Showing posts from September, 2010

Chimney pot seagull • SOLD

I’ve been itching to upload this 3rd painting in a series of seagull paintings. This particular one was commissioned by a previous painting customer in Whitstable who employed me to paint a picture of his house. His wife was particularly fond of the imperious expression I had captured in a previous gull painting, so I hope I maintained that here. She also requested a Victorian chimney pot. I did try alternative viewpoints, but this particular low angle was really the only way to convey that proud attitude! Watercolour and 5B pencil on Langton ‘grain fin’ 300gsm paper.

Ship in a bottle, Trafalgar Square, London

Trafalgar Square is a walkable 20 minutes from my office in Tottenham Court Road, so I ambled down there the other day, on a balmy September lunchtime. The line drawing (Pentel NMF50, Superfine point) was done in-situ and I took a photo for colour reference to refer to later as it was not possible to both draw and paint the scene in the 20 mins I had before getting back. The Fourth Plinth has been set aside for contemporary pieces of art, though it was once destined to support a rider on horseback which hasn’t yet transpired. The Ship in a bottle is by artist Yinka Shonibare and celebrates the maritime history of the battle of Trafalgar - see for details. The painting was applied to Daler-Rowney Pastel Paper, a little too thin (160gsm) for watercolour really, as it buckles, but the tinted colour, an oatmeal and the addition of white Conté pencil for the highlights made better use of this paper. It has a nice vertical grain…

Red phone box, Piccadilly

A painting of scaffolding-strewn Piccadilly near The Royal Academy, London. Once seen on every street corner in the land, the lesser-spotted red phone box now only appears occasionally in select sites, like the prettiest village green or by an iconic London landmark. It has long been replaced by matt black versions (awful) or even worse, the modern BT kiosk. I hear the decommissioned boxes shown have been made into personal showers, etc and I have seen one or two in country gardens in my commute to London. The morning light was bright and strong and created a nice burnt-out area on the top of the phone box. A limited palette keeps the piece harmonious. (I used a Winsor & Newton Cotman Pocket Plus half-pan painting box, which has 12 colours). Black Pentel Pen NMF50 (O.5 nib) on Daler Rowney Fine-Grain Heavyweight (200gsm) paper pad.

Spain, poolside sketches

I recently had to whizz over to Spain to tend to some urgent family business and took along my sketchbook. Here's a few painted by the poolside at Eric and Annes, who kindly put me up. They live near Horadada, Alicante on Spain's east coast (Costa Blanca). Candy the dog proved a tricky subject as she was constantly on the move, so the sketch must have lasted all of 5 minutes. Watercolour & 5B graphite pencil.

‘Rude Britannia’ Maggie Thatcher sketch

Fiona and I visited Tate Britain today in Pimlico, London for the final few days ofthe Rude Britannia (love that title) exhibition of comic British art. Comic as in humorous, this was not exclusively paper comic-based stuff, though there was plenty of that in the form of Viz characters. No, there were bawdy Victorian etchings to contemporary sculptures and everything in-between. Artsists included my own personal hero Donald McGill, who was perhaps the most skilful/least crude painter of the golden era of 1950s & 60s saucy seaside postcards (see top right in the image). In the political room, where patrons were encouraged to draw their own caricature, I went over to the Spitting Image figure of our former British Prime Minister (now Lady) Margaret Thatcher, the perhaps infamous Iron Lady who was a prime target of the satirical puppet series from 1984 and another decade after that. Of course, all I had to do was copy the already-caricatured profile - all the hard work had been done …