Saturday, 24 March 2018

A painting journey ..the ups and downs and lessons learnt

So...although I've always painted and created, it was only about 8 years ago that I found myself in a situation where I  was given the opportunity to concentrate on it.
So...there I am...full of enthusiasm...ready to paint...but...then what?
What direction should I take ? 
My thoughts were why limit my choices? (That still stands today) .
I read article after article about the process of learning...each was different..many conflicting !
What should I do ? How do I find my path...my niche...my style? 
****knows!
Well ..first I had to decide on what media I wanted to use. Acrylics...yes...acrylics! Bright , vibrant and colourful! :)
yes....acrylics...crude...course...and hard to blend! :(
Life had taken me on many journeys which resulted in me ending up in South Wales for nearly 30 years. Now , I'm not knocking South Wales but it's industrial and the mining areas have meant that wild flowers etc have not had the chance to establish . This means that it's all a bit bland and colourless. I remember when my daughter was about 14 years old and she embarked on a trip to visit her cousins in Essex and Sussex. I told her that the sky was bluer and the grass was greener. On route she text me and said "you're right! The sky IS bluer and the grass IS greener"  (there is SO much more to all this that I don't intend on going into)
So any way....many years later...I threw a few things into a bag, caught a train and headed back to Sussex  to be with the love of my life (Oh yes, we're married now )
Back to the painting. I couldn't see any reason to limit myself. It was all about exploration .
I had spent many years painting wildlife and animals but my problem was about composition, I could paint the main subject but not able to put it into context.
So..what about landscapes ? Oh God No! looking at art history they all look dull, dark...lifeless.
OK..what about still life? Oh God No! Again...dark and lifeless!
OK..thinks I...what if I make them bright , modern and colourfull?
Perfect!
Still life paintings by Paula Oakley
This all went really well,I really enjoyed putting together a composition and telling a "story" in my paintings . However, although they sold it was to a limited buyer. I'm a prolific painter and I was painting on box canvas with very little space to store them :(
On top of this I started to find that they were being copied and sold on various products  in China . The Chinese do NOT respect copyright and have no worries about selling badly produced products using poor quality images. Many of my paintings had had my signature or watermark removed  !
Oh ..how my blood boiled!!!!!
So...what about people or animals ? Well, this works well for many artists but It's not really for me . Why? First I think that acrylics are a bit too harsh and secondly I don't want to get into painting endless pets or children . This would result in me painting subjects just for the income rather than the pleasure . No no no!
So...back to the landscapes...I've always loved walking, exploring my surroundings.  I'm now living in an area where a 20 mile radius will take me to....the sea...the seaside piers...the Seven Sisters..Ashdown Forest (Home to Winnie the pooh) , the wonderful South Downs ..and views that go on forever!
I will still go back to the still life paintings but whilst I'm still able to climb all those hills and see all those views .............<3 nbsp="" p="">
Acrylic landscapes by Paula Oakley
Over the past years I have learnt many things . Social media is amazing! Approx 40-60% of my sales come from them. 
Competitions are fine but only if you don't pay to enter ( Once they've received your entrance fee they don't care how you fare. Same goes for online galleries.
I've had many paintings featured in art and local magazines...this is great exposure!
Never...never....assume that because you sold "X" amount last year that next will increase!
Each painting is an exploration of colour, style, technique. Each is a personal challenge. Each is a special unique artwork. Each is just another step forward! :)
Each will be ...A little bit brighter....A little bit clearer ..and...A little bit more colourful than real life! 
Happy painting! 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

"Snow and Still Water" Painting the Winter landscape

Winter in Chailey, East Sussex
Wow! How different the landscape looks with a little bit of snow!
For my third and final snowy landscape of this Winter I return once again to my walk around Chailey.
I loved the contrasts of light and dark, the crisp clear reflections against the frozen patches of water. The brown and purples among the Winter foliage....
"Dear Winter snow...
you were short and sweet...
but a delight to paint!!!  "
                                        "Snow and Still Water"
                                    Acrylic on canvas
"Snow and Still water" Acrylic painting . Sussex Winter landscape
  
"Snow and Still water" in progress


Friday, 2 March 2018

Snow at Sheffield Park Gardens
Well, as we don't get much snow I thought I would paint another snowy scene from my walk around the countryside of Chailey where there was just a light dusting for a few hours.
Then....to my amazement.... a couple of days after I started painting the weather turned worse and presented us with several inches of snow!  Oooooh!
Once the showers had stopped the blue skies and sunshine turned the landscape into a wonderful and rather magical sight to see.
I took this opportunity to take a walk with my friend around Sheffield Park Gardens ...
Sheffield Park Gardens , Sussex
It was a lovely day out and the colours were stunning!
On  finishing my painting I thought how perfectly it depicted the week ....
                                          "A walk in the snow" 
"A walk in the snow" Acrylic painting on canvas
 
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