Exhibition at the Forum

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Getting ready this week to display some artwork at the Forum in Norwich with my sister.  Just deciding on what to display.  Quite excited to get some paintings out on show!

Wells Paint Out update

Sally Usher Blog

Had a brilliant time at the weekend competition of Paint Out at Wells next to Sea. It was over Friday, Saturday and Sunday and although the weather was a little wet and wild, it was fantastic to be outside in the fresh air with fellow artists. I’ve added the Wells Paint Out facebook link for anyone interested, and wanted to include a picture of my Sister and myself painting.

https://www.facebook.com/paintoutwells/

wells Paint Out

Sally Usher Blog

Very excited today to discover that my entry to Wells Paint Out 2017 has been reviewed by the Jury and accepted. Will be painting outside with my sister over 3 days in September for a competition.. It certainly will be quite a challenge..

Getting back on track

Sally Usher Blog

Having recently moved, I am finally getting around to painting again. I’ve set up my studio, bit more space thank goodness. Also I’ve got the chance to start painting outside, so looking forward to a new challenge. Fresh paintings coming soon…

Light and Shade

Sally Usher Blog

river-cottage1I am trying to make sure I paint at least at the weekends.  Today, I was working again with my water colours and looking to achieve an quaint, vintage look for the cottage, plus a bright reflection on the river.  With the trees edging the waters, I wanted to give depth by really deepening the shadows in the woods.

Watercolours

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I haven’t painted much recently since moving back to the UK, but I had the urge today to get out the watercolours.  I’ve been reading about narrow boats and barges, and fancied painting a river scene.  Probably I should have walked down to the River Wensum and done some sketching, but as it was cold, I decided to go for imagination instead.  Have been working on my new years resolutions, and definitely want to start painting outside, Plein Air here I come!

 

Pottery!

Sally Usher Blog

fb_img_1479053058198Sorry, I’ve not been about much recently.  Due to some personal upheaval, I am now living back in England and working full time.  It’s a little bit strange to be back home, but I’m finding my feet, and have started a pottery course with my sister.  I’ve added some pictures of my first attempts and as always when learning something new, you don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need (hopefully?)…

 

Swedish Summer

Sally Usher Blog

I’ve just finished another rainy painting, I was wanting to paint some overcast, rain drenched streets, with people under umbrellas and lights reflected on the pavement.  I normally work from photos, and despite of what the Swedes say about their Swedish summer, it has taken ages for me to get a good rainy day to capture the right photos to work from, even that wasn’t easy, as it cleared up pretty quickly.  Anyway, this is the first of that day, with a few more in the pipeline.

Rain in the morning Drottinggatan P1  IMG_0392IMG_0394

Color Schemes

Sally Usher Blog

Previously, when I lived in the UK, for many years I worked in Estate Agency as a property valuer.  Its still something I find very interesting, and as my job entailed valuing property, I was able to visit 1000’s of properties.  Its always fascinating seeing the different ways people decorate their homes to personalize and make their own.  Even in very similar layouts, the feel can be different based depending on the furnishings, style, and art inside each room.

For me, when I paint, I do like to think of my artwork being displayed on somebodies wall, therefore I am considering what makes them chose a particular painting.  Is it based on content or color, how important is the size and frame.  I favor the box style canvas, as I enjoy painting the edges to give a 3D effect, but would people prefer a pine or ornate framework.

I’m currently working on a piece from a walk in Drottinggatan in the rain, and am considering whether to enhance some of the colors to fit in with the current decoration trends of pale lavender, soft gray, powder pink, sky blue etc.

 

 

 

Skies at Blakeney Saltmarsh

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This is inspired by a walk with my parents at Blakeney salt marshes on the north Norfolk coast back in England. The tides are so great that the sea disappears twice a day, leaving a maze of clay tracks over the salt marshes. Its totally flat so you get a huge panorama of sky, also as a bird reserve, you hear all sorts of wild birds calling whilst wild geese flap overhead in formation. Its one of my most favorite places in the world, you can totally unwind from the stresses of everyday life.

Coloured Pencils

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I’ve recently purchased some Faber Castell polychromis light fast coloured pencils and have been super excited to start practicing with them. Its certainly a major change from working with acrylic paints with regards to technique and planning. I’ve recently finished my first work with the pencils of a bee with a green bubble effect background. I was able to use paint thinner to smooth the lines and loved this effect. I’m now trying to decide what to design next with the pencils, maybe an underwater scene.

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Karlsberg Castle, Stockholm

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I got the idea for this painting when exploring central Stockholm when he showed me this castle where he did his military service.  As we live quite close, several times, I jogged along the river bank which over looks this imposing building and was able to see it in different lights.  I decided to paint the castle with bright morning light and still waters reflecting the clouds and buildings.

I am still considering whether to attempt a larger scale of this painting, possibly in 3 sections which could be fun to create.  I am also looking at the other castles in the Stockholm area which could make an interesting collection.  Feedback appreciated.

 

Watercolors

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Something I really enjoy working with is my watercolor paints.  Watercolors are so different both in the way you work and the in final result from acrylic paints.  With watercolors at the start you have a fluid, relaxed approach but as the painting processes and you want to add details, it can be very unforgiving as if a brush stroke is incorrect, it is very hard to rectify.  However the effects you can achieve can be rewarding as the effect of light and shadow can be quite luminous.

This is a painting inspired by American photographer, Rodney Campbell, I just loved the colours of this male Goldfinch enjoying the sunshine in the pine trees.

New techniques

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I am having a big phase of wanting to try new art products and techniques at the moment. Having done some research on line, I have been experimenting with painting skies and trying to get a Bokeh effect. Here is the latest painting that I created with a Bokeh Sky over Sodermalm.

This particular view of Sodermalm is quite famous being seen from the commuter train and road system leading south from the center of Stockholm. As its still cold and frosty with the rivers partly frozen over I added a touch of frost to the rooftops and windows and icy sections on the river.

Creating the Bokeh effect was very rewarding, I was pleased with the result achieved and the warmth it added to the painting.

Slussen

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We took a trip up to Sodermalm to the Godolin Bridge which gives amazing views over Gamla Stan and central Stockholm.  After a very breezy and cold walk we were watching the removal of the iconic Slussen building.  I felt quite sad as although it has outgrown its use, it has stood proud at the entrance to the city centre since the 1935 when it opened as a symbol of modern traffic and road design.   I took a few photos to work from, and started making a plan for a large painting of the road and traffic design.

 

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I’ve nearly finished now, but still have a few little details to add and sort.

 

 

Slussen painting

 

Planning Facebook page

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It’s hard, all this social media planning! I am struggling at the moment on how to organise my blog, facebook page, twitter account, and instragram. Not sure how it all comes together.. I would much rather spend time painting than this, its always good when you get comments and likes on paintings, but it just such a pain to set up. If anyone has any ideas how to make it easier, please let me know!

Return to UK

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I’m heading back home to my parents next week for a little break and to spend some time with my family and friends. Can’t wait to tuck into some marmite and toast plus enjoy Mum’s Sunday Roast Dinner, no one can make it better! I am hoping to head to the north Norfolk coast with my sister, a fellow painter, for a couple of days to walk and also to practice some watercolor painting. The landscape along the coastline is pretty wild, with huge open spaces, and big skies. Hopefully will have a few new paintings to post up soon.