Life drawing update

Since last autumn I have been busy with increased working hours at NUA where I teach Architecture. The work and students are inspiring but have sucked away a lot of my creative energy from continuing to make art. However, I did attend another excellent course at the Royal Drawing School and found another evening life drawing class at Shine in Wood Green, London.

All life drawing classes have now closed. Teaching at NUA is now only online. It should mean there is more time to get back to making art, hence the post below on the postcards, which surprisingly have been keeping me occupied.

I will start to regularly post here. Please see our contribution to the neighbourly rainbows of South Tottenham, London!


Oil paint on canvas – 40 x 50cm

This isn’t quite finished.

I tried applying the white highlights to leafs and reflective glass but ended up with smudges as the paint below was still too wet after 24hrs of drying. A rookie mistake really. The whites became green and grey smudges and not the bright highlights intended.

However I’m learning some of the ways to structure these kinds of Still Lifes and paintings more generally. The lines that order and proportion the canvas, the location of the vanishing point and position of objects are critical considerations before commencing. I now realise they cannot be left to chance.

So in this painting the order comes from the grey square of the rear wall, the vanishing point of the table cloth below the lip of the vase, the water almost level with the eye, and the celery fitting within the remaining frame of canvas. These are simple satisfactions.

Bathroom bedroom

Oil on canvas – 61 x 76cm

Bits of this larger oil painting work and others don’t. I found myself endlessly trying to repaint the bedlinen, to get the light and shade of the folds correct but have stopped as I was getting nowhere. It was also a fiddle, having to lean into the middle of a wet canvas to describe this detail. If I was doing this again perhaps this is where I should have started.

The other difficulty is straight lines. I’m learning that a smudge to indicate a door’s panelling or the shape a book on a shelf perhaps can work. This kind of inaccuracy is difficult having spent years as an architect always drawing straight lines.

Some of the colour and tone is good along with the reflective light but I know I can do better. The next oil painting will be from a day of life drawing which I’m looking forward to.