Friday, November 28, 2008

Whisky in the jar

Whisky in the jar
Oil on canvas
8x8 inches

A small still life continuing my series (, with the light source coming from back right. I wanted to get some of those refelctions and shadows

I was aiming to get the right balance between suggestion and details

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Weeks 5 and 6

Wow I have neglected posting again! Here are some more works from my ongoing Leith School of Art course.

Week 5- Brush and Ink on paper. Trying to capture the effect of the strong light on the torso

Week 6- Acrylic on paper- we got painting this week with the tutor restricting us to black and white to concentrate on values.

Need to photo the next one soon!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cast shadows -Week 4 study

Cast shadows- Week 4 study

Charcoal on paper 33x22 inches

This week we had a wee bit longer on our main pose so I got more of a finished image. We were instructed to try to use the side of the charcoal stick for the first 30 mins with no measuring and using shading to define edges. Drawings by Seurat were used as an example.

In the last part I used an eraser and some lines to redefine parts that were in need of more resolution.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Leith School of Art week 3

I know what you're thinking, where is week 2- I was on holiday OK!!

This week we studied the etchings of Rembrant, drawings of Degas looking at mark making and using directional hatching marks to show the different planes of the body.

Fiona seated

Charcoal and white chalk
23x33 inches


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Leith School of Art week 1

I've not been posting much recently as I've been doing evening classes at Leith School of Art. We've just finished the first half of term 1 (6 weeks) so I'd thought since I've got a week off I must catch up with my blog!

I'm studying figure painting and drawing with a great teacher called Andrew Paterson, whose life-size oils are amazing!

In the first week we did a lot of quick sketching and loosening up exercises, culminating in a 45min final pose in charcoal. We had to draw looking directly at the model (and not at all at the paper! more difficult than you would think) this lasted ten minutes before we could even look at what kind of mess we made! Amongst the jumble of lines and marks, the loose basis of the drawing.

Next we had to attack what we had done with the rubber, which smudged, merged, softened and lightened our original image. Then for the last 30 mins we got to work proper! Tring to keep some of the sponaneous mark of the under drawing and refining it. As it was the first week I was definitely rusty and was knackered at the end!

Life study week 1

Charcoal on paper 23 x 33inches

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Save our Titians!!!

The National Galleries of Scotland has one an amazing collections of old master paintings but a significant number are part of a loan 'The Bridgewater Loan'. 27 works including two giant Titians and a Rembrandt self portrait, Poussin.

These paintings have been on loan since 1945 but the owner now wishes to sell . He has offered us the chance to acquire two key works Titian’s Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto on extremely favourable terms

We need to secure £50 million by 31 December 2008 to purchase the first painting, Diana and Actaeon. If we don't raise the funds then the painitngs will go on sale on the open market
Titian's -Diana and Actaeon

If we are successful with this then we get the opportunity to buy the second Titian (another £50mill ) and secure the remainder of the loaned paintings for 21 years
Titian's- Diana and Callisto

The Scottish gallery has launched an urgent appeal for public money to keep these paintings in the public collection- it would be horrendous to think of works like these going into a private collection or worse a bank vault.They have linked up with the National Gallery London in a joint bid to raise the huge funds required in the extremely short space of time


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Green pepper (and friends!)

Green pepper and friends

Acrylic on canvas
8x8 inches

The next small still life and again my mind is on food! I'm enjoying getting these really simple set-ups with vibrant colour and light. Trying to avoid the traditional dark backgrounds to make something more contemporary. Having the white paper to sit things on flattens the picture frame and allows the light and reflections to jump around. I also like the blue/violet shadows you get.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Quick still lifes

Had great fun doing these small pieces. Limiting my time so I didn't get fussy

Humble teacake

Oil on canvas
8x8 inches

Lemon and lime
Acrylic on canvas
8x8 inches

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New portrait, John

Oil on canvas board
12 x 15 inches
I've signed up for Leith School of Art- Figure painting and drawing so I thought I'd better get some practice in before I start in September.

Did this portrait over two nights about 3 and a half hours in total



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Horse #2

Horse #2
Mixed media on canvas
The next in my series inspired by classical sculture. This Greek horse sculpture (from the Parthenon Frieze) had a great sense of urgency- there is a mix of excitement, fear and rage that I wanted to recreate to give the sense of a horse used in battle.

This was the starting stage for this one- using collage and texturing effects to create an interesting backdrop

I enjoyed trying a new trick on this one in using acrylic paint mediums to transfer an image onto the paint surface. Instead of using collage to stick a paper image- the benefit of this technique is that with acrylic mediums transferring the image they can be made to be transparent and therefore the underpainting can show through- really was quite exciting to see what I could do with this

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Self portait in soft pastel

A quick self portrait! Done while watching the football so about an hour

Soft pastel on Murano paper

Working on another abstract classical piece so did this while waiting for paint to dry!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Horse, Persepolis

I can't believe its been so long since my last post!! I did get married however so I have a pretty good excuse!!

Anyway here is my next offering inspired by Classical sculpture

Horse, Persepolis

Mixed media on canvas


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stormy seascape study

Stormy Seascape (study),
Oil on canvas
14x10 inches

Trying to improve my seascapes, I realised that I needed to study the movement of the sea a bit more. My coastal scenes tend to focus on calmer sea, and the sea in itself is rarely the focal point. It took about an hour and a half. I'm reasonably happy with the way it turned out and I definitely learned a fair bit from the techniques side of things. The one thing for me is that the pallette of colours doesn't really work here in Scotland as the blue and browns in the rock are too intense. The colours here are much more slate blue/grey for the sea and the rocks locally are a lot darker.

Next I need to try to put some of these techniques to use on original stuff from local scenes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Quick Self portraits in charcoal

Self portrait

Charcoal on light grey murano paper

16x12 inches

Wanted to get some drawing practice in so decided to have another crack at the portrait and since I'm the only one who's willing to model- it's me again!

This one was done in about an hour and a half

This one took about 30 mins- considerably faster sketching, again charcoal on light grey Murano paper
16x12 inches
Portraiture really is one of the hardest disciplines there is. Trying to acheive a likeness is tough work, but a great challenge.
I'm waiting for some oil paintings to dry on the easel and enjoyed getting some drawing practice in meantime!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The beach at North Berwick, Winter sun

The beach at North Berwick- Winter sun

Oil on canvas

16x16 inches

January is a cold month for sure! The sky is usually like this, threatening to hit us with snow, sleet or rain- every now and then though the sun peeks through and lights up the landscape with warm light. Wanted to capture that contrast in this piece.


Saturday, January 26, 2008


First post of 2008!

This has been on my easel for a while now as had a festive break while waiting for layers to dry. Finally finished it this week. I started this while doing my recent oil painting night class where the tutor was trying to get us to go more abstract. After much head scratching for ideas I came up with looking at the legend of Achilles and using classical art as a starting point tried to create a contemporary 'abstract' image.

It was a real departure for me as I mostly paint in a realist fashion- I have to admit I really got into and was surprised how much work was involved in it. I really got excited seeing what effects, textures and shapes I could get in there.


Oil and gold leaf on canvas
24x18 inches