19 August 2012

A work in progress

One of the things that has really helped me to progress as an artist is seeing a painting's transformation over time. It's a great way to see how colours are layered and blended and which parts of the portrait are worked on first. I've included progress shots of one of my most recent portraits. It was a really tricky one given that the girl's skin comprises of two different tones; one pink (the face) and one yellow (the hands). It was also a challenge to really capture her anxiety and the movement in the picture. Loads of fun though.

27 June 2012

Painting light

I've been doing a series of portraits using images by one of my favourite photographers Jill Greenberg. She has a certain way of using light that is a key signature of her work and is so inspiring to paint. The light is so intense that I use a perfect white in places; no softening with the usual blue or yellow hues. It adds a harshness to the finished piece which is why I think the images can be so confronting. They're very honest and very clean. She also exaggerates the features of her subjects in post-production which serves to emphasise the emotion; just perfect for painting! The human face is also recognised not by the shape of its features, but by the way our eye perceives the light and tone reflected off those features, This is why light is so important when painting a portrait and why it's been such a joy to work from Jill's photos.

- oil on canvas

25 June 2012

Structure through colour

This image is a little tighter than previous works I've done in this style. None of the colours were mixed, they were simply applied direct from the tube onto the canvas in a deliberate but complimentary way. It's a fast technique and the obvious, thick application of colour literally builds the portrait from the canvas and gives it life. It's been an enjoyable process and a major stress reliever!

- oil on canvas

13 April 2012

No. 1249

During the early 90s, Rwanda experienced a dreadful civil war that separated and orphaned hundreds of thousands of young children. A photojournalist who was covering the situation in the country, found himself compelled to take photos of all these separated children and pin them up on community notice boards in the hope of tracking down a relative. As many of the children were too young to know their own name or too traumatised to speak, the photographer had them hold a sign which displayed a number for prospective family members to identify them by. The scheme was so successful that up to 80% of children were reunited with a family member, and this process of reunification is still used today by some of the world's most influential humanitarian agencies. The photojournalist quit his job and now works in humanitarian aid where he photographed 21 000 children in his first year.

- Oil on canvas - 

12 March 2012

Trying a new style

I've been trying out a new style lately in art classes which is more similar in style to one of my favourite artists, Robert Hannaford. He uses a really wide variety of colours in his palette which are not necessarily obvious for a portrait, such as bold reds and yellow. I also didn't mix any colours on the palette, just applying them in thick strokes straight to the canvas. Both of these paitings have been done in oil which is my preferred medium to paint with and makes it easier to layer colours so that your eye blends them instead of the paint brush. My plan now is to try doing a series of these to get used to the technique. Each painting seems to take about 3 hours which is actually quicker than my pencil portraits which can take 5-6 hours!! 

30 January 2012

Three generations




I recently completed this lovely series of three generations of women in the one family. When drawing portraits you become so intimately familiar with the physiology of each face down to the tiniest lines and smallest veins, so when drawing a family it becomes quickly evident the genetic similarities between each member. I really enjoyed this commission with the process of capturing enough likeness to symbolise familial connection but enough difference to make each individual unique. It's also interesting to see how the fashions and hairstyles change with each generation.