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.

Self portraits

Oil on canvas paper – 40 x 50cm

This is the second oil painting I’ve tried since I was at school. With the encouragement of Andy Pankhurst at the Royal Drawing School it was the obvious progression to learn how to paint. I’m learning much about the new media: better colour retention and the ability of the wet paint to be reworked.

Below is a sequence of other attempts at trying to capture myself. This is difficult and raises many questions. Do I wear my glasses to be able to see what I’m doing? Do I take them off so I can see my face and eyes properly? As I concentrate my eyes freeze staring at my own reflection – can I try to hold a smile?