Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Face of Homelessness, Earls Court

The Face of Homelessness, Earls Court, Oil on Board, 12" x 16", 2012

I'm back to my series of Homeless faces and sketches on public Transport, I'll also be posting some of my recent plein air work too. This particular piece was accepted into the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. I am happy I was able to get this one in. Also I am happy I have some stage shots to share my thought process at different stages of the painting.

 Standing beside my painting at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Exhibition at The Mall Galleries

I met Macky briefly while walking along Earls Court Road, I must have passed him, when I walked back and pleaded with him if he would allow me sketch him. He agreed but only gave me five minutes. He was happy with the sketch and allowed me also to take a picture. I then worked from those references in the studio.

STAGE 1-Nothing here, but a lot goes on  before. I am using a Winsor & Newton Canvas Board. But to remove most of the coarse texture, I sand the surface a bit, then I add a light wash of acrylic for a background underpainting. The wash is a mixture of Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna. I really get excited when I look at a ground ready for ACTION!!!

STAGE 2- This is where I love the painting process, the sketch stage! I really get into the spirit of a sketcher at this stage. I'm working on the drawing with the tip of a sable brush but also getting the slight temptations to start the painting proper. Its a combination of both! I really wish I could stop the painting at this stage. The sketch stage just has a beauty of its own that is beyond explanation. The lyrical line and the connecting of shapes in their preliminary form makes this stage a delight. I am using the Anders Zorn palette-which consists of Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red and Ivory Black. I am getting really addicted to this palette, it's simple and helps me to get the most of a basic primary combination. 

STAGE 3- At this point I introduce the background and start to connect shapes around the edges of the face, leaving the main facial features of eyes, nose and mouth till later. I'm thinking of the general colour scheme and muted tones of his hat that will bring out the more vibrant tones on his face later on. I am painting in thick oil colour with no medium, straight from the tube and just moving along. I think I added a bit of Liquin to help the colours dry quickly, I forgot that.

STAGE 4- Here I get into the face proper! I just love his face! There's a feel of curiosity in there! My main goal is to place all the shapes with  brushstrokes that define the form and follow the movement across the structure of his face. I almost treat his face like a landscape-following the undulating ups and downs and reacting to the turns and wrinkles the way I would approach the topography of a landscape. I think it's worthy to note that the ability to sketch comes in very handy while painting the face. Every stroke is a sketch stroke! Life becomes really exciting when one just concentrates and conforms to the rhythm of each twist and turn with the tip of the brush-it's what I love in's hard to separate from sketching. Edges are another important thing to note here-in simple terms, I paint what is in front, last, so that it reads as something in front. This comes in handy when thinking about his coat.

STAGE 5-Here I get more definition into his face and connect all the loose shapes and rough edges together. That's the main change here.

STAGE 6- I was very careful not to paint his clothes in any kind of   colour that would distract attention from his face. I made sure all the colours here were of the most mysterious and muted greys. The collar of his coat was my emphasis here and I wanted it to have a life of its own. I added texture with a few calligraphic strokes.

STAGE 7-The final bit was the rest of his coat below the collar. The goal was to keep it simple and unobtrusive. Muted greys but varying the tones to keep the interest focused on the face.

"He emphasised the importance of the the rhythm, balance, shape and weight of a composition. Without these qualities a portrait has no meaning. He insisted students approached their work on an emotional and poetic level rather than concentrating purely on technique. He tried to instill his view that if a work of art can move an audience through its emotional substance then it achieved its purpose."- Micheal Simonow on KEN PAINE, his life & work

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Highlights from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (Open Painting Evening) 2012

Adebanji at work

The Open painting evening at the ROI was interesting again this year, with lots of non-members turning up to paint alongside the members on a very busy evening. I was quite busy this year painting and I wasn't able to get  the names of some artists featured, so I just took random pictures during the session and rushed back to more painting. We had three models on the night. The place was packed, I just managed to feature these few artists. It's always an evening I look forward to.

Adebanji's version of the model- after I took it back to the studio to add more touches, a very tricky thing to do.

Adebanji with the model and the painting

Haidee-Jo the winner of the First Prize presented to Non-Members, She won £200 worth of Winsor & Newton Art materials- She has won so many awards this year, I think I have lost count! Congratulations Haidee!!!

Haidee at work

Bill Dean ROI at work

David Pilgrim AROI at work

David Pilgrim AROI  with his painting

David Sandell at work

Graham Webber at work

June Mendoza RP ROI- this is her painting just after 40 minutes!

June's palette- I just love her palette- I feature it every year

Nathalia Avdeeva Prov ROI at work

Nathalia Prov ROI with her painting

Roger Dellar RI PS ROI at work

Tim Benson  ROI at work- He is demonstrating tomorrow at the Mall Galleries at 2pm

Tim King at work

Tim King with his painting

Tony Merrick Prov ROI at work
Other artists at work on the night

Paul Robinson, The representative from Winsor & Newton

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Highlights of The Royal Institute of Oil Painters (Under 35 Category) 2012

Alex Cree, THERMOS STILL LIFE, 53 x 53cm- one of my best pieces in the show!  It's really full of colour! Rich applications, solid draughtsmanship and a solid composition. This painting won the Phyllis Roberts' Award of £2,000 in memory of Phyllis Roberts ROI, to encourage and support a young painter. I think it's worthy of the award and how nice to have such a support to an artist out there. Much needed and deserved in todays climate.

This is my second post on the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Exhibition 2012. I am concentrating on a few works from The Under 35 Category which is sponsored by Winsor & Newton. These are just a few of the works that caught my attention. I won the First Prize in this category in 2007 and ever since then I have always loved to see and discover some new and upcoming talent in this category. Although most of the artists here have been prominent in the art scene.

Alice Hall with her painting on top, I CAN SEE THE SEA, 78 x 108cm- Alice is a typical  outdoor painter, very  vigourous in her deft applications of colour and bold in the subject matter she embarks upon. This one was painted from the 13th floor of an office in Canary Wharf or somewhere in the city, if I can remember exactly what she told me and it is a very honest painting, I say honesty, because she makes no attempt to flatter the scene but as can be seen from her paintings, they have brushstrokes that are joyfully laid and true to life! This painting won the 3rd Prize in this category.

Andrew Hitchcock, LION DOG, 33 x 26cm- I have to confess my picture didn't do justice to this little gem.  I really like it when an artist takes an ordinary object and plays around with it under different light settings and is able to transform it into an enchanting piece which comes live and almost has a drama and mood of it's own!

Christian Newell, STUDY OF HUMAN SKULL, 30 x 40cm-I am a great fan of skull paintings, I think it's a great reminder  of what's inside us and what we'll end up being when the flesh we so much 'adore', rots and gets down to the bare bones. I almost feel that process taking place in Christians' painting, as his scratch-back technique almost feels like the scrapping off of flesh to reveal the skull. 

Christian Newell with his painting.

Daniel Shadbolt, SELF PORTRAIT, 46 x 41cm- I am a great fan of Mr Shadbolt's paintings, I think I first discovered his work at a Lynn Stainers' Exhibition. What I really love about this piece and all his work, is the manner at which he just lays down simple strokes of colour, with a keen interest in temperature than tone on a solid drawing. The result always has a kind of vibration and grand abstract quality to it! I would love to collect his work one day!

Graham Webber, TOWARDS THE PACKING SHED AT DUSK, 60 x 85cm-Graham is a painter that still surprises me! Under a short space of time he has been able to get himself up in some of the best representational Art shows in the Country and to me, he still hasn't reached his peak! Not that any artist does, but there is so much potential ahead of this guy, I just hope he keeps this momentum flowing. This painting reveals his courage! Many of us thought this was a small painting when we previewed the works on the Mall Galleries site, but were shocked to see the size of it when we got the exhibition. He has basically taken a very limited palette and attacked a very common subject with fluid, energetic strokes that bring out a silent beauty in this piece. He is surely one to watch in the years ahead! 

Graham Webber with his Award winning painting

Graham Webber receives his Award, The Menena Joy Schwabe Memorial Award for an outstanding Oil Painter

Leanne Rutter with her Award Winning painting, A NATURAL EDUCATION- This piece blew me off my socks! It's a self-portrait of the artist in her newly found life as a one who goes out for game. I did a little review in 2010 when she won 2 awards in this category and I was so pleased to see her progress this year. Again, my picture does little justice to this painting, every bit of it is an abstract piece, of paint worked into paint, a kind of pointillism, the effect brings out a piece that has no dormant spot. Everything is alive! I wasn't surprised to see it SOLD for £7,950! It's a painting that shows hard work. 

Leanne Rutter receives her award 

Nathalia Avdeeva Prov ROI, TANYA, 60 x 60cm-My picture does no justice, it was a painting placed high up in a  less illuminated room. I love the format, not common these days. I also like the softness. Tanya is a lady I know and even without much detail, this just reveals exactly who she is. it's also keen observation of interior light in an artist studio. I really like the overall composition, nothing shouts for attention.

Nathalia Avdeeva with her painting

Oliver Durcan, INTROSPECTION, 80 x 120cm-this is a very bold piece. Nothing is hidden, a very direct painting that captures a slight sense of humour in the model painted. Is she happy looking at her self? Is she slightly vain in her assumption? There's something quite edgy about this piece and that's why I like it. One could continue to ask questions....why was it placed on a plain background? Why wasn't it painted to the end of the bottom horizontal? These are the feelings that evoke moods of uncertainty and mystery and those are the moods I love in the piece.  Is she an actor, a sports woman, a house wife, a city girl- the questions go on! Alas some paintings never provide the answer......

Oliver Durcan with his Award Winning Painting

Oliver Durcan receives his award, The First Prize in this category.

Tim Galton, THE STACKS NEAR CASTLEMARTIN, PEMBROKESHRE, 100 x125cm- This is a large painting, almost entirely executed with a palette knife! I love it because the textures add a lot of feeling to the piece. I felt the real solidity of everything!
I think my next post would be on my entry into this exhibition-One of my Homeless Faces or a review of the painting evening on Monday. Stay tuned!