Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Paintings of runners

The last two months I have been getting enquiries about runners paintings. My son Thomas is a keen cross country and marathon runner so I have done quite a few paintings on that theme. My aim is to try to capture the style of the runner and the feeling of motion.

My spirit runners for the Olympics in 2012 were popular

As was the "runners at the bend"

A charcoal version of these runners is still available framed at £140


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Spring terms life drawing

In the spring term of life drawing the elements we covered were all related to tone - exploring ways of using tone, tone in different media, subtractive tone, tone on dark paper and looking at artists from the renaissance period.

This term I have pre prepared my paper for life drawing classes. I have either used gesso only and a large brush to accentuate the brush strokes or stuck newspaper into the wet gesso to get a reverse print.

I have picked out a few of my favourite life drawings,

I love the light on the shoulders on this drawing

This model was slightly twisted but made an interesting pose

I just captured the torso here, the light was amazing

I love this curled up pose with the head twisted

A wonderful relaxed pose quickly drawn in charcoal

I loved the shoulders on this one and the fall of the light

Again the shoulders were amazing, just catching the light

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Flower paintings and cards

Over the years I have painted numerous still lifes of flowers. I try to capture the feel and character of the flower. I like to buy flowers for the table if I don't have any in the garden to pick. At this time of the year I mainly buy tulips and roses.

I love it when the light hits the flowers and makes the petals and leaves really shine. I try to capture this in my paintings. I usually start by making sketches of the flowers in pencil, charcoal or pastel. I really look and try to capture what I see and the character of each flower. For instance if the flower is standing up or bowed down. I look at the length and position of the petals. I treat them rather as I would people by looking at their proportions.

Below is a sketch I have done in charocoal

Flowers in a vase, sketch

It is useful to have the sketch as a reminder when panting the flowers. Here is the final painting.

I often do little sketch paintings of my flowers to make personal cards. The following sketches were made of the spring helebores in my garden. I use cards which have a rectangular aperture which allows me to stick these original sketchs in. For these sketches I used paper I had prepared for the first two and brown paper on the last one.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Rome Unpacked

Happy New Year! It was great to see the images of Rome in the TV program "Rome Unpacked". It features so many images of Rome, you can see the presenters going around on a Vespa. You can actually see the Trevi fountain and then you learn it was filmed very early in the morning (5am)!

Even so it brought back some amazing memories of the buildings, old town roads and piazzas. I especially enjoyed going to see many of the amazing paintings in the basilicas and also an exhibition of paintings by Caravagio.

I particularly liked the piazzas especially those with cafes where you could linger, enjoy the ambiance, the sun and people watch! Here are a couple of my favourites:-

Café in the sunlight
This painting is of a café in Piazza di Pietra. What you cannot see are the amazing columns of the temple of Hadrian to the left. I was more interested in the low light on the building and the people. 

Café by the Pantheon
This is a painting of a cafe in Piazza della Rotonda with the Pantheon in the background. It is an amazing building with its unsupported dome and oculus (hole in the middle) the only source of natural light. This café was great to just watch the world go by. It was one of my favourite places in Rome although quite busy most of the time.

You can see these and more of my Rome collection at www.littlevangogh.co.uk. I am looking forward to seeing the second part of "Rome Unpacked".

Monday, 6 November 2017

The Three Graces

This summer I went to see the Raphael exhibition "The drawings". It was amazing and not just drawings in the inanimate sense but drawings full of life and vigour. You could sense the emotions and you felt they could have been drawn recently. One of my favourites was of the three graces. It is a tonal study and reminded me of how difficult it is to do a drawing with three figures. This sometimes happens when we have short 2 or 5 minute poses to put on one sheet. Many times it doesn't work and the figures don't look connected in any way. So when it does work, I feel very happy with my drawing and this one below was one of those times. It is on prepared paper, just painted with a big brush beforehand, and then using charcoal and a putty rubber to highlight at the time. I work quickly and try to capture the feeling especially how they are balanced.

My three graces

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Cafés trilogy

I am currently showing a trilogy of Café scenes at the West Ox Arts Gallery in Bampton, Oxfordshire. The culture of sitting in cafés is very much the in thing now and I just loved bringing these three pictures together for the Trilogy exhibition. On my current theme of presenting more information I wrote a short piece about how they came about (see below). If you want to visit they are showing until Sunday 28th May, please check www.westoxarts.com for details.

Shaded corner café, Lisbon (left)
I was lucky to spend a few days in the lovely city of Lisbon. The days were hot and the whole place seemed to glow in a wonderful yellow light. This café was nestled in the shade of an old building. The people sitting there captured my interest whilst I was observing from a park bench nearby.

Back street café, Dubrovik (middle)
A holiday trip to this medieval city reminded me of days gone by without cars and the modern trappings of life. This back street café sheltered people from the heat of the sun but there was wonderful illumination by light streaming from the passageways. I can remember the warmth of the stone walls and pavements. The waitress with her bobbed hair caught my interest in particular.

Café with green canopies, Vence, France (right)
I love the light dancing around the canopies of this café. It is one that I know well from my days living in Vence in the south of France. It sits next to the “Place du Grand Jardin” with its regular markets. I often visited this café, meeting up with friends from my French classes.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

People watching, Rome

I recently went to an exhibition of work by NEAC artist Peter Brown. I have been an admirer of his paintings for a while particularly those of Bath. Something which he did for the exhibition was to provide an audio of some of them, giving a bit more information about the paintings which I thought really added to the exhibition and brought the paintings to life.

People watching, Rome

I thought it might be interesting to write something about my own paintings so here goes. This painting is called "People watching, Rome". It started out life from sketches made outside the Pantheon in Rome. There are a number of cafés around the square and I sat down in one to sketch the comings and goings. What started to catch my imagination was the way that the colours of the canopies seemed to lift the scene with the people, waiter and waitress. Part of it is in bright sunlight which really shone on this particular day. I was lucky that the café was not too busy and the waitress was happy for me to sit around for an hour or two. The sketches in pencil and watercolour help to give me a feel for the atmosphere. When I paint in the studio I try to recreate the feeling of being there again which isn't always easy when it is dark and raining! I really loved the buildings around the Pantheon, it is so unexpected in its position. It definitely has an awe and wonder about it which is difficult to describe until you go and see it for yourself. Painting this painting has given me a great deal of pleasure, I hope you enjoy it.

Crop of People watching, Rome