Monday, 26 December 2011

Penguin Walk, Edinburgh Zoo

It is Boxing Day, so I'm posting a couple of my favourite drawings - this year had been the first year (Thanks to Victoria Evans's 28 Drawings Later project) that I have got really into using a sketchbook, drawing in ink and using watercolours, especially outside of the life class.

The penguins are from a day in the zoo (can't remember ever being to a zoo before. It is quite a depressing place - and sells a awful amount of alcohol in the cafe) Drawing animals is a nice change for me, so expect more penguins/flamingos/tigers etc to appear over the next few months at the Etsy shop.

Bones are also very satisfying to draw - especially when spot lit as they tend to be in museums these days. So much room for exaggerating claws and teeth! This ceratosaur drawing has been given to my nephew - all kids go through a dinosaur phase, don't they? - and has been a favourite, I'm sure, of generations of Glasgow kids.

After all, drawing should be fun at least some of the time, shouldn't it?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Smile

Two openings tonight - the first at Art Exposure, where this painting will be on show, along with 4 little 10x10cm paintings - I had taken them down to the gallery as possibles for the next show, but she liked them so much she decided to show them as they are - sans frames!

Over at Virginia Galleries is the opening for their #Man exhibition - I have a little life drawing and an urban landscape in the show - and I was the only one who did put in a cityscape! A few of my life drawings are upstairs in Luke and Jacks, which is "For Love, Life, Sex, Romance & Celebration". So don't go to either the shop or the gallery if you are easily offended.

So tonight is going to be a long, talky night, to which you are all welcome to come along - I'll be at Art exposure first, sometime after 6, then probably on up to Virginia Street. Then home for a rest, before starting a few new paintings tomorrow!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Vytlacil Residency, 2012

They accepted me, and I am going in May! How brilliant is that?

For those that don't know, this is an artists residency run by the Art Student's League on a campus about 40 minutes north of New York. Yup, that's right, in the U.S.A. And yup, I ain't never been out of Europe before and can count the number of countries I've visited on one hand. So, a very big adventure . . . .

Here is a little youtube video of the place -doesn't it look sweet?

I'm looking for advice about where to go, what to see when I'm there - go on, tell your tales, share the gossip and recommend the best places to eat/see art/people to talk to/blogs to read . . . oh, and to prepare me, any films/books recommended?

Maybe a little later I'll talk about what I expect - should be interesting reading after I have been!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Actress

This Friday I'll have another 4 paintings on show at Art Exposure Gallery, including this one. It is one of the paintings that I changed after I got back from Amsterdam and although I liked it before, I like it even better now.

What else is happening? My painting at the RGI sold, there are a couple of paintings and life drawings on show at The Virginia Galleries, and a drawing of this lady at The Scottish Drawing Competition in Paisley - which I haven't been able to go and see yet, unfortunately, but should make it in the next week. Knowing a few people who've put work in, I'm quite excited to see what they've entered.

Oh, and I've been busy painting. Which reminds me that I'll need to find the time to go and buy some more brushes!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Amsterdam Trip

Lots of you will know that I recently went to Amsterdam for a few days - the first time I had been abroad in ages. We did lots of wandering about and I visited the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, both amazing places, despite the Rijksmuseum being mainly closed. Although there were only about 5 rooms open, I still managed to spend at least 3 hours in the place - a large part of this sitting looking at Rembrandt's The Jewish Bride.

There was a portrait of Rembrandt by his pal Jan Lievens linked here which makes him handsomer and squarer jawed than he tends to make himself - although he is a little pop eyed, and does still have the silly hair. Mind you, I have silly hair myself, so I know how hard it can be to control . . .

Also, there was a special exhibition comparing early Degas self portraits with early Rembrandt's. This was truly fascinating - both the paintings and the etchings. Sitting there looking at them I feel I learnt more than I could have from several hours of lectures or teaching. Not least that size is a very important consideration. But most of all it was the treatment of the light and background space. The little painting called Small Beauty, which I entered into the RGI, was painted the weekend I got back!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

RGI 2011

It's that time of year again - the annual RGI (Royal Glasgow Institute) show - this one is the 150th. This little picture (its only 10cm square) has been selected and I am proud as punch. The opening is a week today, when I'll get to see it in situ and get a good gander at everyone else's work - this one is particularly brilliant.

My painting was painted a few weeks ago, after visiting the rijksmuseum for the first time in over 20 years - they had this special exhibition on, comparing Degas's early self portraits with Rembrandt's work. It was a fascinating show and I must have spent at least an hour just sitting staring. There is something incomparable about seeing oil paintings in real life, and the Degas paintings I hadn't seen even in reproduction before. But what mainly fascinated me was how small they were, but how magnetic, and when I got home I really wanted to try and reproduce the effect.

There is something about small that enraptures me and I will be painting at least a few more of these little works. There are few painters in Glasgow that seem to work small which I think is a shame - there does seem to be a real pressure to work big and although that has its own attractions for me I don't think it is the only way to paint and it is not the only way to make a painting worthwhile.

(will now go and get off my soapbox)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

What is a Drawing?

Have entered The Scottish Drawing competition, but am struggling with their definition (gad I hate art speak!) - "Mark making with intent" For the purpose of the competition, a drawing is defined as a representation by means of lines and the arrangement of these lines which determine a particular form. Form being the arrangement of individual shapes and volumes and their relationship depicted in a work of art, whether figurative or abstract as distinct from its subject matter or content. Drawing in any medium is acceptable. (phew!)

The above drawing I decided not to enter, as I felt it was too close to painting, whereas I am entering the drawing from Previous post as well as a more straight forward landscape drawing. Did I make the right decision? I have no idea . . . and will wait and see if I am accepted.

Personally I feel that any work which uses the support as a major element and mainly consists of marks laid down in one layer is a drawing - so I would include the above, and most of my watercolours. They are made with a brush making one mark as I go - so the mark varies in width, but to me it is still a line. Am i nuts? All comments welcome . . .

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wasps Open Weekend

Date: Saturday 1st October - Sunday 2nd October
Venue: W.A.S.P.S Factory, 77 Hanson Street, Glasgow, G31 2HF

As many of you will know, I have been attending life drawing at Wasps Hanson Street studios now for at least five years.

This year the friday group are putting on quite a show, with most of us exhibiting at least two works. There promises to be a some studio-based works and paintings, as well as life drawings - which should ensure a wide range of styles and subject matter!

We will have a clothed model in the room for most of the day, so everyone can have a go. Work will be also be available to purchase.

Opening hours - 11am - 5pm, Saturday 1st October
12 noon - 5pm, Sunday 2nd October

Further information is available on the WASPS website.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tease Exhibition at Virginia Gallery

New exhibiton opening today at Virginia Gallery" - a new venue for me. Fiona Wilson asked me to put a few small things in, as there are 4 big walls to fill. I am actually quite excited about seeing five of my works up together - especially as it will be the first time I've displayed my little ink and watercolour life drawings in public. And, of course, seeing Fiona's work is always a pleasure.

The first image is also the first that I did at All The Young Nudes, way back in February - it has become quite a favourite on Flickr, so it will be interesting to see the response to the real thing.
The opening party will be on the 23rd, so anyone in Glasgow quite welcome to come along - the gallery is below Luke and Jack's, which sells fancy condoms and such like, so be warned. The two chaps who run both the shop and gallery are absolutely lovely though, and quite welcoming - this may well be that the start of a long and hopefully fruitful collaboration!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Koi fish painting

OK, been playing around over the last wee bitty with watercolours (have you noticed that? guess its pretty obvious . . . ) and the most recent play has been with chinese brush and ink - this particular painting is the blue, which is an absolutely lovely, ethereal purpley-blue.

Also obsessed with movement at the moment (no idea why - sometimes I think you should just roll with obsessions, especially in making pictures - since where you start and where you end are so completely different places. How to portray movement is, of course, one of the big questions that all artists solve in their own way - or decide to completely ignore!).

How beneficial experimentation can be is something I have been talking to other artists about quite a bit recently, and I am thinking of putting in my diary specific "experimentation" time. So, what do you guys think? Keep experimenting? Keep working on the movement?

Oh, and I have three paintings going on show at Art Exposure on Friday - the show will be on for about a month, if you can't make it down to the opening.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

George Square

Last weekend I went to the Glasgow Merchant City Festival - which was a bit of a first for me, as I have always previously avoided such things, being pretty deaf.
However, recent emails between myself and the lovely Nigel Cox has encouraged me to use photographs of strangers. In particular, I want to explore movement more by using reference material of dancers/trapeze artists/acrobats etc. It seems to me that line and wash is a perfect match for such subjects - and hopefully I will be posting proof of this sometime soon.
The whole thing was much more enjoyable than I expected - especially the dance - not sure why it had never occurred to me that dance does not really need the music to be enjoyed.
Anyway, before all the dancing started, I managed a couple of urban sketches, one of the George Square Lions and the other of the back end of the City Chambers.

To end the day, I went and saw Grim(m) Tales at the suggestion of Moira Buchanan and was suprised to see Anna, one of my models! (The show is brilliant and they are on during the Edinburgh Festival - I strongly recommend going and seeing them!)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Cattitude and Life Drawing

Recently I met a cat sitting amongst rose bushes outside Glasgow University Library. As I had partially gone there to paint and having all my stuff with me, I took the opportunity to quickly draw her - and I am so glad I did, as not only did I make a new friend (although she wasn't quite friendly enough to come out from the roses) but I discovered that doing three minute sketches at atyn had prepared me for animal painting - not only in the speed used, but also in the skill of capturing the essentials of a pose.

I feel this is even more important with animals (especially cats!) than with humans, as they are often more expressive through their posture than we are - Another cat-friend of mine (in the loosest sense - he is my neighbour's cat, and has taken daily delight in hissing at me on the stairwell) is never less than composed and commanding - even when watching the other neighbours dog, as can be seen in the second painting.

Whereas the third painting shows my childhood pet (who lived for 24 years!), who was almost a disgrace to catdom in having virtually no dignity and unlimited curiosity about everything and everyone. When we were moving, and showing people round the house, she had to be put in her basket and taken to a friends - otherwise she would follow people around and talk to them. She even joined in on conversations on the phone . . .

Anyway, my point really is that life drawing really does prepare you for everything - and helps you decide where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Expect much more animals in future . . . .

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Neocolor 2

This is my first trial of a neocolor crayon that I picked up when in the art store the other day . . . Recently I have been thinking a lot about drawing and process - partly as it seems to me to be the next thing to learn and partly because it is frustrating to spend hours in the life class and have little to show for it.
So, I am thinking that either I need to start selling my drawings (Etsy) or be able to use them to make paintings.
The average class has a variety of timed poses - the quick ones seem to lend themselves to outline drawing, with maybe a colour addition for tone. Longer can be used for oil sketching (but need at least 30minutes!).
So, that's sorted. But what do I do with them next? put them in a pile? re-interpret them in different colours/medium etcetera? use them as a basis for a painting?
Presently do all three - this particular drawing is based on both a drawing and a photo I did when the lovely Anna was modelling for me recently. I painted her when she was here as well, and in due course there should be oil paintings appearing, quite possibly with one using the same pose.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Etsy Watercolours

Just opened an Etsy shop - as I seem to be having so much fun with watercolours! I have been thinking about how to experiment/work further on my drawings, using different colours/materials/papers/sizes and so on and hopefully Etsy will provide a way for me to get feedback and sell on these work. This is one of the first works to go on sale, a mirror image of the original image, with the natural differences working in watercolour provides . . .

Friday, 10 June 2011

Art Fusion at Gibson Street Gala

Showing some work on sunday at Gibson Street Gala as part of ATYN - The very first time I have ever shown any of my life drawing watercolours in public!
Hopefully it will be a nice sunny day so I (and everyone else,of course) can browse all the stalls in comfort - last year there was an interesting selection, and I wish I had had more time to talk to folks.
Recently I have been thinking of where to show my life drawings, and am presently thinking of Etsy. My main gallery says that life drawings don't ever sell . . . anyone any advice out there?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Post-op, Gartnavel

Shoulder surgery all done, and the range of movement much better - I'll be able to draw and paint big again!
Waking up afterwards was weird, as couldn't move or feel my arm at all, but by night time could draw (a bit) and the next morning I was busy painting the view from my bed, while waiting for permission to go home - but about all I could see was a tiny strip of green. Oh well.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Artworks Scotland

This tuesday, Artworks Scotland were filming at All the Young Nudes, so we were there from 5:30pm onwards - pretty knackering. Unfortunately I found out the bad way that the banister I was leaning my board against was just too high for my shoulder (as in, cramp, pain, hand going numb . . . ). Bah. Oh, and I managed to set fire to my hair . . .
Still, I met the lovely Anna Lehr, who was modeling. Hopefully at some point I will be able to do an oil of her - such a great face, as well as great posture.
The shoulder problems are what has lead me to watercolour and ink - they are small, and portable - no big sweeping arm movements for me presently - so it's not been all bad. The surgery is planned for next week, so wish me luck (and don't expect any posts/flickr updates for a bit!)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

All the Young Nudes

This is from my third visit to All the Young Nudes, which runs at the Flying Duck every tuesday night - you can stand up on a sort of balcony thingy looking down at the models, which gives a quite different viewpoint for me - being short, and often sitting, I'm generally looking up! Also, there is a mirror, and a big comfy chair, and ikea flexible lights, which give very intense spotlights. So, all in all, new challenges for me, which appears to be proving productive.

This one is for Daniel, who implied I didn't like purple.

Monday, 2 May 2011

28 drawings later . . .

In February, I took part in an online exhibition hosted by Victoria Evans, called 28 drawings later - and she has made a book! So fab seeing everyones work in print - including four of mine. At (big) and (small).

This is my first landscape for years, maybe even decades - I rejoined the University of Glasgow library in January and this is one of the views from level 11, where there are lots of great big art books. There are also lots of students presently, but after exam time I plan on going back with my pen and watercolours to do a few more.

If not for the challenge, this drawing would not exist, and I would not be out sketching in all this lovely weather . . . and would not have met some pretty interesting peoples.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Pigtails at the Paisley Art Institute

Learnt today that this painting has definately been accepted for the Paisley Art Institute Annual Exhibition, which is very good news as the competition appears to have been particularly stiff this year. Opens in a fortnight, which seems an awfully long time to wait to see it again - seeing my work hung with others always gives me a bit of kick up the backside to improve . . . .

Thursday, 31 March 2011

First Landscape

My first ever landscape oil painting - hopefully, will be able to get out and about more this summer, and get a few more done - such a nice rest from the intricacies of faces (and don't have to worry about folks feelings!)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

This month I am taking part in the "28 days challenge" that Victoria Evans is running on facebook (brave woman!). Although I have been cheating rather by including life drawings and drawings in paint that I would have done anyway, it has been good for me to think more about drawing, and to try and come up with ideas - normally I just go with what's in front me, so spending some time thinking is a new experience!
Also, Over the last few months I have been thinking more about how to use my time effectively in the life class, which is leading me towards watercolour/ink for the short poses and oils for longer - although I love to look at other folks pastel/charcoal/pencil work, I have never really been happy that what I produce in these media reflects my viewpoint. Umm. More thinking to be done, I think, to try and express what I mean - oops.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


This is the other painting on display at Mansfield Park Gallery, where she is hung above one of Fiona Wilson's lovely paintings.
The opening went well, despite rubbish weather, and there are mutterings about having an annual dinner . . .

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Friday Life Drawing

Most fridays I go and draw naked people with a bunch of other strange clothed folks -and this exhibition is the result!
There is a big range of reasons for people attending and everyone is at a different stage of progress. Without the group being welcoming, I doubt very much that I would have got together the courage to progress as much as I have, to the stage of being a professional artist (boy, does that sound wierd).
One of the oddest thing about it is that I can spend three hours of frustration, producing nonsense that goes straight in the bin, but the next day manage to really move on in a painting that I thought was stalled.
So, life drawing is much recommended, and if you happen to be in Glasgow, please come along.
(We don't know exactly what is going to be hung until the day, so it's all very exciting)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


Revamped my webpage over the last days, lots of fiddly work while the skies are dark - if you note any errors, please contact me, and I'll remedy 'em - keeping that kind of concentration going I find really hard. Anway, this is my first (almost) completed painting of Clare - the first model i hired on my own. There are a couple of things needing corrected that I've only noticed since looking at the photograph of the painting, that hopefully I'll have time to correct before she goes off to the framers on friday.