Seeing Red. And White and Blue.

Sometimes, what starts out as a good idea ends up being not so excellent after all. Such was the lesson I learned this week, when I raided my crockery cupboard and thought I’d go all hero on cups and saucers and over-sized soup mugs.

Being particularly over-confident, I thought I’d be clever and use multiple shades of red, white and blue.

After three painting sessions, I’m not finished with it, and I’m also ready to go back to building my skills with simpler work.

Having realised (too late) that the composition lacks dynamics with the colour and scale of objects too evenly spread, I jumped onto Photoshop to have a play. Here’s a picture summary for you.



So it’s apples and wallpaper coming up next.  At the very least, I’m hoping to balance things better in the colour department.

Of course, there are aspects that I am happy with, and it’s been good to stretch myself. Stretching myself is a good idea, but too much stretching and I might just hurt something – which will be not so excellent after all.


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70 thoughts on “Seeing Red. And White and Blue.

  1. Dear Fiona, or whatever your name is, I am none other than Detective Tony Pastry of New Scotland Yard. My informant has told me that you are the Red Herring, the notorious art thief. And my informant is very reliable: He recently sold me the Moon for £500 and a pint of mild. He’s very big in NASA, you know. He has also informed me that the Pink Panther films are not fictitious but are in fact a series of documentaries about a real Inspector Clouseau. Since then I have modelled my entire career on Clouseau’s achievements and it has not been easy, I can tell you. If you do not immediately hand yourself in at the nearest police station, I will have to come and put you under arrest.


    1. Thanks for your comments Erika – it’s great to hear feedback. I guess it’s pretty expected that not everyone’s going to love the direction I take my paintings in (myself included!), but my thinking with this one was that the plain background meant that the white of the small cups were overshadowed by a background with much the same tonal value. By putting in a background that was darker, but not overpoweringly dark, i hoped to help the white cups stand out better and of course, create more visual interest overall. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on my “Smashing thanks, How are you?” post. The painting in that one has a very plain background, and I sometimes wonder if it works or not. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see what you mean, I think I find the cups to feel as though they might be slightly unstable in the way their stacked (teetering perhaps?) which makes me visually and mentally differentiate them from the similarly coloured background. It’s their energy that makes them pop for me, not their colour.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. J’apprécie votre travail et votre manière de l’aborder, cette approche m’a donné envie de suivre votre blog et de rebloguer cet article.
    C’est la magie des blogs que de nous permettre d’échanger et de nous rencontrer par pages interposées. C’est émouvant que moi ici à Toulouse, en France, je puisse profiter de votre ressenti et de ceux de tant à travers le monde!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it was a gamble going for such a strong pattern. Maybe you’d like to see the finished painting on the post which follows (‘Practice Makes Progress’), and tell me if you still feel the same way? Thanks for your feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking a look – I love to receive feedback. If it helps, the final ‘Red, White & Blue’ painting is actually published in my March 2nd post entitled, ‘Practice Makes Progress.’ Feel free to take a look – I’d love to hear if you still feel the same about the background (Photoshop can only do so much after all!)


      1. The background is definitely better, though for my taste perhaps a little too distracting – but clearly much better than Photoshop!!! I’ve tried from time to time, and am envious of people who can paint well…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I appreciate your taking taking the time to follow up on this and leave more comments, Ian. Photoshop is really just an occasional tool I use for my painting. It saves on time (and paint!), and allows me to visualise potential outcomes better. It’d be great to think I’ll get to a point with my painting someday where I will run purely on intuition, rather than such trial and error methods, but I’ve heard from far more accomplished artists that they still dip into technology-based help from time to time… so we’ll see. Have you ever had painting lessons at all? I spent roughly two years sporadically attending a weekly night class, and the basics of colour theory and paint mixing that I learned there have been invaluable to me. I doubt I could have persisted on my own for the last seven months without the basics that I received from those classes. Thanks again – and good luck with your writing!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your enthusiastic thumbs up Shareen. I’m not actually on Twitter – might that account for my handle not showing up? I have an instagram account though (@gettingmyartintogear) – if that helps? Really appreciate you sharing my stuff! Hope to have you along for the rest of my painting adventures.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You should definitely look into Twitter. I’m happy to share on all my social profiles because I only share what resonates with me. Several great hashtags you can use on Twitter and several FB groups that you’d enjoy.
        You can find me @ShareenM & My Magazine @OTVMAGAZINE … just launched that handle so I my Editor -In-Chief Kara Kennedy and I could maintain our personal handles and still promote our team and the amazing guests we have on OTV. I hope you’ll consider guesting sometime ! I’d love I see you on Twitter or FB so I can add you to must read list. I have a group dedicated to authors & artists I Am a fan of. I’m perusing your site now.
        Shareen Mansfield is my FB. I’m happy to add you to these communities /groups on FB. You’d enjoy it . As the publisher I am fortunate enough to step back from the page and support great writing ! I’m a cheerleader at heart!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow Shareen – that’s really kind of you. Thanks for all the info; I’ll definitely look into it throughout the course of this coming week. Really glad my art and writing resonates in some way – it can be quite daunting to ‘put it out there’, but it’s the best way for me to gain a level of accountability and keep momentum. I look forward to maintaining contact with you! Cheers, Fiona

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hi again Shareen, just following up on previous comments you left on my blog: I’m pleased to say I took your advice and am now on Twitter. My handle is @fionaverdouw. It’s essentially just another platform for my blog and /or Instagram posts at the moment, but it’s a start. As for a FB page… that one is still in the pipeline! Thanks again for your interest and advice, Cheers – Fiona

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks Shareen. Instagram handle is @gettingmyartintogear. It’s got more stuff on it than my Twitter account (not surprisingly), and occasionally shows drawings that don’t appear on my blog. Cheers, Fiona

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You are right- the background (especially the chevron) creates the depth and contrast you are looking for. I think the chevron is a good contrast against the curves dominate throughout the painting (cups and saucers). I love the of the vibrancy of the red, white and blue. Very bold!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great to receive your feedback Victoria – very encouraging! The final painting is featured in my March 2 blog post entitled, ‘Practice makes Progress’ – if you’d like to see the finished chevron effect.

      Liked by 1 person

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