Sunday, 19 December 2010

Back to the Boys

 Despite thinking it was finished I did a bit more with the background on this one - is it done now? Maybe. 

This one was done from life a while ago and then finished off  more recently. I try not to play around with the figure too much without the model but I do need more thinking time for the background and the general feel of a piece than you get in a live session.  I photograph it before I start to fiddle though so I can see if I have improved it or not and in this case I am satisfied that I did.   With  monochrome work sometimes its useful to print out a photo on A4 and  try out a few edits that way, I am talking about big tonal experiments rather than fine tuning.  The texture of the background was as a direct response to the paper though, and maybe some Prud'honesque influence. He is still one of my favourite draftsman ever, and then there's Paul Cadmus..... so much influence, so little time..... I need to get my own drawing miles back up again thats for sure.

65cm x 50cm charcoal on watercolour paper

Friday, 3 December 2010

Den the Great

This model was quite an inspiration, somehow I think most artists like to paint the fuller figure, the roly poly flesh really gives us something to work with and Denise was a great model. Unfortunately the weather, most particularly the lighting was not so well behaved - this was done over three weeks but with shortened sessions due to fading light and quite honestly could have been a complete repaint each week with spells of sunshine, black skies and oncoming snow affecting the setting.  Anyway, despite that I really enjoyed this one, slapped the paint on with gusto and had some fun - sometimes things can get just a bit too intense and we have to remember to enjoy ourselves whilst wielding the brush.  I also had a squeeze of every paint I own on the pallette which was liberating.  No thinking, no analysing, no science, just responding and getting on with it for a change.  I think it still hangs together OK although maybe I was a bit heavy with the ochre and purple in some of the skin shadows, I found myself painting rather bruised looking flesh.  Still, tis not my job to flatter!  

Thats the end of the life sessions till next year but I have some charcoals  and a Parisien cafe scene painting to finish off and some acrylic inks waiting to be played with.  Just need to find some time, probably need to do a spot of christmas shopping too - gulp! 

18 "x 24" oil on canvas

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Life in November

 I've gone back to basics at my recent life sessions and am sticking with charcoal and chalk for the time being.  I have enjoyed the dramatic lighting although models being lit from below brings its own challenges as its not the usual way of seeing the figure - thats probably a good thing, draw what you see and not what you know etc., but its not always that flattering.  It seems its mainly fellas at the moment too but I dont have a problem with that.  I've been a bit slack with the posting recently but have been putting the hours in at the easel and drawing board.


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Just off the easel

This one just went well from start to finish.  Maybe I'll do another eleven and make a calendar.
Charcoal on paper, 50 x 65cm

Monday, 1 November 2010

Life, the Sketchbook and a Present

Not had too much time to blog recently but have managed a few scribbles and daubs over the last few weeks. 

Yesterdays life workshop with Andy, a really excellent model who threw himself into some very challenging poses.  Holding one knee for 2 hours or so without slouching.....I think the yoga helps but even so.....the others are 10 mins and 20 mins

A portrait of a lovely model Natalie, done over three weeks in a total of about 5-6 hours.  I'ts not entirely finished and has a few issues, not least due to the ever changing light in the studio but it was a good exercise from life.

A piercing stare from the sketchbook...

...and a Gothic Lolita which is potential subject matter for further exploration and experimentation.

 Finally a gift of a portait from a photograph that took my fancy.  Its a friends wife in costume at a Greek themed dinner party - a bit of fun in pastel and quite large at 22" x 30".  They seem to be very pleased with it, phew!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Finished WIP and New Life

Finished, about three hours in all - it could do with some more tweaks but I dont know if I'll get around to it. 

Pastel on Colourfix A2

A couple of snaps from the new Life Group - a truly fabulous setting and I'll post some work once I get properly into the swing of it.  The pieces you can see in the background are by Mark Demsteader and Bill Bate.  I particularly like Marks work and it was great to see it in person for the first time. I didnt know of Bill but do now, stunning work and very inspirational.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Master Study and Life WIP

This is a study of a drawing by Herbert James Draper (1863 - 1920), part of a Wet Canvas group study.  I particularly liked the face and would like to find a suitable reference of my own and see if I can produce something more original along these lines.  This was done using lump sanguine, which is sanguine in its natural state and is like a small knobbly stone.  Its hard to keep a grip of sometimes but if you get a nice piece is wonderfully creamy and lovely to use and makes me feel a bit closer to Leonardo!  Its on Rives BFK which is definately my favourite paper now, I just cant afford to waste any.

 A WIP of a life pose, about an hour so far.  I've been away from life drawing and painting for too long and its been a struggle getting back into it - I can barely remember which end of the charcoal to use.

Pastel on colourfix - A3 approx

I've signed up for another set of weekly life sessions in a local gallery, I have high hopes that the vibe and setting will lead to really good things.  Watch this space!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Playing with Pastels

I have been a follower of Margaret Dyers blog for a while now, and particularly enjoyed her postings on the workshop she held in France this summer and on impulse one Saturday night I decided to order her DVD The Figure In Pastels. Its not very long, about 27 minutes but at this stage in my development served as a very useful reminder of many of  the things I know but often forget and also gave me  a different approach in a couple of areas - more of which later.  So all in all I am very pleased with it and these first two pastel sketches are a what I knocked out on some recycled Pastelmat the day I received it.   I'm looking forward to doing something from life using Margarets method later in the month.

This one is something thats been in my head for a while, its from a photo I tokk in the US of some enormous and impressive trees on a golf course.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Framing of Pears and A Gentlemans Nude

It can be very satisfying framing a painting, suddenly its like seeing it for the first time.  I found this really quite over the top frame in a charity shop, cleaned it up a bit and restored the liner, et voila this pear painting I did in France a couple of years ago fits it perfectly.  I have already been offered wall space in someone else's house to display it.  The generosity of some people eh?

This pastel study of a Paul Sieffert painting I did a few years ago and which I have named A Gentlemans Nude is for the father in law for his study.  We had decided to frame it in a mid to dark wood to go with the furniture in the room but when it came to it the brown wood completely killed the painting.  The frame always has to go with the artwork in my opinion and I just hope it will look OK in situ or he'll have to change all his furniture - ha.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A bit of an update

Still lots to do.
Its oils on a background of silver and white acrylic with charcoal and graphite powder sealed with transparent gesso.  I dont just throw these things together!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Long time no paint

Having a bit of an unproductive period art wise for no particular reason but I am trying to fight my way through it.  This is a WIP of a painting done from a reference photo from Wet Canvasses July Portrait challenge.  The costume is Steampunk which Wikipedia describes as follows:-

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction, that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes fictional works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era Britain  — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, often featuring futuristic technology as the people of this historical period would have envisioned it to look like, i.e. based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer, but occurring at an earlier date.

Still lots to do........

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Life in July

Still not doing much outside of the life sessions - they're nearly done for the summer so I may take a trip to London and see the Summer exhibition at the RA and the BP portrait awards for some real inspiration and get down to some serious painting again soon.  In the meantime this is what I've been up to recently.  

Charcoal on A1

This might be Whistlers Mothers in her early years as an artists model - seriously the similarity of the pose only struck me after I had finished.  Its about four hours from life and although its not exactly my cup of tea I took a different approach blocking it in and I like the clean colours especially on the skintone.

 Oil on deep canvas 12" x 16"

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Life In June

I've neglected to feed the blog recently so here I am catching up with a few bits from life I have done this month. I havent been hugely creative for a while but I keep plugging away at the life sessions whatever else is or isnt going on. Also, I am thinking about having a great big clear out of all my old stuff, some for a bonfire virtual or otherwise - get rid of the old and make way for the new, it could be good for the soul...

Charcoal on A1 - Good foreshortening excercise on the first two.
 Charcoal on A1
Charcoal on A2 - Really like this model
 Pastel on canson A4 - 20 mins
 Oil on paper A4 - 30 mins
 Charcoal on A1 - 30 mins
 Pastel on Rives BFK 22" x 30" done over three weeks - approx 5 hours.  I'm finding these long poses over several weeks bring a whole different set of challenges, when to chase the pose, the level of finish to go for at any given point.  Even indoors the light changes - one thing is for sure, do the hands in one go!
 put in a temporary frame

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Updated Elsie

After a few more subtle tweeks.  The photo is probably a bit more accurate to the painting now, photographing art is an art in itself.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Elsie Anna

I painted this for the little darlings Daddy.  Its been tough one, babies can be tricky especially when you are trying to get a good likeness but I got there in the end....well bar a few more edits and adjustments, maybe....they say a painting is never actually finished....sigh.

Oil on Canvas 16" x 16"

Monday, 7 June 2010

Repairs & Maintenance

Decided to make further improvements to these - that warm arm bugged me on Cool Dude/Spring, whatever I called him, its much better now I think.  It was pretty challenging trying to get him working on that background in the first place but I think he looks more at home now.  As for the life painting, I overworked the background and drapery at the time and should have left it much more sketchy so going for a more finished look was the only course of action left. I havent done any more to the figure though, thats a big no-no after the event. I took photos of the drapery, sans model of course so was able to look more closely into the subtle differences in the colours and make some adjustments. I greyed the bottom right hand area of the sheet and behind the model, also I tried to smooth it out a bit and make it look like finer fabric but it was pretty thick with impasto.  Then I darkened and polished the background and made it look like the drapery it was and overall I am pleased with how it came out.  These were both good excercises with lessons learnt for next time, especially gratifying as I dont normally like going back to a painting once the moment has passed.  Apart from that I am back to life drawing/painting again this week and also struggling with a baby painting, the hardest thing EVER which I will post if I ever get anywhere - dont hold your breath though.