Saturday, 26 April 2014

Eggs - not just for Easter

I am not sure why I have never posted these before but having sold one of them this last week I thought I would.  Its good to do a regular still life and keep the drawing skills and observation honed and its true luxury having a model that doesnt move, need breaks or wilt - and so far I have not had one hatch either!  I may be a bit nuts but I went into such a tranquil place of concentration whilst doing these I swear they started developing personalities and attitudes.  Its very peaceful and meditative painting eggs and contemplating their smooth perfection  and should probably be prescribed on the National Health. 

They are all painted on lovely chunky wooden panels the largest of which is 6 x 6" and they can either be hung or placed on a flat surface. I have protected  them with a Michael Harding matte wax varnish which I like for certain subjects and especially high key paintings.

 'I want to be alone' 
4 x 4"
 'Two's company'
8 x 4" overall

 'Wait for me....'
4 x 4"

'Not duck egg blue'
6 x 6"

'Summer Holiday'
6 x 6"

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Portrait workshop with Anthony Connolly

The workshop in the rather lovely Wiltshire countryside last week was most enjoyable and productive.  It is amazing how exhausting these events can be with the intense concentration that is required but whilst I am still processing some of the details I definately came away inspired and keen to see what my next painting will look like.

Needless to say our three models David, Annunziata and Honoria were excellent and I worked on each of their portraits for varying amounts of time.  The four days were well organised and the work took place in a pleasant gallery space with a very friendly group of artists.  Tony didnt do a demo but spent time with each artist in turn many times over during the four days.  I also noticed his advice seemed to be individually  tailored rather than a one size fits all approach.  I found him to be very considered with his comments, studying and thinking carefully, almost as if it were his painting.  His observations and suggestions were often very tiny, but significant.  The devil is definitely in the details!

His guidance was quiet but firm and in retrospect I almost wish I had just done one painting rather than three.  The incremental steps for improvement can be small and subtle and I may have benefited by doing just one long careful study.  Having spent so much time doing figures at the speed of light it would probably have been very good for me to really slow down.   As it is none of these are actually finished - but are they ever?
Needless to say having since looked carefully at the reference photos I took there are many, many errors and 'obvious' (to me now) corrections to make.  I rarely go back an edit anything I have done from life so they are probably going to stay in limbo forever.  Painting an accurate portrait from life is a great challenge. 


I am thinking more and more about different painting techniques and effects and particularly with portraits I think layering will give me what I am looking for.  I revisited Davids portrait on the last day and glazed over some areas and although I wasnt in the same spot to make any major corrections I did like the look of the possibilities.

I'd like to attend again next year, there is much to learn from an artist of Tony's calibre.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Portrait workshop

I am thrilled to say that I am doing a four day portrait workshop with Anthony Connolly professional artist and member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.  He is someone who places great emphasis on drawing, particularly working from life and is also an experienced teacher. So given that it's hard not to learn and grow when spending time with top notch artists I am very much looking forward to the next few days.

In the spirit of no post should be without a picture, here is one I did earlier.  I hope to take things to the next level - whatever that is.

Posting from my iPad, fiddly but ok.

Friday, 4 April 2014


Deja vu on the inspiration front for me after I saw Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake for the second time back in January. I attempted to capture a couple of the swans after the first time I saw it several years ago but those canvasses have long since been painted over.  I'd like to say I sat there Degas-like sketching and studying and that I created a whole pile of reference material to work from but it was just too mesmerising a performance.  Plus I think that would take several decades of experience and skill building that I haven't quite acquired yet.   So this was painted from various sources - photos, videos etc., and I believe the main photographer for the company is Roy Tan but unless I get permission to do otherwise this painting will be the only one, and just for me.  Its a shame because I wanted to put it in a show in a couple of weeks but for now it is NFS.  Its at the framers and I cant wait to see what it will look like in its rather understated floater frame.

47 x 12"    Oil on Linen

 A few close ups

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Portrait Practice

Still messing with the proportions but I think it works better with wild colours.  Kinda ran out of time, paper and inclination on this one...

45 minutes
Pan Pastels

I am doing a portrait workshop this month and thought I would do a bit of practice here using the Pan Pastels.  I will be going for subtlety if I can keep the artistic schizophrenia under control.

30 minutes
Pan Pastels