Wednesday 30 November 2011

F-Block Portrait - TICK!

Regular readers will know this piece has been on the back-burner for much too long. Thankfully the gentleman who commissioned it has bags of patience which can be very rare these days. I eventually completed his son's portrait yesterday with my increasingly invaluable 'Dr P.H Martin Radiant Concentrated Watercolour Inks'. 

Before you ask, no I haven't signed a sponsorship deal with the manufacturers, however they are incredible. If you like strong watercolours buy some now. I glazed the blue shirt in one application and even then it was heavily diluted. The same goes for the mixing desk (bottom right). There is so much potential for wet in wet techniques I'm uncontrollably itching to experiment.

Another revelation yesterday was white graphite paper. I picked up a sheet from work (I moonlight in an art shop but it's only open during the day so I suppose I'm daylighting?) to see if I could transfer white text onto the finished blue shirt. See below for the results.

The transfer was quite strong so I putty rubbered (erased) the text ever so slightly so they blended in better with the lighting and folds of cloth. Another hurdle overcome, the next time I require reams of text on a dark surface I know just the trick.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Preliminary Sketches For Swindon Montage

Just in case you'd like to see them...

A good insurance policy is to annotate rough sketches especially if, like me,  you suffer from a scatterbrain. They could be notes on colour or style but in this case I wanted to make sure I adjusted the composition before I commenced with the final piece.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Swindon Montage

Many moons ago I studied in Swindon and up until a year ago I was still living there. I can't say the town itself ever particularly inspired me to paint but it does have some interesting features.

For example Swindon's heritage is based on the railways built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (only he could get away with that name) so not surprisingly there is a large statue of the man in the town centre. The old Town Hall is a gorgeous redbrick Victorian beast and one of a few such buildings surviving in the town. Then there are the more modern constructions such as Swindon's solitary skyscraper the David Murray John Tower and futuristic leisure centre dome called The Oasis. Also another statue is the Blondini acrobats, I'm at a loss as to why it was made but it's certainly eye catching. Finally in this long list there is arguably Swindon's most famous landmark and something which 'drives' the fear of God into the petrified hearts of all learner drivers - THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT. Imagine a massive roundabout that feeds 5 busy exits, none of which are governed by traffic lights. Then imagine this monster is actually made up of 5 interlocking mini roundabouts which often have two lanes encircling them. It's ordered chaos and yet I have never seen an accident on it.

Anyway why am I babbling on about Swindon? It's not a habit of mine but I thought you might need some background knowledge before you saw my latest private commission below.

Swindon Montage 30 x 42cm

I was asked to keep this painting simple. Really it is more of a pencil line drawing with a light wash of watercolour at the end. Thankfully the end result ticked all the criteria and I had a happy customer!

Monday 14 November 2011

Advertising Fun!

Here we have a couple of illustrations I completed for Admap Magazine. I've never worked for the magazine before but they now use an Art Director I know so I was in reasonably familiar territory.

The concept was simple but effective. Advertising agencies are increasingly using games and fun activities to promote their products, this seems to have really taken of online in the last few years. The main illustration was to suggest this by showing a bright and colourful funfair scene growing out of a man's head. The head had to be suitably pensive and grey to emphasize the punchy funfair on top.

Below you can see the main feature, a detail and a spot illustration.

As you can see the style is very different to what I normally produce but it often pays to expand your skills in any walk of life. I'm sure a few years ago I would have struggled to mix pencil, Illustrator and Photoshop and still achieve the same standard.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

F-Block Portrait Progress

Oh! Well done you survived last night. It's good to see you. Oh no is that a claw scratch? Perhaps you should be careful next full moon... you know... just in case.

I've been having a lovely time today, there's nothing better than painting away with the radio on and few distractions. But first let me take you back in time a couple of days to the final pencil and under-painting stage.

Above is the final pencil work on stretched Arches Satin Smooth Watercolour paper.

I decided to try a Paynes Grey Watercolour under-painting. Normally I would got with Burnt Sienna or Ultramarine and always in acrylic, however I wanted to keep the skin tones and background very neutral and also have the option of lifting them out if the Grey was too overpowering.

So finally here is where the painting is at right now. I've very nearly finished the background and 'fleshy bits' really just using four colours (Paynes Grey, Rose Dore, Sepia, Yellow Ochre). With the shirt I've blocked in where the main shadows are going to be. I'll let that dry then glaze over that with Paynes Grey which will hopefully make the fabric soften and appear blue in a restricted palette sort of way.

Slight problem, but a good one to have... I have to start a large editorial commission tomorrow so this portrait is going straight to the back burner along with everything else until mid November.