Portraits: Nick the Album

Nick is a wonderful friend. He is also a good musician. I thought for a present, he needed an album cover.

Here’s the record.

Fun!

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Portrait in Orange.

Portrait in Orange. Acrylics with glazing medium, pencil and oil paint on prepared board. A3.
Made in one of the hottest days in London. Quite a workout. The Mary Ward Centre had some fans working overtime and both John Close the tutor and the model were troupers! The draining heat is retained in the painting. At home I added some more glazes, especially on the glasses. Yes, I know, the glasses are not exactly right but that is how I saw them.

The painting without frame, two close-ups showing the gloss on the glasses and skull drawn while waiting.

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A painting of crabs, in a Van Gogh style.

Crabs for Vincent. Acrylic and pencil on board. A3 landscape.
I was commissioned to paint these feisty crustaceans by a friend after looking at a Vincent Van Gogh painting in the National Gallery.

The Van Gogh original, the painting without frame and some details.

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Portrait: Christina the Queen.

Christina, Queen of Denmark. In order of application: Charcoal, Acrylic, Pencils, Oil paint on board. A3.
I asked the model who she would like to be painted as. She said Christina, Queen of Denmark. Titles are fun. As you can see below, the painting after the session was a fair bit happier. I wanted to add a shadow and that dappled light feel and some more plants. The oil paint added depth, texture and drama. Some Le Douanier Rousseau perhaps? If I exhibit the painting, I’ll make it work harder.

The work unframed. A close up. The work at the end of the session in front of the model.

3 short drawings on sugar paper. The first was conceived as a fashion style illustration with some changes of positioning left in on the eyes. The second was thought as a slight exaggeration with lots of different media used one after the other. The third was lots of paint on a big brush.

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Portrait: Against the sea and sky.

Against the sea and sky. Acrylics on prepared MDF. 40 x 50cm.
A two week pose, with some work at home. I’ve been enjoying the blue skies at the moment and thought it would make the pose a little more heroic. Very nice to have most of the decisions made and to have a session on the subtler parts of the work. Time to really look at the model’s ear.
I’m slowly getting better…

Some details and the painting without frame.

The work at the end of each painting session, so every hour and 15 minutes.

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Portrait: The waiting room.

The waiting room. Oil on treated pdf board.
The pose was for two sessions; it’s been worked on at home, using glazes to heighten the colour and finish the background. Originally the whole painting was a mix of blue greys. I’ve used a Palamino blackwing pencil for the details which gives the work an uptight feel. I’ve made him look a touch petulant.

Here’s some details of the finished work.

  1. The painting after 90 minutes. 2. The painting at the end of the first session, around 2 hours 30 minutes. 3. Half way through the second session. 4. At the end of the second session. 5. A photograph of the chair for reference.
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A painting of pears

Pears for Guilia. Acrylic on card. Around A5.
It’s hard to buy a present of a good quality pear tree this time of year.
So I painted a picture of pears as a substitute until the real thing arrives.

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Fallen trees, Epping forest.

Fallen trees, Epping forest. Acrylics, pencils and pen on gesso’d mdf. Around A3.
Painted in is situ on Saturday amid sun, wind and rain, all in the space of an hour. Once the dynamic composition was chosen this painting happened pretty quickly. I was perched 4 foot up on the fallen tree at the bottom of the painting. The scene had a sense of large heavy objects crashing into each other, things felt like they could change any moment in this stillness.

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Portrait. From mono to blue.

From mono to blue. Acrylics, oil glazes and pencil on prepared yellow 1960’s canvas paper. 40 x49 cm.
This was a lesson in grisaille (painting in greys). This techniques makes it a lot easier to concentrate on form and tone without having colour values complicating things. I’ve been interested in smalt blue (the background for some renaissance portraits, which was once a bright jewel like blue, though it fades over the years to grey), hence the background glaze.
The work was made in layers. Over a yellow ochre wash I drew the model in pencil, then used lamp black and white and off-white acrylics and a lot of glaze medium to build up the painting. At home the blue and ochre glazes in oil paint gave the work some dynamism. The aged paper splitting and ripping gives it something, making the whole work a bit more punk.

  1. A close up of the portrait. The model had a piercing at the top of her nose.
  2. A version of the painting photoshopped in mono.
  3. How the worked looked after the painting from life (with a little coloured pencil).
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Adrian in Yellow

Adrian in yellow. Acrylic and glaze medium on prepared board.
Adrian is a famous life model, so it was unusual to see him in a scarf. The theme this week was yellow. The look he’s giving is of someone who has been wearing a scarf and sitting down on a hot evening for three hours. The flower fabric was inspired from an old bed covering in a copy of World of Interiors. progress is being made with new brushes and a fair bit of acrylic glaze medium, working in layers like oil painting.

Here’s some details.

And here’s the painting in progress with the palette. Notice the yellow lighting on the middle image.
1. half way through. 2. At the end of the three hour session. 3. The palette at the end of the session.

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Portrait in red

Portrait in red. Acrylics on prepared mdf. 40 x 5ocm.

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Portraits of relations.

These are some of my favourite people. It wasn’t a hard job painting them.

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Portrait on blue.

Portrait on Blue. Acrylic on prepared 1960’s Daler canvas paper. 48 x 40cm.
I liked this painting enough to have it hanging up in my house.
Made at the Tuesday evening portrait class at the Mary Ward Centre, Queens Square, London.
Unfortunately, when I glued it to the backing the paper buckled up, the age of the paper has made it rather fragile.

Above: the original portrait, lightly photoshopped to bring out the warmth, as a black and white, at an angle in blue-ish light, in the dark and in situ.

Above are some details and a blurry shot of the palette.

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A portrait of my Parents.

Anniversary portrait. Acrylic on card. A4.
A pleasure to paint. My parents are very cool. Here they are in Italy in the 1960’s. Gold works well for this type of works, being obviously not ‘real’ and full of positive connotations. The different whites and blacks mixed with different acrylic mediums give the painting some variation.

Fancy Envelope. Pens and pencils on A4 envelope.
Here’s an envelope sent to my mum. The inspiration was a plate in the Wallace collection. Nice to doodle, some of it is by my sons.

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Florida Art.

Palm Beach house for Mo.
We went on a family holiday to Florida. Palm Beach, Key Largo, Key West and Miami Beach.
I packed a big sketchbook and some acrylic paints and some pencils. I found the strong sunlight and deep shadows fascinating.

Palm beach palm tree, Miami Beach, Edward on Miami Beach.

Sunlight on a hotel garden

Blankets on a hotel bed, Plant material for future work and a great Picture of a plane window by Edward.

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Portrait. Daryl J Hembrough in a smaller work.

Daryl J Hembrough in a small work. Acrylic, oil and pencil on card. 18 x 26cm.
I was late to the class and quickly grabbed some small pieces of cardboard. Daryl is great to work with. The background material had a very interesting colour, oscillating between green and an ochre. This was the first session at the portrait class at the Mary Ward Centre with the tutor John Close.
I painted with a fairly large brush in the session, then at home I made a few coloured oil paint glazes and lastly finished with two coloured pencils. The frame and understated wallpaper is from the Wallace collection.

See the details below, plus three recent portraits of Daryl together.

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Portrait. Daryl J. Hembrough in Highgate Cemetery.

Daryl J Hembrough in Highgate Cemetery. Acrylic on board. A3.
The second of two weeks work (I have yet to finish the small painting from the first week). The background was sketched in before the session started. It came from asking Daryl what he’d like and a chat about the great Highgate Cemetery. I live near the cemetery and have made some sketches a while back (see the gallery below). I’d also made a sketch of a Sufi art photograph, which I replaced the stone angel with. Into this image I placed the portrait from life.
It’s interesting being a portrait class instead of a life drawing class, less flesh and more material, less classical allusions more present day garb.
This was painted at the great life room in The Mary Ward Centre, in a portrait class lead by John Close. I could not resist going there for the last sessions before it moves from Queens Square to Stratford.

Some details from the painting and the two sketches.

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Portrait. Daryl J. Hembrough as Philosopher King.

Darryl J Hembrough as Philosopher King. Oil on old canvas board. 42 x 60cm.
This painting was created using four colours over two and a half hours.
I thought his contemplative atmosphere made him look like a Philosopher King. The colours chosen were a modified version of the Zorn palette. The background was painted in dark blue grey. Then warm white, crimson lake and Paynes grey were put over the top. Almost all the paint was thinned with walnut oil put on with two size filbert brushes then an old sock and dry brush was used to move the paint around the canvas board.

The painting feels like a breakthrough.
Thanks to the great John Close for the Zorn palette insights and tips on technique. His Friday night classes are well worth experiencing. See more here https://www.johnclosearts.co.uk

Daryl is a joy to paint and likes his scars being shown in the finished work. You can find out more about him and his art classes in Bristol here https://www.facebook.com/bristollifedrawinguk

Here’s the painting without the Frans Hals frame and on a chair in the art centre. You can see how bright the red walls are in the background. Plus an earlier portrait of mine with Darryl again playing the King.

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Life drawing. Long thin calm nude.

Long thin calm nude. Oil on primed wood. 60 x 120cm. Three hours.
The background was primed with grey-green paint, then Prussian blue and Naples yellow were used in tandem. The discipline of this gave me space to focus on the modelling and mark making. The colours have give the work a calmness that doesn’t come into my work much. the composition was quite considered with contrasting diagonals and a Degas-like feel of cropping the figure.

Above are two close-ups and how is could have looked with a stronger palette or in a mono colour scheme.

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Birthday Portrait. 15.

15. pencils and acrylic on board. A4.
There’s some interesting colour choices to make it 3 dimensional. Starting with a mid green, then purple, browns, a little blue and then some red. It follows you around the room.

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