Friday, 16 December 2011

Day out at the ROI

Yesterday I had a day out at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) where the cream of the country's Oil painters have their annual open exhibition. It was a feast for the eye I must say, with a really broad mix of styles and subject matter, from the very loose to the ultra tight in terms of execution.

I took my camera for a day out to London too, but as I forgot to put in a memory card, it just had a lazy day, unused in my bag, durgh!

So, I had to resort to sketches both on the way down on the coach and at the show.  I've included my doodles below.  I'm not much of a sketcher actually, apart from when I'm composing a wildlife subject - I prefer to sketch with my paintbrush as I go and get straight on with the painting.

Roger Dellar gave a demonstration at 2pm, painting the ROI President, Peter Wileman's daughter Olivia. A good crowd gathered and Roger did a fine job - no photo, obviously, but here's my quick drawing of him painting:
Then at 6pm, it was the annual Art Event Evening, when several ROI members and ordinary mortals paint from three models. I was only able to watch for 30 minutes as I had to get to the last coach home at 7pm, but it was really interesting seeing the completely different ways of 'getting into' the portrait.  Lucy McKie kind of brought the head shape tentatively into being from an ethereal background, David Curtis (the guv'nor in my book) started on a very dark toned ground, nervously dabbing in the features then wiping away the lights of the background with a rag, Luis Morris went straight in on a white canvas with blocks of undiluted colour, Roger Dellar blocked in the features (of Peter Wileman doing the modelling) qhickly with broad, strong umber marks, Tony Merrick sketched out the form in his impressionistic manner, whilst Dennis Syrett drew out the head shape with a light colour on a dark background, a new one on me, and others whose names I know not, sketched out the form in dry orangey colour on white ground, very wet washes on toned ground, and so on.  In short, no two started the same way, so ther are no rules for how you start a painting.  I like to start with thin, dryish paint on a toned ground, plotting the darks, then work up with thicker, juicier paint towards the end.

I would love to have seen all the end results, when another master, Trevor Chamberlain was going to give a critique.  A great evening I'm sure!

Back to the exhibition, I met Aderbanji Alade, John Shave, David Curtis, Peter Wileman, Roger Dellar...I know, I'm such a name-dropper, and they all met me! I'm sure you're all perched on the edge of your seats, wondering if I had anything accepted for the show aren't you...AREN'T YOU?  Well, yes I did, one solitary picture, below.  I thought it wasn't as strong as the other four that were rejected, but again, what do I know?

I need to loosen up to curry favour with the judges, so I shall strive for just that next year.  So far the painting hasn't sold, so the buying public in London, at least, seem to prefer the more impressionistic style.

Oh, here are the doodles I occupied my time with on the coach journey down:

Don't know who the character was staring back at me through the reflective plastic shield between me and the driver, but he looks a bit shifty with those up-tuned eyebrows......

Well, they're only very quick sketches - maybe I need to attend the Royal Academy and have some tuition from Professor Tracey Emin, RA...............everyone I spoke to at the ROI couldn't understand it, apart from Aderbanji Alade, (a brilliant painter - see his blog on my list) who said he thought it was great, and I think he was being serious.  The only drawings I can find of Dame Tracey (it's surely only a matter of time before Dave C. recommends her majesty to anoint the chosen one for the honour) are the ones of the parts of her body that most of us prefer not to see the light of day, never mind thrust upon us to exclaim her sexual experiences of her tortured yoof.


  1. 'Ere you leave our Trace alone - she's a local lass and a bit of a pin-up down the road in Margate :-)

    Seriously, I agree with your comments. I have come to like/respect her more in recent years but a professor???

    Enjoyed your sketches and commentary.

  2. Thanks Sue. I haven't come to like or respect her any more, but she does have a certain charisma about her, probably because she always wants to talk about her vagina and taboos, so you listen for the next shock speak. I can't imagine LEARNING anything from her drawing lectures. They must be laughing at us over the pond.

  3. I agree with you Peter, Professor? Drawing? Tracy? somehow the three words don't really gel. I think she is just very lucky and has absolutely no (none, nil, nada, zero) talent, except a talent for promoting herself. Still, I wish I had some of that!
    Sounds as if you had a great day. I usually have flat batteries in my camera when I need it most. LOL.

  4. Thanks Bev. It's all about hype, that's for sure!

  5. hello again glad you enjoyed your day out and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. If I could produce such pleasureable pictures as yours I would not worry about critics what do they know your followers prove that. Best wishes for now and the New Year. Your mystery fan Ve.

  6. Hello mystery fan Ve. I don't worry about critics at all, but in this case, it's my fellow painters, and it's always good to get recognition and accolades from the peers you admire and respect. But, thank you very much for your admiration Ve - it's much appreciated I assure you!


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