I’ve started dabbling with painting. Sometimes I copy paintings and sometimes I paint from life. This week’s work has reminded me how much it takes to develop a way of seeing.

copy apple
Copy of apple painting (acrylic on paper)

This apple painting is a copy (unfortunately, I don’t know who the painter is.)

If I’d put an apple on my kitchen table and tried to paint it, I doubt I would have used the dark shadows and background that make the colours of the apple so vibrant. I used the painter’s understanding of composition, tonal values and colour.

When I paint from life,  I have a hard time figuring all those things out. And brush strokes. I don’t know which brushes to use, how wet or dry they need to be, how to make the transition between shadow and light and between one colour and another, and all kinds of other things.

life teaport2
Teapot on my kitchen table (acrylic on cardboard)

There’s an endless amount of stuff to learn about technique and materials. But for me the most important thing is developing a way of seeing.

Beginnings with drawing and painting

A year ago, I picked up a pencil and started learning how to draw, first with basic exercises, then copying pictures from books. I try to draw something every day  – even if it’s just a doodle. It’s been good – peaceful, actually. My head is quiet when I draw.

Eventually, I want to be able to render subjects accurately. Not because I see myself working in a realistic style, but so that I have some techniques under my belt when I start exploring how I see the world.

My eye is already looking ahead at the work of artists whose way of seeing appeals to me. Joan Eardley (1921 – 1963) is one of those painters. Her landscapes are luminous and sparse and filled with energy.


(c) DACS/Anne Morrison; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) DACS/Anne Morrison; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Anne Morrison; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Anne Morrison; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


The BBC website has a great gallery of British artists. I found a slideshow of Eardley’s work there – really worth checking out.

And here is my first painting, a study of an Eardley landscape  – my version in black and white, painted with white household latex paint and black ink – what I had on hand.

Study of Eardley landscape1