This is where my latest work can be seen including step-by-step progress reports, news and merchandising as well as features on artists, living and dead who I would like to draw people's attention to. Please note all my images are covered by International Copyright laws. Copyright to other artists images resides with the artist or their estate, their inclusion on this blog a result of my missionary zeal and to no profit for myself!

Monday, 22 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad

When I received the IX 2019 Commission from Pat and Jeannie Wilshire I sent them a few ideas as to what I could paint for it. We agreed on the landscape idea "The Dark Citadel" which I finished earlier this year and will be exhibited at IX in Reading this coming October. However they also liked the sound of the figurative idea "Dawn of the Hamadryad" and suggested that I paint that as well to bring along to the show. I finally got round to painting it when I came across the circular canvas's that had just arrived at my local art supplies shop, Cass in Brighton. I had been thinking about painting one for some time and this was the final impetus for starting it on a larger scale after painting a couple of preparatory pictures earlier, "Dawntree" and "Dryad". The circular format seemed to give it something extra that I needed to make a start and I decided to compose it in such a way as to make good use of the circle, tree trunks and branches being ideal for this as you can move and twist them around to fit. 
I intended this to look a little like a Victorian painting such as by Leighton, Draper etc (the hubris!) and gave it a suitably overblown title but once I had started on the tree it became pretty clear that it was going to be very much a Fantasy painting...which is fair enough. I think that if I had painted the tree more realistically I might have got nearer to my original intention but I just got carried away with the writhing branches etc. Incidentally this kind of circular painting is called a Tondo.
I managed to scan this painting on my A4 scanner by assembling 17 separate scans in Photoshop as I have never been satisfied by anything that has been photographed digitally in Copy Shops etc.
So I will be bringing this and the studies to the IX show in October. Oil on canvas 24" diameter.
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 11

I worked on the figure today, putting in some colour into the hair and face and sorting out how the hands and arms merge into branches. Also trying to work out how the hair merges into branches. I think I will paint a thin scumble of semi-transparent yellow/white over the face and hair when I'm finished as I suspect it will need knocking back a bit.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 10

Worked more on the tree branches at left and carried on with getting in the figure. Started to use a very light mix of Warm White and Winsor Violet as the highlight colour on the figure - if it's a yellow light the shadow will be it's complementary, violet.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 9

Decided last night whilst under the influence of a stiff gin and tonic to have the back of the tree to go into the mist...I think it was a good idea, I'll look at it tomorrow morning over breakfast coffee and see if it was. Finished parts of the tree now so it was time to start work on the figure. I want the figure to be somehow emerging out of the tree into the sunrise of another day and want het to look slightly territory for me so we'll start seeing tomorrow if I'm able to pull it off.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 8

Superficially this doesn't look much different to the last post but in fact I have been working all over the picture and no area is as yet finished. I am essentially making this up as I go along (apart from the figure reference) so progress is a little slower after the quickly put in earlier stages.
Incidentally this idea of the tree spirit was one of the alternative ideas I put to Pat and Jeannie Wilshire for the IX Commission. They went for the landscape "The Dark Citadel" which can be seen in earlier posts but they liked this idea as well and encouraged me to paint this too. Hopefully I will be bringing this to show at IX in October if it works out OK.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 7

I made a decision this morning over my morning coffee about the sky, painted in some blue sky and clouds and then carried on with the right side of the picture. Once I have finished this area I will be able to paint the rest of the picture; as I am making this up as I go along I am proceeding quite cautiously until things get more fixed in my mind as how to proceed. 

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 6

I worked mainly on the right side of the picture today working out how the rising sunlight comes through the tree branches and also putting some very light blue into the sky at top. I am making this picture up as I go along and haven't really worked out how I want the sky to look yet.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 5

At first glance this might not look much different to the last post but actually I have been working over a lot of the picture but on the cautious side! I have been adding glazes to the tree and put in more colour into the background but stopped here because as usual I want to have a look at it over breakfast tomorrow and see how I want to carry on; what I don't want is to keep on painting as I have been and then realise that I have gone too dark or whatever and then have to try and repaint areas.
Using glazes of Permanent Sap Green, Ultramarine Violet, Winsor Violet and Permanent Orange.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 4

I am starting to add some colour cautiously at first as I don't want it to get dark too soon to which end I have painted these transparent glazes of Permanent Sap Green, Permanent Orange and Cadmium Yellow Light. Looking at the study painting for this, "Dryad" that I painted recently I want to avoid the green wash at the bottom and probably the blue in the sky as well. I also think it is too dark which leads me to conclude that I might build this one up in glazes...I will decide over breakfast tomorrow!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 3

I'm wondering now whether to leave the underpainting and start on getting some colour in. I could put in more branches in the background but it might be best to do that later once I have the foreground painted. I will decide tomorrow morning over breakfast...

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 2

Started work on the underpainting now and have remembered to put in some weird faces into the tree as I want a slightly Darker side in this otherwise Light-side painting. I stopped here as I need to have a think about how I'm going to approach the rest. The figure won't be as distinct against the tree as it appears now in the final painting.
Still using the paint mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Dawn of the Hamadryad - stage 1

I have finally got round to painting this after putting it back for various reasons. I think the impetus came from coming across some circular canvas's in Cass Arts in Brighton which seemed to be the final element that I was looking for that I felt it needed to make it worthwhile to paint. A circular painting is called a Tondo and I felt an arrangement of tree branches could be composed that would make the most of a circular format having already decided that the format suited a Figurative piece. 
I had shot reference photos of Naomi Wood at the beginning of the year for this already so I sorted through them and went with this pose having done a trial painting using the elements I was going to include a few months ago called "Dryad" which was handy for making the final decisions on this larger painting.
I first "drew" up the figure with a small brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin which I let dry overnight. Then I applied the same paint mix with a rag the next day and just winged it putting in the branches, any that I didn't like I rubbed out with a rag dipped in clean turpentine. I tried to arrange the shapes of the branches to make the most of the circular format, in the back of my mind thinking of the way Mucha worked with circles. Hopefully it will come out with a feeling of Herbert Draper and William Waterhouse to it...yes I know a tall order indeed! .. and of course it will come out the way it wants to, I often find that a painting almost has a life of it's own and will come out the way it wants to!
Oil on canvas 24" diameter.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Ponte San Agostin

This is a painting I have done for a step-by-step oil painting demonstration article I have written for Artists & Illustrators magazine, the last of three articles recently commissioned. The article is titled "Combine Shapes Lose Edges" to show how I put into practice the mantras I have stuck to my easel from earlier in the year - "Lose Edges! Join Shapes!" and " It's The Painting Not The Place". There is more about these mantras in posts from earlier in the year on this blog. Actually I think the article could be titled "Design in Painting" as although those mantras are used in this picture my overall focus was giving it a strong "design". By Design I mean that it is a step along from Composition in that Composition is more about where you put things in a hopefully pleasing and interesting way but Design is taking that Composition and adding where and how it is coloured and lit so that at first glance it's the Design that you notice first and then the content. This is putting into practice the second mantra "It's The Painting Not The Place" in that it's the painting itself that is the primary point of doing it and the location is secondary to that. It is not merely an accurate depiction of a location but has become a more subjective and individual response. 
Anybody who has walked the backstreets of Venice at night will have come across a scene like this, deserted streets with just a few lights in the windows above, everything else quiet and peaceful usually lit by a single lamp giving a theatrical lighting to the the crumbling walls and passageways.
"Lose Edges! Join Shapes" was obviously used to combine buildings and having soft edges in the background between the buildings and sky contrasting with the hard edges of the foreground steps etc  which gives it more depth.
Oil on linen 16" x 12".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog and of course in a few months time there will be a much more detailed run through in the upcoming article in Artists & Illustrators magazine.