The Mysteries. Oil on canvas. 90cm square. I think that’s pretty much it. The ideas behind this work were: • To make something on a very red ground after doing a few paintings on very blue backgrounds • To make a work that has some of the power of the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii; what is happening? in my painting I don’t know either • To make a painting that isn’t like any other • To make the sitter look in control of the situation
It’s taken a while from the original work at the Mary and Centre to where the painting has ended up. Now what to do with it. It dominates any room you put it in.
Now, this painting is still not finished. It has no title and though it has themes, they have not completely coalesced. These images are what has happened so far, after each session. The model was painted from life. See the sketches and studies for this work in the previous post.
These are the workings behind a major as yet unfinished painting of a seated life model. The square canvas has been worked on for a while; in spare time, on the tube or between design jobs I’ve been making notes and doing odd sketches to try and find a way of making th work something really special. The large amount of red paint on he canvas has given it presence; now it needs elements to make it work.
Sometimes you have to make presents. Here’s a Christmas present, a calendar which has been tweaked to fit its recipient. Using some new felt pens and some Pritt Stick, jockeys have been added, some more silly than others, all with silly names.
David & Bathsheba – surely Bathsheba and David! The title is a bit of joke. Acrylic and pencil on paper. The artist in the background is called David (though no lust was involved and he is not a king), plus, the pose is slightly like the Rembrandt painting, without the ogling, or the sadness. The pieces of paper on the ground could be the letters in the Dutch masters painting. The blue material could be water… that’s pushing it a bit.
I decided to make a bit of promotion, in the January edition of the great World Of Interiors. It was very pleasant to be placed at No.1. As for the painting featured, I’m working on the next portrait in the series, which I’ve very happy about.
Here’s what it said: 1. Trevor Mill is a London based portrait painter. His work is figurative and mostly oil on canvas. He is adept at group work as well as solo portraits, really getting to the heart and soul of the sitter. Trevor has had 4 solo exhibitions and a steadily growing group of regular patrons. He has a special facility painting portraits of historical figures such as Winston Churchill. For larger work, the patron also gets a book on how the work came about, including sketches and photographs of every stage of the painting. See more at trevormill.com
It seems a lot of work is consigned to be a mystery due to the prevalence of Non Disclosure Agreements. Here’s a medical illustration job that I can now show in part at least. It works as details without giving anything away.
The King. Acrylic, pencils and pastels on paper. About 4 hours, 1 and a half with the models, the rest spread over the week in 1o minute bursts. The challenge was to create a new world around the model, not just the life drawing room. Perspective grids, old sketches and my imagination were thrown into this work. I’m not sure the painting has a message… maybe I’ll find out later. The eagle was and it’s colouring has something to do with His Dark Materials and an earlier work about swans being angels in a Dante-like heaven, which I painted around 15 years ago. There’s a bits of Giotto and Max Beckmann in there as well.
Some details of the final work.
Some of the sketches and influences around the work. The horse made it look to much like Lord of the Rings…
3x man. Pencil and acrylic on paper. 3 15 minute poses with the acrylic added at home using colour from the main work.
Looking left No.1. Acrylic, chalk and pencil on paper. I think it was 25 minutes, plus some more on the skull of the now famous Mr. Skellington. Sitting poses need some dynamism. The chalk was added on the background to make it recede. The skull was left on the floor over the break, so I had an extra 10 minutes with it, hence the detail.
Details of the above, showing the shaky mark making.
Looking Left no.2. Acrylic and conté pastel on paper. An hour in the Mary Ward Centre, then 20 minutes at home. The background was rather loud before the watered-down Farrow and Ball mixture was liberally added to calm the whole thing down. The shadows were added – there wasn’t many shadows in the real scene.
Some details of the above. A smaller painting of the model and two warm up poses which are very gestural. Interesting that I haven’t kept the skin tone palette between any other works made one after the other. Do I always see afresh? It would save time to use the same colours…
Remembering. Acrylic, oil washes, pencil and pastel on paper. Still trying to make the experience of the viewer more tangible. Some experiments in texture and mixed media. Heavily worked on at home, hence the title. Been looking at Michelangelo sculpture get the feeling of form in space. Not 100% happy with the work, the foot is good. There’s a movement to the marks, a shimmer which helps the liveliness.
Time & notation. Acrylics, pastels and pencils on paper. 1 hour. 30 minutes at home. The model changed the pose slightly ever 15 minutes. So it was concentrate and see what was on the paper at the end of the time.
Some details of the above.
Darkness. Acrylic and white pencil on paper. Seeing as it’s nearing Halloween and I wasn’t feeling too well…
Sitting around the Stars. Acrylic and glitter on paper. Working from ideas based on music I’ve been listening to. This week it’s Metal Box by Public Image Limited.
There is something about the having a murky yet metalic backing with characters looming out with a lack of consideration for normal considerations of beauty. The finish is not sloppy, more like intuative, with unimportant parts missing. The glitter helps flatten the work, is pretty and knowinglingly cheap, but looks as good as diamond dust would.
Another term of Life drawing and Painting starts at the Mary Ward Centre. The amount of joy and knowledge gained on these Friday nights really helps the rest of my life. The tutor John Close and the regulars have become good friends over the years.
Look right on Blue. Acrylic and oil on cardboard. 60 x 83cm. Trying to keep a focus on the important parts. The figure in the background was a really tough pose. The blue glaze helps give the background figure less prominance. The palette was chosen by having forgotten to bring my white paint. The composition is my usual 3 subjects in 3 different proportions.
Some close ups of the work, which the camera seems to have problems photographing. The colour is all over the place.
Warm up work. Using different techniques, like working with two hands at the same time.
After making a Picasso-like painting, it was time to go to the realistic side of things. This image is a homage to the black and white photograph, especially Irving Penn. As usual, it was important to make the marks stand out, this is a drawing, not a photographic print.
The following studies are trying to bring the fun and hope of kids art to the work.