Wednesday, 28 December 2011

First trial at my self-portrait

Last month I had a try at my first self-portrait. I have never even done a sketch of myself which probably should be the first step but I went for it anyway. I worked in the studio with a mirror. I didn't do any preliminary drawing on the canvas and went straight with the paint blocking areas in abstract way having fun with the masses and colours, gradually sculpting the face.
Here is the result:

Although I recognise myself here it is possible not everybody will; I'm not sure it totally looks like me, and to be honest it wasn't really my concern as I just wanted to get a feel for it and explore the colours that make the skintone. I quite liked "skipping" the drawing step as it gave me more freedom to paint an "impression" of myself rather than a proper portrait. I think I mainly recognise myself in the eyes:

The portrait is actually cropped bigger than the head and includes my painting smock which I always wear when I paint:

Here is the painting setting which shows an earlier stage of the portrait:

Here is the portrait after the first stage - I look a bit like an alien but kinda of like it!

That's me looking terribly serious and focused:

I first had the palette on the table on my right as usual but it made me move to much so I moved the palette right under the board to be able to remain still and keep the pose:

It was quite an interesting experience and I hope I'll get the chance to do more self-portraits next year.

I take the opportunity here to wish you all a wonderful and Happy New Year 2012!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Life Model - Pregnant woman

A couple of weeks ago I went to a life model painting session organised by the Bath Painting group. The model was a beautiful pregnant woman and it was a wonderful subject to paint:

Nude- pregnant woman   12"x16"  oil on board

I really enjoyed painting this one. I don't often get the chance to paint life models so it was a real treat.  


Here is picture of the model. Although she gave me the permission to photograph her I blurred the picture anyway for privacy reasons but wanted to show the beautiful light effect on her skin:

Below is my setting on the day. I managed to find a good spot close to the model. I used my pochade box as a palette which was really handy so I didn't have to clean it on the day and could keep using my colours back home on an other painting.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Salisbury with the Plein Air Society

A couple of weeks ago I went painting in Salisbury with the UK Plein Air Society. It was a chilly bright November morning. We were about 8 meeting there and after a quick walk around town we all agreed that the sunshine on this archway would be a perfect painting subject:

Gateway, Salisbury, November morning   10"x8"  oil on board


I managed to find a little corner against a wall to get protection from the cold wind and still get a good view of the Gateway:

We all set up behind each others trying to still leave some room on the pavement for the pedestrians. I was so glad I had my proper winter coat because it was pretty cold.

That's me with the beret and the french accent - I just needed a baguette under my arm and a moody attitude to give the full stereotype of the french painter ;) (I've stopped explaining that I'm actually from Belgium as people don't seem to find it as glamourous) 

After a warm soup and a good cup of english tea, we headed for our second and last painting of the day. Although the Salisbury Cathedral in the winter sunshine was begging to be painted, I fancied something a bit more simple so the park behind the cathedral turned out to be the perfect subject. Some sheep across the water really caught me eye so I decided to tackle this typical english scenery:

Sheep, late afternoon, Salisbury   7"x10"   oil on board

This was such an inspiring scene. The crisp subtle winter light and the quietness of the place reminded me of the landscapes in Jane Austen's novels. I almost started to believe that Mr Darcy would turn up from the mist but unfortunately I could only count on the sheep to keep me company!


This was a challenge in the way that the sun was right in my eyes. I felt I almost blinded myself looking at the scene so I made myself only look for a few seconds and paint from memory for a few minutes.

A stylish change of hat to cope with the sun - painting can be fashionable afterall:

Not far from where I was, Andrew Taylor painted a beautiful water scene which he managed to create only in a few minutes...

I'm loving the quality of light in Winter so despite of the cold, I'm very excited about this new painting season. Now, bring on the snow I say...