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 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

Little Van Gogh Rome collection

Last month 11 of my Rome paintings were delivered to the company Little Van Gogh and will go up in offices every two months.  The work can also be viewed and purchased on line at their website

I have included a picture of all the paintings in my living room. I was very pleased with the collection when it was finished. It was sad to see them go as I have been living with them for a while in my studio but it allows me the space to develop new work. If you would like more details then please get in touch.

Rome collection paintings

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Connecting with my painting and finishing work

Happy New Year! It has been a while since my last post. Over the last few months I have been working to complete a collection of Rome paintings. I have done some new ones from sketches and photos and also managed to complete some old ones which have been sitting in my studio.

I am often asked whether a painting is finished. Now that is hard to answer. I usually answer that "it will never be finished" as I am often not completely satisfied! The last month I have been really thinking about that as I ask my family what they think?! Often it is not the technical parts that really matter but whether it feels right. So how do you quantify that! I decided to put together some criteria for myself about finishing a painting:-

  • Does it convey the feelings I had at the time?
  • Does it have a sense of movement, can your eye travel around easily?
  • Does it give you a sense of being there i.e. could I step into the scene, a sense of reality?
  • Is there a good level of focus in some areas and not in others?
  • Do the colours work together in harmony?
  • Is there anything that is really catching my eye - a line or mark that needs removing? Or is there anything missing?
  • Do the people feel like they have life, ie not too stiff/rigid?
  • Can I feel something from or about the painting? eg. a story or wanting to know more
  • Does it still have an energy about it? ie. not overworked
If I can be happy that I have achieved most of the above then perhaps the painting is finished!

The most important thing is connecting with the painting. That means that every time you paint you know what you are trying to convey. I know my best paintings are painted from how I feel inside but hopefully these criteria will help me do that more often. Here are a couple (below) I think are finished at long last.

Dappled light, Rome
Under the umbrella