Thursday, 2 April 2015

New Paints

Self 2015 Oil on canvas paper 30x40 cm.

One year in the early 1970’s I attended an evening course learning how to paint in oils with local tutor Edna Bull. Being in my mid-twenties and a family man, I just did the one-off course where I produced several paintings, most of which (bar one) have long since disappeared. Since that time, I never looked at oils again, in fact until 2010 (except two years learning watercolour), didn’t do hardly any painting.

Nowadays, I’ve used quite a number of different media, but never oils until I watched Peter Barker do a demonstration with alkyd oils at the Oadby Society of Artists one evening. Although Peter has done some fabulous work (see his blog below), this particular seascape painting was quite simple, but he did show us the virtues of using this type of oil paint. Winsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd oils have a much faster drying time than conventional oils allowing the artist to paint over work done less than an hour earlier in the session. Another bonus is that these oils work out less expensive than the conventional type!

Spurred on by Peter’s demo, I bought the paints and started my first oil painting in 40 years! Not wanting to splash out too much on a media that I might not use again, I opted for just three primary colours (cadmium yellow light, cobalt blue, permanent rose) and Titanium white. It’s possible to get most colours that you would need from these.

After first session
After several months of using acrylic, these oils were a dream to use and blended beautifully (something hard to achieve with acrylics). My subject matter was the self-portrait shown here and the paint was touch dry soon after each session, allowing me to transport the work home from the painting club without fear of getting paint all over the car!

This painting took around ten days, and I did quite a detailed sketch in pencil first before laying on some of this lovely medium. It took me more time to do the shirt than it did my face! I think I am hooked on these paints now, and will probably stick with them, for the time being anyway.

Check-out Peter’s excellent blog here:

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Le Nonne

Le Nonne
The main reason I paint these days is for my own personal pleasure and not what many people like or want to buy for that matter. Come to think of if it, I haven't sold a painting since last November! It is however, nice to be able to be relaxed when painting and not worry about meeting any deadline or pleasing anybody I guess.

Although I have several different styles going at the moment, I still occasionally try something a bit different, suddenly and spontaneously changing the way I work. Often it doesn't work or I get stuck or fail to portray what is going on in my head. But just occasionally something clicks and I think "oh, that actually works" or then I think that I've done something that is obviously different and not sure if it has worked or not.

The painting "Le Nonne" is one such work, something quite different for me. Friends that have seen it say they like it, but you are never quite sure about what they are saying because a lot of folk don't want to offend you and will say something is good when they may really feel otherwise. Any way, this work is based on a black-and-white photo my daughter took when on holiday in Italy last year. As I knew nothing about what the true colours of the scene were, I decided that rather than do a black-and-white work, I could get some earthy colours going - you know something like Rembrandt would go for. The resultant limited palette turned out something like sepia tone.

Just on the off chance, I thought that I would submit this painting a bit further afield than our small, local events. I've done this a few times over the last year or two, but always been rejected. Imagine my amazement then, when I got an email saying my submission has been accepted! So now, from March 14th - May 4th 2015, this work will be on show at the Leicester and East Midlands Open Art Exhibition 2015 to be held at the Newarke House Museum. Wow, what a result!