Friday, 27 January 2017

I am innocent. Honest.

A dear little poodle to end another week. Painted in Transparent Oxide Brown and Transparent Oxide Red with white. And a touch of black for his nose.
Have a lovely weekend and thank you for looking at my paintings.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Cat on the Mat

oil painting of a black and white cat

A black and white cat with beautiful yellow eyes, painted on linen. This is the fourth cat painting I have produced since last week but the first that hasn't ended up in the bin. I don't know what it is about cats, but I have found that with almost any other subject, if it is a struggle at first, it will come right if I persevere. With cats, it is either right from the get-go and they paint themselves, or it is a great, big, mucky, muddy mess.
This one painted itself.
The process: I put in the background first, although once the whole thing was complete and dry I glazed some of it with Raw Sienna to warm it up a bit.
The cat was painted in two hours flat, finishing-as-you-go, beginning with the eyes.
If you take into account the wipers and 'binners', this cat took about a week and a half, 4 palette loads of paint, four lots of brush wiping sessions, 3 lots of tissues (for mopping up the tears) and I don't know how many hours of time.
Under the circs., I do hope you like it 🤣

Friday, 13 January 2017

No dogs On This Sofa

oil painting of a chocolate labrador, on a sofa, with a cushion

An orange-brown and a warm (cobalt) blue, plus black and white, made all the colours in this painting. It was a bit tricky, I cannot deny. 
Have a lovely weekend everyone and like this gorgeous boy - chill out. Not all rules are worth worrying about.

Thursday, 12 January 2017


Head Study of a Pointer, an oil painting

A simple head study for today. This lovely dog painted himself and so quickly I didn't have a chance to take any photos. I used a very simple palette of Transparent Oxide Red and Ultramarine Blue, together with black and white.

With animals that have spots or blotches, it is always a dilemma where to start: paint the white fur and add the spots afterwards or paint the spots and add the white fur round them?
Both approaches work. Both approaches can also fail. The key thing is to work with the spots using a very gentle touch on the brush so that the edges merge seamlessly into the main fur colour without getting mucky.  
Whether this works or whether it results in a "wiper" seems to me to be in the lap of the gods. Today it worked.

Friday, 6 January 2017

A Woolly One

a woolly one - an oil painting of a black, standard poodle
Having decided in late 2012 that I wanted to learn how to paint in oils, and picking up a tube of oil paint for the first time - and looking at it suspiciously - the first subject I attempted to paint (after the usual apple and banana) was a lovely, woolly poodle.
What a disaster that was. 
Very nearly put me off oils for life. Even now, 965 oil paintings later, not counting a roughly equal number that have been put on the fire, I took the precaution of painting this lovely doggy before my annual "burning of the failures". 
The bonfire idea of getting rid of hopeless duds belongs to James Gurney. He calls it the Gallery Flambeau. I call mine the same.
I held the Grand Opening of my Gallery Flambeau up the garden the other day. My little dog - a black poodle mix, incidentally - was Head Steward and Guide. He rushed around woofing whilst 47 duds burnt.
This wasn't one of them. I like him.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Hot Lab

black labrador on an orange background
A nice chilled-out painting to ease into the first full working week of 2017. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year and thank you to those of you who worked over this period and didn't have a holiday at all.

This thank you was prompted by the kind staff of the out-of-hours emergency dental clinic who had to attempt to rescue me on New Year's Eve from toothy anguish.

The year can only get better after a start like that.

Here is the start to the painting. Gessoed MDF board, painted over with orange and allowed to dry:
work-in-progress photo of labrador oil painting
I wanted the orange to show through. The objective was that the painting would "look like" a labrador when viewed from a reasonable distance, but would appear to be growing organically out of the board from close-up
work-in-progress photo of labrador oil painting
The surface marks you can see on these two close-ups are the brush marks from the gesso underneath the orange paint. Sometimes I smooth the gesso out, or even sand it when dry, sometimes not. Last work-in-progress:  
work-in-progress photo of labrador oil painting
Once the dog was complete and dry, I went over the top half of the painting (including the dog's back) with Transparent Oxide Orange and a lot of liquin to deepen the orange at the back (top) of the painting and to integrate the dog better.