Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Life class at Heatherleys

I am really enjoying these sessions. This is my portrait of the lovely Portugese model after two sessions -

Generally, I prefer to keep backgrounds simple, but Ian suggested painting the bold designs of the material which hung behind the model, and I'm glad I did.

The following photographs are of our new model after the first and second sessions.

She looks a little hard at the moment, partly because I used a dark colour to help me get a handle on placement of various features, such as eyebrows, but I think photographing paintings in the harsh lighting of the studio is also a problem. I shall need to be working on softening everything tonight, at the final session with this model.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Portrait course at Heatherleys with Ian Rowlands

On Wednesday evening I started a portrait course at Heatherleys with Ian Rowlands. I am hoping to learn more about painting with oils and, perhaps, to loosen up my style a little. I very much enjoyed my first session and I am looking forward to progressing under Ian's watchful eye.

For the majority of the 2.5 hour session, I used just four colours - titanium white, ivory black, venitian red and yellow ochre. Initially, I found this quite challenging, particulary as venitian red, which I had never used before, is quite overpowering and, in my opinion, needs to be used with caution! However, the lack of choice of colours made for a speedier progress, and I was quite pleased with what I was able to achieve. Towards the end, I added a blue in the background and a touch of lemon and cadium red in the face.

The photograph was taken with a flash, which has resulted in the colours looking paler than in real life.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Shaking off the cobwebs - Happy New Year!

I have had a bit of a dry few weeks with so many issues distracting me from the painting. On Thursday, I pulled out the pastels and attended life class at Chertsey. This is my study of Alex - about 2 hours worth.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Mixing marketing and fund raising

A while ago, a good friend asked me if I would offer a commissioned portrait as a prize in an auction at a fund raising event. Not only am I still struggling a little with the "look at my work, I'm an artist" approach, but there were to be some well-known, influential people at the event, so this was pushing me way out of my comfort zone. Nevertheless, it was too good an opportunity for me on so many levels, and for a cause I am happy to align myself with, so last Tuesday I packed up a few paintings, put on my best frock and off I went, my husband offering a supporting hand.

At dinner, (thanks to my friend, who devised the seating plan!), I was seated next to Paddy Ashdown, (for the benefit of non-UK readers, he is, or has in the past been, a spy, a senior politician, a diplomat, a baron, a knight etc etc). He was extremely charming, and is one of the most fascinating and intellegent people I have ever had the good fortune to meet. We chatted a bit about politics, the dire state of the world we live in and about portrait painting. He has been painted several times but, although I felt very comfortable in his presence, I completely bottled out of asking him if I could paint his portrait. I had even left my camera at the other side of the room!

Still, it was a valuable experience, and I had a few enquiries about my services. What more could I ask for?

More revisions

I have been in a frenzied painting mood over the last few days and I have been ripping some older paintings from their frames and "revising" them. Immediately below is my revised pastel painting of my daughter, which is a definite improvement on the 2009 version which is below that.

I have so many paintings on the go at the moment, both pastels and oils, that I can scarcely move. Time to get some of them finished and out of here!

Friday, 4 November 2011

African Beauty 2

Following some very good advice from a valued friend to push the values more and to improve my observation of the effects of the light, I have been working a little more on this pastel.

It feels so good to be working in pastels again but, as I don't yet have a studio and as there is always a fair bit going on in the room in which I paint, I'm getting a bit anxious that something tragic will happen to this painting before it makes it into a frame!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

John Holtam - Finished

I'm calling this one finished. Actually, I'm quite pleased with it, and John is happy. So I have signed it, put a coat of retouch varnish on it and I'm giving myself a pat on the back!

I can't quite get the colours to look the same on my screen as in real life, but it's close enough.