A Shot in the Dark

Thought I’d include a rarely seen behind the scenes look at the photoshoot behind Blue Rabbit in Shadow (working title).  Rabbit arrived, ‘fashionably’ late – ugh, but was in fairly good spirits, and ready get into the shoot. I showed him the Rembrandt that Stuart at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam had lent me for a couple of weeks to get aquainted with.

(note to self – pop pic back in post ASAP)

He seemed down with it, but I detected a note of reticence, and realised too late that I had made a grave and embarrassing error. BR has the face of an angel, but a tragically stumpy arm/shrunken shoulder birth defect which had already seen his promising basketball career cut horribly short (no pun intended). He courteously allowed me to back-peddle with good grace, and the long and short of it was, he let us tape his arms down to his sides. The resulting imagery was a little Lynchian, but I have promised him faithfully that no-one will ever see the shots, and really – who’d care?

Believe it or not, the shoot took a whole day, and by a very strange quirk of coincidence, three-quarters of the crew were off with shingles that day, so we had a skeleton crew. I very rarely work without at least 30 men under me, but today we just had to soldier on regardless.

But we got the shot, and the painting was made….

It’s funny, I haven’t heard from him, but I did miss a call from his lawyer a couple of days back. Huh.

Magpie Wrestling

Having a bit of a time with this one. Funny, because the picture itself is going in exactly the direction I had intended for it, but as a painting, it is not working at all. So, the Magpie will remain atop his unfinished branch and the sky has since been scraped away, and because I still like him, he is going on one side to be re-imagined and reworked into a different painting later on.

Mr P in his Fair Isle Pulley

Detail of a larger painting I am working on now – set in Pett in Sussex. When completed, Mr Pig will be proudly wearing the jumper he has knitted.

Finished him, and I am still recovering from a long but enjoyable day of painting Fairisle. It offered a great opportunity for heavy textures and human marks woven into the pattern.

I Love this frame, and I painted Mr P to work with it and have to decide on the colour. I am currently leaning toward red oxide.  Although it looks great in Coca-Cola red and electric blue surprisingly.

Hhhhmmm……

Evil Genius

Here is my Evil Genius painting. Cranked the heating right up for this one to get the heaviest impasto I could achieve. Popped him in the freezer at one point to cool and harden before hitting him again with softened oil pastel.

I was really surprised at my choice of colour for this piece, and really chuffed with the result. It’s not easy to see the rough surface here, but I let the texture of the hot pastels model most of the forms. I am loving the painterliness which comes with working spontaneously and quickly but in long shifts. This makes soft areas like this chap’s left arm in particular which moves me by it’s lack of pissiness (pissinesslessness?). Getting really excited by this flow of characters.

An Ordinary Telegraphist

Body Snatcher.

I’ve been inspired by a World War two painting entitled An Ordinary Telegraphist. First sketch while dog walking here. A bit rough, but as usual for me, it is what keeps the painting fresh, if I stick to the life to be found in a swift rough sketch. The painting of the sailor whose bod I have shamelessly stolen for this piece is in the Greenwich Maritime museum and was commissioned by the The War Artists Advisory Committee which was formed early in the Second World War. Its purpose was to direct and commission art in ways that could usefully serve the war effort; through documenting the conflict, raising morale and promoting national culture. The Committee was led by Sir Kenneth Clark, Director of the National Gallery, and was set up in the light of the significant role played by British artists during World War I.

Little bit of work later, and our latest hero is dressed and ready for action.