When you paint or draw a likeness on a figure painting then you are often working in an area that is barely 1-2 inches square. I generally don’t like to do it, it’s not avoidance it’s simply that if the face is obscured or turned away then the viewer focuses much more on the figure which makes a more successful piece of art. The process is the same as painting a portrait, as big a brush as you can and start laying down your base marks.
My drawing of Eoin Morgan batting in the blast for Middlesex came as a result of wanting to produce another pastel cricket drawing. I love working in pastel from time to time but not all the time. There are restrictions that prevent me from working with them all the time. Firstly the mess, pastels are very dusty, the dust gets everywhere even my dog Charlie doesn’t like being in the studo when I’m using pastels and secondly colour matching is tricky, with oil paint I can mix up any colour I want but with pastels I’m restricted to the colours I have. Yes, I could buy even more pastels but since I only use them occasionally it doesn’t seem worth it.
This is the finished painting… painted in oils on a 16″ x 12″ wooden panel.
I rarely do commissions these days. It’s a personal choice that I have wrestled with many times over the years. Basically I know enough about myself as an artist now to know how I tick and commissions make me tick alot, they cause me a great deal of stress and basically no pleasure from beginning to end. It is with a great deal of relief when the customer likes and wants the commission and I can finally ship it and get it out of my head.
That’s for the World Cup – my painting giveaway why I did it, how I did it and would I do it again….
Giveaways are a big part of marketing. As an artist we are constantly under pressure to donate artwork, prints etc, offer discounts, free shipping and so on. It’s something that I have always avoided for two main reasons. Firstly I simply can’t afford it, I don’t earn enough from my artwork at this time to support myself and secondly I always think it devalues the artwork that my other collectors have paid full price for.
This is Pete, he’s a donkey that lives in a field that I walk past with my dog. He’s in a field with horses and what strikes me about Pete is that he is always so alert and curious about who is walking by. The horses rarely look up or express any interest in anything going on but Pete always does
This is new for me on two fronts, firstly it is the largest painting I have done and it’s the first donkey I have also painted – in fact the first horse of any type. A little daunted I decided to keep trusting my style and method and see where I ended up. Quite well actually, it is a beautiful painting.
Meet Romeo, he’s one of a number of bluetits, long-tailed tits & great tits that visit the garden each day. I had already completed a charcoal sketch of him to see how he would look without really noticing the little bit of menace in his eyes. I don’t quite know how I managed to miss that. Anyway I certainly spotted it when I was painting him.
Bluetits have always been an issue for me when it comes to representing them in art. Whilst I love drawing probably above all else, the colour is quite an issue. Another recent bluetit I drew in charcoal I resisted the urge to put any colours in and that was a successful drawing, beautifully rendered with the charcoal as I knew it would. In the past however I have drawn them and then been tempted to add a little bit of colour. But which bit of colour? Do you go for the blue cap and ignore the yellow, or the darker blue / green of the wing? Then you end up with a coloured drawing rather than a drawing with a dash of colour. This time I went full out and painted him and I’m so glad that I did. The blue and yellow of bluetits are the most peaceful, calm colours that nature can provide. I spent far too long simply moving the paint around the board.
Drawn in pastel this drawing has taken me about 6 weeks to complete. I haven’t drawn it from dawn to dusk each day but worked on it most days.
The particular leaf in question literally landed at my feet back in the Autumn when I was sat on the back patio, a small seating area at the bottom of my garden. Back then it was a wonderful coppery colour with a twist in its body that immediately twitched my drawing hand.
I don’t know what it is about twisted things, I have always assumed that it is because it presents a greater challenge – and oh boy do I like a challenge. I am hoping that it isn’t representative of some twisted part of my personality.