Saturday, 14 December 2013

Red and Green

Well I seem to be back to nuclear again but I am really enjoying working on the black paper, especially in artificial (and low) light situations.  These are from the last couple of weeks and I have been doing two versions of each pose starting again after the break.  So each are about 40 mins mostly hard pastel on fairly cheapo A2 paper.  Working on the black has reminded me of one of my favourite artists Michael Newberry and I re-referenced some of his work with the idea of developing this further after the Christmas break.  Sadly his blog seems to have disappeared along with his rather excellent tutorials - I shall have to write and ask him about that.  In the meantime his website still has a lot of his very excellent and delicious work on it.





Thursday, 28 November 2013

Rainbow black

Had a bit of fun with some black paper this week.  It provided an opportunity to use all the crazy pastels I never really know what to do with.  I guess I am back to being a bit nuclear but it seems to suit the light we have in these dark winter evenings.  Still considering how to suggest a background in a simple way - maybe I will go back and play with a few of these when life gets a bit saner.  The seriously exaggerated perspective worked so much better than the 'straight' version I did beforehand.

Pastel on paper A2 - 45 mins

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Say hello, wave goodbye...


The Don - delivered to his new home and settling in nicely.  (I think it will go on an actual wall at some point)   I really like to see paintings off, it leaves space for something new.



Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Dont forget your easel

Yup, I was properly thrown out on Sunday by not having remembered my easel.  I created a faux drawing 'donkey' by putting two chairs together, stradling one end and propping up my drawing board on the other but it wasnt very comfortable and the board kept slipping. We had a great model, supremely professional and rock like - he's a specialist diving instructor, discretely muscular and great to draw/paint. For the last two poses I broke into a nice box of unison soft pastels in portrait colours.  Wow, what a difference having some really beautiful subtle colours to work with makes, especially in daylight.  The paper wasnt very special but I liked how the torso pose turned out.  Maybe its time to take a look at Degas again and expand my palette.

Nice pose, unfortunate choice of crayons.

Dare I say, a bit Picasso like?

Exaggerated foreshortening

practice run with the unisons - too much ochre

this reminds me of a Vanderpoel torso I did once

Thursday, 14 November 2013

A little less nuclear and a bit more thinking







I'd like to take these life studies up a notch but am not sure which way to go.  I've been concentrating on contrasts lately, warms v cools, large blended areas v high chroma drawing lines and generally trying to add variety with the mark making.  But directly opposing that is the other goal of trying to keep it simple. I've never spent too much time on backgrounds given the time limitations but I find myself wanting a clean and simple solution to try ground the figure and make it a bit more of a composed piece.  So much about art is the thinking...

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Don

The Don is his nickname.  Chris is an old friend who inspired me one night as a group of us sat outside his Spanish villa drinking wine and talking nonsense - as you do.   It was one of those rare moments where I could clearly see the finished painting, and when I came to do it, it just flowed out of the brushes.  He is not at all Don-like really, a kind, caring and generous man but he holds court amongst his friends, has a big personality and this painting is the man as far as I am concerned. Its not dry yet and tricky to photo but I am pleased with myself for not over noodling.

 Oil on canvas 24" x 30"

Monday, 4 November 2013

Alabel 3

Three moments.  Children faces are so animated, their expressions come quick and fast as their brains process and absorb.  Alabel (not her real name but a self appointed alternative persona) is as creative and and lively as they come so I didnt think one portrait was enough.  She also has a 'magic' eye so its not mispainted.  The background is Mussini metallic oil in renaissance gold for a timeless look and these are painted on wood panels. I had it in mind that they would be hung vertically and here they are on the drying wall.
 8" x 8" oil on wood




Saturday, 2 November 2013

Pretty in pink

Our regular model cancelled at the last minute but our stand-in was a complete joy.  Its funny how challenging clothes, shoes and accessories are when you dont expect them, another hour or two would have been good.
 Pastels on paper A2 approx 1 hour

Monday, 21 October 2013

Scratching scribbling and smudgy glowing

A few life drawings and pastel paintings from the last few weeks.  Some of the colours are a bit nuclear, partly because of the limited range I carry at times and partly because of the artificial evening lighting.  It makes for a suprise the next morning.

Torso man - who needs legs!  Pastel on A2

Radioactive man - exagerated pose for fun and actually really liked the outcome despite some dodgy proportions.  Pastel on A2

Quicky five minute warm ups.... must try and smudge with more deliberation.



20 minute pose - tried to get the light decay

A longer pose so I thought I would start with a gesture as it was subtley and tricky, a slight slump and a bit of a twist.

A second attempt at a pastel, the first was way too ugly for posting.  This was better but I should have made that nice left leg and foot a bit more distinctive.  A2 and about 45 mins.


 A couple of pre lunch quickies, a 10 and a 20 minutes.

Another long one, quite liked the pose although the light was changing every five minutes as it was stormy outside.

 Final one of the day, overworked it a bit in 30 mins but at least the model got a lie down.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Ruby and Claire

After being very lazy for a month its back to regular life sessions again.  First of all the monthly Sunday workshop with the amazing Ruby, a lively personality and an outstanding model who could really hold some very challenging poses and stay rock steady.  I am still sticking with the dry media which is just as well as I felt quite rusty and sluggish and was a bit off with some of my proportions.  It was a great day and it felt good to be back amongst my people. 






At the Tuesday night session it was good to see Claire again and although I was working in pretty gloomy light I was quite pleased with my second attempt at the long pose - the first is awaiting recycling!!



Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Some of my painting equipment and props

Lots of artists search for the perfect equipment that will make their paintings better, maybe they are a bit like golfers that way but I have no doubt that my true artistic genius will be finally unveiled once I get my hands on the ultimate oojamaflip. I seem to have accumulated a fair bit of stuff but not all of it is fancy or expensive and some of it isnt even made for the purpose.  Here are some of my current solutions for transport, storage and convenience.  

First are my little baby paint savers.  I think they are actually for dry pigments but I have used these little aluminium pots both for transporting premixed paint in a painting box to life sessions and for saving leftovers - time and money saving.  They have clear lids and come in the bigger box,  I often store the leftovers in the freezer if I am not going to be painting again for a while but even without they last pretty well.  I have two sets, one for water mixable oils and one for my premium oil paints.


Now these little beauties are my homemade pride and joy wet panel carriers.  The manufactured versions are so expensive to buy even if you can find them in the UK and I wanted a range of sizes so thought I would have a go at making something.  I used a large leftover corporate plastic display board, the type you see at trade fairs and exhibitions.  I cut it into a box shaped template in the required dimensions using a stanley knife but not cutting the whole way through so it would bend but was still in one piece.  Then I bought some plastic window tracking from the local DIY store which cost just a few pounds, cut it to size, glued it in then duck taped it all together.  I put some ribbon on some sticky velco for the opening and then Ta Da!  Really light weight multi size wet panel carriers for next to no money.





This is my homemade version of a French Mistress studio palette.  Its a glass kitchen worktop saver which I painted a neutral grey on the back.  It has nice finished edges and little non slip rubber feet on the bottom and it lives in a stationery paper storage box which helps keep the paint fresh for a bit longer as well as keeping dust and little fingers or paws out.  I have two, one in A4 and one A3 and they are excellent.


I've never done the full paint mixing charts a la Richard Schmid but I did make charts with tints and shades to document each and every one of my paints.  The middle is the original out of the tubepaint and the two above are mixed with increments of white and the two below with black.  I painted them on drafting film over a black felt pen squared template I drew out to keep it neat.  Each brand and colour is noted above and if nothing else it should stop my buying any new colours for a while - I seem to have accumulated quite a lot of paint, there are about 15 sheets.  Although I know most of my paints pretty well I have found it really handy to see the tints at a glance.  I rarely use tubed black and the shades have proved to be interesting and quite suprising in some cases. 



This darling little display easel is perfect for propping up my iPad or for painting small pieces.  The green glow you can just see peeking from behind is cheapo hair gel which I use for my natural hair brushes after cleaning to keep them in shape.  The dinky bottle is Clove Oil which I bought from a health food shop as I have read it helps keep the paint fresh on the palette for longer.  You dont mix it with the paint, just put a few drops nearby but I havent actually tried it yet so dont know about its effectiveness.  Its day job is a toothache remedy.


This is my paper storage drawer unit from Ikea, it fits up to A2 and is pretty sturdy.  I could do with another one for A1 but they dont make it that size and I dont have the space anyway.


Its great for storing artwork and my drawing and pastel pads. 


This is a cookery book holder...


...and it holds my very biggest art books no problem.


 Really handy for studies and just generally having open at favourite pages for inspiration. 


So those are a few of my bits and bobs, I love the stuff that comes with this obsession called art and looking after it all is the only sort of cleaning or housework I like doing.  I might tidy my pencils tomorrow.