Work in progress (detail) - Hanna, La Powisienne (after Renoir)

January 20th, 2016

This is a detail of a full-length portrait which has been ongoing since May 2015. At 1.7m high, it’s the largest picture I’ve ever attempted, and also the first painting I’ve made with reference only to looped video, rather than life. We knew the pose would be tricky to hold for long periods, so this has been an experiment exploring an alternative to my usual approach to portraiture.

The picture is a response to Renoir’s La Parisienne, which hangs in the National Museum of Wales. It’s modelled by a friend’s eight-year-old daughter, Hanna, who lives in Machynlleth, West Wales. Hanna did a brilliant job.

Having mistakenly thought the picture was finished in the autumn, I’m hopeful that it’s now close to completion.

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Preparing canvases

December 31st, 2015

I prepare canvases in the traditional way, stretching linen over mitred stretcher bars and sealing with warm rabbit skin size. The painting surface is finished with an oil primer and then tightened, if necessary, with wooden wedges tapped into the corners.

In the past my paintings on canvas have mostly been on white grounds, though I now plan to experiment with using different coloured primers – probably grey/greens and earth colours. These canvases will be used over the coming months, and will be primed with different tints, as required.

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Work in progress - portrait of Nigel Draper

November 22nd, 2015

This portrait began with discussions about possible poses, clothing and other practical questions which would inform how the finished portrait might look. We experimented with a few different ideas, and after Nigel sat for a small oil sketch we had a clearer idea about how to proceed on canvas – agreeing on a composition and deciding scale, and so on.

This photograph was taken at the end of Nigel’s second sitting. One or two more will be needed to complete the piece.

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Film props

November 22nd, 2015

These charcoal drawings – and a few more yet to me made – were commissioned by the producer of a short film. They’ll be used as props, representing sketches made by an artist in the story.

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