Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Simon Davies: Portrait Painting Demonstration and some other paintings I liked at the RP Show
(above) This is a sketch I did of Simon Davies at work.
I got to hear about this demo on Making a Mark blog and I was delighted! First it was a free demo and secondly it was going to be one done by one of my favourite painters. I think, if I am not mistaken, that this is a new feature during the RP (Royal Society of Portrait Painters Exhibition) There was one I missed by Andrew James. That's another one I would have loved to be at. Anyway, I am posting this to share with those who couldn't make it and also to document this for reference purposes, as it was a rare opportunity.
Completed Demo piece on the day
Simon Davies is a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. I fell with his work sometime back. What I like about his work is his brushstrokes, they are definite, painterly, crisp and neat! It's not always you get such a combination. His square brush strokes define his work and displays his personal style in such a way that it is very hard not to recognize his work. I am always intrigued by brushwork, I think every painter should have a brushwork that is so personal as his/her handwriting. It was Trevor Chamberlain that said, "Try to make a personal statement, remember, it's not what you paint, but how you paint paint it that will make your painting interesting, so let your brushwork be as personal as your handwriting"
Lessons, Observation and Points of note.
1. Always be open to learn from all artists out there, learning is power!
2. He paints from pictures and has 4 prints clipped horizontally across his easel.
3. 2 of the pictures are approx 6" x 9" and the other 2 are approx 9" x 12"(I didn't measure, so I am not too sure)
4. All the pictures he paints from are the same pose. But 1 is black and white, another full blown colour, while the other 2 are warm sepia versions- he says he has all these pictures outlined this way so that he can see the picture of the model wherever he looks- I found this quite interesting.
5.He uses a disposable palette with an attached dipper which contains Liquin, the medium he uses, with a few monochromatic colours (Yellow Orche, White, Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna)-All Winsor & Newton
6. His brushes are mainly long flat synthetics made by Pro-Arte
7. He is the first artist I have seen that uses a black rag to clean his brushes.
8. He is the most patient artist I have seen at work, I have been learning recently that, "Haste is the Artist's worst enemy"
9. A definite accurate and detailed drawing in graphite is done of the picture with a light was of a warm orangery grey over it or as the under-painting. For this demo the drawing had been completed prior to the demo ads he had only two hours for it.
10. He is patient and slow in his approach, his observation is done in full blown concentration.
11. Basically, he draws and stokes with these long flat brushes always modelling with a square brush stroke-it's a delight to behold. to me it's a kind of calligraphic way of painting, something I have been keen to learn myself.
12. Everything is done with slight shifts of colour all drawn with the brush. Everything is done in this square brush technique and it's all pure drawing-there's no magic here, he is patient, slow and definite, nothing is taken for granted-amazing!
13. It's great how thee few neutral colours produce such a cool monochromatic piece in the end.
Some of his paintings.
-Another great highlight was meeting fellow artist blogger Olha-She has got a painting into the BP this year!
Some other paintings I loved.
Now, I can't overstate the importance of attending this exhibition whenever it is on. It is an education. There were scores of paintings I loved but here are just a few.
Valeriy Gridnev, Artist in Studio, 70" x 42", Oil- One of my favourite painters-the freshness and his direct technique win my heart every time! He is also a candidate for membership this year.
Maryam Foroozanfar, Ying(baby series 2), 12" x 35", Oil-I met Maryam for the first time during this demo. She has been a regular in the BP Portrait Award and I think her works are simply breathtaking. She is also a candidate for membership this year!
David Caldwell, 21 Portraits 28" x 47", oil- David is a past winner of Bull Dog Bursary Award and is also a candidate for membership this year.
Alex Tzavaras, self Portrait, Charcoal, 18" x 14"- I loved his drawing last year and was on the look out if he'd put in another drawing this year and he did!
"The main thing is to keep working, questioning, experiencing, growing. You've got to train your eye and develop your emotions to work together. We're all students. There's no end to learning"-Everett R. Kinstler in his book on Painting Portraits