
I do however love to view traditional watercolour, especially from many of the purists, and I look on with awe, and inspiration.In fact it is a passion for me.
My work just developed down the path it did, because I was following what eventually became natural to me.
Art should always be , in my eyes, an expression of what's inside of you, and however that manifests itself is I think the right way to go.
That's not to say one should be lazy in not experimenting and trying out new ideas, or reaching out of your comfort zone.That , I feel is how an artist develops.Pushing ones own natural boundaries.
My work may not suit the tastes of watercolour purists, but it certainly suits who I am.
If it really has to be categorized, then perhaps it should just be Chris Larkinism.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


It took me years to realize the potency of ones imagination.
A person doesnt have to sit at the top of Everest to know what the view looks like from there.
Is it the same to have merely imagined being there, and acting as if, in your minds eye, you were really there? Feeling all the sensations that you think you would feel, if you really were there.
I think a person can. What's better still, I think you could actually have an even better and more intense experience than just passively taking in the view of what's actually out there in reality.
Of course that raises the issue of reality.Everything we see, hear, touch, smell and taste is filtered and perceived so differently, none of us ever will get to truth.
Is the scene in the painting above, real or imagined?
Sometimes, I'm really not quite sure anymore.
Maybe that's the point of me being an artist.Bending reality to fit with the model of the world I would want.
Just because I see it in my head, doesn't mean it's not real.
Is it?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Colour is a huge driving force in my work, and I'm forever trying to achieve a full on intensity to my paintings.
Very often you can be forgiven for thinking I am being slightly lazy by repeating many elements in my work.
Yet, if you look closely, you will see all the variations of tone and colour if you put those works side by side.
I am always experimenting by placing different colours against each other and then noticing the effects on the paintings as a whole.
Of course there are mant formulas for placing colours i.e complimentary colours against their primaries, but there are more subtle ways to this also.
The fun is in the experimentation for me, and trying to paint that elusive piece that stands out from a mile away.
One day, I will succeed....I know it.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

I wasn't too sure how I was going to paint this one, but as soon as I painted the smallest house first, it set the tone, and I just knew exactly what to do next.

Most of my work relies on instinct now, though that's not to say I don't put any thought into it.

It's a bit like driving a car or a bike.Once you've drilled into yourself the basics, you don't need to conciously think about operating the car/bike, but you still need to know where you're driving to.
I arrivd at my destination here anyhow......

Monday, 28 June 2010

ACEO Waterolour Chris Larkin Titled SUNBLUSH HILL.
I'm playing around again with subtle colour changes to see what moods I can conjure up.Using warmer and colder shadow areas, as small as they are, do make a significant difference.....Well, to me anyway.
Painting the background hill, a purply grape colour plays off against the yellowy fence and far trees for more impact, but at the same time helps unify the painting's overall palette and colour scheme........Also,........does it really matter?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Corner by Sally's Watercolour.
I often love painting in the square format, as it is not the most obvious and favoured dimensions.
It gets me creative on another level for filling and balancing the space.

Friday, 18 June 2010

First 7 to email me get one free ACEO print

I have 7 different design ACEO sized cards with little envelopes that I'm offering FREE to the first seven people that email me, who would like one.
I can only offer 7 because that is all I have left.
Nice to keep , or send out to some-one.
Just drop by my website on the contact page and send me your name and address, and I will pop one in the post to you.
PROMENADE - Watercolour.
Again, another older piece of mine that I came across.
My move from a more realism style of painting is more or less complete.
Just what I originally intended.

This is a piece painted many years ago,but I'm always drawn to it for its simplicity in my opinion.
It was certainly a pre-cursor to my stick legged people that now are the mainstay of my work.
I like, where possible, to have the people in my paintings relate to one another, and this was the start of it for me.
Even though many of my pieces have street scenes, it is the people depicted in them, and what they are doing, that holds the most importance.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

There is no place that looks like this, and maybe that's the whole point.
Everything here is representative, and then has the chroma notched up a level or two.
It's the whole point of being the artist.The producer,and director all rolled into one.
Imparting a vision of not so much what is there, but perhaps what should or could be there.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Limited Pallettes are great

Using a limited palette really focuses one's mind, and skills, and I tend to use only 3 base colours with a few other colours for accents or contrasts.
It helps to keep unity in a painting, and that amongst a few other devices is easily achieved with a limited palette.
I use primarily Cobalt Blue, Permanent Rose, and Cadmium Yellow in all of my work and augment that with about 4 other colours in small varying amount.
This painting was done using only Cobalt Blue, Permanant Rose, and Cadmium Yellow, and I feel that helps it hang together cohesively.
It's a fun way to learn to mix colours and learn about their individual properties, plus you can then juxtapose your limited colours against each other to maximum effect.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

To paint or not to paint?

Ever have that sinking feeling, when you stare blankly at the paper or canvas in front of you, and your muse has packed it's bags and taken an early holiday?
I often get that block where I cannot muster anything inside of me.
Some artists like to go off and take a walk or just simply do something else.Anything else.
For me personally, I always try to persevere with a totally open mind.I scrible, and push paint around, and just experiment with no real goal in mind, and just stay curious to what may happen.
And for some strange reason, for me certainly, a breakthrough inevitably happens.
Perhaps because I am not relying on tried and tested formulas, and a narrow line of sight, some of my best work actually starts to reveal itself.
I believe, it is the more unconconcious and creative side that is allowed to come out and show it's colours, and it needs a leap of faith to let it go off, run riot, and do it's stuff.
It can sometimes feel scary and time wasting at first because I don't see much happening in front of me.
Yet I am sure that this is where my creativity as an artist is actually propelled forward, and I am actively developing.
Perhaps making the time to do it a bit more would yield even more spectacular results.
I thnk I will make the time soon.
Very soon.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Oh Lucky Us!

It never escapes me, how privileged it is to be an artist.
And I mean any kind of artist.
Be it 2D or 3D art, it is just having the licence to do whatever it is you want.
There are no barriers, or no laws to contain one's ideas.
It is a very easy and common trap, that sometimes I fall into, in so much as I get hung up on trying to render images that conform or are recognizable in the 'real' world.
Then I have a jolt, and go "Hang on a minute here, I can do whatever I want, and who cares whether it is a real reflection of reality".
But, it is so easy to forget that.I have the licence to do whatever I see fit, as does any other artist.
Truth be told, in my small opinion.
The best art I have ever come across has been far, far removed from reality, or likeness to the world we inhabit.
Even after all these years, I have to remind myself...."Come on Chris, Let go ....Just let go!"

Let it snow

Another snowy ACEO. I love painting these ones, due to the more intense contrasts I can achieve between cool and warm colours.Added into the mix, is the reflective whites that are revealed after the masking fluid has been rubbed off.
I could paint these all day, but then it would all end up a little dull if I kept to the tried and tested.
This example is due to the snow that is blanketing us in my area, and it seemed a shame not to honour the moment.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Disappearing Light

I decided I wanted to paint one more ACEO before the natural light has disappeared, so I thought a fitting painting would be along similar lines.
Hence, Disappearing Light.

Counterchange is for me.

Many artists use a whole host of techniques to create different effects within their paintings.
There is neither a good nor bad or right nor wrong way to use them, it is totally individualistic.
For me, I favour counterchange,which in short is changing from one colour to another in any particular passage.
It creates variety, and interest, and is always effective say, when used in large areas of shadow.
I almost have an obsession with it, and it features strongly in my work.
You can notice it in on a smaller scale in this ACEO.
I have used it in the fence, chimneys,roofs and doors.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Do you often wonder what people are chatting about when you stop for a moment and study them?
I know I always do, and I try to work out who is totally absorbed in the conversation, and who is perhaps utterly bored.
We all give out those signals constantly, so I always make an attempt to try and portray some of that in my work.
When I look at this ACEO, I hope I have made that clear in some elements of it.
To me, I think it's important. Having a street scene with nobody in it, I believe lacks the most important element.
Also, having people not engaging each other in some capacity, is lacking too.
I put those people in there for a specific reason and not justto fill the space.I do try to flow a relationship between all the characters as a whole.
It works for me.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

This ACEO symbolizes love bridging a divide between two people.
Normally when I paint someone holding a heart shaped balloon, it represents an outward show of love.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

My Personal Critique.

This is me playing around with colour schemes again.
I'm playing the yellows off against the yellows in various hues and temperatures.
The green of the little girl thrown in for a subtle constrast.
I think the shape divisions in the composition are about right, though I would have rather put more play in the negative space of the sky to echo the saturation of the other spaces.

This was the last ACEO of todays work.Just before the light disappeared.
Artificial light is so naff for painting. It really skewers the colours to my eyes, and hard to judge.
I know you can buy daylight bulbs, but hey!, roll on the long summer nights.

Monday, 15 February 2010

I don't reaaly know where this one came from.Half the time, it's just about me sketching and see what comes up.
I ended up trying to show the welcoming warmth of the inside of the building.
I think it works okay.

Paint what you want.Not what sells.

I remember when I started painting, and like most people, I always tried painting 'pretty pictures'.
Of course, looking back, they never ever really worked out.Certainly not the way I envisioned them.They always lacked that certain something.
I would watch what others painted, and what would be selling, and I ended up in a complete tailspin, as I was seeming to tag onto the tailcoat of whatever the latest trend was.
So I made a concious decision to paint what I wanted, and leave the pretty stuff on the bottom shelf.
If my work didn't sell, then so what, as long as I had fun painting it, and I was learning lessons in the process.
Eventually I started to sell my work.
It wasn't necessarily the best work out on the market.Not at first anyway.
Because maybe I was now working on the creative plane as opposed to the competitive plane, I was heading in a slightly different direction to the herd. My work was, and still is, starting to stand apart and get noticed.
Being different is what most artists strive for in the first place.
If the work is honest, and has a passion inside of itself, then at some point the onlookers will seek it out.
When you paint what you want, and what inspires you, it will in most cases radiate out to all who care to find it, and a following will appear.
Being true to what you are doing, and turning away from the critics is never easy,because as artists we seek a sort of acceptance, and validation of what we do.
It almost goes against the rational thinking.
Persevere, hold tight, and as sure as you build it............They will come.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Technique Huh!

I was speaking to another artist yesterday regarding technique.

And for her, it was as if there was nothing else but.

True, technique has it's place , but it really is only a means to an end as far as I see it.

Whatever vision an artist has, it has to be executed onto whatever medium he or her is using.

There's no point having fabulous ideas if the ideas cannot be transferred onto the paper, or clay or whatever is being used.

But to have only techniques on show, with no substance is like looking at the flashiest website but nothing inside to look at, or a grat jacket design on a book but with nothing on the inside pages.

Some of the best books I have read had a shoddy cover, but fantastic stories and ideas inside them.

Painting is no different.

I suppose first the idea is to get someone to look at a piece of work long enough and be drawn in to see the concepts and ideas underneath.

That is the reason for technique as I see it.

It is a tool, and a means to an end.

I would rather see the ideas flowing , even with crude techniques.

Ideas are the creative part, not so much the actual physical end product.

But then, that is only my opinion.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Oh how I love painting these little street scenes.
I love experimenting with subtle colour variations and I feel like I could paint them forever, and they would be so different each and every time.

My grandaughters Teddy Bear called Herby.
An ACEO especially in honour of the great honourable Herby