R looking up. Oil on gesso on wood. 13″ square. This is the hardest painting to photograph. It really does look different in real life. The work has more depth and presence. It will be interesting to see whether it gets a frame and where the painting is placed.
Calm. Acrylics, pencil and oil paint on paper. 70 x 100cm. There was some interesting times in the making of this work, fun with oil paint and keeping the atmosphere of the original time in the life studio.
Some details showing the layers of media. Pencil, acrylic, oils, pencil.
Three figures in three chairs. Acrylics, pencil and oil paint on paper. 70 x 100cm. The model had three poses of 20 minutes each. Great fun, not bothering about the mess just trying to get things ‘right’. It led to a slight double vision.
1,2 and 3 removes. Acrylic and oil on prepared paper. 100x70cm. The angel is a painting of a painting of a painting, which is quite fun. The title is called 1,2 and 3 removes as the model in the studio is at one remove, the model in the mirror at 2 and the angel at 3. The tattoo works well in linking the blues around the painting. The background colour is the light yellow. The oil paint is over the skin colour, hair and under the fabric. The mirror could do with a bit more work or some gloss varnish.
The ritual of the scarf, mask and book. Acrylic and oil on prepared paper. 100x70cm. Everyone in the room was wearing masks. The model posed in 3 fifteen minute poses, holding objects. This reminded me of the villa of Mysteries in Pompeii, hence the red background. Then I had some black oil paint that needed using up, so that made it on. The painting could be finessed at a later date.
Thinking in Mono. Pencil on paper. 100 x 70cm. It was enjoyable not to have to worry about colour, brushes and cleaning up. A wash of Paynes Grey and liquin was put on the material at home. As usual, if only I could make the shading a little less aggressive.
Thinking in Monolightly. Pencil on paper. 100 x 70cm. The light grey was put on in photoshop. A large 30 minute sketch.
Past & Present (SLG x2). Acrylic, pencil and oil on prepared paper. 100 x 70cm. The initial painting was in acrylic, then overpainted in oils thinned with liquin. Again the feeling of the models presence was important. Oil paint gives a greater depth and lustre. In the background is an old canvas of the model, put on in the last 30 minutes of work on the painting.
Figure in the studio (SLG). Acrylic, pencil and oil on prepared paper. 100 x 70cm. I liked the cool, dry quiet atmosphere and the play of what was in focus and what fades from view. The painting balances in an interesting way.
Figures in the studio (SLG x4). Acrylic on paper. 80 x 60cm. Four fifteen minute poses with frames and a table. Nice and rough.
Movement | Stasis. Acrylics and pencil on prepared paper. 100 x 70cm. The dark blue frame and background was painted a few days before the figures. The work was made in two parts. In the first, the model (an actor) was acting his socks off, as it were. I tried to keep up with a broad brushing a warm palette. The second half of the painting was made as the model stayed rather still; hence the alabaster feel, to make him look statuesque. Having two techniques in the same work is exciting. The two sides were originally reversed, making the statue-like pose look out from the left, which didn’t seem right.
Some other work from the night. One 30 minute pose with three 15 minute ones. Dynamic poses.
I haven’t done many religious works in my life. After buying a beautiful book on Giotto’s work at Assisi, it seemed the right time to make some studies, to try and work out how he gets the emotional intensity of the Bible stories across. I’ve taken freely from the work and simplified the narrative.
1. Hands of St.Francis on red 2. Answered prayers 3 Jesus walking away 4. Saint Sam of Sheffield, in the midst of a sermon at the bridge of the descending children. Trying to get the sense of heightened feeling into a painting of a friend.
Mother & child. Acrylics on canvas. A good friend has had the most charming young man. I’ve put the work in an old museum frame, not sure what frame it needs at the moment.
Here’s pretty much every stage of the painting. I do like showing my workings.
Three studies. The first is from life (what a lovely kinetic few hours that was, with a cameraman filming as well as we chatted and I painted). The second was in a sketch book and the third is on the canvas before painting began.
A good night’s life painting. With some work on Sunday afternoon, two paintings are finished. They would look better in oils on canvas but that would be quite a more time consuming , messy and impractical process. We do what we can.
Each part of the painting has been thought about (mostly while I’m working): Intention Composition Perspective Line Tonality Colour Texture Focus
The view from the exterior. Acrylics and pencil on prepared paper. 100x70cm. The distortion is intentional, if a bit mannerist. With my compostions I hope to break the fourth wall one day. A nice set up of book, skull and mirror from the tutor.
The view from the interior. Acrylics and pencil on prepared paper. 100x70cm. A half-hour pose. The dark stripes either side were thought of on the tube ride to the studio.
Details. You can see how the prepared paper helps with the texture.
Three quick poses on thinner, smaller, whiter paper. These were made one after the other, each pose dictating the media and technique.
Talk to me. Acrylic, black oil paint, pencils on paper. 70x100cm The model didn’t have red hair. Or such dirty feet. The paper was prepared with dark grey, the light cement colour was quickly and thickly applied, somehow influenced by the Titian exhibition I’d recently seen. I like where the bulldog clip marks have been left. Again the size and shape of the foot stool was hard to gauge.
There’s yet another John Berger book I’m reading (Selected Essays and Articles, The look of things, Pelican, 1972). In the essay The moment of Cubism he quotes Heisenberg (Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist and one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics) ‘Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves: it describes nature as exposed to our method of questioning’. Being part of the space and changing the space with your presence. I’m trying to get that in these paintings. Not just observing or copying or noting impressions. Being part of the game.
Listen. Acrylic, pencils on paper. 70x100cm The model wasn’t unhappy. The original painting was a 30 minute session. The albums were painted in my studio. You can guess the covers if you want. The floorboards were inspired by Syd Barret’s flat, if that means anything to you. The space is logical / illogical, the scene is also relaxed yet odd; what is the model doing naked in this room?
Some of the quicker sketches and a row of the model’s face made that night.
“In his book on the nude, Kenneth Clark says that being naked is simply being without clothes. The nude, according to him, is a form of art. I would put it differently: to be naked is to be oneself; to be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself. A nude has to be seen as an object in order to be a nude.” – John Berger.
Hopefully I recognise the model’s self; they have a personality, they are not a dummy.
Relax. Acrylics and pencil on paper. 70x100cm. The paper was prepared with the messy grey-green. The light blue was quickly put on, then the drawing. in the last five minutes of the pose, the pinks and whites were applied. The background blues were painted in my studio. There is something pleasingly simple about this painting, everyone in the art class liked it. The diagonal composition is quite ‘stable’. In the background Mr. Skellington is in the middle and the blues either side. The blues symbolise the infinite. What am I trying to say?
Tense. Acrylics and pencil on paper. 70x100cm. This was the 30 minute pose. Started with drawing lines with a straight edge, like a jokey version of cubism. The paper has recorded the speed in which the paint was applied. It could do with some more work, some more colours to stop it looking so… dour.
The model, who is an actress, has great presence which shows in these details.
Two Goats, Clissold Park, Stoke Newington. Pencils in the grey sketchbook. Clissold park is great for people (and goat) watching. I had 40 minutes in between picking up the children from climbing. The deer and birds were too far away to draw so I sat opposite the goats and reminded people you couldn’t / shouldn’t feed them Pringles. The personalities of the goats were exaggerated for effect.
While staying a week in Derbyshire I had enough time to make a few works. In landscape painting I’m trying to make my viewpoint wide the bridge to get the sense of the way the human eye takes in the whole scene, hence a nice warping in the second image. All in the Grey Sketchbook.
Abseiling in Millers Dale 1&2. Acrylic and pencil on grey paper. In between photographing the abseilers and dodging the rain, I had the chance to make these paintings. Each was started off in a very slapdash manner and then tightened up only at the end of the process.
Still life with Taddy Porter. Acrylic and pencil on grey paper. The colours of Derbyshire include a heather purple/pink. I’m trying to make the still life really be as strong as possible with some strong contrast and an interesting composition. The herbs were small in real life but I liked their English post war feel!
DiagonalSeated man. Acrylics and pencils on large paper. The sludge green/grey colour was made up on the spot and used as the base for the rest of the image. The diagonal composition presented itself. A little work was done at home to tidy up the paint passages.
M in seven positions. Acrylics and pencils on large paper. The pose with the foot stool was really tough to get the legs correctly positioned. The stool was redrawn at least 4 times in different sizes and positions.
Due to various reasons I haven’t been painting life models since 2019. There is a small exclusive set of life drawing sessions over the summer holidays and I was lucky enough to be invited. The weather may be hot and the room small but the quality of life models and enjoyment of the process was the same as ever. This model is one of the best on the circuit and has a regal bearing that is good to capture.
Looking blue. Acrylics and pencil on large paper. This figure was painted in the first 30 minutes. There was another 10 minutes of trying up and adding yellow ochre at home to react with the Prussian blue.
Some details of the work.
4 Studies of T. Acrylics and pencil on large paper. 5 or 10 minute poses.
Nefertiti. Acrylics and pencil on large paper. A hour pose with a nice simple palette. Some painting of the background in slightly different colours went on at home.