A work in progress and an insight…

I am often asked about my environment, tools and techniques, so here’s a very brief insight without giving too much away, using a few images of my current project as I’m creating artwork for on an upcoming exhibition in my studio.

Knives:
I have lots of painting knives but the one in use here is my favourite and my 4th detailed painting knife. A Daler Rowney 2130. I wore the edges of two out such that they became too curved, and one wore so thin that it simple broke. I was gutted! Whenever I have to start with a new one I hate it! The thick harsh straight edges are horrible until the knife is broken in, which takes around 100 hours of painting!

Paint:
Most are Windsor & Newton Artists Oil Colours,. though I have a few Rowney Artists paints and a few Pebeo Artists paints in very specific colours that I’ve grown used to.

Canvas:
Most are Windsor & Newton Artists Quality, heavyweight, triple coated, medium grain, stretched cotton canvas. I love the texture…

Palettes:
I only use disposables…

Easels:
I have several easels and all are Daler Rowney. This one is my favourite wall mounted easel that I customised so that I can adjust the height from floor to ceiling level, as it necessary to keep the area I’m working on at standing eye level. I prefer to paint standing up as it’s easier to move around. I have a self customised edge of table mounted easel that also allows the painting’s height to be adjusted in a similar fashion. And I have a free standing easel. All are very sturdy as is necessary for large stretched canvas up to 122cm x 91cm…

Lighting:
I prefer to paint in natural subdued indirect daylight, but also paint at night and apart from the ceiling mounted fluorescents I have a series of 5 LED spotlights that I aim at the ceiling as I hate direct bright lighting… All electric lights are not natural and affect the appearance of colours in different ways, but this mix is OK for me at present.

Technique:
I am a tad secretive about this, as you would expect, but in general, for skin tones for example, I start with the deep shadows, then add mid tone coloured shadows, then mid tone light colours, then more final deep shadows, then certain deep shadow glazing, and finally the light glazing…. It’s slow and methodical. My engineering autistic trait….
I wasn’t taught to do it this way, it’s my own technique that works well for me.

Studio:
I prefer to work in a living space, with ‘white’ noise, usually the TV, around me for company that I can blank out. My cat Babushka usually sits by me when I am painting too…

 

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Starving Artist, burning the midnight oil and candle at both ends... The style of my artwork is modern, yet classical. Predominantly figurative, the tendency of my artwork is towards carefully composed anonymity, capturing the emotions and self belief of the subject, rather than characteristic individual representation. The creation of figurative artwork not only depicts the emotions of the artist, it transforms the artist's emotions. Art should be proudly displayed, carefully scrutinized, and in order to benefit to the fullest extent possible, it should be understood from the perspective of its creator - the artist. My figurative artwork is sensual and my ballerinas and dancers are passionate, moody and emotional. My preferred lighting, shading and contrast are dramatic. I simply adore light and am fascinated with its arguably undue influence on any subject. I delve extensively between the extremes of highlights and lowlights in my artwork in a chiaroscuro technique, occasionally minimalist, often leaving the viewer's mind to complete the picture and to add depth. I always strive to create an atmosphere in whatever I produce, at the highest possible quality and using either a knife or brush and a very limited colour palette of oil paint or pastels, usually alla prima, mixing and blending only on the canvas!

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