I’m at the beginning of an idea for my next painting which was to be a very formal posed portrait of Tintin the Explorer, returned from his travels. I thought I’d start with an action sketch of our hero in a snow storm, then bring him back home to the studio seated before a dramatic backdrop. But then this frame caught my eye from Tintin in Tibet, so I roughed it up to see if I might be able to make it into a painting….
Hmm.. something like this might work if I can get the right photographic reference material. I think Snowy might need stay at home though.
THE STORY SO FAR….
I took the early bird train from Ashford to Brussels this morning and made my way to Rue de Sables and the Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Arts to dig into the Tintin archives to see if I could find out a little more about the image I have chosen to base my painting upon. I could scarcely believe my luck when I came across this photograph of the Tintin himself, in an almost identical situation. These stills hardly ever surface and I’m guessing this is the snap that Hergé used as reference for his beautiful drawing. The guys at the museum very kindly lent me the original, it will be an invaluable resource for my painting….
And my painting is almost complete. Just some snagging to do and then to get a great frame made …..
Lucy has arrived. What a woman. This is of course a partner painting to Blockhead (see below). Same size, same story but with a fistful of badass.
Hooray it’s Charlie Brown! He has been sitting on my shelf looking at me for a couple of years while I took my experimental painting hiatus. ‘Blockhead’ is the first painting I have completed for sale for a while and is now available to buy.
I’ve got to say that I forgot how much I love the texture and finish of heavy and soft oil pastels – (they are both a bugger and a blessing to use) and from today, I DO SOLEMNLY DECLARE that I will be working on paintings for sale which continue my theme (which seems to be The Icon Made Flesh) for any of you collectors or new viewers alike. So keep em peeled.
Blockhead. Oil pastel on board 17x17cm (painting size) £450 framed.
First sketch of DLB for a painting in which we find our hero in shadow in a beautiful abandoned room. This has turned into something quite epic and large in my head, so the painting begins. Blossom is now silhouetted in a doorway and the grubby and broken down building into which she peers has some wonderfully magical soft lighting. I want it to be a place that has a mild whiff of menace but also somewhere quite lovely. I’m going in and it’s a whopper, so I might be gone for some time. Deep breath……..
Well, it’s turned into a bit of a monster. This painting is rather large now, and this picture shows the underpainting of the glowing colours and the second sweep in which I intensified the shadows and began to bring shapes into focus. It’s going fine but it’s not a painting yet that I could spend a long time looking at and I’m toying with the idea of getting some sharp geometry in there. The atmosphere and the intention will have to be strong enough to take it so I’d better crack on….
Almost finished The Blossom Dream Painting. I’d really like to scrub this with a wire brush but the base I worked on was grey and I might want some white scratchy marks to finish this piece. I’ll have a think. It’s not always possible to plan ahead and this baby went altogether darker and more shadowy than I’d intended so Ampersand clayboard would have been perfect to scratch back to white but never mind – I’ll have to use the old noggin instead.
Who Knew? In preparation for our doorway painting, Blossom and I have been studying Vilhelm Hammershøi’s beautiful brushwork and I have been amazed by how many paintings he managed to shoehorn his little pooch into. Can’t say I’d noticed before now. Wait! Oh Blossom!! I’ve begged you – BEGGED you not to paint in my reference books. Where’s the turps?
A Blossom a Day no. 490. I had a Dream for a Painting…of Blossom standing in a doorway, strongly backlit with her arms down by her sides. The air is still and the walls are softly shaded. She is standing very still, frozen to the spot, possibly waiting, perhaps about to speak, in a seemingly empty apartment. Part Hammershoi part Close Encounters. Very soft shaded whites and palest blue-greens throughout except for the scorching white light from the back room which bleaches out any details from sight. There is an unclear portrait of a human on the wall and the proportions of the door are human but Blossom is alone. The room is clean and bright and the air is clear and fresh but still there seems to be trapped in the light, a great and terrible melancholy.