Portraits

Here are three portrait paintings I did a few years ago. They are all Acrylics on canvas.

I think I’m reasonably good at capturing a likeness, but there are other things like the proportions of a figure to get right. I painted my mother and sister in one painting. My sister was taller than my mum but their heads are level in the painting I did. That’s because my mom was standing on a step so their heads were at the same level. To be honest it looks odd, not because it’s wrong but because you don’t expect one set of legs to be so much longer!

When I was learning to draw and paint figures I would often draw the heads bigger and the legs shorter. That’s because I was not looking properly and not taking account of foreshortening, especially when the model was sitting on the ground.

I enjoy painting people but not many ask for portraits these days. I am also good at painting pets, and  I don’t need photoshop to put two figures together from two separate photos.

Anyway feel free to contact me if you ever want a portrait or a painting of an ancestor for instance

A small amount of progress

I thought I would post this progress picture even though I haven’t progressed that far since the last one. I do need to change some of the angles. I’m trying to give it a late afternoon glow to brighten the brickwork. I’m going to add some clouds to the sky to give it more depth.

The canvas is about 30 inches by 24 inches. I’m using acrylic again. I need to get some more blue and white for the sky.

Well that’s it for now. Christmas is coming and I’m getting busy, but I will try and post more over the next couple of weeks.

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Imagining snow

Depending on the weather in Britain we sometimes have snow in winter, or not. It depends on whether you live in the north,  or are high up as the temperature falls the higher you get. This is a painting I did when I first moved into my studio at Spode,  I think it was so cold in there that I didn’t have to think hard to imagine this image.

It’s based on an idea I had of hills in Yorkshire or the lake district ,  I think it needed more depth so I added the shadows.

I tend to talk to myself when Im painting, reminding myself where the guttering should be or how light would reflect into the shadows at the side of the house.

I like using my imagination. Exercising my visual memory. It’s worth trying to think through how something is put together. It helps you understand how it works.

Started again

I’m just starting a painting about 2ft by 2ft 6 inches.

It’s a view of the Spode site looking from the building that houses Hulton Pottery which is a small studio pottery on the Spode site, looking down the run of buildings then on to the iconic Spode Chimney that stands high above the site.

Spode is changing, parts have been demolished, other parts will be gone soon. However new people at moving into the studio’s on the site. Together with the visitor centre and the hotel it is becoming more vibrant and interesting.

Hopefully the weather won’t get too cold this winter, that’s what really puts me off going. I have a studio but my mind isn’t on things really. I have found it really hard to get motivated but perhaps I have turned a corner…..

So I will leave you with the beginnings of a painting..with luck I can get it finished soon.

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Two old paintings

You know when you find old paintings? You wonder where you were when you painted them, what you were doing! These bring back memories of a holiday at Challaborough in Devon in 2002.

The rocks were dark and solid, with red brown sandy beaches. Across the bay you could see Burgh Island, a small island across a stretch of sand. To visit it you had to drive up from Challaborough and follow the coast road round to a little hamlet opposite the island.

The stretch of sand is really a sand bar that reaches out from the coast to the island, sometimes it is under water and can only be reached on a sea tractor that has a seated platform high above the waves. The island is worth a visit  because there is a 1930’s hotel on it that Agatha Christie, the famous crime fiction writer, stopped at. There was also a pub near the shore of the island, called the Pilchard. Im not sure whether they are still open as it was over 16 years ago that we were there!

I remember taking little canvases with me and sitting painting the view from the caravan site we stayed at at Challaborough, I also remember having to stay there longer as I twisted my ankle because the caravan steps were rusted through with the sea air and collapsed when I climbed up them.

Anyway these are two small canvases that bring back memories…..

Inkwell..

 

 

There is a particular filter on Instagram that I sometimes use when I want to convert colour photos to black and white. There are a few options you can use including one called willow I think, but I  prefer inkwell. I generally adjust the colour balance first and then go to the filters and choose inkwell. The blacks are rich and deep and the light and white colours are not overexposed. The grey tones are warm and the overall picture remains as it was when I took the original photos.  I generally don’t do any more editing than that.

One thing that can be confusing is when it snows, the image of the wire and gemstone ygdrasil tree hanging in our window , with snowy roofs behind is a case in point, I chose it from a tiny thumbnail, and now looking at it the sky seems a bit pink? Actually when you look closely you can see the brass ring on the window hanging is coloured. The world can be black and white without filters!

View of Dartmoor

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This is a painting I did a few years ago of a friend standing beside one of the outcrops at the top of a hill in the Dartmoor national park.

The rocks have been weathered over the millennia to create flat plate like structures stacked up on top of each other. Sometimes the base will be of softer rock and so the stack will be formed above a narrow neck of rock where the surrounding stone had been worn away. Another place to find these sort of outcrops is in Yorkshire. You can also get limestone pavements where the rock is at ground level but there are large cracks going down deep between the rocks with plants growing up, taking shelter between the stones. These can be found up at Malham cove in Yorkshire.

My friend used to fly gliders over Dartmoor, so he knew his way around the area. It is a beautiful part of the world, high up above the surrounding countryside with rolling hills and wide skies. Sometimes it snows up there and it can be very bleak in the winter . I can imagine trying to shelter behind these rock on a cold winters day with an northerly wind blowing snow and sleet at you. I guess Dartmoor ponies might even have sheltered there.

The painting was quite small and was painted with acrylic on canvas. It went to a good home.

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