It has been a very long time since I updated this area of the blog showing you what is in progress on the easel. I have had projects, drawings and paintings on there but did not take the time to write about them. Weren’t writing years I guess.
For the past while, I have been focused on storm images. I am very attracted to them for reasons I’ll be sorting out over the next few weeks and for the moment I’ll say they are an expression of freedom and beauty.
Right after the pandemic settled in I was, like many of us, asked to stay home from my day job at the art gallery and had time and space to work on something new in the studio. It was a complicated time emotionally. I was deeply relieved to suddenly have loads of creative time, which in my regular life is not available in loads, but the cause of the time and space was overwhelming. The storm images and ideas I had been collecting for years had the energy of the moment and so were the first thing I turned my attention to and I began to draw…
These are charcoal and contè on rag and small, about 11 x 14″.
In the months since the pandemic I have had to turn my attention to some other projects and return to work at the gallery but this focus on storms is still developing and I have begun some small scale oil paintings on linen. The two shown here are 12 x 24″.
Below are some photos of the early stages, drawing with charcoal a simple contour, then the first layer of oil straight from the tube. You can see the grid that helps me organize the composition from my references, which come from old public domain photos from the weather service in the states.
The next stage will be to begin using glazes and painting into layers of medium once this underpainting is dry in a few days.
Thank you for reading and more next week…
Time is passing so quickly.
Last year flew by without one post from me here. Adapting to the pandemic ate up my focus for most of the year along with the commotion south of the border. But I was working in the studio tying up loose ends and getting ready for changes I am intending to make this year.
I post more often on Instagram than this blog so many of you may keep up with my studio activity there.
I was drawing this year and will post some of what happened in the on the easel page. Here, though, is the portrait drawing I have completed recently. It was done from some photographs I took a couple of years ago at my local area of Fish Creek park. It is 22 x 28″ and is done with graphite, charcoal and conte on paper.
2021 has me dividing my time between working at my brother’s art gallery, continuing my study astrological studies (I have begun the formal program at The Faculty of Astrological Studies in the UK) , and my studio practice.
I will be updating this blog more regularly this year as I have many thoughts and work to share so please check back or sign up for an email notice when I publish more.
I hope you are all enjoying your 2018 so far!
I have been hard at work in my studio working on my portrait skills and updating materials for those interested in commissioning me for their own projects. I now have a brochure that is available to you for the asking that describes my fees and procedures.
In my last post I showed you the pet portraits I have been doing over the last year and a bit and now I would like to share a finished charcoal portrait on paper. I have not done these as commissioned work before now so I am very happy to add this to my offerings.
This work is 20×16″ on paper and you can see the work in progress on my Instagram gallery where I post frequently here. I enjoy very much a physical kind of drawing full of varying textures and methods and this work shows that tendency perfectly. I began by rubbing charcoal dust into the paper to get an overall grey tone. The process is physical and intuitive, very messy and very satisfying. I add layers of different weights of charcoal, buffing and rubbing with fabric, brushes and fingers, drawing with different types of erasers which I cut into shapes for thin, dull or sharp marks. I add and remove the pigment until the form and description of the subject is perfect to my eye. It creates a lovely texture and life to the portrait. At the end of the process I fix the drawing with a spray so that it all stays in tact and won’t shed dust any more.
One of the most exciting things about drawing in this way for me as an artist doing representational work is that I can get a variance of descriptive marks. Hair next to fabric next to flesh are all drawn differently but in the same media-charcoal and white chalk. For instance when my attention was on the flesh I was rubbing in a faint layer of charcoal then shaving off a layer of it with a thinly sliced eraser wrapped around my finger. For the shoulder I added a layer of white chalk rubbed into the charcoal ground underneath.
I save the very sharpened charcoal pencil for adding pigment for detail in the facial features but use an equally sharpened hard plastic eraser removing pigment detail in the hair. I’m showing close up details of the work so you can see what I am talking about.
I’ll be back soon with updates from my current project but until then if you are interested in commission a portrait from me of this or any kind please contact me here or through Jarvis Hall Gallery here. I am very grateful for any projects as it is a major way to support my studio practice.