At the end of every year I like to go through what I have done in that year. Reminisce about the year gone past and the work I have done. I don't this with formal oil paints but the more experimental stuff and sketches.
One of my favourite discoveries of this year was ink. I bought myself some coloured inks for my birthday and messed about with producing patterns. I was very pleased with the results and a couple of examples are above.
This led me to do some experimentation with blending colours, having I've admit been to see some Kandinsky (see above). Worked out well I think.
There was a TV program earlier in the year on BBC4 called the Art of Japanese Life. It was a brilliant show and I found it very inspiring. There was a companion series at the same time called Handmade in Japan of which my favourite was the one on pottery. Anyway I found this inspirational and already having some inks to hand tried to go all simplistic and Japanese with the ink. The Kanji above right are my name (or as close as you can get) and then an abstract shape in gold and red and some flowers. They were fun.
My good friends Alex and Owen gave me some pastels at the beginning of the year and they are lot of fun to use. Both on pastel paper, and after a trip to the Estoric, I tried doing a couple on cardboard (the bottom two). It turned out pretty well although I will have to seal them as the pastel keeps coming off.
One of my ambitions, often thwarted is to paint outside more. I managed it once this year in a serious way when I took my travelling easel, and some watercolours off to the Olympic park with the Law Society Art Group. You need a nice day for this to be fun. I produced 2 pictures, one longer, took about 3 hours (top left), and the other shorter. The longer one is on the left and is better I think. This was very enjoyable, but time and weather pressures make this difficult.
Another thing I like to do is practice watercolour sketches of places I am planning then to do an oil painting of. These are usually but not always done from photographs. The quality varies but they are fun to do and always give me good ideas for the following oil painting. I have expanded on this a little now by doing small oil paintings and then much bigger one for a series on the River Lee. More on that later in the year.
Sketch books I find very important and I take my most places. It is good for working on ideas, and just practicing drawing. Mine are full of pictures of my cat, people on trains and then working up of various different ideas. So I tried doing an abstraction of a scene from Haggerston station and that worked well. I keep thinking of doing an oil painting of this, but too many ideas not enough time.
Coming up with just pure abstract patterns can be fun too.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.