Took myself down to London to see the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery and the Summer exhibition at the Royal Academy, more of that in another post.
I always find this exhibition an inspiration and a illustration of just how much there is to learn. I don’t think I will ever get there but you need to look at the work of others to improve, I took time to study hair and the boundaries between subjects and background. I am not sure I am any wiser.
Some tremendous hyperrealism paintings, you have to wonder at the skillset to produce this work, I always wonder if I am blown away by the technique or the subject.
I think everyone has their own winner and the picture that engaged me the most by its presence in the room and the clever use of a highlight on her ring constantly pulling your eye from her face was Gaela Erwins Portrait of Neema Tambo.
My own short list below-
Took me a while to ask my friend from my art class if she would be my subject, I was pleased I did as she was more than helpful, I shared my ideas with her and we took some pictures for me to work from.
My approach is to start with some sketches and then moved on to painting, this works better than diving straight on in with the paint and gives you time to understand the subject.
I found using acrylic to ground your canvas is quick but I found the oil paint went on better when the oil under painting had been done, I probably won’t start with acrylic next time. also tried a black acrylic paint pen for my drawing, it was good that it didn’t vanish but it took some painting out.
I struggled to paint her hair, it’s one thing I really don’t have a good approach to, this time after a couple of goes I tried under painting the shapes and tones, when this was dry I used a rigger brush to add detail, this seams to have worked out ok, something to explore more.
Started this year with a little pledge to sketch a face everyday, things started well but finding a few hours each day to sketch is not that easy, still I have started to gather a book full of faces and any practice has got to be good practice, even if its not everyday.
Tried reusing one of my old canvas boards, by painting on a couple of layers of gesso, it covered the original ok and seemed to give a ok surface, but painting on it was like painting on gritty sandpaper, so not the way to go for future recycling.
Thanks to Iain McKell for his reference picture of modern Gypsies.
Back in 2009 I started to follow Benoit Paille on flickr I was inspired by his portrait photography , although it seems miles away from his current work the pictures stuck in my head.
I have used his photograph “girl in a subway” for referance in my latest attempted at a painting, this is water based oils on canvas board and I have included some of my process pictures, to see how my process changes as I progress with my painting.
Spent a wonderful day painting with Chris Guest in London. A first for me painting all day from a model, picked up a new approach to painting , a few tips on materials and how to mix candy floss pink. All in all a good day.
Thanks to Chris for his instruction, I have gesso and board ready to have another go. Just need to find me a model with candy floss pink hair.
The standard of work in this exhibition is tremendous; I always come away appreciating the skill and talent of the artists. I have taken a few pictures of my favourites to add here.
It is a competitions so you have to select your own favourite, mine was (Rhyming slang for worth nix) by artist Janne kearney
I have been trying my hand at painting for about 3 years now, so I thought it might be interesting to go back to the beginning and attempt another version of an earlier painting.
I have always liked this portrait by photographer Ronald Vogal who kindly gave me permission to use his photograph as reference.
I have use oil paints on canvas as apposed to Acrylics on paper but still I am pleased with the marked improvement in my technique.
I am certainly looking forward to trying this benchmark again in another 3 years.
I try to think of a different approach to my paintings and this idea came when I was photographing my pictures, I noticed the great distortion you get from selecting a strange view point. The idea was to start with the distortion and perhaps return to reality when viewing the picture.
It didn’t really work, l need to think this one out again.
like all my paintings it went through a few different looks, I am pleased with the final slightly graphic feel.
A invite to exhibit really cannot be passed over, all I had to do was make a postcard size portrait. Everyone who makes a submission is exhibited in the exhibition at southamptons Solent gallery, exhibition opens on the 2nd of March.