Have you ever seen a picture and thought, I like that but it needs x or I’d prefer y? Commissioning Art may seem complicated but it isn’t. People like pictures with a personal connection. You see something you admire, but it’s not quite right, it lacks the personal touch. OR you like the idea but want to reflect yourself or something personal in it. Welcome to the murky world of commissioning art, let me tell you a story Alison and Mike* came to see me at my first Open studios and really liked my style and this painting of the British Museum caught their eye. They liked the subject but really wanted something larger. We arranged to meet and discussed the particular features they wanted to include It turns out that they visited the British Museum a lot as a family and had many happy memories from the trips, Particularly of their daughter running up the steps. They really wanted something that captured that memory, including the steps. Would it be possible to achieve this? I agreed it would be possible.and we discussed their exact requirements in more detail before agreeing the price. Beginning the Commission. I arranged to take […]
Painting grey without a grey is a problem. People often ask my why I use such bright colours. It’s quite simple really. When I first started creating these pictures I had 8 colours. Magenta, Process cyan, yellow, deep purple, black, white, orange and green.I use the paints neat and rely on them mixing on the page. It means you have to get creative with the process. Like when I did the Barbican. Since then I have discovered there are more subtle and deeper colours available. I’m adding to them to fill the gaps, yet I cannot bring myself to buy a grey. I always find other colours I NEED more. Then I go and decide to paint a grey building, with grey pavement and road, like this one. At this stage, I question why I didn’t as I try to reflect the tones and colours, whilst having only black and white in the right chromatic range. Yes, I could mix them beforehand but that would be too simple, and, I suspect, less interesting. I like to live dangerously… With paint at least. That means allowing the paint to mix and do what it will with guidance from me, of course. […]
Back to Manchester painting the Hollings building. The Hollings building or Toast rack is a well known landmark and used to be part of the university. It’s a hard building to photograph as the angles I preferred were on the northern side, which meant they were dark. One of the reasons I love photo editing software, ah, the adjust lighting setting. So handy! I took the usual excess of images and found this delightful bush on the north side, including chain link fence. I always look for a strong foreground image and the bold shape of the flowers appealed. I got a bit carried away with the creation of this one, So the earliest work in progress image I have is the final painting stage. I do have a few close ups of the masking being removed. First removing the masking from the foliage. Next the masking coming off the Toast rack itself! And finally the finished picture. I’m really pleased with the colours for this one. Can’t wait to see it in a frame. Those who visited me during open studios will remember I’ve been working on a H van for my next painting. Well it’s nearly finished… There […]
Plein air painting requires a degree of endurance. Which was certainly required when I set up my easel here, by Beaconsfield church on a chilly Sunday lunchtime This was a test run. I’m aiming to finish a painting over a 6 hour period with a 4 hour time limit on the actual painting activity. One day I will explain why, but not today, you’ll have to be patient. I only had 3 hours to work in. I knew it wasn’t going to be a complete test but I have to start somewhere. After 1 hour 45 minutes, including a break to thaw out my fingers, I had the pencil sketch. I simplified the drawing as much as I could to fit the time frame. This was what I’d done by the time I stopped for the day. Back in the studio, I spent another 1 hour and 30 minutes masking it up. I had a workshop the following day so took it along to use in the demonstration. Timings get a bit fuzzy now but I spent about 20 minutes on the first painting stage. I then went in with more inks to define the windows and foreground features. 10-15 […]
Serendipity in art or the role of happy accidents.
Sure, you can know what you're doing, study methods and plan meticulously. You can control the paint to within an inch of it's life. You can be skilled enough to make the paintings seem lively, but too much control can often lead to lifeless work.
Watercolour, more than any 2 D medium is often transported by painting accidents.
A painting emerging from chaos it’s a magical moment in the progress of any artwork. With my paintings it’s the final step in the creative process, where the dramatic transformation takes place. You can see that moment happen later on. Yes, last week I promised you video, and I have it for you, although I need to set the scene first. The engine in question is outside the Science Museum in Manchester. This weeks painting has a very personal connection. The engine in question is outside the Science Museum in Manchester and has a personal connection. Crossleys were a prominent Manchester engineering firm and my dad worked for them for most of my childhood. So it’s a name I know well. My Dad loved engines, and I think some of that love has rubbed off on me. When I saw the engine outside the Science Museum was by Crossleys, I was keen to incorporate it into one of my pieces. Here is a close up painting detail of the main wheel. The picture in progress next to the reference image. Most of the painting has been done by this stage. And another detail at the painting stage. You can see […]