Monday, 30 December 2013

Autumn near Lyndon

Oil on Board, 9 x 12 inches

Firstly, I should say a big thank you to you all for reading my Blog over the past year and I hope you're all enjoying your festive break. And if you've only just joined, where have you been?

The painting above I did as a demonstration piece a few weeks ago to the Oundle Art Society.  On the day, I had forgotten to bring my big 1" household brush, but a lady in the audience very kindly loaned me her pastry brush, which I made do with and enabled me to paint in the foliage.  Not having painted anything for over a week, I checked back in the studio today and refined the painting a little with my trusty 1" brush.

Here's the painting on the day, showing how far I got in the allotted two hours using the pastry brush:

Thursday, 19 December 2013

ROI Paint Evening

 Kit, Oil on Board, 16 x 12 inches

Here's my effort from the ROI Paint Evening on Tuesday, where loads of artists were crammed together, painting from three models around the gallery.  There was a remarkable hush in the room right from the word go, punctuated by swishes of brushes being cleaned in the white spirit cans and the odd whispered tones from the spectators milling around, weaving between tripod and easel legs.  I found it a tricky experience, being too far from the model to see any detail in the face.  Hence, my version of Kit took on a rather 'plasticky' look about it, albeit a decent enough likeness, but I promised to post it, so here it is, warts and all. On reflection, I think I would have been better to have painted a full length portrait, showing an overall impression.

Kit himself found it a rather difficult exercise too, periodically dropping off, his eyes taking on a heavier look and his head changing angle! 
 Here's a snap I took at the mid-session break, with my friend David Pilgrim's painting to the left of mine and Haidee Jo Summers a couple of yards in front.
Here's another view to my right showing many more setups scattered about...
and another to my left during the break.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Self Portrait ll

 Oil on Board, 12 x 9 inches
Tomorrow I'm going to the ROI Paint Event evening in London, where I shall be mixing with fellow painters, to paint from three different models in front of an assembled audience.  So today I thought I would flex my painting muscles for a practise go, as I've barely painted anything for ages, let alone a PORTRAIT!  I had to paint from a somewhat unwilling and diffident model, with a rather fixed, serious gaze...

Using a mirror perched precariously on top of a paint tin on top of a shelf, resting against a pot of tall brushes, I set to, standing up, holding the brush at arms length to rough in the outline of this devilishly handsome brute.  Looking slightly upwards at my reflection avoided seeing my increasing bald patch, thus appearing to have a full head of luxurious locks.  I'm reasonably happy with the result, although I'd like to do a less serious pose of myself.  Doing anything else but a serious-looking pose of oneself is very difficult, because you have to concentrate on the painting, whilst doubling up as the model.  To switch from concentration to something else every few seconds is next to impossible.  I'd like to rig up two or three mirrors sometime in order to paint myself from a sideways-on profile, just to ring the changes.

Anyway, I look forward to tomorrow's gig, and will post my effort from the night very soon... 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

ROI Private View

I spent today at the ROI Private View at the Mall Galleries in London. Despite none of my submissions being accepted this year, it's still a great show and well worth a visit if you're in London!

It's always a good day, catching up with friends and colleagues Haidee-Jo Summers, David Pilgrim, Graham Webber, David Curtis, Adebanji Alade, Keith Wilkinson and others, and talking shop, and having a good old gander at the superb work on display.  The show was officially opened by the new President of the ROI, Ian Cryer and the ever exuberantly verbose Dr David Starkey.

It was especially good to finally meet and chat with one of my all-time painting heroes, Pete 'The Street' Brown, who picked up yet another award. When Adebanji Alade asked Pete if he could take a photo of him in front of his paintings, I took advantage and got a snap too, above.

I shall endeavour to take a few more photos when it's a little less busy next Tuesday when I and many more artists, some ROI members and some not, will be painting from three models, live, from 6-9pm in the annual Art Event Evening. Tickets at £8 to watch the event, can be obtained from

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Glorious Snow

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

Well, my silence is broken!  No doubt you've all been wondering where on earth I've been since nearly a month ago.  I've not been taking a holiday - in fact, my feet have hardly touched the ground.  My new custom-built studio is up at the bottom of the garden, it's been painted and now all I've got to do is get a path put in to get to it across what was the lawn and is now bare earth and mud. 

I've also been looking very, very seriously at opening a new gallery in the area, selling fine art by some of the country's finest painters.  In my opinion, the area is crying out for a gallery that sells modern fine art, not abstract-leaning 'contemporary' art, and there is a gap in the market that I intend to fill, so watch this space...any thoughts would be much appreciated.
I've also done a couple of demonstration paintings in the last month, and this one above is one of them, given at Oadby Society of Artists last Monday.
This was largely an exercise in tonal relationships.  As I said to the lovely group in Oadby, this is a classic case of painting what you see, not what you know, ie., we know snow is white, but looking into the sun with a river meandering through, the snow is NOT the lightest part of the landscape.  I placed pure Titanium White for the reflection of the sunlight straight away, to give me the brightest part of the painting to work up to, everything else being a tone down from this intense light.  Most of the snow was in shadow, so the colours were various tones of lilac, and the sunlit parts have a little red and blue in the mix, so as not to compete with that intense light on the water.
Painting under artificial tungsten light, as well as my daylight bulb was a challenge, and the colours were a little off after the two hours demo, as can be seen in the photo below, which is as far as I got on the evening.  So, a couple of hours were needed back in the studio, refining the tones and colours.