Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seagulls, Whitstable harbour

Seagulls, Whitstable harbour © Peter Gander
For my exhibition coming up in Whitstable during the last week of May, a painting of a pair of seagulls. The black and white Fish Market trolley is quite iconic at the harbour, standing opposite the fish stalls themselves and next to a table or two where you can indulge in half a dozen local Whitstable oysters, perhaps with a dash of Tabasco. The harbour has been rendered in a pale wash to avoid fussiness and the concrete reveals the work of a wax candle and dryish brush for textural effect. SOLD 25 May 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The trout pool, Fordwich, Kent

The trout pool, Fordwich © Peter Gander
Many an evening I have stood here as dusk takes shape, my favourite time of the fishing day when trout make ripples as a rise begins to take place after a usually slow and challenging afternoon. This is my local fly-fishing lake, Fordwich trout pool, owned by my local club, The Canterbury & District Angling Association. Only a few acres at the most, but a peaceful haven a long walk from any houses, sitting next to the river Stour and alongside two much larger (coarse fishing) lakes. Fordwich, or rather its trout, were actually mentioned in Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler too. The ones I catch aren’t wild ones, but the next best thing we have in the 21st century. Now the days are longer I find the evening my most fruitful catching time but even then one has to be very subtle. A small black hawthorn fly or buzzer perhaps. Just to the right of the scene out of view is a small wooden shed where catch returns are kept and a log book reveal the recent working methods, if you’re really stuck for ideas. As for catching a likeness of the scenery, the lovely textured character of this paper honestly makes the work much easier than it looks when a large dry brush is employed and dragged across the tooth of the surface. I use a Renaissance blue squirrel mop. Winsor & Newton half-pan watercolours on Daler Rowney The Langton Prestige 100% cotton Mould-made (forme ronde) 300gsm watercolour paper.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ye Olde Yew Tree Inn, Westbere, Kent

Ye Olde Yew Tree Inn, Westbere © Peter Gander
Easter Monday today and wife Fiona and I took the VW Beetle out for a spin and the dog for a walk round the 200 acre lake near the Ye Olde Yew Tree Inn, Westbere, about 6 miles east of Canterbury. I hadn’t been here since my college days about thirty years ago and the place has changed little. The Inn was built in 1348 and it’s the oldest pub in Kent. Queen Anne and the Archbishop of Canterbury are reputed to have stayed here, and Dick Turpin is purported to have evaded capture from the law by jumping from a first floor window. The pub was also used as a hospital to treat wounded soldiers during the civil war and two ghosts live here (so the website says) - “a man and a small woman”. More importantly, they sell Harvey’s Sussex Bitter here, which slipped down nicely whilst painting the postcard above. Winsor & Newton watercolours on 300gsm rough watercolour postcard. UPDATE: (May 2011) The owners Mark and Anna now have the painting inside the pub. Thanks for the Harveys you two!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Kent Cultural Baton, 5/5 Girl (Hannah) drawing

Hannah reading © Peter Gander
One of my favourite paintings of the day of my daughter Hannah joining in the spirit of the occasion and drawing alongside me, as my son Jack did, too. In fact the guy in the white hat soon turned round and started drawing me drawing them as well! I used candle wax to achieve the nice characterful texture of the harbour stone. It also helps portray the bright sunshine that prevailed on Sunday. Winsor & Newton (half pan) watercolours on Langton 100% cotton 300gsm paper.

The Kent Cultural Baton, 4/5 tonal sketch

Mono sketch of the Margate's Harbour Arm © Peter Gander
This small, quick study was painted by brush alone in about ten minutes on Langton 100% cotton (rough) paper in Winsor & Newton watercolours.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Kent Cultural Baton, painting 3/5

The Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate © Peter Gander
The main painting of the day was this one, drawn with a 6B pencil first. Painted on Hahnemuele 500gsm Andalucia rough paper. The thick paper absorbed the sky blue well in a flat way, yet was rough enough to give a good texture in the sea too, when a drier brush was employed.

The Kent Cultural Baton, painting 2/5

Old boat, Margate Harbour © Peter Gander
Using a bolder Pentel this time, I sketched this neglected boat, draped in a mesh over its front end that reminded me of a sheet over a dead body. Certainly this boat has long been forgotten, but gets an extra bit of attention today. My son Jack (10) said “Even an old boat looks good when it’s painted!” True enough. Pentel waterproof pen and Winsor & Newton watercolour (half pans) on Langton 100% cotton mould made 300gsm paper.

The Kent Cultural Baton, 1/5 The airstream

The KCB Airstream © Peter Gander
Easel set up, coffee at hand and the first trickle of lazy Sunday morning strollers investigated the galleries, shops and cafés along Margate’s Harbour Arm, just along from the shiny new Turner Contemporary on an atypically warm April morning. Artist Bridgette Ashton is shown in the painting and the Kent Cultural Baton’s lead artist Nicolle Mollet was at the helm most of the day, popping in and out of the water in her neoprenes to attend to cameras recording the event out at sea. Back on dry land, I penned the linework with a waterproof Pentel, leaving the passers-by until last as they needed to be captured with very fast lines and then applied the washes of Winsor & Newton watercolour via a half-pan palette. Substrate: Daler Rowney 100% cotton Prestige Mould Made (rough) 300gsm paper.

The Kent Cultural Baton at The Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate

The Kent Cultural Baton Airstream, pic courtesy Kent County Council
Last Sunday the 17th of April I was honoured to be asked by Catherine Herbet of our local Kent County Council to attend the opening weekend ceremony of The Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate. My role as a working artist in-situ was in connection with The Kent Cultural Baton.

“The Kent Cultural Baton is a unique, original artwork designed by artist Nicole Mollett that will tour Kent in the period leading up to the London 2012 Games. Inspired by the first Ordnance Survey map of Kent produced in 1801, the Kent Cultural Baton reveals worlds within a world, bringing to light the character and textures that identify a place and make it distinctive. It is a mobile creative workspace that at each visit captures the sights and sounds of its location – a visual and aural map, a snapshot in time. The Baton’s journey around Kent will culminate in a body of material, a rich and layered resource that speaks reams of the different places, textures and narratives that comprise Kent.”

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Post nude, red and blue grad

Post nude, red and blue grad © Peter Gander


Tonight I blended passionate Vermillion and warm Pthalocyanine Blue oil colours (mixed with a touch of extender) to inject a bit of heat into the proceedings.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

‘Post Nude’ postcard linocut

‘Post Nude’ linocut © Peter Gander
A local art gallery, The Horsebridge Community & Arts Centre in Whitstable, where I will be exhibiting in May, has recently opened a new gallery (Gallery 3) and the curator Sarah Banville has challenged artists to produce an original work of art on a postcard. The local post sorting office is in danger of closing and in a double-edged benefit, the exhibition of tiny (A6) originals will not only make for interesting viewing for the public, but also for the lucky postman delivering the postcards en route to The Horsebridge. I already had a pack of Winsor & Newton Cotman 300gsm postcards with a semi-rough surface, great for painting watercolours on but not ideal for printing on, as the pitted surface needs a hard pressing to push the ink into them. (Thin paper is usually the substrate of choice for most linoprinters). I had to set the roller printing press so firmly in fact, that the lino left an embossed effect on the card. In the print shown, you can see the patchy areas where the ink hasn’t made it. Anyway, thematically, I chose what some might argue is a literal take on ‘Post Nude’ - (I was considering an aged life model looking pensive about her past, too ;) A few props and a neat visual twist leave much for the viewer to interpret. What’s your verdict? Seawhite of Brighton (UK) water-based ink on Winsor & Newton Cotman 300gsm postcard.