by Edward Hopkins
(40cm x 30cm Oil) May 2016
With so many tutorial videos available for the budding artist on YouTube, beginning to paint is no longer a daunting prospect.
My old maxim of ‘Just Do It’ gave me the freedom to pick up a brush, dip it in some paint and spread it onto a canvas. If I was terrible, I would soon find out. As luck would have it it was not so terrible as to throw it all in the bin and find something else to occupy my time.
The clouds came first, taking tips from numerous ‘teachers’ on the net. Then I wondered if I could paint the sea. Then the beach, then the bamboo stalks, then the flowers, then the… I soon became hooked on my new hobby.
Ermita and Callosa
(40cm x 30cm Oil) June 2016
I live in a little town called ‘Algorfa’ on Spain’s Costa Blanca and the three most notable features of the town are The Ermita Monastery, The Calossa Mountain and the endless rows of orange groves.
Everyone in the town knows what these things look like, so the challenge was to produce something that everyone here can instantly recognise.
With the horizon set, I wanted the church against the mountain to be the star.
The Ermita is not so bright in real life but I wanted to shine a spotlight on it, being centre-
(40cm x 30cm Oil) July 2016
My favourite holiday spot of recent years has been the island of Rhodes.
The painting soon became more challenging than I had anticipated, with stone archways, the angle of the steps, the plant-
(40cm x 30cm Oil) July 2016
Years ago, when I was ten, outside the Headmasters office at my Primary School was a painting I only knew as ‘The Avenue’. I don’t know why it registered with me or why, now, it bounced into my head again.
I ‘Googled’ ‘The Avenue’ and found it! It’s full name was
‘The Avenue at Middelharnis’
by Meindert Hobbema.
Without caution I fixed a new canvas to the easel and began to attempt to come anywhere near this masterpiece.
The perspective was crucial as it was what drew me to the painting all those years ago.
Stormy, Stormy Night
(30cm x 60cm Oil) July 2016
When I saw this yacht in a magazine it was sitting quite peacefully in a marina somewhere. That was no place for this ocean-
I wanted to be able to look at the finished painting and be really concerned for the skipper and crew. So I tilted the yacht, placed it on top of a ‘washing machine’ of waves and just for good measure threw in a threatening lighting bolt. That’s enough for them to contend with!
An accidental smudge of black paint that I happened to leave on the boat’s deck was turned into, what looks like, a searchlight! I coated the open end of a pen cap with white paint and placed it onto the canvas to create a perfectly round steering wheel.
A’s Rainy Night
(40cm x 30cm Oil) August 2016
I know I’m copying other people but it gives me a chance to experiment with styles. It might even lead to developing my own style.
That would be good.
On the left is my crude attempt at
which he painted using only palette knives. (I’m not that adventurous or confident). His painting is a blaze of colour with the streetlights throwing their glow into the trees above and their reflections echoed onto the street below.
The following pages show my paintings from May 2016. It’s been a pleasant surprise to me that I have produced items that I describe as ‘not bad’. I have a selfish opinion about each one; some I like more than others; more from the technical point of view than the subject, as each one is, in itself, a painting lesson.
I started modestly with cheap materials from various ‘pound shops’ and the like, after all I wasn’t going to spend too much on a hobby that could crash and burn on day one. Luckily for me, it didn’t.
It was enjoyable to see the painting build up as the hours went by. The ‘blocking’ of the main colour areas, the detail going in bit by bit, the corrections, the tidying-
My old ‘studio’ in my previous property was cramped onto a desk. My new ‘studio’ is a dedicated space in my new house and allows me to leave my work and equipment in place. (See pictures left)
Things I’ve learned since I started:-
Paint what you want to paint. OK you can experiment with styles but its more rewarding to get what you want to see on your canvas.
Different people like (and dislike) different paintings. It shouldn’t matter to you that different people have different views. It’s your view that counts. Stay with it.
There are thousands of ‘how to paint’ videos to guide you as you embark on your new-
If you’re stuck, or its just not going right, walk away from it, or even start a new painting. Come back to your discarded painting when your ready. It usually works for me.
Enjoy your painting.
My old ‘desktop’ studio
My new studio