Tag Archives: Christmas Exhibition

Angel of the North

Angel of the North

The Week the Angel Went Up

Most folk have strong opinions about the Angel of the North, they either love it or hate it. Personally, I like it, as it’s always a reminder that I’m not too far from home if I’ve been travelling from the South.

One of my favourite paintings of the Angel is based on studies I made during the week the angel was erected. There had been heavy rain, the skies were overcast and the whole area was like a scene from World War 1 with the mud, the foreground pond and broken palettes  lying about.

The view I’ve taken places a stronger emphasis on the more attractive lines of the body than the rather slab sided wings and the figure standing at its feet provides a sense of scale and drama. The overall mood is heightened by the dark, threatening sky.

I’ve also painted a similar version which is available as a limited edition print.

This painting forms part of my Christmas Exhibition at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland which continues until the 24th December, open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30-5pm.

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John Singer Sargent

Head of a Capri Girl

Head of a Capri Girl

One of my favourite artists of all time is the American John Singer Sargent. He’s one of the finest portrait painters of all time who trained under Carolus-Duran in Paris. One of the disciplines that Sargent practised to develop his craft was to make careful studies of the old masters whom he admired, including Velazquez and Frans Hals.

As I’ve been working on a number of portrait commissions recently, I have found it helpful to adopt the same discipline, copying several of John Singer Sargent’s oil paintings, which I have found to be a great joy and delight. Studying Sargent’s paintings in this manner has given me a deeper appreciation of his undoubted skills in handling oil paint and his confident draughtsmanship.

My oil painting copy of Sargent’s “Head of a Capri Girl” can be seen at my Studio & Gallery Christmas Exhibition Preview this weekend in Ponteland. It has been painted from observation, directly onto a tinted board with the limited palette which Sargent would have used.

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North Shields, Fishing

North Shields, Fishing

North Shields, Fishing

A few weeks ago I was doing a watercolour demonstration for a class in Rothbury. As part of the lesson, I was showing the students how to begin a painting, in particular the sky. This is often the most difficult part of painting a landscape or seascape and can be quite daunting for the inexperienced. I was working on several paintings that day, one of which was this 12″ x 9″ watercolour of some lads fishing off the Fish Quay at North Shields.

I was working off two photographs, one for the sky, the other for the figures and River Tyne reference. It was a scene I had painted on location about 10 years ago, so I was well familiar with the view. I began by laying a very pale yellow wash over the whole paper which I intensified at the point of the horizon. When that dried, I went over parts of the wash with some Rose Madder which you can see, particularly in the water. Once dry, I began to pick out some of the blue in the sky with some touches of Manganese Blue. Finally, after mixing the colour for the darker clouds with Rose Madder, Manganese Blue and Paynes Grey, I painted in the dramatic, carefully positioned clouds to bring a strong sense of mood and atmosphere to the composition.

I completed the painting in my studio in Ponteland which will form part of my Christmas Exhibition starting in November which will include other paintings of the North East, Italy and the Middle East too.

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