Winter 2011/12 Newsletter
TRADE SECRETS: What lies beneath?
What lies beneath the making of my first commissioned group portrait?
This is the finished painting. What you’ll see as you continue to look through the newsletter is how this stage was reached.
Working on this has helped me understand the problems inherent in painting a group of individuals and giving each of them equal status without lining them up in a row.
The group needed to be animated; to have a feeling of life and movement. Fortunately the youngsters were all serious musicians so the obvious solution was to have them playing their instruments as a trio.
I also wanted to include something of their heritage. One parent is from Australia and the other from the United States. So Australian Aboriginal art is hidden in the shadow of the piano lid and clearly in the upper right hand corner of the painting. Also, buried in the shadow of the piano lid are versions of New York Abstract Expressionist paintings.
This is the charcoal drawing on the canvas. It follows a number of failed attempts on paper to get the composition right before committing to canvas. This one I think I got right.
The charcoal has been removed leaving a faint outline and then drawn over using a small brush with thin oil paint. The next stage is to establish the tones. I keep the olive-brown under painting (the ground) as a middle tone and begin to work on lighter and darker tones, all in monochrome.
Here is where I begin adding more colour and working out the little cubist game I wanted to play in the lower foreground. It had to be kept simple or the potentially confusing shapes and colours would fix the eye in one place.
At the same time I needed to alter the background tones and the foreground colours to discover what would work best.
I can never predict the results; I have to try things first and then decide if they work.
Dates for your Diary
To all those who came to my open studio, thank you; it was a pleasure talking to you and sharing ideas and a pleasure showing you what I was working on.
FORTHCOMING EXHIBITION54 The Gallery, Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London W1J 7QX
Opens Tuesday 17th April and closes Saturday 28th April. Open from 12 noon to 6pm every day.
The private view will be on Wednesday 18th April from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. I will send you an email invitation around the middle of March.
PLEASE NOTE: If you would like to receive a hard copy invitation to the private view via old-fashioned snail mail please email your postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org