Opportunities to see my paintings near and far

Well relatively far anyhow. Some of my work will be showing with Farmer Fine Arts at the Cambridge art fair this coming weekend. Andrew Farmer is a fine and ridiculously prolific painter himself and he invited me to exhibit with his gallery along with some real up and coming painting talent. Take a look at his site and even better if you can make to that part of the country take a look at the fair. Look out especially for Tom Stevenson and Maria Rose who are ones to watch for the future. I really ought to get some painting swaps sorted while I still can!

As well as some larger work I’ve packaged up some of my life class studies for the fair too.

HJ Ink and Brush

Closer to home I’ll be exhibiting with the Portishead Arts painters at the Portishead Lido Cafe again at the end of this month.

I’ll be showing some dinky little ship paintings that I’ve enjoyed creating over the last few weeks along with some recent plein air painting work fresh off the easel, yesterday in fact. I’m really enjoying this low winter sun.

P.s. if anyone has the Sky Arts channel then you might be able to spot me in the background of the recent episode of Landscape Artist of the Year. It was on last week but it should be on catch up. I’ve not seen it but I’ve seen some shared screen shots. I’m the one wearing an apron that looks like it’s been involved in some kind of dirty protest.

I was one of 50 wildcard entries painting Worm’s Head on the Gower, this was in addition to the 6 artists selected for that heat. It was a really enjoyable experience being in a group of artists who were all excited to be there. It was great to meet so many artists face to face and I hope our paths will keep on crossing. As a bonus we were able to park up the campervan in the crew field which had a spectacular view of Worm’s Head.

It was really interesting to see the programme being made and it was great to meet *spoiler alert* the heat winner Alice Boggis-Rolfe Art who I’ve followed on social media for a few years and knew my work too. But even better I got to speak to and shake the hand of Tai-Shen Schierenberg, one of the judges, I love his work. Unfortunately my painting didn’t work out so well, my foreground turned to non drying gravy, I painted over some of the brown mess when I got home, too late for the programme though. There’s always next year…

Worm’s Head, with repainted foreground!

The application process is open for next year already if you fancy giving it a go. I can really recommend it if you are able to make any of the heat locations.

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Double Art – End of term life class report

I’ve just completed two terms of life classes and am taking the Summer off to get out in the fresh air and do some more plein air painting so a good time for a round up I think. I’ve attached a bumper pack of life class studies at the end of this post. 

For most of the time since October I’ve been focussing on double life model oil painted studies. I go to the Bristol Life class run by Will Stevens, the Bristol Grammar session he runs is famous in Bristol but there’s a sister session in Ashley Down (Brunel Field) that has a bit more space for me to set up an easel. One benefit of Will’s classes is that they have enough models to allow a double pose, usually at the long pose end of the room. 

When doing life painting it’s easy to fool yourself that you’ve nailed the colour mixing when you have come up with a convincing study, this is even more true in still lives or landscapes. However when I started doing the double poses I found that I’d been deluding myself, I found my flesh tones were convincing tonally but when you are confronted with two models you suddenly realise there’s a whole new world of subtlety in skin colour that I hadn’t appreciated, this is even true between two “white” models. By having the two models next to each other you’re forced into mixing a true skin colour that complements or contrasts accurately with their neighbour, or to put it another way you can see you’ve got it wrong more clearly. You can no longer get away with them being tonally close enough when working with a pair of models. Obviously none of this matters if you haven’t got the models in front of you when you are looking at the painting but I’ve always treated a life class as a learning and improving exercise and I found painting two models at once really stretched me. 

 I’m not way saying that these are great paintings or great compositions, in some cases I’ve got the mixes horribly wrong or made drawing errors and in others I’ve just run out of time. It takes concentration for me to get this much down in the time and the odd week that I fell back to plain old charcoal or whatever and drew a shorter pose seemed like a holiday. However as an exercise I’ve found it really challenging and rewarding and I’ll be back next Autumn to continue trying to improve and working out what to do with backgrounds! 

Why don’t you take the double life art challenge too? 

 All of the poses are 45 or 60 minutes and painted in oil on Arches Oil paper (stocked by Bristol Fine Art), this is all on the same white paper despite appearances from my variable photos below. I’ve generally used the Zorn palette (cadmium red, yellow ochre and black which acts as a versatile blue!) and supplemented with other colours as the pose dictates.

 













Last paintings from the #lifeclass for this term #painting #zorn

Quite pleased with the tonal and temperature contrasts in the skin tones.

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I tried to capture the reflection on the shiny gymnasium floor in the final one.

Both on Arches oil paper in 45 minutes using the zorn palette (red, yell ochre, red and BLACK).

There are still spaces on the Bristol Drawing School Anatomy Course at the RWA which starts on Thurs 3rd April. See you there, for flayed body fun.

A couple of life class head studies #lifeclass #portrait

A couple of head studies of the same model from this term that I thought it was interesting to compare.

I was really pleased with the likeness of the first one in charcoal and just got carried away with the coloured crayons in the second, so perhaps not the most flattering tones. Good fun though, sorry Hilary.

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15 mins

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15 mins plus 10 minutes colouring in. (Ignore advice about not fiddling, sometimes it helps!)

Couple of charcoal sketches from the Bristol #lifeclass

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Pleased with the likeness on this one. 15 mins. Charcoal with a spot of Wolfe Carbon pencil.

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This week a couple of models posed in a really complementary way, this was the second of the paired poses. 15 mins again but for the both of them so was pleased to have got so much down. Surprisingly perhaps I was pleased with the likeness on the model that’s lying down, less can be more. Drawing two overlapping people seems to be a bigger challenge than two separate drawings.

Both were from the Horfield version of Will’s Bristol Grammar Life Class

Getting carried away by turps dribbles at the #lifeclass

Oil paint granulates beautifully on Aches Huile paper and a quick study in the life class turned into a 40 minute exercise in prodding and dripping turps into the paint. I was also interested in balancing how much I had to do to paint to keep it figurative versus letting the paint do its stuff.
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This was partly triggered by the effects I got in the 40 min study of Richard also at the Bristol Grammar School life class.
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Some rapid life class oil paintings

I’ve had a stab at doing some real full(ish) palette oil paintings in the life classes recently here are the results with varying degrees of looseness and accompanying turps dribbles.

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This one was a 1 hour study on Arches Huile paper at the Bristol Grammar Life (Ashley Down locn), size about 14 by 12 inch.

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This is a two hour study on a little 8 by 6 inch board, it was at an RWA long pose day a few weekends ago. I thought I’d do a little board to warm up and ended up fiddling about painting tighter and tighter but I kept at it as I quite liked the composition. I was also using Cremnitz Lead white painting the sheets so was really having a go at being a Freud clone.

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This is the one I’m most pleased with I think. I like the turps dribbles so much I briefly considered switching back to watercolours! It’s on a sized piece of cardboard, 10 inch by 10 inch. Also 1 hour.

Watch this space, more turps dribbles coming in the future I think…

P.S. not an oil painting I know, but I enjoyed the following Quink ink study too. I was pleased with the initial outline drawing in fountain pen but took a deep breath and dived in with the watered down inky brush.

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