Friday, November 4, 2011

Success at the Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition

Last week, the Cambridge Drawing Society held its Autumn exhibition at St. Faith's School in Cambridge. It was a large display, with over 200 paintings on show. There was a huge diversity of techniques and subject matter. They ranged from watercolours to pastels , oils, acrylics, etchings and sculpture. There was something for all tastes whether it be landscape, portrait, life, or abstract.

The public were asked to vote for their favourite work and I am delighted to say that two of my paintings were in the top three.

" Paul" came first.

"Michael" was second equal.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Facing Hard Times International Open Exhibition

I have just had a portrait accepted for the "Facing Hard Times" International Open Exhibition in King's Lynn.
"The broad concept of the exhibition is the impact of recent global economic crises on all our lives".

A portrait from my "Homeless" series seemed appropriate.

The exhibition will be held at Greyfriars Art Space, 43 St. James St. , King's Lynn, Norfolk and will run from 1st -15th October

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Sentinels

In the Abbey Gardens in Bury St. Edmunds stand the ruins of the original abbey.

As I wandered round these, the remains of a large central arch loomed dark against a stormy sky. Suddenly, these crumbling columns appeared as two almost menacing figures. Hence the title of the drawing.

It was created using the same techniques as described in my previous blog.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fun with mixed media

On occasions it is fun to try something completely new.

Recently, I came across the remains of this wonderfully old gnarled tree. It was tortured and twisted, and bleached by the elements. I really felt I had to draw or paint it.

What would be the best approach? In the end, I decided to just play and enjoy the process of seeing how things developed.

I primed a piece of MDF with acrylic gesso and blocked it in with charcoal. But it lacked the power and texture that I wanted. I added acrylic texture paste , modelling it with brush and palette knife to suggest the contours of the tree. When dry, I dragged charcoal across the surface. Black lava , sand, and glass bead texture gels also became part of the process. White conte chalk and black and white acrylic paint were used as well.

Below are a couple of close ups of the effects achieved.

Finally, the finished work, measuring 30" x20"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Society of Disabled Artists

Last week, I did a one day portrait workshop for the Society of Disabled Artists at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre, near Bungay in Suffolk.

To the vast majority of students, portraiture was a completely new venture. I began, therefore, by demonstrating the basics of proportion, tone and colour mixing. After that I gave a demonstration in oils.
After we had enjoyed a hearty lunch, I set the students the task of working from the live model. There was the odd protest raised, but in the end all seemed to enjoy the challenge.

All in all, a pleasant and successful day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

One man show in Bury St.Edmunds

As stated in my previous blog, my one man show is up and running. It is at the Edmund Gallery in Bury St. Edmunds and runs till Thursday.

I have a variety of work on display, both portraits and landscapes in all mediums from oils to acrylics , gouache to charcoal, pencil , watercolour and pastel.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

One Man Exhibition in Bury St. Edmunds

This last few weeks has been frantic as the date of my one man exhibition rapidly approached. The usual panic. Have I got enough paintings? Will they be framed on time? How many have I still to finish? How will I hang it? Which paintings will sit comfortably with/ counterbalance others. Practicalities re. the actual hanging system in the gallery. The logistics of transporting over sixty paintings , some of which are very large. But as usual it all works out in the end and the exhibition is now hanging. More to follow.

A Critique to the Bury Art Society

Last week I was asked to deliver a critique to the Bury Art Society. This is not something I usually do. I am much more comfortable demonstrating painting techniques rather than pontificating on other people's work.

But it turned out to be a very pleasant evening. Lots of banter and lots of questions. And of course a wide variety of paintings that members had had the courage to put forward for public dissection.
Hopefully, my comments were constructive and helpful.

Gouache Painting at West Norfolk Arts Centre

I recently made my second visit this year to West Norfolk Arts Centre. This time it was to teach the art of painting in gouache.

The first day was spent explaining the history of the medium and demonstrating techniques and materials. As a bit of fun I "copied" two paintings hanging in the studio. These were by other artists. One was an oil, the other a watercolour. It was simply to show how gouache interpreted the same scene in a very different way. The rest of the day was spent exploring the medium and working from references or photographs.
The following day, I did both a portrait demonstration and a landscape "en plein air". It was then time for the students to work outdoors. Fortunately, the sun was shining!

All in all a very successful weekend. Very few of the students had ever tried this medium and were delighted with its versatility and forgiving nature.

As usual, Ros and Richard Cartwright, Directors of the Centre were the perfect hosts with their close attention to detail and the warm welcome they extended to all.

My next visit to the Centre will be to teach "Portrait Painting made Easy" 28th - 30th October.

Two Awards for Michael.

At the recent Annual Exhibition of the Bury Art Society, my charcoal and chalk drawing of Michael won the "Drawing Prize". This is a new award presented for the first time this year.

The oil portrait I did of him has also recently won the Senellier Award at Patchings National Art Competition in Nottinghamshire.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition

I am delighted to say that I have had a landscape of Walberswick accepted for the Pastel Society Exhibition.

It is a monochromatic charcoal and conte drawing done on MDF primed with acrylic gesso

The exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries in London and runs from Wednesday, the 20th April till Sunday, 1st May.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A charcoal and conte drawing of Paul

I continue to work on a series of drawings and paintings of people who are either homeless or have experienced homelessness.

Below are a series of images showing the development of a drawing of Paul.

This drawing, along with one of "Michael" in the same series, is now on display at the Cambridge Drawing Society's Annual Exhibition in the Guildhall, Cambridge.

Life Drawing at West Norfolk Arts Centre.

Last weekend , I taught a life drawing course at West Norfolk Arts Centre. It was my first visit there and I am pleased to say it was a great success.
Situated in the heart of Castle Rising, a delightful conservation village bordering the Sandringham estate, the centre is in an ideal spot for painting landscapes. Close by are nature reserves and the North Norfolk coast, as well as a multitude of architectural gems.

During the two day course, however, we understandably stayed indoors. Subjects I covered were anatomy, proportion, tone, and perspective as well as explaining and demonstrating various techniques and the different materials that can be used.

It was a very full day, starting with rapid sketches and moving on to numerous exercises to challenge the students' normal way of working. Finally, on to longer and more detailed studies.

Richard and Ros Cartwright ,our hosts, made everyone welcome and provided a superb lunch and endless refreshments. It was a most enjoyable experience for all and one which will hopefully be repeated in the future.

I will also be teaching the following courses there later in the year. "The Art of painting in Gouache" 23rd/24th July and "Portrait Painting Made Easy" 28th-30th October.

For details of these and all other courses, telephone Richard or Ros on 01553 631 689

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Portrait workshop in Grantchester

Yesterday, I ran my first Portrait workshop in Grantchester, near Cambridge. I am pleased to say it was both successful and enjoyable. Ten students attended from various art clubs and societies bringing a whole range of skills and techniques . Some worked in oils, others in acrylic, watercolour or pastel producing a huge variety of work.

I began by talking about the basics. How to draw a head and get a likeness. I explained about proportion and tone before moving on to do two 20 minute practical demonstrations. The idea was to show a couple of different approaches to painting a portrait in oils. The first was a fairly traditional method establishing the drawing first ( on this occasion in paint.) before moving on to add the colour.

Here the canvas has been pre-stained with raw umber. The drawing was done with diluted burnt sienna. As I do this, I am measuring proportions , angles and running verticals and horizontals to fix the features. Only when happy that everything is in the right place would I begin to add colour. It is a safe approach.

My second quick demonstration was the high risk method. No preliminary drawing . Straight in with the palette knife going for colour and large tonal masses. My audience was fairly stunned at the initial, apparently, child-like daubs. I then move on to applying thick paint with brushes. Rich, juicy impasto. Some wonderful accidental effects on which I try to capitalize. Now is the time I start to panic. Will anything emerge from this chaos? Will this be my Waterloo? Time to impose a certain control, to begin to position features and establish a likeness. To my relief, a human face gradually begins to emerge. I have now managed to capture my audience. I am encouraged by their responses and by the excitement that is being engendered by the process.

I should hastily add that neither of my 25 minute demos did justice to the model, poor girl!

At the beginning of this blog, I indicated the range of students attending. Below. I show a few samples of the work they produced.

As is clear from these few paintings, none of them were painting "in the style of" John Glover. Nothing is more depressing than to see a group of students slavishly copying /imitating the tutor and my aim is to encourage everyone to develop their own "vision."

I will be running the following workshops in Grantchester.

Saturday 12 February. Life Drawing/Painting

Saturday 12th March. Portrait

For full details e-mail or tel. 01284 810 460

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grantchester day workshops

I am delighted to say that there has been an excellent response to a series of new workshops I will be running in Grantchester Village hall, near Cambridge. Both the portrait days, on 22nd January and 12th March are fully booked. The life drawing and painting one on 12th February still has a couple of spaces left.

It is a fun day with the opportunity to meet and learn from other artists as well as the tutor.
Workshops run from 10 am - 4pm and the cost is £35 for the day. This includes model fee, tea, coffee etc. Bring your own packed lunch.

The artist as author

I have recently had an article published in Flack magazine. In this I explain my reasons for wanting to produce an exhibition of portraits of those who are either homeless or have experienced homelessness.

To read both my article and the whole of Flack magazine go to