Saturday, March 26, 2011

Evening Light, Leadenhall Market, 12" x 16", Oil on Canvas, 2010/11

I have worked this this painting over from last year. It is of the City boys after work, at Leadenhall market. The lighting of the place makes this place exciting to paint at any time of the day. This one was done with evening light approaching with the artificial lights also creating a nice mood.

Evening Light, Leadenhall Market, 12" x 16", Oil on Canvas, 2010/11 SOLD

Special Quote
"It has been said that Sorolla worked hurriedly, that he got tired or bored before he concluded or finished a work. This is not true. He painted two portraits of me: one indoors and another in his garden. For each one of them he took more than a month, in sessions of three hours a day. Yet, both paintings seem to have been made rapidly, with fortunate suddenness. The multitudinous quantity of his work must be attributed to his tireless laboriousness. He worked from the early hours of the day until twelve at night, in his studio, in the open air, with artificial light. At the same time that he was painting my portrait he had many others in hand, and when he interposed an interval without a model, he made studies and sketches, or he painted landscapes, charming landscapes. For him the practice of art was a vital function, like breathing. If he had to stop painting, it was as if he were being as-fixated."-Perez De Ayala, assessing Sorolla's manner of working in "Joaquin Sorolla" by Blanca Pons Sorolla

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

SKETCHING ON THE TUBE: My 2 hour workshop on the Circle Line

On the 10th of March I took 6 students from different Universities in London on a 2 hour Workshop on "Sketching on the Tube". I had a Masters Student from Metropolitan University and 5 Under-graduates from Middlesex, LCC, Wimbledon, Byam Shaw and Camberwell. This event was organised and sponsored by The Fine Art Collective and Winsor & Newton.

Winsor and Newton provided a bag with the essential materials each student needed on this bite size workshop. A sketchbook, two graphite pencils (one for lines and one to shade), a Black Bic Ball point pen (for lines) and a warm grey Copic brush marker (for shade) and a spray can of fixative. I gave them all my 25 tips for sketching on public transport and hands-on demos on how I go about this from day to day.

The venue for the meet up was at Paddington Rail Station. We then used the Circle line for the actual hands on demos. It was good to give this a go using real life situations. It allowed the students to see the possibility of this great habit and how the public reacts.

Just before we popped onto the Circle Line for the main part of the workshop. I had to introduce myself, show them some of my sketchbooks, give them my printed hand-out of tips I have acquired over the past 7 years of sketching on public transport, room for questions and what they all expected from the workshop and then I gave them a brief talk on what they'll experience from the trip. They all looked so eager and willing to give it a go and we focused on the ball point pen and Copic brush marker-which are my favourite combinations for sketching. Some of them have been sketching but not as much as others, while it was a totally new experience for others. The benefits of sketching for the representational artist, these days, are endless and even for designers. We all have ideas and often try to sketch out on paper, sometimes as artists we understand things better by sketching them. We plan our compositions by sketches. But the main purpose of this was to help them understand how I go about this with all public eyes on me and how they can train and improve their eye-hand co-ordination.

The feedback was really positive, even after the workshop we gathered to discuss our sketches and how it all went. They asked more questions and from this I have developed a relationship with some of them for further assistance and help. It always great sharing knowledge-the student gains and the teacher gains. The learning process for both parties never ends!


"In drawing, one must look for or suspect that there is more than is casually seen. The only difference in drawing is what you sense not what you see. There is other than that which lies on the surface."- George B. Bridgman on Heads, Features and Faces

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three 5" x 3.5" Postcards to help Childhood First Charity

I was recently contacted to paint 3 postcards to help raise some funds for Childhood First, A registered charity that delivers exceptional, cost-effective outcomes in the care, education and treatment of traumatised children and young people. Many other artists ans some celebrities were also involved in this Fund-raising event that took place at The Savoy in London.

Since the guidelines were left up to the artist, with the only emphasis placed on them being bright and eye catching, I decided to experiment with some faces and mixed media-mainly in water based media.

These are my three postcards.

"blazeandshade" 5" x 3.5", mixed media on card.

Here I played around with acrylics, watercolour, pens, gouache, and coloured pencils. I applied a light coat of transparent gesso on the card first. It's my son Joshua, but I have also taken some liberties to go wild with different mark making to add an abstract quality to the piece.

"The girl behind the window" 5" x 3.5", mixed media on card.

Here, I have played with the same materials as the one above. It's of a fashion shop mannequin. I really get inspired by these shop mannequins because of the play of light across their structures-they almost assume a life like quality.

"The sunshine she brings" 5" x 3.5", mixed media on card.

Here I played around with watercolour, gouache and coloured pencils. Again I went a bit wild with the strokes as if I was drawing.

Special Quote

"What people subconsciously are interested in is the expression of beauty, something that helps them through the humdrum day, something that shocks them out of themselves and something that makes them believe in the beauty and the glory of human existence.
The painter will never achieve this by merely painting pictures. The only way he can appeal to humanity is in the guise of the high priest. He must show people more--more than they already see, and he must show them with so much human sympathy and understanding that they will recognize it as if they themselves had seen the beauty and glory. Here is where the artist comes in." Hawthorne on Painting

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Sketches on the bus and train in March I

These are some recent sketches I have done on public transport. One of these sketches has a lady I sketched on a 401 bus from Bexley to Belvedere Station. She was talking to her friend and I was sketching. She then noticed my eyes kept bouncing off her and unto my page. She then smiled and I used my "Wink technique" which diffused any tension. But then she became inquisitive, and asked, "are you drawing me?" I affirmed by nodding my head, she smiled and I kept on, after a few minutes she said, "I am soon going to get off, can I have a look? I said, I need a bit more time as I had only started. She then became relaxed but a bit anxious to see what made me so absorbed and keen in my observations. I noticed she couldn't wait any longer, and she said, PLEASE CAN I SEE IT, I AM GETTING OFF NOW!" So I showed her and she quickly asked if she could take a picture of it with her blackberry phone. I agreed and she took about 4 different shots, I promised to email a copy to her and she gave me her email address. That all happened in a 15 minute journey! But that's one of my little experiences on public transport and sketching.

People want to know why I sketch, what I do with the sketch, how I got into sketching, if this is what I do everyday, what I see in them that makes me want to sketch them......the questions never end and as Johnny Nash used to sing in a song my dad loved so well, I can only say," ....there are more questions than answers....."

Special Quote
"Today, if a novice signs up for a drawing class, more often than not the first lecture he hears focuses on anatomy. The predominant assumption persists that learning the muscles and bones of the human body enables one to draw. If this were true, all physicians, body workers and personal trainers would draw well. This thinking is obviously false. Learning to draw comes well with a different and much simpler focus.
The human mind complicates seeing, and that is why these disciplines can be a trap. It is easier to busy oneself with the nomenclature of anatomy and the rules of perspective and proportion than to grapple with the real demon: seeing simply. It is easy to complicate and so difficult to simplify."-Sherrie McGraw author of The Language of Drawing.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Duet, Mixed Media on Gessoed mountboard, 8.5" x 11", 2011

This is my contribution to a world wide sketchbook exchange I am currently taking part in called "The Flying Moleskins".

This is my contribution to Edward Burton's Sketchbook. His theme is music.
I decided to use these two players who I had been longing to paint for a quite a while.

The Duet, Mixed Media on Gessoed Musuem mount board, 8.5" x 11", 2011

I can't remember the origin of the music but I remember sketching a man on the tube and then I got talking to him and he invited me to an art exhibition where music was played alongside. This is quite a while back but I still remember the happy, colourful feeling and the buzzing sounds, I have tried to capture this in "Duet" which is a mixed media piece on Gessoed Museum mount-board with oil, coloured pencil, Liquin and oil pastel,. It was more of an experiment as I haven't tried this mix before. I was happy with the result.

Special Quote
"I found myself questioning the validity of art, and one day I thought, "What am I doing? Why am I doing this?" But I got to work anyway, I started drawing my subject. As I set my charcoal to canvas and began copying the beautiful contour of this Egyptian woman's head, I knew I was doing exactly what I was made to be doing. This is how I was made. I'll set my heart to it and work with everything I have.
I still wonder, occasionally, if art is what I should be doing. There are major difficulties and heartaches in the world, and I'm standing behind an easel, painting a pretty picture. And yet, I think that is almost false guilt. When I really think about it, people need art. I need art. What if we had to go through that hard stuff-the difficulty and heartache-and there was no art or music to move the soul? The real need for art out there. I have found for myself that art in any form allows emotion to become more tangible, whether as an expression of worship or as a release of grief."-Dan Gerhartz, expressing moments of doubt from his book "Not far from Home"