As the year has progressed I have upped the frequency of life sessions I attend, now about once a week. It isnt up to my prepandemic level mainly because some groups have folded. This Sunday I attended my last session of the year. It was rather a rushed affair as I realised late on that it clashed with my neighbour’s Christmas party not forgetting a world cup final. In the end I managed them all, getting two paintings in before an early departure, (the pastel above and the acrylic below), which left me time for indulging in some festive cheer and watching a bit of football.
In this Sunday sessions the model adopts one pose for the day, So here is Sarah, from two different angles. Sarah is quite proactive and has ideas for relatively interesting poses. Other models just come for a sit down and you can finish up with some very stiff poses which can come out looking strange like this one from the previous week.
This last one is also in acrylic and I have recently adopted a new approach in that I just mark the positions of the main features in charcoal before going in with colour, influenced by the position of the sitter. When the paint is dry I then restate and develop the figure in charcoal before continuing with painting. This results in some surprising colour combinations and so far I am pleased with the results and think there is plenty of scope for further development and refinement.
Last month I published a set of sketches for a watercolour and pastel beach scene. I combined aspects of two of them to produce this on a half imperial sheet – 35x52cm. I will display it in a group exhibition we are staging in the Southport Wayfarers Arcade from the end of November until Christmas. So book yourself a flight to bag a bargain at our pop-up exhibition before someone else grabs them. Alternatively I can post it to you.
Yesterday was a now rare visit to a life session. I took my pastels, deciding to focus on one medium – well apart from half a dozen pencil sketches done at different points of the session.
Before I went to the session, I played around with with photos off the internet from Line of Action and explored possibilities I could try yesterday. Here are a few of them, below.
I wanted to mix bold and unusual colours alongside more natural flesh tones.
I hoped that by playing around in my own time, without the pressures of a ticking clock, I would develop a process I could take into the life room and produce whilst dealing with all the other issues that crop up.
Well, it half worked. I think I should be doing more at home with photos so that I have a clearer and more honed pathway when I attend another session.
It’s getting a bit busy here with visitors and exhibitions. I did a group exhibition last weekend and there are three more coming up, the last one being a solo show. I have been tweeking a few of the paintings that have been up on this blog over the last few months in readiness for the shows and was considering reblogging those, but went instead with a couple of life studies from last week.
Today I have to do a floral demo a a club north of Blackpool, so I have also have been preparing for that. I will be demonstrating the geraniums painting I posted a few weeks ago.
Anyway, once I get everything prepared I can start to calm down.
One of the limestone stacks just off the beach at Krabi, Thailand. This was painted from a beach in a national park where some of the rules on the sign as you entered were: no food and dont feed the monkeys. How could you feed the monkeys if you weren’t allowed food?
When we got to the beach there were some exclusive hotels – but you couldnt get anything to eat as they firmly said Guests Only. So I just sat on the beach and contemplated the view. It was pretty good and there there was even a long tailed boat in view.
On another day we went on an island hopping boat trip to some exclusive beaches – though they weren’t that exclusive as everyone else was doing the same. So we had small pockets of sand overrun with tourists like us, wondering why they had come. Outside our hotel there was a vast sandy beach with hardly anyone on at all – oh well… .
The second sketch was done whilst we jostled for space on Paradise island, named possibly as it was one of the few islands with a toilet.
A little more extensive use of charcoal with the pastel though still not getting the grittiness or directness I am after.
In the one above I used even more charcoal, though probably too much and not to its greatest effect.
And finally a portrait of the child of a child of the sixties, but with the lighting so poor in the studio the features are flattened by the glaring light. Another of life’s little challenges, I expect some of you have shared.
I went to Chester the other week primarily to see a contemporary watercolour exhibition, but the person I was with wanted to visit a sculpture exhibition in the cathedral which contained a work by the brother of someone we paint with in a life group. In fact they were dismantling the exhibition when we arrived – I didnt even know it was running – but there were still a good number of exhibits on show by many world class sculptors. Some of the work was displayed in the cathedral grounds and as we were walking through in the sunshine, there were people sitting in the sun, surrounded by the great pillars and walls of the building, taking a lunchtime break. I thought I might paint something from a couple of the pictures I took.
The watercolour painting was also quite interesting, featuring some local artists, two of whom I knew – and the day was glorious for a walk around Chester.
This is a painting of a guy I was at art college with and who occasionally models. He stepped in last week when the original model pulled out. I was pleased with the face as it captured him really well, the trouble is with the hands, which I could have tidied up later, but as I gave him the painting at the end of the session, it’s too late.