The Art Demo Debut

This weekend was my debut demonstrating alongside four other artists at our local Open Art Trail. Tiring but exhilarating talking with the public and helping with advice for beginners. I have become aware that there is simply too much choice of art materials for would be painters to know where to start. 

My thoughts turn now to putting together some workshops in the hope of giving some guidance and helping people to get creative, along with notes of what simple things to buy to get success with basic techniques without breaking the bank.

These are the two demonstration pieces from this weekend.


Better The Devil You Know!

I promised I would not paint myself again. There is something soul searching about self portraits that can be disconcerting but I must confess my intention to submit work into highly competitive open competition next year and I believe what they say is true. Better the devil you know!

I have studied this image in both graphite and watercolour so it seemed natural to paint it in oil. It was such a lovely experience it’s hard to put into words. I’m usually pleased with my final work but have regular battles with the canvas. This was somehow different. I took my time not allowing myself to settle until I was happy with each element I painted. I was calm. I patiently mixed tones until they were right. What a difference. Why did that take me so long to learn?

Now I am sad it is finished although hopeful it will be selected for exhibition. I have no idea what to call it and I am quite happy to receive suggestions!

The Second Attempt!

Creativity is an enigma to me, Or maybe I am just programmed to do things the hard way! I managed to paint Arley at the second attempt having scraped the whole thing back yesterday. Lesson for self, draw accurately before commencing portrait! 

I’m happy that I have painted Arley to the best of my ability today. Not sure that my client will like it, as it is non traditional, but I would be happy to keep him so that’s ok. 

I will think twice before agreeing to paint a white dog again. A host of colour issues to deal with before bringing white in at the end. Almost abandoned it a second time until I picked up a wooden kebab stick and began scratching into the oil paint with good effect. Here is the finished result on box canvas 16″ x 20″. 


A Still Life Study

Learning the art of watercolour painting on an upright easel! Not easy but I am now determined to teach beginners next year and this is the only way to demonstrate. This is a free sketch of a still life I set up in my studio. A snapshot of a half sheet. I find 200lb Saunders Waterford paper really good for this. 

I’ve called it “Peace Lily”, even though it is not a Peace Lily! I think a white lily is a symbol of peace and my Buddha and candle are very personal effects to show my heartfelt belief in meditation and relaxation for peace of mind. I contemplated using different colours but green is a heart colour and as I was only sketching I maintained a very limited palette. 

I will use this as a study for an oil painting and I am already excited by the colour possibilities.



Harlie and Quinn 

It was with trepidation that I said ‘yes’ when asked to do a pet portrait early in the summer. Always up for a challenge I finished the painting this weekend and I admit that I enjoyed it! It is difficult to assess whether you have caught the character that the owner loves in their treasured pooch but she likes it and I am inspired to try more animals. There is a monkey park nearby and I may just take my sketchbook along! 


Marian is finally painted!

Its been a while since I posted having worked at the day job over the last few weeks. 

I changed my focus today, trying to mix up good quantities of sharp colour and move away from dark brown shadow colour. 

This is a brighter sketch of Marian completed using yellow ochre, permanent rose and cobalt blue mainly, with my usual Naples yellow and late touches of white. It has some qualities of the painterly approach I am trying to achieve.

Mixing all my tones before I started and foregoing the opening charcoal sketch, I jumped straight in with the brush and tried to observe shape, colour and tone. 

I like this approach and although I can see the areas for improvement it looks fresh. Enjoyable after a disaster painting day yesterday! Finishing on a positive piece before the day job starts tomorrow is always good.