I initially had a notion of this painting from a side view incorporating the steam from the soup against a dark background. Looking for suitable images to use I came across one of my dad, but a frontal view. Unfortunately he was wearing a hat and had no shirt which was a step too far for me, so I changed that, and added a book.
The real problem came in filling the 50x65cm sheet. I rescoped the head a couple of times, to try to ensure that sheet was filled, but despite all this I only managed 2/3 of the paper and with all the chopping and changing I lost the likeness – well, it’s a bit like him, but I’ve done better – perhaps a candidate for another attempt.
Compared to that the reworking of the Cambodian woman (an image I posted a couple of weeks ago as a smaller sketch) came out so much easier on this larger format – perhaps there was more to squeeze in so I was struggling to include rather than fill it out.
I might do a bit of tweaking to this yet, but in the main I am happy with it. Perhaps this larger format allows more detail and nuance giving it, for me, more authority.
Being a bit tied up with family issues I just had time to sketch out this portrait of a Cambodian Lady I spotted when I paused on a cycle ride by a river near Battambang – the second city of Cambodia. The light on her face accentuated her features as she squatted by some sugar cane that she had collected. I have a few pictures of different people of southeast Asia I took on my recent travels and was considering creating a small collection.
I had planned to look at developing a more forceful and abstract style to my life paintings. I wanted to experiment with the many sketches that I have and explore possibilities and new approaches away from the constraints and distractions a life session imposes, such as finding a viewpoint, contending with poor lighting or being herded into quick sketches – things that drive you into resorting to the same old approach in order to get something down in the time that’s left.
As you can see so far I havent had that time to make such leap and have drifted back into life groups after my holiday. Here are a couple of recent studies. Hopefully I will make some progress in the weeks ahead – well I have a plan anyway.
In Bangkok, as in every town and city, in south east Asia there are stalls offering fresh food and drink along the roadsides and in night markets. I thought I might explore some of the images I collected along the way. I like the spotlit figures surrounded by an almost abstract background. For me, there is a theatricality about them which adds to their draw.
This picture is developed from a number I took in Sathorn, a district in Bangkok, where we had just had a meal sat out on the pavement.
A day at the seaside up in Cumbria: I spotted these rock poolers on their summer holidays and took a few photos. The lad quickly wandered off but I caught a pose as he stood by another pool and in this painting drew him in a position that gave some narrative.
With a houseful of visitors I haven’t done much work over the past few days. I did this one last Saturday when I slipped out early whilst the house was asleep and got a morning’s drawing in. I used larger paper than I normally use – this one is on a 85x65cm sheet. I have been using 75x50cm sheets. Frequently I have trouble getting all the figure on the paper as I am trying to maximise the head as I do like working on the facial features – a larger sheet should reduce the incidence of chopped off feet – well that’s the theory anyway.
I am still overworking the application of the pastel and not getting the effects I am after, and on reflection I realised that Crawfurd Adamson, whose course I recently went on, recommended working on a paper covered board to help with the smooth application of the pastel.
Saul, the model in the top painting, allowed me to take a photo from the other side and I have a few other life photos, so I might practise at home on the pastel application as when you are working against time in a studio it is hard to reflect on the details of pastel application and colour combinations .
This is John, my step brother. He gave up running a shopping mall and, with his wife, opened up an Filipino/English Cafe. She is from the Philippines and her son, DJ, is in the background, though he is soon off to a job in Japan.
When I was on my painting course, last week, we popped in for lunch and I thought I might do John a painting – though I think it needs to be livelier and more quirky than this.
I do like his pork-pie hat which seems to be fixed permanently to his head and the cafe counter is covered in paper and paraphernalia, so this may be another project I will be doing again. The second goes are piling up.
Anyone got a spare lifetime that they can let me have?