Posts filed under 'New Work'

Tsukiji Fish Market Drawing – (charcoal, graphite,carbon,ink on paper)


Here is a new picture of a trader that I met a Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, one of my favourite places ever. It’s got the sketcy background which I find incredibly liberating to do set against the photorealistic portrait. I particularly liked his beard and of course his bandana, any kind of head adornment in a portrait and I’m there. I think this was around 28″ long.

(click on the image for a bigger picture)

August 6th, 2009

New Portrait


Here is a very recent portrait commission of a lovely lady from my home town, Walsall.  It is acrylic on canvas and is aproximately 36″ x 32″.

We took a huge number of photographs looking at about 23 different compositional possibilities and for quite some time they didn’t seem to be working just how I had intended. Then the final series of shots that I took just seemed to work perfectly, the pose was just right, expression, mood all came together. I’m so glad that I pushed it right to the end in the photography stage because we could easily have gone for something that didn’t quite work.  I like to use space in my portraits because there is often so much detail in the portrait that it needs the space to resonate against and rest and it focuses the attention more on the figure with no distractions. It’s nice to be working in colour again too because I’ve done a lot of B/W paintings and drawings lately. This is the first of a pair of portraits. I will also be painting Christine’s husband who is a Reverend in his church with all the decorative and ornate possibilities of the space.

(click on the image to enlarge)

August 6th, 2009

“UENO” – 150cm x 40cm – (charcoal, graphite, carbon, ink)


This is my new drawing called “Ueno”. Ueno is one of the districts of Tokyo and this particular scene is set in Ueno park which is a beautiful park full of shrines and temples and a magnificent zoo which Anne and myself walked around.

I wanted to get a flavour for the place so I depicted the  main ancient temples Benten-Do temple which is dedicated to Benzaiten, the Buddhist goddess of the arts, wisdom, the sea and protector of children, ( so she covers a lot of ground). The temple is perched on a wonderful man made island ad surrounded by a lake full of huge water lilly pads with lots of beautiful dragon flies darting around.  The Kiyomizu-Do temple in the picture is where women wishing to conceive a child leave a doll for Senju Kannon, the goddes of mercy, and the accumulated dolls are ceremonially burnt each 25 September.

There are a lot of homeless people living rough in Ueno park in perfectly ordered cardboard box constructions and blue sheeting. They even brush dust away from their shanty towns with little brushes and pans. The homeles population  are notorious for looking after the hundreds of cats that live alongside them in the park. So, the guy at the front of the drawing was a homelss guy that I met and there are others dotted around in the composition together with fashionable Japanese youngsters who were also in the park walking around or making calls on their cell phones. There were also quite a lot of Buddhist monks standing around holding rice bowls and chanting waitng for donations to wrattle in thei rice bowls.

I have always loved the extended landscape compositions of the ancient Japanese paper scrolls which sometimes stretch out for 20 feet. I wanted to get something of the quality of line which is found in Japanes art from these ancient illustrated ink scrolls to contemporary Manga coupled with my usual realist style. I was trying to isolate sections of the picture juxtaposed to white space and line which seems to push out the figures against the background whilst giving them a context.

If you click on the image, I have loaded up a large version of the drawing so you may haveto wait a minute for it to load but you can have a good scroll arouund the drawing.

June 20th, 2009

“UENO” – sequence


Click on the images to enlare a little

June 20th, 2009

Roughs for new drawing – “UENO”


Here are the roughs for my latest drawing from the “Tokyo Portraits” series. I’ll explain more about the image in the following posts. As usual, my design process starts with walks and thoughts recorded onto a dictaphone as I walk our dog Max. Walking is really furtile territory for me and as usual ideas come whilst strolling along and rarely ever in the studio which is why I always carry a camera and dictaphone because I’ve normally forgotten ideas by the time I get back.

I then start writing down words and justifying everything over a period of weeks and months whilst I am working on other paintings and drawings, just thinking about it really – what is the picture actually about? I see this as the fermentation or gestation period and if an idea still seems good a few months later then I’ll go for it.

Previously I’ve done roughs in the traditional way with pencil and paper and then squared them up which also works perfectly well ( see my website for examples). More recently I’ve been using a simple photoshop programme which is fantastic for juxtaposition and working out scale and spacial areas before I go head first int the image. It can be quite time consuming for me  because I’m a bit slow on the uptake with computers and the procedure is very repetitive but it’s worth while , though I’m sure others would say it saps the spontenaety out of a painting.

Here are a few examples , just click on them to enlarge.

June 20th, 2009

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