Lake District, Keswick and the History of Pencils

Just returned from a week in the Lake District, where I had the chance to do a few sketches.

Windermere

Excuse my ignorance, but I had not appreciated that the first pencils were made in Keswick following the discovery of Cumberland Graphite in the mid 1500s. I think we’ve all used Cumberland pencils at some stage, and there is actually a lovely museum and shop in Keswick selling all those Cumberland/Derwent graphite and now coloured pencils we all know.

Seemed appropriate to then head down to the banks of beautiful Derwent Water on the edge of Keswick and sketch a bit …

Boats at Derwent Water

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Naomi

Naomi 2I have just finished this oil portrait of one of our models, Naomi.

As with the others, derived from this 15 minute pencil sketch.

Naomi

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In Living Colour: Grant Bradley Gallery

Attended the private view of the “In Living Colour” exhibition at the Grant Bradley Gallery in Bristol tonight.

I exhibit two known paintings from this site “Golden Gown” and “The Prestige”. It was also the occasion to exhibit some short 15 min liquitex drawings (set out in an earlier post below)

I was delighted to win the prize in this category. The pictures, again, are below:

Liquitex on paper

Liquitex on paper

Gustavo

Gustavo

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Bristol Art Prize 2013

The Bristol Art Prize is an art competition currently running in the city. Artist entrants are being allocated parts of the city to paint and present for selection in an exhibition to be held in the old court buildings; the Guildhall.

Working in the old city in the centre I was intrigued to find what landmark I had been allocated to paint…

Through Junction Lock

I was introduced to a part of Bristol’s old port where the city centre’s floating harbour meets the Cumberland basin at the river Avon: Junction Lock.

This, my first landscape for a while, and more in the style of an abbreviated oil sketch is “Through Junction Lock”.

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Liquitex

We were let loose with new “liquitex” pens in class last week. Liquitex on paper Some interesting results. These were 15 mins drawings in 5 colours

Model

Model

I am intending to exhibit some at the forthcoming “In Living Colour”exhibition at the Grant Bradley gallery in Bristol this August.

Gustavo

Gustavo

 

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Steve in Oils

My last post was of Steve Tyrrell ahead of the 3 peaks challenge… We attempt this in 6 days time now.

For posterity he has been committed to canvas

Steve Tyrrell

 

 

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Our Glorious Leader…

I am doing the 3 peaks challenge next month, (climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon – the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales – in 24 hours!) with a group of friends for charity.

This is our guide and guru Steve Tyrrell captured in a moment of meditation before doing Snowdon (twice) this weekend in preparation…

Our Glorious Leader

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Penny Drawing

This is an oil sketch of one of my fellow life drawing colleagues, Penny.

Penny Drawing

Occasionally you get a boring back view and decide to sketch those around you – the pencil sketch from which this is derived, is below.

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Self

Self-Portrait

Me … 3 sessions pushing oil around and glazing/thinning with poppy oil.

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Gustavo Alla Prima

Study Hals, says Sargent, and only when you’ve learnt all you can from him, move on to Velazquez. Hals epitomises that “drawing with a brush” which we see in Sargent. Hals work is formulaic: a limited palette with a focus on tonal accuracy and capturing the gesture. These are the building blocks for Sargent and vital in understanding how he worked.

I tried to go back to such basics with this oil sketch of one of our models, Gustavo. Worked up from a 15 min graphite sketch it is painted wet in wet with a traditional palette, with no effort to hide the brush work. Indeed, the idea is to emphasize and celebrate the limitations of the brush…

Study Hals. I would say I’m just starting the journey…

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