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

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!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Highlights from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2012 (Main Category)

The Doors open at The Mall Galleries

On Tuesday this week the much awaited Royal Institute of Oil Painters Exhibition 2012 opened at the Mall Galleries! It is going to be on till the 23rd of December. Don't miss it! If you are in London or anywhere you can commute to London, make it a priority if you are a lover of Oil paintings! Every year I try to just pick a few works that I personally like but it doesn't really do justice to the whole show. It's another great show this year! But for those of you far away from the UK, it gives you feel of the show and some of my tastes.

View of The Crowd during the Prize Giving Ceremony

Just before I keep writing and ramming on, If you are also interested in watching some FREE PAINTING DEMONSTRATIONS-during the show, you'll be most welcome to watch Roger Dellar ROI RI PS at 2pm on Monday 17th December and Tim Benson ROI on Wednesday 19th December at 2pm. These will all take place at The Mall Galleries.

Peter Wileman PROI RSMA FRSA and the Guest Speaker Gyles Brandreth

And If you'll like to watch ROI members paint alongside some non-members on a very exciting night from a selection of 3 models- you can come Monday 17th December from 6-9pm. For spectators it's £7 and if you'll like to paint it's £10. But you'll have to book in advance-(call 020 7 930 6844).

A wider feel of the Crowd during the Private View

Now, back into the main post and the highlights! I'll just have the pictures of the paintings with a few comments on why I like the paintings. Sorry for the quality of some of the pictures. My camera played up this year....might be time for a new one ;0)

Bill Dean, ROYAL GATES FROM GREEN PARK, 36 x 51cm- I love this piece because of the freshness I feel in the air while looking at it and the amount of little specs of colour he has been able to introduce in this brilliant plein air piece.

Chris Daynes, HAZY SUN VENICE, 36 x 42cm- I love this piece because everything here is based on a sketch,  the sketch or the drawing is the foundation and every other subtle stroke, colour or mark just adds to the spice! He is a perfect example of when less is more.

David Curtis ROI  RSMA, FOGGY SUNDAY MORNING-YORK STATION, 74 x 59cm- my picture didn't do justice to this piece, it was placed high up near the lights in the gallery. But I love it because it has a striking mysterious mood of that foggy feeling one encounters on days like this. Its a perfect symphony of greys!

David Curtis receives one of the two prizes he won on the night. This one was the  L. Cornelissen  & Son  Award

David Pilgrim AROI, OLD HARRY ROCKS DORSET, 49 x 42cm- It looks very simple but it is David's mastery of colours to capture that warm light as it hits the sea and rocks that makes this one remarkable for me!

Edman O'Aivazian ROI RSMA, THE PARADE, 68 x 98cm-Anyone that knows my Rush Hour scenes would know of my love for crowded scenes and I love this one especially, because even though it looks crowded, he has been able to treat the figures with uttermost simplicity-then that lone red figure just compliments the rest.

Edman O'Aivazian receives the DAS award

George Delvin ROI RSW RGI RBA RWS, KELINGROVE IN WINTER, 36 x 41cm-It's basically the warm and cool  colours that makes this snow scene click for me. Its a very simple snow scene in which the play of the warm background against the branches makes for an interesting abstract!

Haidee-Jo Summers, INCOMING TIDE, HOOK HEAD, 47 x 57cm- There's movement with vigorous strokes and exciting colour. I also love the simple pathway that gives room for the eye to move from the background to the foreground.

Haidee-Jo Summers with her painting

Keith Morton, AUNT MABEL'S JUG, 45 x 53cm-I seem have no particular reason why love this piece other that the colour scheme and his cubic brushstrokes-it's just a delight to behold.

Lachlan Goudie Prov ROI, OPENING ACT, 75 x 110cm- I just love the full blooded explosion of excitement and colours that his Still life's present-they are a complete feast for the eyes!

Lesley Dabson, SUSPENDED, 28 x 33cm- Water isn't an easy thing to paint, so  I always admire anyone who can take their time to paint water and make it really feel like water! That's what Lesley does best!

Linda Alexander, PHYSALIS AND NUTS, 30 x 30cm-I seem to fall in love with all her  paintings . It's just the way she takes ordinary day to day stuff, arranges them in dramatic way and produces these mouth watering still lifes that never get me tired-The transparency of those shadows are my favourite bits!

Liz Balkwill. LE RUSTIQUE, 33 x 38cm- It's just the beauty of the simple old traditional still life set up that is painted so skillfully that really wins me over here. Looking at this painting in the flesh makes you just want to reach out and grab some of that cheese!  

Liz Balkwill. THRO' A GLASS DARKLY, 33 x 33cm- This is one little painting I'll just love to take home!  It  has  everything I love in a simple still life-blazing colour, texture, transparency, reflection, strong tonality and chiaroscuro!

Natalie Holland, ANNUNCIATION, 50 x 70cm- It's an unusual piece. I'm sure there has to be a story behind it. It gets me thinking and it fits the season we are in. Then the deft way she has treated the folds in the garments is a great thing in itself. I love the composition, colour and content.

Nicholas Verrall ROI RBA, FOUNTAINS AIX-EN-PROVENCE, 84 x 112cm-Sparkle, motion, excitement, Colour harmony and great textures! The textures can't be appreciated from this picture. It's just an interesting piece! Also it's the way the statues take on a soft feel, almost shadow like that makes me love this one!

Peter Brown ROI NEAC RP PS Hon RBA, TOWARDS ALBERT BRIDGE WINTER AFTERNOON, 34 x 61cm-This is my route to my Studio and I just love the Embankment, passing through here, brings one into the full appreciation of the Thames and the different moods it takes at different times in a day. The mood here is rather unusual, I just love the purple feel that the whole picture takes on with the sparkle of light that adds a blazing contrast!

Peter Graham ROI, STILL LIFE ON A YELLOW GROUND,  117 x 117cm-This is a very large painting and what excites me here is just the boldness and courage to use blazing colour and not loose control of it. I particularly love the cool yellows which help in the most disguising manner to temper a rather "hot painting"

Peter Wileman PROI RSMA, THE CAROUSEL SACRE COEUR, 49 x 58cm- This piece is just full of life! There's excitement, movement, energy and pure colour harmony here! One would almost think Peter took on the flames of a splash abstract painter here! Great stuff!

Roger Dellar ROI RI PS, BY THE FISH MARKET, 72 x 97cm-This is my favourite of Rogers this year and I  like the fact that every part of the painting seems to be in the dark tone value. The only light, apart from the highlights comes from the sky. It's the light from the sky that brings the excitement of highlights that spark up in different places all around the piece. It's pure drama in Venice!

Tim Benson ROI, OLD MAN WEARING BIB, 143 x 112cm- When  one is looking for paintings for the sake of the paint, for he love of the paint, for real loaded quality brushstrokes full of life and energy-it's Tim Benson's applications! 

Tim King, OLD HARRY ROCKS, STUDLAND, 36 x 63cm-A very powerful  plein air painting of the  Old Harry Rocks. My picture failed to get the right colours here and I probably cropped a bit off because of the shadow casts by the frame. But in all I love the placement of the rocks in the composition and overall balance of the composition. Its a beauty! The marks are fresh with vibrant stabs of juicy lighter strokes on the top of a more transparent handling of the mid tones and the darks.

Tina Spratt, THE BLACK DRESS IV, 66 x 66cm,- Apart from the fact that this piece is well treated in every  aspect, it has a nice balance and centrifugal force from the sleeping figure that radiates outwards and it's a very good use of a square format!

Valeriy Gridnev ROI PS RP-THE PHOTOGRAPHER, 120 x 99cm- one of my best in the whole exhibition, just for  his  ability to utilize direct painting to the fullest. Every stroke is a sketch stroke, the colour is pure, almost seems effortless. But this kind of painting comes with years of honing on ones draughtsmanship. It's a delight to behold, another one that my picture did not do justice to.

Close up-THE PHOTOGRAPHER by Valeriy Gridnev-I just had to have the close-up included because this close-up illustrates what I talked about above. The freedom at which the brushstrokes are laid with an impression but reads so well, when looked at from a distance.
Valerie Smith ROI, WORK TABLE WITH LAMP, 58 x 63cm- This was one painting I had to spend so much time in front of.  The marks were incredible! Everything had a feel of sketchiness to it, but then it kind of vibrated together in the most painterly fashion. In some places there were scratch like marks of very transparent washes. I just love it!
And finally a peak into a demonstration pulled of by Roger Dellar at the DAS Event yesterday. DAS are the proud sponsors of the ROI and they had a lovely event at The Mall Galleries yesterday. Lots of networking went on while Roger pulled this one off!

Roger  Dellar during the first hour of the demo
The complete demo under 2 hours!
My next post will  be on some of the paintings that caught my eye in the Winsor & Newton under 35 Category. Stay tuned!