RWA Open Exhibition and back to Cornwall

I’m really pleased to shared that I have a painting exhibited in the RWA Open Exhibition which opened last weekend. It’s the most prestigious open exhibition in the region and I felt very privileged to have attended the varnishing lunch on Saturday. So many fantastic paintings on show, really exciting but with a a good chance of the artist being in the room and not knowing what they look it was a bit frustrating, badges of the paintings pinned to the artists next year!  The exhibition runs until the 3rd of December.

I’ve also had a recent trip to Cornwall doing some more plein air painting, enjoying some turps dribbles in the sunshine.

In contrast to the turps dribbles I also did some palette knife painting with Newlyn School of Art while I was down there, watch this space for more local palette knife work over the Winter, if my future experiments succeed.

Don’t forget you can also follow me on twitter and on Instagram @ianpriceart as well as Facebook @ianpriceart for more recent news or just browse the updated galleries on my website.

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Another successful Portrait Course

Another couple of portrait courses done with Andrew James and smiles all around. Most importantly Andrew is looking forward to it again next year. If you’re interested register on the course page and I’ll let you know the timings when the venue schedule is available in the Spring.

This is now the fifth course I’ve attended (and organised) and I think progress is being made, portraiture is still the most maddening strand of art though.

Here’s a run through of what happened on the courses…

Course 1

We started off with some charcoal sketching followed by a quick demo by Andrew. Here’s his sketch.



Here’s my longer sketch, 1 hour I think.



Day 1 was completed with a monochrome oil painting. This was probably my least satisfying painting, I underpainted using a turpsy wash that didn’t dry before trying to apply the thicker paint on top.

Day 2 started with a demo oil painting by Andrew.



We spent some time sketching and working out compositions in charcoal before blocking in. 

Here’s my work at the end of day 2.



I found the 3rd day frustrating, battling with likeness but ended up with this at the end of the course.



The following week I tweaked the portrait, very little time was spent and very little paint was applied but the tweaks brought out the likeness more by modelling the chin more simply. Oh and I tried Joanna in a fancy frame! (Excuse the carpet).



Here’s a shot of other people’s work in progress on day 3.





Course 2

I (and another attendee) were lucky enough to do two back to back courses complete with new models.

Here are my sketches from the first day.



As I’d done the monochrome painting earlier in the week, I did a limited palette exercise using the zorn palette (only red, yell ochre, black and white).



Again day 2 started with a demo. This time Andrew tried a more conventional planned approach instead of his usual magic. The results was a more prosaic portrait but as a bonus we saw the pain he went to to complete an eye, it wasn’t just bravura brush marks. He doesn’t seem this bald usually, apologies for the angle Andrew.



Here’s some of the student work in progress.



Here’s mine after the 3rd day



I’d used large brushes for the initial block in and tried to work with them for as long as possible. Andrew made a good point that the machined finish of the board isn’t as pleasing as a canvas would have been.



When I got home. I did some further tweaking to the eyes and lips which I think brought out the likeness and removed the unflattering and untrue goggle eyed effect.



I hope you found this interesting and if you feel up to the challenge next year let me know.

The Sea Can Be Turquoise?

I’ve spent quite a few days down in Cornwall over the last few weeks on a family holiday closely followed by a course with Paul Lewin at the Newlyn School of Art. I’ve never had much success with sketching out of doors so I thought some exposure to some new ideas on his Coastal Painting mixed media course could help.

I did a few plein air oil paintings around Mousehole where I stayed and also in Newlyn. Because these were fitted in around other things they came out a bit tight but it was good to get into the swing of things before the course started. Did you know the sea could be turquoise? Mousehole is a great place for an arty break. Ken Howard even has a studio there.

Despite the turquoise sea it was pretty chilly and fogbound when the course started. The woolly hat I found in my pocket got used. Thanks to Sarah for the arty photo (note beard has gone for the Summer).

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On the course we were encouraged to make multiple sketches initially of various compositions and to get a good tonal range using water soluble graphite pencils. I’ve tried these before without much success as mentioned but they seemed to work better in Cornwall. Not worrying about where the dog has wandered to or is eating or barking at or chasing helps to improve sketch quality I think.
Here are the inital paintings from Porthgwarra, getting to grips with gouache.
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After a few days painting and sketching at Porthgwarra the final day was at Carn Groose on the north coast near Land’s end where I found a 2m by 3m ledge at the end of the headland which had spectacular views in every direction and was unnaturally sheltered.
Being at he end of the headland I wasn’t interrupted by anyone passing, even Paul struggled to find me.  The sea fog eventually lifted and I was eventually able to take off my hat and coat that hat been welded to my body for three days and apply some sun block. I was able to get into the techniques I’d picked up and completed these three paintings looking in varying directions from that single point. A real treat.
The Brisons from Carn Groose

The Brisons from Carn Groose

Lands' End from Carn Groose

Lands’ End from Carn Groose (I’ll straighten the horizon line).

Cape Cornwall from Carn Groose

Cape Cornwall from Carn Groose

Carn Groose to Land’s End (still wearing waterproof trousers!)

The course gave me a prod to persevere with outdoor sketches and also reignited my previous enthusiasm for water-colour. I found adding gouache to extend the range of effects and paint over any messes and define things without the slow death of using masking fluid to be really liberating. The most surprising thing was that is allowed me to play with paint splashing and dribbling outdoors in front of the subject which I’d previously only done (very enjoyably) using oils indoors. Getting oil too splashy outside would generally result in your efforts dribbling to the bottom of the painting on the walk home.
Overall a great use of a few days at the course and lovely to spend time in a beautiful cottage in Mousehole too, thanks to Adam and Helen for their cottage. My next step is to apply some of the things learnt to the greys and browns of the Severn Estuary.
Most of these paintings will be on view during North Somerset arts week, Mayday BH and the following weekend, 2-4th and  9-10th. My venue details are included in the North Somerset Arts Week Brochure entry.

Sadly the Andrew James #oilpainting #portrait #course is over for another year. #bristol #portishead

I’ve just had a great week painting with the great Andrew James RP.
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He came to Portishead (just outside Bristol) again to teach portraiture on a three day course that I organise. Everyone had a great time once more, I survived consecutive courses and you can see some examples of the student’s work and register your interest for an anticipated 2015 course on the course page if I’ve not got your details yet.

Thanks to Andrew and all the students and models for making it such a great success and Helen for behind the scenes support including critical cake making. 

Here are slideshows of the demos from the two courses last week. I’ll be posting my own work from it in a later post.

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#portrait #oilpainting #course with Andrew James RP October 2014 filling fast

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Andrew James Self Portrait

The Andrew James Expressive Portraits course I ran in Portishead last year was a great success. Due to the popularity of the course there are two separate dates to choose from this year.

  • Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 21st – 23rd October 2014
  • Friday, Sat & Sun, 24th – 26th of October 2014

The course is filling quickly, there aren’t many places left on the weekend one.


Feedback from last year’s course…

“He’s so tuned in to each individual artist, and pushes or coaxes everyone in the right direction…”
“I thought Andrew was superb – intelligent, open, honest, articulate, funny,
patient, tactful yet challenging and extremely supportive – providing us all
with ways forward that suited our abilities and levels of expression – which
is a rare capability in many art tutors let alone well-known artists.”
“I have been on one or two courses previously.This was the best
by some distance.”
“I felt like I learned more in 3 days than I did in 3 years at college”
“Andy was such an inspiration and such a nice guy with it. The group was also brill to work with, so so much talent!!”
“liked the venue a lot, partly because of it’s location by the estuary and the curlew accompaniment”
“cakes were stunning even though I shouldn’t eat cake”


I’m asking for a £50 deposit and the full price is £210. Further information and booking details are included here. There are some great videos of demos by him on YouTube too.