The last time I went life drawing feels like an age from now. Whilst back in London in June for a few days I popped into candid (Tuesday) to get in a spot of life drawing. It had been ages and I was without my paints this time so I just relaxed with charcoal. During the final pose I alternated between two angles and ended up dancing very differently on each one
1> I started with this front view. I initially spent 5 mins working very angular. I had no inspiration for flow (often a personal problem I have with very slim models) so I resorted to move to a foreshortened view on the other side of the room
2> From a foreshortened view I had more room for flow. Choosing to work on shadow and shape I found interesting areas in the right foot and the positioning of the knee. I also added the models comfortably cushions. Which are lost in the first view. I can this imagine is quite hard to ascertain if you are not told what it is
1> with some time left I moved back to the first position. With my mind already settled on the relief that I have completed something I like I decided to continue with this abrasive approach the view in front of me. Finally I began to understand that the composition required the umbrella, so I added it albeit in a very bold descriptive way
It was changeable weather at my favorite canal spot. I loved it more with the sun shining through. There were lots of pleasant passers by as well. I took this back to work on aswell and it was starting to look good. Unfortunately it was one of the paintings lost when I transferred my easel and other pieces over to Bulgaria. I’ll obviously start on this again but I can only hope that it turns up one day at Luton airport.
I’d been eyeing up this location for quite sometime. It’s complexity scares the crap out of me but after seeing contemporary artist Melissa Scott-Miller painting it so well I’ve been working my way up to the challenge. Unfortunately this is one of the sketches I lost in the luggage whilst moving to Sofia. As with all drawing the experience itself is etched on my being so the loss isn’t the end. I will have to tackle again.
On display at the Hanbury Cafe in Spitalfields, London (E1 6LY) is a chronology of pleinair (landscapes) paintings and drawings made between 2017 and 18. Pieces range from early oil pastel studies through to final pieces, painted using acrylic.
I have been painting and drawing with intent over the past two years. What started as a way to complete the work I should have done whilst studying art at school is now in its third year and I thought it necessary for me to get some defining pieces of work up for the public. A defining factor of my practice over the two years has been about throwing myself into things before I have thought I am ready. I have participated in 3 exhibitions at Candid Arts in Islington and dived into the world of the Art Fair at the Parallax event in Chelsea (Feb 2019). As I prepare to move to Bulgaria this exhibition marks the end of one chapter but I am in way intent on vanishing.
Works on display
Early Tenby sketches
Two early plienair studies, made in Tenby, Wales
(2017). It was during this week holiday
I felt a flow emerging, which was working in parallel to me feeling a
competency I was happy with.
‘Atop the Tenby cliffs’
I visited my
friends in Bamwell with the desperate urge to draw all the countryside all the
time. I was almost feverish with desire
at this point. Lucky for me my two
friends were willing to draw with me and the weather was amazing.
one of our walks we stopped at this stunning view through cheddar gorge and
over the town of cheddar itself. All
three of up sat for an hour to capture the view as fellow walkers stopped and
took pictures and drank in the scene.
‘Autumn dawns on the Islington canal’
haunt for drawing this year (2017) has been the canals of Islington. It is on the canals that I can see vividly
the battle ground between light and shadow.
It is where I have delved to the depths of representing the darkness of
dark and the lightness of light. This
was my final outside, canal drawing of the year. An image I feel is a good conclusion to the
years’ work on capturing the beauty of this particular stretch of canal.
On the Island of Kaoh Rung I managed to find a handful of opportunities to sketch. These two pieces were both made relatively close together but the conditions were very much different. Drawing from a pier by the shore was cooler and fresher compared to the insect laden air and irritable humidity of sitting at a lagoon.
Aberystwyth is etched on my being. It has influenced my connection
to landscape and the elements through my childhood with family
holidays, my young adult life whilst at university and I have returned since
My pleinair painting practice has roots in a souring relationship
with mobile phone/device photography, digital imagery filtering and image
effect/glitch application. I am aware this may be down to my own mis-application
of the technology. When selecting a scene to paint I will focus in on
these areas of frustration, usually looking through the screen first. It
is only when I notice this conflict that I settle to paint/draw. Many
things can trigger this but primarily it will be distant scenes or conflicts in
light and shadow. Choosing to approximate what I see I have been working
towards rendering a truth.
The view of Aberytwyth from the top of Constitution hill contains a
dizzying amount of visual information. Due to the distance, capturing its
essence photographically has always been a frustration of mine. On
the initial sitting of this piece I focused in on a small frame and but also
took into account surroundings in the wider view in an attempt to capture the
Aberystwyth I have failed to do so through photography. Many ideas have
been approached in this piece, all of which were underpinned by an intense few
minutes of rapid mark making. This helped me define the paths taken by
the observer. This work is steeped in memory, which has massively
impacted my representation and its various points of focus.
This boat has been present in Aberystwyth harbour from when I first
lived there (2000) until when I returned to paint it (2018). It is
etched in my memory as unaged. I have many photos of it, taken from my
undergraduate life through to the present and it feels as if its a question
from Aberystwyth itself but it’s more likely a command.
Whilst painting on location people always stop to talk to you.
During this sitting a group of walkers stopped and asked if I was commissioned
to paint the boat. On replying no I was told that it was in owned by an
retired nurse who’s belated husband had owned it and that she had never wanted
to remove it. These are the wonderful splatters of existence that
painting on location provide and what started as a study of form became
something else entirely.
‘Waiting for her to arrive’
This image of a Viennese canal, made as
dusk crept in, was a treasure trove of forms.
I settled to create this so that I could be in the environment and study
the water and the canals shadows.
I have taken a distant frame of
reference, which my camera phone failed miserably to capture and pulled in my
surroundings into that spot.
Standing on a bridge looking into Graz I noticed this frame,
which perfectly captures a lot of what I liked about this city but in the
context of its very Austrian setting.
There is harmony between nature and architecture here, which
pleases. I want people to see this
ideal. Ironically, whilst painting this
there was construction going on under me to narrow the river. People walking past would stop and watch the
work in progress and passing locals would exclaim their disappointment. Some of this works impact can be seen on the
right-hand side of the water, which is in contrast to the left side which is
untouched. I was lucky that the position
of the sun that day enhanced the darkness form the construction side with the
light of the non construction side.
Late afternoon I was out with a
photographer friend in Graz, Austia and we both found the light and shapes in
the square outside the Franziskanerkirche fascinating. From my easel I selected a frame with a focus
on the dome. I found all points landed
on it from my specific spot that and I set about laying triangles in
homage. As I lay paint my attention
shifted from the dome to the lowering light, to a triangle of pure orange light
basking the sun in the center of my composition. As I have continued work on this piece my
focus has shifted dramatically to the impossible colour and tone of this
central aspect. I wanted to bring forth
this through the application of gold foil.
In this scene we see the view of Tenby
from the hill as an almost impossible patchwork stack. Painted at 10am through
a light fog the colour of the buildings
still pushes through relentlessly. Painted on location Tenby – Wales (2018)
South beach was raw that day as the wind
swept across it at low tide. I wanted to
capture and expose the true beauty of the Welsh elements.
An iconic Tenby landmark, where there is
so much to examine and represent. I
puzzled for a time at the tide levels and as a result shifted the rock to the
right of the frame to paint the left waterline. The beach to the left slopes downwards and
my perception of the level of the rock with the waterline was so perplexing I
decided to block the colours, leaving a thin horizon line between water and
Painting the rock itself I hopped and
skipped my brush over the light and dark created by the warm light and shifted
this through to the cold of the rocks cave.
The cave is significant in the sense that this is where children hide
from parents and explore. There is a
freedom in that cold light that I have perhaps now left in adulthood.