Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Frenchman

Oil on Linen Canvas

I have been playing with some oil painting ideas and designs and this is what emerged.

I have a love for 'unfinished' edges and suggestions. I seem to have a habit of avoiding the corners. I tend to use diagonals to 'anchor' the subject or background to the picture frame or boundary.

I wanted to re-use a linen canvas which had been sitting in my studio gathering dust (I had used it in class and knew that those images would not be exhibited) and this canvas was too good to waste. The reference photograph I took of the bold French holiday maker, who had spontaneously posed alongside this gorgeous moris minor in the old French village, was the perfect image to experiment with.

The old images on my canvas had been blocked out with black (the only colour that worked) so instead of working over a raw umber underpainting, which is more subtle, I had extreme contrast right from the beginning. It actually made my midtones sparkle and the highlights more striking. I have always loved the muddy turquoises and the Frenchman's outfit couldn't have been more perfect, with his neutral trousers and skin tones, white shirt and hat.

150% enjoyable.

Luigi Quirici

Luigi Quirici - Portrait in Oils - Linen Canvas

When Luigi's wife commissioned me to paint Luigi's portrait, after he unexpectedly passed away, I felt extremely privileged and humbled to be given such an important task. Luigi was larger than life and had the charm and warmth so unique to his Italian roots. I was lucky enough to spend quality time with Denise and Luigi in Italy a few years ago so his personality was very much a part of the painting process. I loved his colouring and proportions and the fact that there was so much life in his face. It was a joy to paint!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The View from my French Studio

"The Old Stone Piggery - Acrylic on Cotton Canvas"

Most of you will probably know by now that I am going to be spending a lot of time in France as of this year. For the first time ever I am now painting in a wonderful studio which is peaceful and spacious. It is, however, daunting to be faced with blank canvases, white paper and a clean easel and wonder what on earth to paint! I have never had time to contemplate such a question. In all fairness, it has been brutally cold, so sitting outside (and I tried) was and is just too uncomfortable. When this part of the world warms up I will have not excuse but to get out there and paint the wonderful sights around the Lot and the Dordogne.

The little old piggery which I can see from my studio seemed to be the obvious choice, and after drawing it to work out the best composition, I got on with the painting choosing acrylic as my medium. I enjoyed the process as always and had to make sure that my colours were wintery to reflect the season. It will make a good record of the building if and when we decide to upgrade it to an office.