£480.65 raised for Black Nore Lighthouse during N. Som. Artweek

The sun has set on North Somerset Arts week, Ruth, Brian, Nibs and I would like to thank all of our fantastic visitors for the great feedback, encouragement and purchases. We all sold something in the first hour and a half which blew away the nerves.

Congratulations on your generosity and appetite; cake, tea, card sales and donations raised a massive £480.65 for Black Nore Lighthouse charitable trust.

Thanks to Bill Shier for his amazing efforts taking people up and down the lighthouse both weekends and for being the person that saved it from being scrapped.

Thank you all!!!

Open Studio weekends coming up in May

I’ll be opening my studio for North Somerset arts week again 11.00am to 6.00pm over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (including BH Monday) and the following weekend, 4th, 5th, 6th and 11th and 12th of May. If you can’t make these dates and are local we’ll be opening up on Weds evening 8th May 5.30 to 8.00pm.

This time I’ll be sharing the venue with incredibly talented local printmaker Ruth Ander. Ruth layers unique prints on Japanese paper, she’ll be presenting a range of work including new work evoking the estuary location.

Hopefully there is something for everyone to enjoy, come along to browse, chat, listen, eat, drink or explore…

As in previous year’s Black Nore lighthouse will be open for visitors to climb inside during the afternoon while I’m open. This is accessible via the garden and I’ll be selling tea and cakes in support of its upkeep.

I’ll have a large number of new plein air oil paintings of the local area and from further afield on show for the first time as well as new studio paintings, apologies for not sharing more on the blog recently. Much of my new work is exploring the fast changing light at dawn and dusk.
I’ll also be showing some examples of my portraiture and life class work.

Also I’ll have Raku pottery by Brian and “Nibs” Fowler at the venue, they’ll be exhibiting a range of vessels, bowls and figures that show this exciting medium off to the maximum. If you’ve never seen the Raku process before it’s fiery and unpredictable, there will be a couple of Raku burnings in the garden on the final Sunday when you’ll have an opportunity to scrub off the carbon yourself and reveal what the process has created.

Finally I’ll be showcasing some estuary soundscapes by a local producer Dave Howell to add to the atmosphere. When that’s not on I’ll be playing a bit of vinyl on my turntable, or LPs if you are my age.

So something for everyone, hope to see you there.

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

Thanks,

Ian

Where are you going to go this weekend?

This weekend (9th and 10th of June) I’m at the BS9 and the inaugural Portishead Around the House art trails at the same time!

Just likes buses that all come at once but the Portishead painting bus takes you around Portishead and it’s estuarine environs while the BS9 one takes you around Clifton and on into Cornwall. Where are you going to go this weekend?

Venue 10 at the BS9 Arts Trail is Elmlea school in Henleaze, BS9 3UF. It’s a great venue in the centre of the trail in Henleaze and full of Bristol talent.

Venue 8 at the Portishead Around the Houses Art trail is at 20 Woodhill Road (not my own NSA venue). I’m exhibiting with some fabulous local artists so it’s well worth a visit.

If you want to come and say hi I’m afraid you’ll have to come to BS9 in Bristol as I’m the venue organiser.

Some surprising recent news, I took part in the UK’s first ever ArtBattle. The challenge is to paint something in 20 minutes and the audience votes, there’s a final round and a winner is announced. The winner goes on to further regional heats and there’s a national and even a world champion! My family were mortified that I was going to compete with graffiti artists and worst still the venue was a nightclub frequented by my kids – the shame of it. To cut a long story short and to embarrass everyone further I won it.

It was really good fun and there’s another Bristol round next month, also a Facebook event. Why not give it a go or go and have a look? There’s some film of it somewhere you might be able to find on YouTube.

Over the hump in 2018

This morning I got set up for the NSA #65 show in Nailsea, this evening I looked around the venue for the BS9 art trail at Elmlea school and lunchtime I found out I’ve had a painting selected for the New English Art Club for the first time EVER.

Come and celebrate the post hump 2018 with me at the private view of the NSA exhibition #65 on Friday (13th April). Ignore the fact it’s Friday the 13th and get out from under your duvet, it’s all downhill from here, see you there.

My wall at the NSA #65 show

I’m particularly excited about finally getting a piece into the NEAC show at the Mall Galleries. One of the first “proper” artist’s I met was the marvellous Dawn Sidoli NEAC RWA who has always been overwhelmingly supportive of my efforts over quite a large number of years of no NEAC luck, so I’m relieved to feel I’ve rewarded her faith.

To quote from the press release, ahem…

“Work by a local artist has been selected from over 1,600 entries to appear alongside paintings by some of Britain’s leading figurative artists. The New English Art Club’s annual exhibition is on display at Mall Galleries in central London between 15 and 23 June 2018.

Continuing to build on its tradition of painting and drawing from observation, the New English is a vibrant and diverse group of visual artists whose work is highly collectible and widely admired.

Its Annual Exhibition is a showcase for members and gives aspiring artists an opportunity to exhibit alongside some of the best figurative artists working today in painting, drawing and printmaking.

Many diverse styles of art have developed since its founding in 1886, adding richness and variety. The New English aims to foster excellence in all its activities and continues to assist and encourage the art of painting to develop even more expressive possibilities.”

Some of the “richness and variety” in my selected work was added by it being blown off the easel and rolling down the slope leaving all sorts of exciting vertical marks which I embraced.

The show in Bath is still on until Mid-May, get along if you can, it’s a cracker.

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.

March at the Mall Galleries

I am one of 83 artists from across the UK shortlisted for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2018, the UK’s leading competition for British contemporary representational painting and drawing. Having made the shortlist my work will be exhibited at London’s Mall Galleries from 5–17 March. 1,144 artists entered this year’s competition – the highest number in the prize’s 13-year history.

Not only that but I’ve also been selected for the subsequent exhibition at the Mall, the Royal Society of British Artists.

The Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) is dedicated to promoting the highest standards of skill, concept and draughtsmanship in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing and runs from 21-31 March 2018

The RBA works including my painting are now available to browse online at the Mall Galleries website.

It’s always exciting to be selected for the Mall exhibitions, I’ve not submitted to either show before so it’s particularly encouraging to be part of these successive and prestigious shows.

Both are works that are representative of the way I work and the local area of Portishead. A cargo ship sailing to Avonmouth docks Wallenius Wilhelmsen, exhibited at the LPS (header image above) and the sun glinting through the lens of Black Nore Lighthouse, Borrowed Light exhibited at the  RBA.

Borrowed Light

Borrowed Light, Black Nore – exhibited with the RBA

If you are in London take a look but otherwise come and see my work more locally in April at the North Somerset Arts pop up shop in Nailsea. 11-22nd April, 65 High Street, Nailsea, BS48 1AW.

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.

Thanks for your support in 2017

Thanks for a great 2017, hopefully plenty more to come in 2018 for us all.

Here’s my best 9 from Instagram #2017best nine

Instagram offical best 9

And my unofficial best 9 from 2017 that didn’t make the cut.

Unofficial 2017 best 9

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.

Lido Cafe Exhibition Opens Friday

After a successful outing at the Cambridge Art Fair I’ll be showing work at the Portishead Lido Cafe this weekend. It opens on Friday 24th and will be open until 9.00pm, there’s a bar!

Here’s some recent work all of which will be hanging in the Lido. Come along and say Hi, I’ll be there all weekend.

Some familiar Portishead scenes like the banner above.

Some from further afield, Cornwall.

Some very local, Clapton Moor.

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.

Marina Painting this Weekend (5-6th Aug) and my Summer Painting Tour of Britain

This weekend I’m really excited to be taking part in the Marina Arts Trial in Portishead, I’ve had a small part in organising it along with the other Portishead Arts people and will be doing a demo on Saturday, wish me luck. Saturday is all about people coming along and joining in to do something arty. We’ll be supplying acrylic paint, boards and brushes, there’ll also be felting workshops and a pastel demo by Michelle Lucking. We’ll be hanging all the work around the Marina ready for Sunday which will be a day of celebration and relaxation for me as I won’t have to do a demo. I’m really looking forward to Paris, a renowned graffiti artist, painting a 25 foot yacht! I might do a painting of him painting. There’ll also be some skateboard trickery, the whole weekend is also raising money for youth projects in Portishead, you can pledge to buy one of the created art works online here, get in quick to bag a bargain, there are a limited number left.

Here’s a Marina painting from June.

Sunset catching Marina

Apologies for it being such a long time since the last post. I’ve been doing plenty of outdoor air painting all around the country, I only realised how much while writing this.

I had a quick trip in June to Lyme Regis on the South coast to paint with the very talented painters Maria Rose and Tom Stevenson.

Pink Flamingo, Lyme Regis

 

I’ve long heard about the Buxton Spa Prize competition and this year I had an opportunity to take part. I spent a warm, sunny day painting outside in the most gorgeous market town. The visit coincided with a farmers market that kept me well fed for the next few days too.

Buxton

 

I spent a weekend at Priddy folk festival at the start of July, a chance to paint and sketch some performers as well as the crowds.

I went from there to a one day course with artist Richard Pikesley NEAC and by contrast painted some arable farm scenes in Wiltshire and picked up some tips too, mostly look harder!

Farmyard and Barley

 

I then had an opportunity to paint on the Gower with a load of other artists. The weather was so changeable I was oblivious to a red sunburnt neck until it was too late, the drizzle was deceptive. Apparently it’s not enough to have sun-tan lotion in your bag at your feet, you need to put it on your skin.

Worm’s Head, Gower

 

Last weekend I took part in Pintar Rapido, Europe’s largest outdoor painting event that runs annually in the Chelsea area of London. I did a little painting of the Albert Bridge in Chelsea on the day before that I was pleased with despite having left my turps at home.

 

Albert Bridge Chelsea

The prize ceremony on Sunday was a great opportunity to meet up with artists that I’ve previously only known through social media, one of whom Adam Ralston I’ve admired for a long while and I was very pleased when he was announced as the ultimate winner. Congratulations Adam.

More painting trips are coming up, look out for a bit of Cornwall followed by a bit more Wales. I can’t wait and I hope to see some of you this weekend.

Also don’t forget the Clevedon Art Club Open exhibition which opens and I’ll hopefully get some work selected for, perhaps some of these.

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

Group Show at the Lido Cafe in Portishead & more

I’m excited to be taking part in the inaugural show of a new groups of artists and painters in Portishead that go under the banner Portishead Arts. We  have a
website where you can find details of the other artists involved.

Portishead Lido flyer

There’ll be a great range of work on show including painting, photography, jewellery and illustration so come along and enjoy a slice of cake and perhaps even have a dip in the Lido.

The show will be on for over a week from Thurs 22nd to Friday 30th of September the lido is open 9.30 to 6.30 every day (later on Monday mornings I think), I’m planning on stewarding on both the Fridays, I might take my painting kit along to paint the estuary in any quiet periods, so come and say hello.

For this show I’m focussing on local scenes, pretty much all painted within a mile of the Lido. My painting of the lido is the top right image on the flyer above.

Here’s a recent one painted after a last minute decision to walk down and catch the last light at Black Nore lighthouse. I’m so pleased I did, once again I was painting over a failed painting so it was doubly therapeutic, I’m so lucky to have this on my doorstep.

Last Light Black Nore

Last Light Black Nore 10 x 12 inches

As well as these outdoor paintings I’ll have a couple  of larger works that were painted back in the studio, such as Winter Wave.

IMG_2873

Ian Price Winter Wave 24 x 24 inches

The Autumn is always an exciting period with so many shows on, I’m lucky enough to have had a painting selected for the ING Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London which is coming up in November. More news in the next post!

I hope to see you at the show. Don’t forget you can also follow me on twitter and now Instagram @ianpriceart as well as Facebook.

Everything has gone green

I’ve previously favoured a muted palette so at this time of year with all this lush, verdant growth wherever you look I feel a bit intimidated.

My theory is that evolutionarily we are programmed to discern differences in the many shades of green to help guide our ancestors to sources of food and water. Also green in Spring is especially acid. How many works of art can you think of that accommodate the true strength of these greens? It’s very easy to foul up a painting that includes green.

Many artists today (myself included) and throughout history have worked around this by downplaying the true strength of green to ensure a harmonious picture. Even Constable browned down his greens.

Gone Fishing, Usk Reservoir

Gone fishing. Avoiding green at Usk reservoir in the Brecon Beacons.

I decided to try to focus on this weakness, tackle it head on and paint more green, more strongly.

I sought some advice from artists about how they made such strong and believable greens. Mix your own greens from warm and cool blues and yellows, avoid viridian, practice with sap and hookers green and use premixed light green moderated with earth colours came the conflicting advice.

Here are more of my recent plain air paintings, my main finding is that the right green can be arrived at by many different routes but the important thing is to maintain the true variety of greens across the painting by careful observation. Sadly its easier said than done, I’ve not found a silver bullet and more practice needed.

There’s no better way to practice your greens than to paint outside at this time of year.


A bit more green, Liberty leading the trees, also at Usk reservoir.
I also had a green disaster at Carreg Cennen castle. Total rework needed, no image to protect your eyeballs!

 

Friesans, Catcott


An improvement, Friesans on the Somerset levels. Also some camera glare, may crop this one.

Some views around the Hope Valley in the Peak District including Castleton castle. There’s plenty of variation in green between these paintings but plenty more to do.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this. You an also follow me on twitter and now Instagram @ianpriceart

To Hail and Back, a painting trip to Cornwall

Much to the frustration of my long suffering wife, I only get up early on holiday. This wasn’t hard the first morning of my trip as I’d pulled the van over in a lay-by on the A30 near Penzance sometime after midnight, after a fitful night woke to the sound of manoeuvring juggernauts. I was in Cornwall for an indoor course at Newlyn following on from an outdoor painting course last year. I’d decided to top and tail it with a few days of painting on the coast.

I was near to St Michael’s Mount so I turned onto the Marazion road, squinting into the dawn,  seeing glimpses of the mount to my right. I pulled in at Perranuthnoe which I thought might be a likely painting spot, gathered my things and set off. Along the path I realised what a stunning dawn I was missing behind me so decided to turn my back on the mount.

I used a pink board and the painting session stopped abruptly when I had my first hail shower of the weekend. I have to thank the hail for causing more of the pink ground to show through, I think this sketchiness improves it.

The shower passed and I moved on to the Mount, I used a smaller board expecting the showers to return and wasn’t disappointed, they did. One feature of hailstones is that they land in your thinners and you don’t notice until you find a large globule of water lurking at the bottom.

Back at the van I had a late breakfast and coffee in some satisfaction having completed two paintings. I drove across the Cornish peninsula to the North coast and headed towards Pendeen. It was on the schedule last year but was too foggy to use;  I was keen to see what I’d missed. Pendeen lighthouse was a spectacular but very exposed spot but I found a little nook with enough shelter from the fierce wind.

I used a larger board, 1ft by 2ft, and thought the view along the coast would work on this elongated format. I wasn’t quite sure if the weather was going to hold so I was as free and splashy as a I could with the initial dark painting hoping that much of it could stay to add interest and save time. I’ve included a close-up showing the thinners giving a rocky effect towards the bottom. Once again the hail struck but I was able to retreat to the van to block in the sea and sky before returning to the cliff to capture the frothiness and patterns of the waves.

The next day I moved to Porth Nanven facing The Brisons, it was wonderfully sheltered from the wind. The dawn was a beautiful peachy orange as I attempted to capture it.

The effect was fleeting and I realised in the process that I ought to be prioritising painting the more transient bits at the outset and not painting the rocks! I’m happily still learning.

Next was breakfast and off to Newlyn for an abstracts in oils course I’d booked myself on. My gloopy efforts from the course are still dripping and un-photographable but I may share them at some point.

After the course I ended up at Carn Groose near St Just which has panoramic views of the North coast. Once again a pre-breakfast dawn painting, this time looking back over St Just and a mine chimney.

I tried to grab the dawn much more quickly in this one, hence the heavier brushwork.

After some food I settled down on the headland at Carn Groose, looking towards Land’s End, a favourite painting spot from last year.

I really wiped, scraped and splatted the surface on this one, I’ve included a close-up.The board was only 1 foot square, I think I would have benefitted from a larger canvas for this session and got even looser.

I was prepared for more hail but I ended up  worrying about having not packed sun cream and sat next to a very large pile of my discarded coats and jumpers. The only disappointment of the day was afterwards when talking to some people who had been sat above me. They had been watching humpback whales (now long gone) breeching on the horizon to the right Land’s End. I was oblivious. Next time.

A fun and educational experience all around, perhaps an annual one at the very least and am already looking forward to returning.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother and Welsh Dresser / Mam a’r Seld

I spent some of the Christmas break painting a portrait of my mother and have spent some more time tweaking since. Sadly she died last Summer after years of deteriorating health. Over the past five or so years I spent my time with her sketching and painting. 



She is pictured  in the bungalow she moved into after leaving the family home and is in front of the dresser holding the family china. She also has her fall alarm around her neck.





The sketch was ready many years ago! So I was relieved to make some time to start painting.



I dug out my precious lead white, I thought she deserved it. Also good evidence that all portraits go through an ugly phase. This was after the first painting session.



The second painting session showing an improvement and one discarded background.



Another of the many background iterations and showing one of the iPad images I used. This background framed her head too closely.



A close up showing the texture of the lead white paint and the way the gingham fabric was painted. I was pleased with the end result and the fabric was the least or my problems once I’d worked out how to approach it.

I’m relieved I’ve completed it as well as being pleased with the result. I’m not too upset that she didn’t get to see the finished, she did see many of the sketches and paintings over the years and she was really pleased when I gave her a painting of the cat she left behind at her family home.



I’ve another larger image sketched out, also from years ago. Hopefully that will get finished at some point.

Painting-wise something I found very useful during the process was taking a photo and making it black and white. The small size and the monochrome image really helped with identifying drawing and tonal problems, of which there were many.

2015 round up

I’m not a great fan of those round robin Christmas letters so I’m writing this with some trepidation. However 2015 has been a year of some progress so I thought it would be worth reminding you of news and any earlier posts you might want to look back on by clicking the links.

It was a year of two (unequal) halves a flurry of painting followed by a cycle of exhibiting.

I began the year by doing quite a bit of plein air painting and went on a course at Newlyn School Of Art with Paul Lewin. The course as well as being enjoyable was also an encouragement to loosen up with mixed media. With hindsight I haven’t taken this as far as I anticipated but it was certainly an inspiration to be looser when painting outside.

This flurry of activity was mostly to get things to hang on the wall for North Somersets Arts Week. Once again it was great fun to have people coming through the house and I managed to raise £200 for Black Nore lighthouse by selling cards and Helen’s marvellous cakes.

The other main painting event of the year was the Andrew james portrait course which I’ve organised for a few years now and was a great success again fuelled by more of Helen’s cakes. I get a free course out of it and am still pretty pleased with my portrait of Viv.

I spent the rest of the year (well apart from life classes) punting these paintings around various juried exhibitions the highlights being the RWA in Bristol and the ING and rubbing shoulders with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters for the first time in London.

Dusk Tanker

Dusk Tanker, exhibited at the RWA

I’m especially grateful to the judges of the Clifton Arts Club Open for awarding me the prize of excellence (which also doubled as my entry for the ROI).

Clifton Arts Club Prize of Excellence

Thanks to Trevor Haddrell RWA, Ione Parkin RWA and Ros Cuthbert RWA, what. a discerning trio.

People ask about my organisation and preparation but it all boiled down to this little scrap of paper I used for shepherding my meagre resources and time, so it’s all smoke and mirrors really. If you can read my handwriting you’ll see there are some misses among the hits so still plenty to aim for in 2016.

The Masterplan! (the only plan).

The Masterplan! (the only plan).

I mentioned not freeing up as much as I wanted and I am looking forward to a return trip to Newlyn for a course focussed squarely on abstract painting in March. I’m obviously hoping that 2016 will bring as much pleasure as 2015 but to be honest if it brings as much I’ll be surprised and very happy.

Thank you very much for taking an interest and I hope 2016 is a successful year for us all.

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.

Art Challenge Wales Plein Air Portcawl

I took part in the inaugural Art Challenge Wales event in Porthcawl yesterday. It was really good fun and the weather was great after a gusty start. There are many artists who get distracted and upset by people that chat to them, my advice to them is don’t go near Porthcawl, I’ve never met a more open, friendly and chatty bunch of people. They were all very supportive and encouraging. 

The challenge was to paint something that captured the spirit of Porthcawl in a day, so first thing I drove there to suss out good spots before taking a couple of canvases to the registration point to get stamped. It’s a bit like the Pintar Rapido event in London (that I’ve never been able to go to!).

It was a windy start to the day so I set up on the leeward side of an amusement arcade where I could capture some of the natural beauty of the bay and some colourful seaside atmosphere in the same frame. And not forgetting the wonky lamppost! I was also drawn to the dark shadow shapes on the left and bottom which supported the shape of the bay. I started sketching  the composition on a light red primed 16 by 20 inch canvas and realised by pure fluke I could use sight size measurement which made the drawing and measuring of the structure of the painting much faster.



At this point I overheard a comment that they weren’t on keen on the colour I’d painted the sky, some other onlookers leapt to my defence to tell them I’d not started it yet, like I said everyone was very supportive.



The kiosk in the painting was owned by Myra (pictured and very smartly turned out) who came out of the amusement arcade behind me for a few chats as well as the offer of a cup of tea. With hindsight standing next to the entrance to an amusement arcade was bound to attract attention but in my defence it was closed when I started.



Here’s the finished painting, “Myra’s Kiosk”. I had used quick drying white and quick drying mediums to accelerate drying to allow the painting to be safely left for judging. However this made the paint on the canvas and on the palette tacky very quickly, I’ve got so used to moving the paint around and smearing it that I found it a bit more limiting than normal but I’m pleased with it overall. It’s preframed to allow it to be handled wet and you can see the masking tape covering the frame to keep it clean. I got this idea from the fantastic Roos Schuring Blog. 

After taking the painting back to the car and having a bite to eat I contemplated what to paint on my other registered canvas. I hadn’t much time to roam around and I was admiring the abstract shape the lifeguard lookout made on the horizon so I thought why not?

 This time I was backed right up against my car to avoid the wind but it didn’t put people off from coming up for a look and a chat, the best one being three burly likely lads from the North East who were very encouraging and after a while one said he took his watercolour kit wherever he went. Never judge a book by its cover.



Here’s the finished painting “Lifeguard Lookout”.

All of the paintings are online ready for a people’s choice vote (from Sun 7th evening) and announcement of the prize-winners later in the week. Ahem, did I mention there was a people’s choice vote?

It was a really great event made by the friendly organisers and locals. Thank you. Hopefully it’ll be back again next year with even more people so get practising. 

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.

 













Chilly #pleinair #painting from #batterypoint #portishead

Apologies for the double post, accidentally published a draft, here’s what I meant to say…

My painting of a Buoy Maintenance vessel, which obligingly sat still actually maintaining a buoy while I painted. Thanks to Norman for the photo and his friend for the ship info. Despite the care my favourite part is the turps drips in the bottom right.   IMG_0330.JPG
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Here’s one of Battery Point, Portishead from later the same day showing a fisherman sat at the base of the lighthouse. He caught around five cod while I painted. It was much colder than it looked and my hand was a frozen boxing glove by the time I’d finished but I was pleased I stuck with it. 

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I’ve been selected for the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London. Opens tomorrow.

It’s at the Mall Galleries, i.e. on the pink street the Queen lives on, not the Bristol out-of-town shopping complex. Yes I know, it seems unlikely to me too.

The ING Discerning Eye is a show of small works selected by prominent figures from the art world. Each selector is responsible for their own section giving the impression of six exhibitions in one. I’m expecting mine to be in a dark and moody corner.

The exhibition opens tomorrow (Thursday the 13th of November) and runs until the 23rd. I’m really looking forward to attending the private view tomorrow and meeting up with some exhibiting artists I know and meeting others for the first time. I’m sure I’ll come back inspired.

The painting selected is “Have We Enjoyed Ourselves Enough Yet?”.

Have We Enjoyed Ourselves Enough Yet, 10 x 12 inches (ING Discerning Eye and RWA Open selected, Clevedon Selector's choice).

Have We Enjoyed Ourselves Enough Yet, 10 x 12 inches (ING Discerning Eye and RWA Open selected, Clevedon Selector’s choice).

The title is a saying of someone my wife used to ride horses with, while getting soaked to the skin and freezing on a hack she’d ask “Have we enjoyed ourselves enough yet?”. I thought the same applied to the trudging dog walker.

It was painted using the left over paint on the palette after finishing a much tighter plein air painting. I painted the memory of the dog walker I had just seen walking back to his car, he was gone by the time I started to paint him; I was sat in the warmth of my car with the wipers on intermittent. Those that know Portishead will know the backdrop of Battery Point.

Thanks for reading, do follow if you want to keep up to date with future news and paintings.

 

Recent #oilportraits – everythings gone grey

Living on the Severn estuary I’m beginning to accept that perhaps greys are my strong point, probably repeated practice. I’ve always been drawn to a muted palette and love understated painters such as Gwen John and Kyffin Williams. I’ve just had six days of painting with Andrew James and had a great time but his heightened colour palette can be a stretch, but the point of it was to use it as a chance to experiment and improve.

After a bit of warming up with charcoal sketches we dived in with the first painting.
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The background was a bit messy so I blocked in the ugly kitchen area roughly then turned the painting upside down and painted the entire background using the shapes only as a loose guide and just went with what looked good.I think it was worthwhile and helped create a less literal and more attractive painting.

I thought my first portrait was a bit conservative in colour and texture. This was partly due to painting over a very turpsy underpainting which was a bit slippy. So with the second painting I sketched in pencil first which kept a drier surface and enabled me to add more definitive, chunky brush marks.

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As I know the sitter well I was pleased to get a forceful likeness quickly (but did pass through a Hitler moustache phase). When it came to blocking in the background I thought I’d get a rough idea with a thin layer but basically got carried away with the turps. I think the effect worked well with the loosely painted hair so I went with it and strengthened the areas such as the shoulder with dark turpsy pigment.

This all came together very suddenly and I didn’t want to ruin the loose effect, so after a night to sleep on it and some very minor fiddling in the morning I was ready to start another painting.
Rather than repeating the same pose I thought back to a memory of a Gwen John portrait I’d admired and began work on a full figure in muted colours. The light dropped towards the end of the day after the clocks changing so I thought the treatment wouldn’t be adversely affected by any dimness either.

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I am pleased with the outcome, I think it achieved what I’d set out to do. Once again I turned the painting upside-down to abstract the background. Also if you look closely you can see black dots where it fell over onto a charcoal covered floor when I was tidying up, hopefully it’ll just brush off when it’s dry!

Here’s the Gwen John portrait from the National Gallery that I had in mind when I set out. I wanted to rip it off the wall when I visited this year. Don’t compare too closely, it’s just a thought I had in mind! I didn’t look at it before starting the painting so it’s interesting to see them side by side after the event. Stronger textures, a bolder cut off composition and obviously talent make it a fabulous painting  but nevertheless a useful exercise to compare.

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If you’d be interested in joining the portrait course next year you can find out more and register interest here https://ianpriceart.co.uk/andrew-james-course/

 

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A #Clevedon #pleinair #painting round-up

After a blogging hiatus brought on by decorating I eventually switched back to the smaller brushes, here’s a round up of some painting I did in Clevedon a few weeks back.

IMG_1911.JPGJust a quick 30 mins warm up. A bit wobbly.

IMG_0260.JPGI opportunistically painted the crane over the Royal Pier Hotel development at a very early stage, which was great as it drove off five minutes later. The scaffolding and pier was painted from the Clevedon Sailing Club which had a great view of the pier and followed a demonstration by Ian Cryer ROI.

The following day I took part in Art on the Railings, also in Clevedon and parked my painting kit facing the bandstand… I was starting to feel piered off, very fiddly ironwork to paint!
IMG_1907.JPGThanks to all those that stopped for a chat or took a card at the Marlens/Tides festival in Clevedon. I really enjoyed it and the weather stayed steady for the painting, sometimes overcast is good! I know some artists get wound up by people stopping for a chat but I had a great time and hope to see some of you again at the North Somerset Arts week open studio in May.
IMG_1928.JPGHere’s the end result. Those that did spot the difference as a kid will notice some painting corrections on the bandstand, I blame a lunchtime cider.

I’ve got a couple exhibition opportunities in Clevedon coming up so you’ll get a chance to see them in the flesh. Firstly the Clevedon Art Club members’ exhibition at the Sixth Form Centre Clevedon Community School, Valley Road, Clevedon from Friday 31st October to Sunday 2nd November. Also North Somerset Arts in planning a pop up shop in Clevedon in November, details when I know them.

#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.

Severn tide receding through Clevedon Pier #art #pleinair #painting

I was struck by the darkness of the ironwork making a bold zed. But sooo many lines to describe it.

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That was 12 by 10. Here’s a little A5 lunchtime sketch that encouraged me to try again later with a deeper format; painted holding an ice cream in one hand. I don’t think there was very much cadmium paint in so I should live to paint another day.

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I’ll be exhibiting at the Tinca Gallery in Portishead for the rest of April.

I’ll be exhibiting upstairs at the Tinca gallery in Portishead for the remainder of April.

There are a few new local scenes, I painted this plein air on a rainy Friday a few weeks ago. I called it “Winter Lido”, only few weeks too late for the title.
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Here’s a foggy view of Black Nore cottage in Portishead that’ll be there. I’m pleased with the look of this one, it was the first I’d painted on primed canvas glued onto MDF.
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More fog, let me know if you come up with a better title than “Black Nore Foghorn”…
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They are also showing the larger Steep Holm which was exhibited at the Victoria Gallery in Bath and a portrait, Vernon. Neither of these feature fog.

Take a look if you get a chance. I’ll be exhibiting with many local painters.

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.

Portrait completed just in time for a Happy Christmas #art #painting #portrait

Happiness all around as I handed over this portrait today as well as quite a bit of relief from me. Thanks to William and Elizabeth for making it a painless process. I was pleased to hand over before Christmas which was especially challenging as I had to fix 10 fence panels that blew down in the wind during the finishing off period! Now I can crack open the port and rest my namby-pampy hands.

I’m pleased with the composition which joined up the darks for strength and the end result retained painterly marks despite rework to get the likeness correct. Thank you to Andrew James for suggesting the blue background that Holbein used in many of his portraits.

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Got “Have we enjoyed ourselves enough yet?” into the RWA open

Its title is a saying of someone my wife used to ride horses with, while getting soaked to the skin and freezing on a hack she’d ask “Have we enjoyed ourselves enough yet?”. I thought the same applied to the trudging dog walker.

It was painted using the left over paint on the palette after finishing a much tighter plein air painting. I painted the memory of the dog walker I had just seen walking back to his car, he was gone by the time I started to paint him; I was sat in the warmth of my car with the wipers on intermittent.

I met some lovely artists with some great work when I picked up my rejected large “Kilkenny Bay” seascape from the RWA this Monday. Commiserations to all of them, it really is a brutal process and a bit of a lottery. The panel must have had to view 700+ pictures in a day and wall space for the larger work is at a premium with the number of RWA academicians exhibiting. I feel very lucky to have got one in.

The RWA exhibition opens on Nov 24th and runs until the 26th of Jan.

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Plein Air of the Holbeck Clock

Here’s a plein air painting I did in Broad St in Bristol that I’ve entered into the Bristol Art Prize. You can see all the entries on-line, some of the plein air work is jaw dropping. I think it took around two hours when I had to stop as a was getting cold and hungry after being sat in the shade for so long. It’s got a slightly streaky paint quality, the board I painted on had a quite slippery w&n oil primer so the paint slid around a bit. The exhibition will be at the Guildhall, which is just behind where the painting was painted from and will be on during October, it’s a judged show so hopefully I’ll get a couple in. The clock is hanging outside the former Leeds and Holbeck Building Society.

I enjoyed the process and got a few encouraging comments from some of Bristol’s harder drinking street residents, I’d not painted anywhere quite that public before. With hindsight I wish I’d been brave enough to ask one of them to sit for a portrait in situ, it would certainly stand out in the online gallery and put my discomfort to shame. If it runs again in Bristol next year I resolve to ask if the opportunity arises and see what happens.

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More preview evening news and a BP portrait connection

Last Friday I went to the Clifton Arts Club exhibition where I got a range of little pictures in, my first full house, taking no chances I cycled! It’s next door to the RWA at Bristol Drawing School so why not combine it with a trip to the Harbour Festival this weekend? It’s on until the 20th and you’ll also see a painting by Laura Robertson who has a self-portrait hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in the BP portrait prize. It was great to bump into her, recognise her face from the BP and have a chance to congratulate her. Well done again.

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If you have been put off the BP by it being focused on photo-realistic portraits recently then give it another visit this year as there’s a much wider range of styles this time around.

I particularly liked this one too by Stanislav Buban.

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Watch that parking out there.

Preview evening news and travel advice

I had a great time at the Bath Society of Artists preview evening a few weeks ago and had a chance to speak to some other artists I’d not seen since the Holburne as well as the very talented Tom Hughes.

I unwittingly ended up talking to one of the judges too and getting some top framing feedback too.

All this made up for the parking fine I got for accidentally parking in the hotel part of a public car park which was capped off by a further fine in the post a few days later for spending 3 seconds in a bus lane in my hot, Bath one-way addled state!

The exhibition is in the Victoria Art gallery in Bath all Summer and is crammed full of inspirational work.

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It’s pretty high up but at least it shows up well from the other end of the room!
Enjoy if you visit, watch your driving though.

Go large at NSAW…

Here’s a four foot wide painting of Kilkenny bay in Portishead I’ve recently completed for NSAW (only 12 days to go). I’ve spent the evening framing it in a sea weathered garden gate frame I beachcombed, complete with a rusty bolt, it’s been in the basement with this in mind for at least four years, it makes it a whopping 5 feet wide. I think it suits it though, you’ll have to come and visit to judge for yourself.
In the bottom left is a misty little cargo ship I painted on a small board too. The large painting was certainly more fun, lots of splashing turps around outside and chasing dribbles. Hopefully I’ll get time to do another, I’ll need a wet paint sign.

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