...Gower inspired fine art by Jason Shepherd...An Artist’s journey around the Gower Peninsula

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Rhossili Bay and Gustav Klimt

My latest painting focuses on the sweep of Rhossili Bay in the Gower Peninsula. A large part of the image focuses on a large craggy cliff. Seeing this cliff when making my preliminary sketches made me think of the beautful shapes within Gustav Klimts famous painting 'The Kiss'. I decided to paint the cliff part of the painting using shapes reminiscent of the cloak in 'The Kiss'. I also used bold colours and textures within the painting to emphasise the strength and beauty of Rhossili Bay

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Childrens Book Illustration

I've just finished writing a childrens story based around the Gower Peninsula. I'm going to start illustrating it tomorrow. So check in every few days and i'll add the images on here as and when I finish each image.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Episode 1a - Exploring Southgate and Pobbles Bay

Each episode is in Two Parts. In part one we explore an area of the Gower Peninsula. In part two we look at a variety of painting techniques to help you paint your perfect landcsacpes in watercolour and Acrylics.

Episode 1a: Pobbles Bay is a small secluded Bay next to Three Cliffs Bay which shares a large rock that separates the Bays known as Three Cliffs. This video is my journey from Southgate across the Cliffs down to Pobbles Bay. Taking in the beautiful scenery along the way.

Episode 1a

Saturday, 4 September 2010

New Podcast

I've just started a new Podcast to show people my paintings, teach them how to paint and to showcase the beautiful and scenic Gower Peninsula. Each episode will be distributed in two separate parts. Part 1 will showcase a specific Part of the Gower Peninsula and Part 2 will demonstrate a variety of Painting techniques. The episodes are edited into two parts so those people that only want to see the Gower (rather than learn to paint as well) only have to download one part. Hope you'll subscribe. it's gonna be a fun ride.


Monday, 2 August 2010

Gower Artist on Facebook

I've just started a Facebook Page showing a variety of my paintings and photographs. If you would like to have a look go to: http://tinyurl.com/33vzx5e

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

To Triptych or not to Triptych?

 So my lovely wife's birthday was coming up and I asked her what she would like for her birthday this year. I normally by her something she has been wanting for a while and a surprise present.  This year I was the one to be surprised, as she asked me to paint something for her. I shouldn't have been surprised of course as she's my biggest Art fan. As this is her first birthday since we have been married (7 months and counting) I wanted the painting to be even more special so I decided to paint a triptych.

There is something special about a Triptych (definition of Triptych at bottom of blog entry). It can be used in a variety of ways. For example one painting in three sections or as I had chosen to do, three themed images. The theme would be our favourite elements/places of the Gower.

So here's the centre part of the Triptych (see above :-)). It's a painting of Pwll Du Bay. I've painted it once before but this painting is from a different angle and a completely different painting and drawing style. 

Here's the original painting I did 18 months to two years ago. A much more traditonal style but with some originallity in the use of texture and materials (watercolour used like Oil Paints)... I hope.

For those who don't know the term.Triptych is defined in the Oxford University Press as: A picture consisting of three parts and denoting both the object itself and its compositional form. As an object the triptych may vary in size and material, but usually consists of a central panel flanked by wings (or shutters), which may be hinged; as a compositional form it is a tripartite structure, often with an emphasized central element. Although its imagery was, until the 19th century at least, predominantly religious, the object as such was not tied to a specific function.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A Nostalgic Painting

I'm fascinated by local History, so when I was recently walking in Swansea and saw an old fashioned Barber Shop I knew I had to Paint it. I changed the colour of the shop to red from bright yellow as most of the Barber shops years ago were red or white and I wanted to create a nostalgic feel to the painting (also the car and shop would have clashed as they were exactly the same colour). Other than that the shop is painted exactly as it looked on my walk.

Friday, 14 May 2010

A New Beginning

I find it slightly odd that my painting style has changed in the last couple of months. It has all coincided with writing this blog.  Probably only a coincidence but I think writing down my thoughts and showing you all my paintings has helped me to find that spark i've been looking for, that makes my paintings feel more authenticallly me. That's not to say my earlier Gower paintings don't work, I like them very much but i've been trying to find my artistic style for quite a while now.

I should define style.  For me it means a way of painting that includes alll the different artistic skills and painting philosophies that i've gained over the years, which probably isn't that much, as like all Artists i'm learning more and growing as an Artist and Art Teacher all the time.

Anyway this leads into the first Acrylic painting i've created in  a while. It uses the bold line approach from my recent experiment with a good injection of colour and texture. Its a painting of two farmhouses and the surrounding countryside as viewed from Llangennith in North Gower.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Pobbles Bay: Line and Wash - Part Two

The first three line and wash images worked really well (See the blog entry for 22 April 2010 Trying Something A Bit Different - Line and Wash Gower Images, for more details). They were quite small images, no larger than A6. I decided to try a larger image. I chose to paint a view of Pobbles Bay looking down on the Beach from the path. 

I chose a simplified linear drawing style. In other words I tried to capture the look and feel of the Bay as exact as I could, but using as few lines as possible. I started by drawing the image out in pencil.  I then used a variety of black ink pens to draw over the pencil lines adding a little more detail and using a variance of thickness of line to add some depth to the image.  Finally I added a colour wash using watercolour paints.

I was really pleased with the final image.  The line and wash images were an experiment to try something a bit different but have turned out to be really effective.  

Although my next painting will be Acrylics on Canvas using a more realistic style, I will definitely create more images using line and wash.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Trying Something A Bit Different - Line and Wash Gower Images

I'm trying something a bit different this week. As a child I loved comic books. All kinds. British humour titles (Beano, Dandy, Beezer), Sports (Roy of the Rovers, Victor) and American Superheroes. For a few years in my teens I wanted to be a comic book artist and used to practise drawing in a simplified linear style. Now i'm older the idea of simplifying scenes of the Gower appealed to me. Not in a full-on Cartoony style, as in my youth but capturing the essence of the Gower in a few well chosen lines, with just the right amount of colour and texture. I am not leaving behind the textured painted style I usually use but just experimenting and trying something a bit different. So here are the first three drawings in this style.  I hope you like them.

All images are drawn using various ink pens and a colour wash of watercolour paints and white gouache.

 Southgate, rock and gorse bush detail

Southgate, overlooking the sea

Monday, 12 April 2010

Painting Three Cliffs Bay

I looked at all the photographs I took of Three Cliffs Bay and picked a close-up shot of the Cliffs to paint.  I wanted the cliffs themselves to be the main focus of the painting.

After getting the scale and perspective of the image right, I focused on using a variety of painting techniques to capture the texture, cragginess and vibrancy of the three rock structures. I decided to paint Three Cliffs in Watercolour Paints because it is a very immediate medium and works well with most painting techniques.

I painted the sky first, using a watered down Cerulean Blue. After brushing the paint on I immediately sponged out certain areas to create the clouds (A painting technique known as lifting off).  This technique gives softness to the edges of each of the clouds. I also added a small amount of crimson red to the sky. Just a hint to give the sky warmth and a small amount of lemon yellow to the clouds, to give the sky a sunny glow.

Next I focused on recreating the wonderful textures in the rock-face of the Three Cliffs. I used a dabbing technique to blend the rock colours and dropped paint into pre-wetted areas of the paper to create interesting colour blends.

I also used a dry brush technique to enhance various areas of the painting such as moss growing from the rocks.

Finally I felt that the painting lacked the craginess rock texture it needed to really evoke the majesty of the great looming rocks we know as Three Cliffs. I solved this by using a scalpel knife to scrape into the paint adding carving-like areas into the painting.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Should I or Shouldnt I?

I had to talk myself into painting Three Cliffs. That's right. One of the most beautiful Beaches in Britain and I wasn't comfortable in painting it. You must be wondering at this point if i've gone a bit funny. "One blog entry in and Jason's already as mad as the fruitiest of fruit cakes" is what you would be thinking, if I didn't know that all of my blog readers are politically correct people and would never describe any one as a fruit Cake. I think you'll find the modern term is Artist anyway. ;-)  I digress.

My reason for not wanting to paint Three Cliffs has nothing to do with a lack of love for the area. As a matter of fact I love Three Cliffs Bay. Standing on the Beach, looking up at the rugged cliff-face made me feel like an explorer, who'd seen paradise for the first time. The whole of the Gower Penninsula has that effect on me, but the Southgate/ Pennard area in particular holds so many joys for me.

The view from Southgate across the splendor of Pobbles bay to the hidden walkway cut into The  Pobbles Bay Cliffs through to Three Cliffs Bay holds immence joy for me. So my reason for not wanting to paint the cliffs, was not because I didn't like the area but had more to do with how many times it had been painted.

Three Cliffs Bay must be the most painted area of the Gower bar none. I've seen paintings of the cliffs from every angle imaginable. Some paintings wonderful, many more of them adequate and most of them quite painful to look at. I certainly didn't want to be in the latter two catergories. If I was going to paint Three Cliffs it had to be something special. A painting I could really be proud of.

Most Gower painters like to paint the whole bay. They show the full sweep of the bay with the cliffs looming over the beach from a distance. My idea was to make the cliffs the main focus of my painting. That way I could use textured effects to show the deep cragginess of the three peaks that make up the Three Cliffs.

My starting point was a photograph. This was going to be one of those paintings that was safer to paint at home. Mainly because I was going to have to climb up one side of the cliff and perch on the edge to get the image I needed. So I climbed up the large rocky strip attached to the cliffs. There is a steep sandy path winding upwards that I used to get to the top of the incline. I took a few photographs from different angles. It was also the first time I had seen the cliffs from that high up. I was really close to them and they looked even more stunning close-up.

Everything went fine until I started back for the path down to Pobbles Bay. That was when I twisted my ankle. This was the first time I had gone walking in a while and as I twisted my ankle I had a revelation. Trainers are not the best shoes to wear for cliff walking. Anyway I had to walk up a sandy path to get back on the main path and I wasn't able to put any weight on my ankle. So I did the sensible thing and...cursed. Yes that's right, the first thing I did was panic a little then my sensible head moved on to my shoulders. I decided to wait for ten minutes to see if the ankle pain would go and if not I would call for help. Luckily I wasn't the only person walking on Three Cliffs that day.

Ten minutes later I got up and...

all the pain had gone. I learnt my lesson and the next day went out and bought the best walking boots I could afford. But I did manage to get some excellent photographs and so it was now time to paint Three Cliffs Bay in all its wonder.  

NEXT TIME: Painting Three Cliffs Bay.

Photograph: Three Cliffs Bay ©J.Shepherd

Monday, 29 March 2010

Painting at Last

I've been teaching Art for ten years this year. In all that time i've helped quite a few people become better painters and Crafts people (in my humble opinion :-)). There is one thing I haven't done for most of that time.


A painter who doesn't paint what are you talking about you may ask!

Now don't get me wrong i've painted every day but usually i'm either correcting a student's painting or demonstrating a technique. So 18 months ago I decided it was time to paint for myself as well.

But what to paint?

I have to say it didn't take me long to choose what subject matter to paint. After all I live on the outskirts of the Gower Penninsula: The first designated Area of Outstanding natural Beauty in the UK. I've spent years treking around the Gower and admiring it's beauty so it wasn't a hard choice.

I started by going out around my favourite areas of the Gower making sketches and colour washes as well as taking photographs. When I got back to my art studio (or should that be small desk in the spare bedroom. Doesn't sound as grand of course.) I would then use all those pieces to create a large Watercolour or Acrylic Painting. Some people don't like the idea of an artist painting a landscape indoors. I enjoy painting outside but larger paintings are harder to paint on the side of a cliff in the middle of a breezy gale. One hand holding the canvas to the easel; a foot pressed against the easel to hold it to the ground and my backside sat on the paint tubes (not open ones that would be daft)to stop them rolling away. Trust me i've tried it.

Photograph: Pennard Pill  © J.Shepherd