The Brown Sketchbook. 2. People!

I do like drawing people.

Most of these people I know very well. The nude was a model from a few years ago.

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Brown paper sketchbook. 1. Doodles!

This is the first batch of images from a nice LP sized sketchbook with brown card pages from CassArt.
I’ve been going back to old techniques I used at college, pasting in doodles and making the pages into an abstracted diary of these times.
Is doodling a sign of stress? Like itching? Has anyone made a book of the psychiatry of doodling? At one stage in my career I went through a phase of drawing elephants – the elephant in the room? Anyway…

Not much to say about these, take them as you find them. I seem to be working out colour combinations and doing quite a lot of shading and squirling.

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Spring Revision.

Painting after the event. The lack of model. Things get more plastic, colours stronger, design more obvious. The driving ideas in this work are sunlight on form, interiors and what is real in the world of the painting.
Again, Matisse and Picasso are influencing my work, with a dash of Hockney. Working in acrylic gives it as slight modern edge.

Spring Revison. Acrylic and oil pastel, over an old painting on paper. Late April – 3rd May 2020.
Below are some details and what the painting looked like when it was called ‘David and Bathsheba’

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Sketches of my family.

A in the sunshine. Acrylic and pencil on paper.
This work was about the full on power of the sun and what it does to colour and form.

E at work. Acrylic and pencil on brown paper in a sketchbook.
My youngest son borrows my computer to do his school work on, so it was time for me to do a quick life painting.

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Self Portrait April 2020

I think this is finished with. For a while.

Pensive self portrait. April 2020. Oil on canvas.
Painted at different times of day, in different clothes, on different chairs (all things that were slightly unfortunate).
You can tell it’s painted from life; the proportions are all nicely squee whiff and the colours dance about in a pleasing way, mixing to make my skin tones.
The last session added Prussian blue and lamp black on the jacket to give some depth. Dull green/blue/grey seems to be my colour. Light Royal Air Force blue? A memory from Airfix kits (the haze of turps open in my bedroom made me stupid – it explains a lot).

The last one is what I look like in the mirror if you photographed badly.

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Self Portrait update.

How quickly things can build. Since last week I have had two sessions at different times of the day. The best light is at 5pm but I’m almost always cooking for the family then. Due to a haircut (I was bored and have clippers) there needed to be a change in the silhouette. According to friends and family, my nose is too big (on the painting).

The palette was enlarged with some garish lime green. This joins Titanium and mixing white, Windsor Blue, Indian red, Paynes grey and Translucent yellow ochre.

I like the amount of paint accumulated over time on the easel.

The last image is me heightening the colours in photoshop. In my mind it starts to look like a late period Van Gogh, the amping up of intensity is interesting. A good test for future painting.

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Self Portraits 2020.

This canvas I paint over every few years with a self portrait.
Good practice, plus, with photography being what it is, there is still a record of the last version.
Self portraits usually look a bit odd, an intense stare, a pensive mouth. Concentration looks a bit angry when painted.

This version is not finished yet.

Influenced by the paintings of Cezanne in a great book about the American, insular and eccentric but brilliant Barnes Foundation (thank you Oxfam in Muswell Hill, £4). One day I hope to visit in person.

Unfinished Self Portrait 2020. oil on Canvas.

Some details of the painting.

The first session and a fun experiment with curves in photoshop.

Earlier Self Portraits on the same canvas.

A sketch in oil pastels made around the same time in the same position.

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These are works made almost by accident from times when I was tidying up in the garden or on the phone; they are 3D doodles.

The Couple. around 6ft of garden materials.
Different photographs of the sculpture. Since being made it’s been partially dismantled, only the (male) rusty wheelbarrow / grass flattener figure remains, looking lonely.

Conversation with my father. Odd elements on the desk as I chatted on the phone. No, I don’t know what it means, I think there’s something to do with mirroring and communication in there.

Two figures at the bottom of the garden. Made up of roots, old pottery and other garden material. The roots were from trees I dug up, after a long struggle, which seems to be important. They are kept by me like trophies from a hard won battle. The pottery was left by the previous owner, a good amateur ceramicist.

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My youngest son has the pleasure of my company as I take him to various lessons. He’s now at home, next to me doing his homework now…

Mostly I’m designing on the laptop while he’s learning but sometimes I’ll start drawing.
Here’s some of the results.

My daughter and Ed in a Liverpudlian Italian cake shop.
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Miles Davis Sketches.

Watching the documentary ‘Birth Of The Cool’ on the brilliant BBC Iplayer.
I think I prefer biographies and autobiographies in print than in film form.
The performances are still good though and the faces of the protagonists were mesmerising.
The usual rules about drawing from the TV applied. Not freezing the frames, not drawing or editing before or after the show and no re-watching. So here they are. The abstract part of the drawing is trying to capture ‘Miles runs the Voodoo down’ if you know that tune.

The lady is Frances Taylor Davis, who seemed absolutely gorgeous as a person. The photographs are by the master – Irving Penn.

Sorry about the lack of blogs, I’ve been busy on Graphics and other things… More soon.

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B thinking: the sketches.

So, what do we have here, then? Some sketches form life, some colour tests, some studies and one of the points of inspiration, a Rembrandt self-portrait.

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Portrait of B thinking.

It’s taken a while. In the next few posts I’ll show how this work came to be.

Portrait of B thinking. Oil on wood. 14.02.2020. 14″ square.

See details.

Some real up-close details and the palette.

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Red painting 3. The Mysteries.

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.

Here’s some images of the Villa.

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The Red Painting 2. A work in progress.

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.

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The Red Painting 1. Sketches, studies and notes.

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.

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A tweaked calendar.

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.

Here’s the monthly pages and poster.

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Life drawing. ‘David & Bathsheba’

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.

Details of the painting with title’s inspiration.

Moving. Conté pastel and pencil, with a tiny bit of oil paint.
I liked this pose. A light sense of balance. Quickness.

Some details of the above.

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As seen in the World Of Interiors.

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

Here’s the painting in close up.

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A little bit of illustration…

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.

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Life drawing: the King.

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.

Some details from the work.

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