Friday, November 8, 2013

Cambridge Drawing Society Autumn Exhibition

The Cambridge Drawing Society recently held its Autumn Exhibition  at the Leys School in Cambridge. Over 240 works were on display from drawings & paintings to prints and sculpture in what is a magnificent, almost cathedral like,  setting.
Over 200 people attended the Private View, including the Mayor, Councillor Paul Saunders. Sales were brisk, despite the economic downturn, and at the end of the exhibition, a healthy profit was achieved.

As usual, the public was asked to vote for their favourite painting and I am delighted to say that one of mine was selected. Titled "Ill Fares the Land", it is my commentary on modern day society. It is not a comforting painting to look at. Some people found it disturbing others said it was  thought provoking.
In my next blog, I will talk about the ideas behind it and how it was constructed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The art of the self portrait

Why do we paint ourselves? Is it for purely practical reasons when  no other models are available? Is it because you don't have to worry about the model not turning up, fidgeting, being bored or falling asleep? Is it because you are in total control of the production, or at least think you are.
Is it an act of vanity or deception ? This is how I would like the world to see me, minus the warts. Or is it an act of self revelation where you expose yourself for all  to see? Are you the  actor, the egotist, the victim or loner or any combination? How do different people read different things into the painting?

Below are various self portraits I have painted over the years. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Self portrait 1972
Self portrait 1979
Self portrait 1994
Self portrait 2012
A fascinating book on this subject is " A Face to the World" written by Laura Cumming and published by Harper Press

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Worlington Movement

On Thursday, I was invited by my friend Heath Rosselli to visit her painting mentor, Rosa Branson, in London.

Both Heath and Rosa are highly successful professional artists working in the field of portraiture and charity commissions. They champion the use of traditional materials and techniques and have set up the Worlington movement to counter what they see as the appalling lack of teaching in these subjects  in present day art schools.

Rosa, now eighty, still paints for 7 hours a day. Her passion, enthusiasm and energy are truly inspiring. It was fascinating to see her vast canvasses in the flesh as we wandered round her home and studio. Disillusioned by the 5 years she spent at art school, she then studied under Dr. H. Ruhemann , chief restorer at the National Gallery in London. In order to preserve this knowledge she has written a book which is now in the process of being published.

Joining us for lunch was Prof. Michael Baum, one of Britain's leading cancer specialists and artist Israel Zohar. Mike is shortly to retire and has already taken up his interest in art, studying under Israel Z.

Over a generous  lunch, art dominated the menu as we explored the merits of traditional techniques versus reliance on technical aids and modern materials. It certainly produced some lively and entertaining discussions.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Exhibition at Brancaster Staithe

Last weekend, along with some students and friends, I took part in an exhibition at Brancaster Staithe on the North Norfolk coast. Having grown up beside the sea, it was good to get back to vast skies and the smell of salt air. The mud flats are very different from the sandy beaches of Scotland where I grew up, but they have a charm of their own and I do love painting them.

My task for the day, however,  was not painting en plein air, but to demonstrate portrait painting. It is much more fun than sitting behind a desk smiling endlessly at customers and potential purchasers! I decided as a challenge to paint two portraits in tandem. That way I don't fiddle around and come back to each painting with a fresh eye.

Both paintings were done in oils on canvas . Size 18" x 14". Stained with raw umber.

Each took around two hours, in between drinking tea and chatting to interested onlookers. All in all, a most enjoyable day



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bury St. Edmunds Art Society Annual Exhibition

The Annual Exhibition of the Bury St.Edmunds Art Society is on view at the Edmund Gallery in Bury until this Friday.I exhibited two works and  am delighted to say that I won the "Marjorie Miller Awar for a painting in oils."

This is a portrait of "Mary", my mother in law. If I am ever short of a sitter I pressgang her into it. She has been exhibited so often under many guises, she has become a bit of a minor celebrity in the town. People frequently stop her in the street and exclaim " I saw you at---". Others just stare, clearly trying to remember how they know her!

Forthcoming portrait workshops

I will be running the  portrait workshops in Grantchester Village hall, near Cambridge,  on Saturday27th July and Saturday 17th August. ( 10 am - 4pm)

The cost is £35 per day or £30 per day if both sessions are booked. ( Models, tea, coffee, and biscuits are provided in the price. Bring your own packed lunch.)

I will be explaining techniques and doing a demonstration as well as offering lots of individual guidance.
For further details or to book a place please e-mail or telephone me on 01284 810 460

Monday, July 1, 2013

Portrait Exhibition at Gallery Highwaymans

From the 6th - 28th July , I will be taking part in an exhibition of portraits at the Gallery Highwaymans at Risby near Bury St. Edmunds.The exhibition is a celebration of the work of Mary Beale, a 17th century artist from Barrow, the village where I now live.
On show will be her self portrait from the St. Edmundsbury  Collection prior to its inclusion in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Masterpieces:" Art and East Anglia".

Alongside her work will be portraits by contemporary East Anglian artists. It promises to be a fascinating exhibition from the traditional to the avant - garde. Well worth a visit.