Saturday, 23 April 2011

WIP - Aura of Expectation (and an Easter arrival)

I thought I'd show the WIP on this one, had a few issues with the background which I had to resolve before proceeding too far with the figure but I got there in the end.  I'm not sure I get on too well with the Phthalo's, they are a bit fierce and I wasnt too happy with their presence in this painting,  I  chose them as I was looking for a duck egg blue and managed to wrestle them into submission eventually. I'll think twice before using them again though I am sure they have their place on the palette.   Blues, greens and purples can be hard to photograph accurately but I think the final photo is pretty close to the actual painting.

I've learned to sketch in the composition first on these bigger pieces, saves an awful lot of pain later and if it was good enough for Leonardo its good enough for me.  I  dont really like doing  it this way though, would rather do a loose block in as I dont like to feel like I am 'colouring in' but it really depends on the subject.
Oil on Canvas 30" x 24"

  The Phthalos getting a bit too dominant!

 Knocked it all back a bit, lots of paint on the canvas now.

 Still not entirely sure about the background, a bit too loose and distracting although I never wanted a totally smooth look and I have been in two minds about how dark/light and contrasty to make it .  I thought I had planned this well!

 The final painting.

 A couple of close ups. The likeness is good, I think the subject has 'paintogenic' bone structure as without really trying the preliminary sketches captured her too.  Its interesting to discover that some people are really easy to get a likeness and others very challenging, I really dont know what determines that - maybe the answer is out there.  Anyway the MotherToBe is happy with it and thats all that matters, in fact she says she says she will have me paint her from now on and not bother with photos!  Mmmmm...

One of the reasons I dont want to do any more tweaking to the painting is because it an historical piece now -  Thought you might like to see the 'bump' now he has made his debut.  Welcome to the world little Flynn Alexander, born on Thursday 21st April, weighing in at 7lb 15oz.  Mother and baby (and father and brother) are all doing well.   Ahhhhh.......isnt he special and he looks pretty paintogenic too.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


One of the reasons I have a blog is to maintain some art disciplines.  I have to feed it regularly and if for whatever reason I haven't done much art in a while it ensures I find the time, energy or motivation - whatever is lacking - because I will need to post something if I don't want to let it die.  So its not really a vanity exercise, although its nice to think that it may be of interest. 

The other major benefit of having a blog is that it's the place where I can keep track of all the blogs, websites and anything anything else art related that appeals to me on the Internet.  A bit like a cyber Filofax for art. 

Anyway I really enjoy the blogs I follow and thought I would plug them every now then and  tell something about why I follow them.  I'll also  mention particular websites or galleries that I have found useful or just that I am enthusiastic about. So for my inaugural post let me introduce .......

Award winning American pastelist  Margaret Dyer  who I discovered by chance somewhere along the line. I really enjoyed reading about the workshop she held  last year in a place called La Bonne Etoile just south of Paris in France and bought her DVD The Figure in Pastels on the back of it - she's a good blogger and obviously an inspirational teacher too and I like how she uses colour and  also her common sense approach.  Like a lot of artists whose style is quite loose her draughting skills are of course excellent, so often that isnt appreciated.  As a special two for the price of one deal I'll also introduce another artist who I discovered on Margarets blog, she attended the workshop, German pastellist Astrid Volquardsen.  Her style is quite different but her landscapes are to die for, beautifully simple and highly skilled and her blog posts on La Bonne Etoile are worth a look see too.

So thats my first BlogPlug, enjoy!  Oh, and because I cant do a post without a picture this practice piece was done after watching Margarets DVD.

Friday, 8 April 2011


I put a couple of the sketches in frames for the Mother To Be.  Started work on the painting but its fighting back at the moment.   I'll not be defeated though!!!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Plenty of chutzpah

Partly inspired by the body language of the young life model we had a few weeks back I am looking to further explore youth and modern culture. Our model didnt have tattoos and I am not particularly keen on them but they are everywhere these days.  This was painted from a photo, I was trying to capture something of her defiant attitude and interestingly I felt it wasnt until I added the tattoos that it emerged - which says it all about me and my own prejudices. 

I'd like to revisit steampunk again, I am intrigued by the concept and the costumes and it continues to gather popularity.  Then there are the Gothic Lolittas, punks are on a comeback and I must get to a Dr Sketchys ..the list goes on.  I'm too old to get participate in any of this personally although I always felt I had the soul of a punk in the seventies if not the safety pins, but I do find these various tribes intriguing subjects.  I'd like to think I look below the surface and dont judge people by their clothes  and outer appearances but of course like everyone I do to a certain extent.  I am quite fired up with all the possibilites, I always wanted to do more than paint pretty pictures and I like something with a bit of an edge.  Just to contradict myself though I have a pregnant painting to finish next and I hope that will be very beautiful, she of course belongs to the oldest and biggest tribe of all.

Oil on Canvas 20" x 30"