Monday, June 22, 2009










A friend asked me to post up the pictures of the photo reference used for the paintings. Ok, but... just to make perfectly clear... what I'm going for is not pin point accuracy (It's been done by too many others and good luck to 'em) but rather, I'm going for a feeling of energy and a feeling (one might say impression, but that's getting too poncy and too French and so last Century!) I prefer to follow the paint rather than force it (did I just slip into prententious twaddle? I apologise) and when things start to feel forced or too tight, I start to get unhappy with it. I'm enjoying it feeling bright; alive; active. So... let's settle for 'energy'. (Lordy, I feel like I'm about to show my underwear or something, what gives?)








So, yes, for all you literalists out there... I know... the colours are often nowhere near the colour and the shapes pull or push a bit here and there. And really, that's why I prefer the laughing photos to work with because the subject itself has a feel of movement of action, and as grotesque as all those teeth and gums can seem, the overall pose is one of beauty... well, at least I think so. And so, for your curious nosey eyes... the most recent photo reference.

Sunday, June 14, 2009



A close up of Lilly.

Some portraits are more fun than others. This is a portrait of my UK agent's dog. She (the dog) is very noble and yet a bit skittish.
It's meant to be a surprise so shhh...

There's a point when the painting feels right. You stand back and think, "Ok... that's it. I could walk away now." But a small demented voice inside you says "Ah, go on, just one more bit... right there." And you listen to the voice and it all goes wrong and you've lost whatever you had. And then you spend ages trying to get it right again, and then it takes a different route entirely and you're flying but quite frankly, you're just panicked trying to get the canvas back on track and the metaphors get mixed and stretched and eventually ... eventually you feel like you're close enough to something, that's sort of ok, and you stand back and think... 'that'll do'.

But really you wish you could go back in time to that moment when you should have put the brush down and walked away.

This is one of those paintings.
Finally finished this one this weekend. It's quite big. I think it's good enough to show... and has the right energy. Lyn wants to keep it and has already hung it up in the living room.

I've noticed, that in the photo's of kid's laughing, they laugh with their eyes open or closed, but grownups almost always are laughing with their eyes shut. Perhaps this is because kids laugh more freely. And grown ups need to concentrate, to remember what it's like to be a kid... and so need to close their eyes tight to remember what it's like; to go to that place where they're a kid, laughing freely? Or is it just late, and I'm tired?

Well, it's getting there. At least proportions feel about right... but not the colours. Is it wrong to show work in stages? Is that a bit like getting ready for a party in front of your partner? No surprise?
Well, after this dries I'll start globbing (as no doubt the technical term is in latin) another layer on top and get it humming. And I doubt she'll have a blue nose when it's all done, but hey you never know.
Started. Went wildly odd, with the pose too stiff and the colours too blugh and dull... and so I rubbed it all down and started again.

Ok, so it's not a laughing face, but rather a portrait of a friend's kid. Is it just me, or is it harder when you haven't actually met the kid.

Still a work in progress. Sort of wish I'd worked out a full strong undercoat but hey, it's oils. There's time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009