It ain’t over till it’s over

•May 23, 2016 • 8 Comments

Margaret S mon23may

Playing a risky game going back to a painting I thought I had finished. It needed another session, though, to adjust and correct and give it a once over. You need to reach that point where you have done all you can and know that any more will not improve it.

Sometimes, of course, you can misjudge and lose the work or at least lose the freshness. Here, I think I am satisfied that the final session was worth it.

Now, if I can resist painting a little bit more on the neck, it is finished.

that neck, though….

Happy Days

•May 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

argaret portrait final

Happy days! I took Margaret’s sketch to a finish today and feel I am getting somewhere in terms of loosening up with a purpose.

Now I have to stick to it and keep my eyes off those exceptional photorealist artist’s work I admire that keep distracting me!


•May 20, 2016 • 4 Comments


I learn something more every time I paint this image of Margaret!

Watercolour portrait exercise (cont)

•May 16, 2016 • 2 Comments

trisha watercolour

Following from last week’s exercise, this one is showing a layered build up.

Still using broad pools of colour and ignoring fine details.

Watercolour portrait exercise

•May 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Watercolour exercise

Today I introduced, to a couple of new students, a direct method to quickly apply colour to a portrait. Loading a brush with a  heavily pigmented mix and applying in a “blobesque” manner. There is a collage of shapes slightly overlapping where the wet is over the dry. If I go faster then that cuts out the hard edges, going slower makes for more. I try to be relaxed about it and rely on the drawing to hold the shapes together.


•May 6, 2016 • 3 Comments

Fiona 8x8 oil on board

A small portrait of Fiona. 8″x8″ oil on board.

Fiona bid for the portrait at a charity auction in aid of “Help For Heroes“.

It was painted over four evenings and techniquewise, not quite alla prima but still retaining visible brushmarks and patchy tones.


Portrait in Parliament Hall

•March 23, 2016 • 20 Comments

Lady Cosgrove in Parl Hall 2

Lady Cosgrove in Par Hall

Some good news for my portrait of Lady Cosgrove. It has been moved to the prestigious and historic Parliament Hall, Parliament House. It was up till now in the Advocate’s reading room, a great old room in itself but not accessible to the public.

Goodness me, it now hangs among the Raeburn’s and the Ramsay’s and all these 18th and 19th Century portraits. My painting is the only one in the hall from the modern era. (Easily seen by the 200 years of dirt covering the others!) Lady Cosgrove was Scotland’s first female High Court Judge so she deserves her place here in what is the oldest parliamentary building in Britain.


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