Sunday, 29 April 2012


This was a watercolour I experimented with a few months ago.  I titled it 'Together', which I think you will agree is quite apt.  Again it is minimalistic and loose to a point.  The three visible eyes have lots of detail in them.  The loose look of this is painting comes about because the areas surrounding their features has been treated quite boldly in a wet in wet technique.  Also, I have dispensed with the idea of adding any skin tone to either face.  There is a nice curved line running across the painting which defines the girl's forehead and cheekbone.  Someone commented on a website where this was on display that the painting is almost heart shaped.  That was unintentional on my part, but that idea does add something to it.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Castles with attitude

I was working at a Scottish castle wedding today, drawing caricatures for a lovely young couple. Great day, nice weather, a free bar and fantastic guests. I have performed at this castle four times now. There are many hidden gems similar to this, dotted around the country. Castles are becoming increasingly popular for wedding venues. This particular castle is very close to Stirling, the site of Wallace's greatest victory. The wedding cake was ceremoniously cut with a massive Braveheart type sword. I had some free time as the wedding party took there seats at the top table. A small brass plaque with an engraved inscription caught my eye. I just had to have a read. It said - 'In 1682 on this spot - nothing happened'. Somehow, I don't believe it was a genuine artefact!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

'Reflection' . . . a study in light.

I was blown away by a photograph by Ruth Archer recently.  It was bathed in light even though the main figure was almost completely in shadow.  This study of reflected light reminded me in some ways of the Venetian paintings from centuries ago, (Especially the biblical subjects) where there appeared to be a hidden light somewhere in the centre of the painting throwing a warm glow upward.  In this photograph of Ruth's, the sunlight is bouncing off a glass table top and catching the gentleman's face from underneath.  I kept the watercolour version of Ruth's photograph nice and loose; separating the warm and cool colours on his face and splattering warm greens into the cool blues in the foreground and background.  My favourite part is actually his forearm and hand.  A deep violet skin colour is something you would never expect normally, but I feel it works here.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Green eyes

Meet green eyes.  subtitled  'The girl with the world in her eyes'.  All focus was on her features in this minimalistic painting.  No need for face shape, background, or skin tone.  Her hair is just hinted at as she looks over her shoulder.
I tried to indicate the roundness of her eyeballs.  They are just glassy orbs after all.  You need to be quite brave to use color in the white area of the eyes, when everything else is startlingly white.  this started me off on a series of minimalistic paintings.  This first one is my personal favourite.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sepia version of Bringing in the Harvest.

Bringing in the Harvest

There are some ref photos that really jump out at you.  Just asking to be painted.  The source picture for this particular painting did just that.
The photographer was Diane Fletcher and the picture appeared on the Paint my Photo website http://www.paintmyphoto,  I love the Olde World feel to this picture.  We are transported back to a bygone age when life was simple but the work was hard.  Even though this painting is too small to show individual features, you have the feeling that the family may be smiling.
Initially the painting had no background colour, and something didn't seem just right.  The first watercolour that came to my hand was a tube of Viridian.  I immediately threw it back in the box - then had second thoughts.  I turned the paper upsidedown, moistened all the area above the heads and dropped the strong green colour in.  I have to say that I wasn't sure at first, but now I like it. 
When preparing the finished photograph for posting on PMP, I decided to have fun and play around with the colour balance.  I ended up with a nice sepia version of the image.
The sepia vesion got me to thinking about using coffee as a painting medium.  So now you can see there is a direct link between this Harvest painting and the Coffee man in my last blog.
Funny the way things work out.

Friday, 13 April 2012

I have been trying out all different types of art recently.  Was into hand-shadowgraphy for a while - had an urge to return to pyrography, which I enjoyed doing years ago.  I'd also love to have a try at sand art with a light box, but how do you do that as a hobby?  It is a stage show first and foremost.  I would need a video camera, overhead rig and a large light box.  And although I have contacts in the entertainment world, I can't see me lumping all that gear around to gigs.  Much easier with my little briefcase, pencils and paper!
The picture posted above is another little experiment.  This was painted with instant coffee mixed with a drop of hot water and allowed to cool.  Turned out looking very much like one of my old woodburnings.  It is a tricky medium to work with.  I had to work from light to dark.  Once the coffee is on there, you can't budge it.  No lifting out or washing off.  the darker areas which were added last were painted with the dregs.  Small granules of coffee can still be seen in the darkest ateas under his nose.  I had left the area around the eyes as white and very carefully added some faint details.  I wanted to capture the sunlight which is reflected in his eyes.
This is a coloured gentleman from the Bahamas, but I can see a vague likeness to Steve McQueen in his eyes.