Man With the child in his eyes

Welcome to my Autumn blog, hope you've all enjoyed the Summer and are looking forward to the change of season. As the nights are drawing in I've already unpacked my winter wardrobe and have started to crave warming comfort food like homemade pumkin soup and apple crumble! To mark the new season I'm offering a Special deal to all my subscribers for October only, details of which are at the end of this newsletter.

I've been making the most of this quiet time before the run up to Christmas (sorry to mention the 'C ' word so early!) As well as redesigning my website, check it out at, I've been planning projects for the New Year. I will be running new short courses and workshops in all aspects of Portraiture aswell as some more weekend Life Drawing sessions. More details to follow in the next few weeks.

My personal project that I've been working on for the last few months is still in progess- portraits of local personalities and aquaintences that I have met over the years, many of them talented musians who play at my local pub The Good Intent. I have about 5 of these portraits on the go at present but none of them completed yet. Here is a preview of Josh (below) which is almost finished- a talented guitarist who plays in my band among several others.

I love his dress style and he has real presence in a room, he's a chirpy guy who doesn't take life too seriously. When he came for a sitting for this pastel painting I sensed a vulnerability and sadness in his eyes which I thought perhaps revealed another aspect of him that I hadn't seen before. I wanted to keep the style of these portraits very loose to give more of a sense of expression and emotion. I thought a hot, red/orange background suited the mood and contrasted with his cool flesh tones.

This is a still-in-progress portrait of 'Choppy' (below). He's a lovely man with an imposing frame that belies his gentle nature, I like his strong features and stylish haircut.

The plan is to get about 15 portraits completed so I can exhibit them in the New Year. Below is another portrait in progress of my son in the same sketchy style. I liked the way his face was glowed up against the night time back drop.

Below is commission I finished a few weeks ago of 2 siblings. It was taken from a photograph of an old photo- the original was framed and too precious to send in the post. So the quality of the photo reference was very grainy and I couldnt make out much detail so it was quite a challenge. These cute kids are both in their teens now :) ​

Because the photograph was out of focus it gave the painting a looseness which I quite like.

I went to West Dean college at the beginning of the month to do a 5 day etching course. It was facinating learning about all the different techniques. I've always been a fan of the etchings of Rembrandt, Degas and Celia Paul which inspired me to go on the course. Here are some of my meagre efforts below

For the 'hard ground' etching I scratched out the image onto the copper plate

Then the plate is put in acid to eat away the image and the plate is inked and put through a print press.

Below is a 'soft ground' etching where the image is drawn onto the soft wax rather than scraped with a needle and then following the same process

Etching can be very hit and miss and you have to wait a long time to see the finished results which , being an impatient person I struggled with as it can't be rushed. But I eventually succumbed to the meditative and tactile process. It's an art that has endless possibilities and takes years of experience to hone but enjoyable none the less.

Below is a commission I did a few years back. The client had just lost his Father and had a small black & white photo of him taken when he was young looking very dashing. He wanted it reproduced in a 'Bollywood' style colour painting to go alongside a painting that he had commissioned of his late Mother some time ago. The Artist who painted it had since died so he asked if I could paint his father in a similar style. He sent me a photo of his Mothers painting so I could use the colours and style as a guide. It had been painted in a very illustrataive way. So I used quite small bruches to get the details and smoothness and used a stronger saturation of colour to give it a 'filmic' quality. I was pleased with end result and thought this handsome man had a touch of Omah Sherriff about him

After the client had the painting framed he kindly sent me a photo of the 2 portraits in situ

And finally, my Special Offer - For this month only 20% off all charcoal portraits (£320- a saving of £80 per portrait) Please get in touch for more details.

Next time, I'll have some more details of my new workshops for next year and some more previews of my exhibition portraits.

Bye for now

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