Sunday, 4 December 2011

Finishing up and a bit of life

I put the final touches to Amrit's portrait and am just waiting for it to dry off in some of the thicker areas.

My friend Lyn of Fringe Arts framed Exeat in a beautiful muted silvery black trimmed frame - she floated the drafting film between the thick mountboard and it looks amazing,  the photo really doesnt do it justice expecially as the protective covers have to be left on for the new owner to remove. 

A few bits and bobs from the recent life sessions.  This was a challenge - thinking in reverse is hard at the end of a long day especially on the face. 
So I decided to try a quick portrait on drafting film after the break, this definately looks a bit more like her.  Sue is a really good model as well as being an artist herself and remained very still throughout.
 A bit more playing about at home with the background

These two are both from the same pose as the model was rotated for the session.
 A suprisingly challenging pose with not much to get to grips with so a good excercise in really looking.

This one came out a bit spooky looking and I would have liked longer on it.  Its A2 so a lot of paper to cover in the time with charcaol and pastel pencils and hatching.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Portrait of Amrit

I am doing a portrait swap with a fellow artist as part of a world wide event through Wet Canvas.  In addition to the fact that these things are pretty good fun and excellent practice I thought it would be good for me to feel what its like to be sitting on the other side of the canvas for a change.  So whilst my fellow artist is wrestling with my image I am very pleased to have such in interesting face to work with, incidentally we have never met so its all from photos.   I did a couple of preliminary drawings just to get a feel for the values and a general look of the piece and to try and work out how the glasses could be tackled.  I wasnt hung up on the likenss at that stage but its useful to see where I have a tendancy to steer off track with the drawing so the pitfalls can be avoided at the painting stage. I wanted the feel of it to be quite urban and 'manly' so have done the background and clothing very loosely.  The glasses are to come next.....

Oil on Canvas 15" x 15"

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I was asked to do a yacht portrait for a birthday gift.  It was a huge challenge for a number of reasons but I was quite pleased with how it turned out and more importantly so is the commissioner.  Hopefully the final recipient will be pleased with it too.  Its at the framers now and I cant wait to see it when it comes back because I know it will be transformed.   Not a great photo as it wasnt totally flat. Oil on drafting film and  about 2' on the long side. 

Monday, 7 November 2011


So here are my treasures from Scotland the USA and Australia, and there were other little goodies in the packages too - thanks so much oily girls and Sid. 

 Sandra - Crazy Oz girl with a heart of gold -  My Artist Ways

Rolina, an amazing artist and all round creative based in Scotland - Walk Paint Walk

 Jessica from New York USA, creative and knowledgeable -  Stapeliad

Sid from Maryland USA who knows Everything about paint - Artwork by Sid

Becca from Kansas USA with a heart of gold and talent to match Becca's Studio

Carey from Georgia USA, who thinks everything should be stripey - The Crawling Eye

Nancy from Oklahoma USA, a very talented lady who can paint anything - Nancy Park Fine Art

Sunday, 6 November 2011


I had the priviledge of taking part in an artists paint swap this summer with fellow artists from Wet Canvas the online artist community.  The idea being eight artists from around the world paint pictures for each other and send them off to each other on the same day, and they were all to be opened in unison when everyone had received all seven packages.  We needed to keep them small and easy to mail although some of us decided to go bigger than ACEO (artists trading cards 2.5" x 3.5") that was originally talked about.  It took me a long time to decide what to do for people I have never met and havent known for long.   I didnt want to do nudes.  Portraits were a possibility but of whom?  My forays into landscapes are a bit new and I didnt want to do something I had no experience of at all.  So I decided to do genuine fakes of master artworks, some of which I used my licence and altered significantly.  All painted in oil on drafting film and all dimensions somewhere between five and eight inches approx.

Today the 6th of November was opening day, the unmentionables as they had been called we now allowed to be talked about - I'll post photos of what I received tomorrow with links to the various websites and blogs of my artist buddies.  What a haul, I cant tell you how thrilling it was to receive these wonderful works of art from all over the world and its been like Christmas day today.  In the meantime these are what I sent off.

After Dali
After Seurat
After Van Gogh
After Bouguereau
After Cadmus
After Dali
After Henner

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Larger than life

Well maybe not larger than life exactly but last week I was itsy bitsy and uptight and worked small on A3 so last night I broke out the A1 paper and went large.  The downside of this is its hard to get as much done in the time and also the proportions can go awry, but its good to stay on ones toes!  Comfort zone, what's that?

5 minute gestures - Charcoal on A1paper

30 minutes - conte on A1 paper

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween makeover

Last weeks life model had some unusual body language which made for a change.  I decided to do two versions of the long pose rather than deal with the unavoidable adjustments after the break.  I didnt finish the second one but looking at it today I decided it had Halloween potential so I spooked it up a bit.

charcoal and chalk on toned paper

 Charcoal on drafting film ....
 ....and updated just for fun - inspired by Jonny Lee Millers version of Frankenstein's creature which was on at the National Theatre earlier this year. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Final tweaks

A bit more modelling done on the nose and a few other minor tweaks and its done.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Two out of three aint bad

I did some sketching with oils this weekend, unfortunately the one I spent the most time on is in the bin, sometimes you just have to know when to cut your losses.  So of the survivors the first is a pose I really liked at life drawing this week so working from my drawing I thought I would try and do some justice to it with different media.  The sleeping babe isnt really finished, her nose needs tweaking and the edges need looking at and tomorrow I'll decide if its just practice or worth refining.  Frustrating and fun times.

Oil on drafting film

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The short and the long of it

Its a bit of a shame when the longer the pose the poorer the drawing but thats kind of how I felt about this weeks efforts.  This was the lovely Shireen again and I really liked all the poses but have cropped the last long one to the only section I felt worked.
All Conte on A2

Monday, 17 October 2011

Life and wallpaper

Not had much time for art recently, trying to paint everyday turns out to be a bit of an impossibility as things stand.   If I could manage to do a bit of sketching that would be better than nothing but its like a diet or an excercise regime where you have to be really committed to making changes in your lifestyle and habits.  So until the outlook improves I shall at least keep plugging away at the regular life drawing sessions.  Here are the results from the last couple of weeks.
Conte on paper - A2

Graphite on drafting film, no smudging or blending - not easy for me at all.

Pastel pencil on paper, unfinished - A2

And here are some I did earlier.  Playing around with backgrounds to the drafting film, some wallpaper samples I had lying around.  Mmmmm.....

Monday, 3 October 2011

Searching for the beauty

Just one to show from yesterdays workshop - lots of worthwhile practice but nothing special to share.

Conte on paper A2