NEW EXHIBITION: 6th-8th October 2017

I am pleased to announce a date for my next exhibition on the 6th-8th October 2017 in Dorset, titled 'Footprints - A Journey Through Light & Landscape’. I will be showing about fifty works from my various trips over the last year through England, Wales and Scotland.

If you would like to come along, please get in touch and I'll forward you the invitation and details of the venue.

Flyer_design_A5_Venue.jpg

PAINTING KIT: Home made medium holder

Another small project that I have undertaken recently has been to create a palette similar to that of the New Zealand artist John Crump.

One aspect to his palette that I initially found difficult to emulate, was a receptacle for my liquin medium. There just isn't anyone out there who makes or sells pots that are a decent size and that are bevelled at the top to prevent it for spilling out when you're using it.

By chance, I noticed the inside of a coffee jar lid while I was waiting for the kettle to boil. I thought, 'That might just do the trick!?'. I cut a hole into my palettes, popped it in and it works pretty well for something it was not designed to do!

#hamishbaird, #artistspalette, #diypalette

 An upside down coffee pot lid now holds my liquin medium.

An upside down coffee pot lid now holds my liquin medium.

NEWS: New Paintings in production

Having returned from my trip last month (February 2017) to The Lake District and shores of Northern Scotland, I am now back in the studio and working on a number of new large paintings. I shall update these as I go, but here's a link to the current works.

This next batch of works picks up from my last, as I continue to refine my three different techniques relating to the background, midground and foreground. The aim is to create such a sense of depth within the landscapes, that they have a sense of pulling you in.

If you are already familiar with my work, you will know that I aim for my paintings to appear photorealistic at a distance and yet verging on abstract when you get closer. With this next set of works, I will be consciously trying to give thee paintings a more 3D quality, by using more texture in the foreground.

I recently ventured over to The Supreme Paint Company where I found and bought some Rublev impasto medium and impasto putty, which I am itching to get my hands on! The putty I am especially excited about trying, as it will enable me to sculpt the paint, rather than simply applying it.

NEW PAINTING: 10" x 12" MDF board

Another one of the new things that I have been trying out recently, has been painting on MDF boards. Unlike painting on canvas there is no spring, which takes a little getting used to. I've also found that depending on what primer you use, you can establish how easily the paint can be applied to the surface.

Using an Alkyd primer (in several coats) provides a lovely smooth surface ideal for fine detail, especially when you give it a light sand once it's dry. Whereas using Gesso creates a texture more akin to sandpaper (although this can be sanded down too to give a smoother finish).

I have also tried creating a canvas board with these 12"x10"s. I cut a rectangle of canvas that was 2" larger than the board itself and then stuck it to the front of the board, using PVC glue (obviously this was wrapped round the back too and stuck down.

I left it to dry for 24 hours and then came back to it to give it several coats of primer. I have tried canvas boards before but didn't get with them because I found that as the oil dried it would warp the panel. Sadly, this was the same case for these boards. So from now on I just stick to working on the plain primed boards.

INSPIRATION: Kinetic sculptures by Anthony Howe.

Occasionally you come across an artist's work that just blows you away! Anthony Howe's kinetic sculptures are extraordinarily elegant and mesmerising at the same time.

Two years ago, I had the opportunity of designing and building a festival site over the course of three months in Dorset - check out the photos here:

 https://www.instagram.com/hamishbaird_creative 

Both the experience and the feedback were tremendous and left me with a sharp recognition of how much I enjoyed sculpting, building and working in 3d with natural materials.

BRUSH REVIEW: DAS 1180 Series

I've tried a lot of different brushes over the years, searching for a brand and series of brushes that best communicate my expression. I have finally got my creative mits on the illusive DAS 1180 Series.

These are the brushes that the New Zealand artist John Crump uses and which I've been trying to find a distributor based in the UK or Europe for yonks!

Every type of brush has character and a purpose and are expressed through the combination of the brush's shape, material, length and weight.

I have found the 1180 series to be surprisingly enjoyable brushes to use. They don't have the finesse of some of the other brands that I use, but they brim with personality!  

Even though I had to order them from New Zealand, I wouldn't hesistate in the event of having to orser some more.

KIT REVIEW: Black Diamond 'Moji'

The 'Moji' tent light from Black Diamond is a palm sized lantern that gives off a fantastic range of lighting for its size. Equally at home being an uplighter or downlighter, it performs it function in a warm and cheery manor.

Battery life is good, being powered by 3 triple AAAs and also has numerous brightness settings to aid in conserving battery life or changing the ambience.

 
 

If there's anything about this light that needs addressing in terms of design, it would be the On/Off button, which is located on the side in the the form of a small rubber click button. Personally, I think it should be more pronounced as when it's dark it's not immediately obvious as to its location. Having a glow in the dark button would be a nice touch too.

Regardless, this is a great little light that I recommend for anyone looking to buy a bright, robust and compact little light.

Retails between £16 - £20 in the UK.

TRIP: Best photograph from my Scotland Trip.

Having sat down and started to run through some of the photographs from my trip to The Lakes and North Scotland, I came across this picture...

(Click to enlarge)

This is one of those pictures where a detail that you neither aimed to capture, or indeed realised you'd captured, changes the whole character of the photograph. Imagine my suprise.

This will always make me chuckle...

NEWS: DISASTER STRIKES!!

I'm very sorry to report that I had an accident last wednesday. I lost the back end of my bike and have ripped a load of tendons and ligaments in my shoulder (appointment at Fracture Clinic on Tuesday 4th, April), making the continuation of painting for the next 3-6 weeks impossible. 

Nevertheless, work will continue! I'm going use the time to update and redesign my website and to integrate a new gallery and shop system into it. While I'm desperate to paint, this seems like an apt and synchronistic time for me to update my website to improve its functionality and improve its content.

There are going to be some big changes this year, so stay tuned...

PAINTING KIT: Wooden palettes - Information & advice.

Artist palettes are great and essential bits of kit. I've tried out a few other variations of material and shape, but the wooden ones are clearly my favourite.

I enjoyed using the Bob Ross transparent acrylic palette, but found after a month or so of use, it would crack and die within weeks. This happened twice, so I haven't bothered using them again.

A glass palette is an option that I have yet to try, but it's on the list and once I've tried it it I'll review it and let you know my impressions.

I have had my current palette for over twenty years and had never given much thought to its balance or comfort until I ordered and tried the Expressionist Confidant Wood Palette. Unbelieveable! So comfortable, loads of space and made me realise how uncomfortable my old palette was. I can't recomend it enough.

I came across this video and thought I would share it with you as it has a few bits of good info on palettes and show off the Expressionist Confidant Wood Palette.

 
 My old palette.

My old palette.

 My new palette.

My new palette.

If you interested in buying one of these palettes, you can find them at Jackson's Art Supplies:

NEW SOUNDTRACK: #6 - 'Sick-Hop'

The Sixth Soundtrack: 'Sick-Hop' 

Modern day HipHop has been hijacked by mainstream degeneracy. Old skool HipHop adhered to a set of cultural and spiritual principles, where the focus was storytelling.

This mix is mainly a blend of old skool hip-hop but has a few more recent tracks on it that stay true to the original format.

Good for 1 hour and 49 minutes of compulsory head nodding and foot tapping while you work. 

LINK: Great advice for En Plein Air painters.

I've been trolling around the internet over the last couple of months trying to find information and advice for painting outdoors.

I came across this video this morning on a YouTube channel called Thoughts on Painting by Bristol based artist Tom Hughes and it's definitely the most useful and informative clip that I have come across so far.

Tom, an artist based in Bristol, works as an en plein air artist who paints his way around the South West and London, making videos for his YouTube channel as he goes.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to embed the video into this post, so here's the link instead:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmWa3mdCysQ

PAINTING KIT: Alla Prima - Bitteroot Pochade box

Taking up en plein air painting has been a challenge, but not for the reason you might think. It's not the painting that has been most challenging, but rather the conversion of my equipment from studio to outdoor kit.

I began a while ago by buying a french easel (one of the most popular and recognisable en plein air easels on the market) but found it to be too clunky and ergonomically awkward. So I decided to design and build my own, but again, it still wasn't right.

Still without a suitable solution, I turned to the web again to see if there was another design out there that would be more suited to my needs. I stumbled across a blog forum discussing artist's favorite easels and found several references and a great deal of praise for the 'Alla Prima Pochade Box' made and designed by Ben Haggett from Canada.

I checked out his product video and recognised that here was a man who had spent a great deal of time contemplating and refining his own design.

I have ordered his 10" x 12" Bitteroot Pochade Box which takes between 4-8 weeks for Ben to design, build and deliver. Click HERE for a video introduction and review.


I will do another post with a review of the Bitteroot Pochade Box in several months time.


 Alla Prima - Bitteroot Pochade box

Alla Prima - Bitteroot Pochade box

 

NEWS: My New Studio.

So, having got back to Dorset after my Lakes/Scotland trip, I was desperate to have a space to start work immediately. Dorchester came up with no results for artist studios, but when I searched for 'workshop spaces' I found a storage company that offered these little spaces.

I quickly phoned the up the company (The Self Storage Company) and it turned out that one of the tenants had just moved out and there was now one space available. I snapped it up and moved in the next day!

Great to have a creative space again!

I will be working hard over the next six months continuing to develop and refine my style and working towards the inevitable large, solo exhibition of my work. The 'look' of my paintings is definitely maturing and each new batch of paintings reflect more confidence and understanding about my materials, subjects and direction.

 

TRIP: The Lakes & Scotland Trip.

The Lakes Project was intended to be two weeks of en plein air painting in the beautiful county of Cumbria. Unfortunately, it was brought to a standstill by the arrival of Storm Doris, bringing with it a storm warning and predictions of 60mph winds, driving rain and snow and ice on high ground.

Several years ago I had watched a film called 'The Eagle', which followed the journey of a young roman officer up to north shores of Scotland to retrieve the standard of his father's legion. The terrain in the film had left and impression on me and had sowed the seeds of curiosity.

After two days of waiting for the bad weather to pass, I reach the limit of my patience and took the decision to head north to Scotland. I had spent a great deal of time in my childhood on the west coast, but had never been further north than Kinlochewe. This was an opportunity I wasn't going to pass, especially as this was an opporunity to accumulate a series of photographs that I could paint on my return to the studio.

 Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland.

Winter in the highlands can be stunning and made all the more enjoyable by the absence of the midges. Each bend in the road holds the promise of yet another incredible view, and the further north you go, the more remote and wilder the landscapes becomes.

One of the greatest impressions it left me with was how different the light became the further north you headed and I hope that I'm able to capture it in the work I produce on my return.

The whole trip took several weeks and gave me a valuable insight into the diversity of Scottish terrain. I plan to return next winter, and when I do, I'll be more prepared and know exactly where I want to go.

 

Click HERE to see a gallery of panoramic photos from the trip.

INFLUENCE: Cymatic Resonance

Cymatics, from Greek: κῦμα, meaning "wave", is a subset of modal vibrational phenomena. The term was coined by Hans Jenny (1904-1972), a Swiss follower of the philosophical school known as anthroposophy. Typically the surface of a plate, diaphragm or membrane is vibrated, and regions of maximum and minimum displacement are made visible in a thin coating of particles, paste or liquid.[1] Different patterns emerge in the excitatory medium depending on the geometry of the plate and the driving frequency - Source: Wikipedia