Dalry Demo

Jamie demo


A demo from this afternoon at Dalry Art Club. This is Jamie who came to visit the studio on Saturday with his family. (Dad “Richard” is painted in a previous post  *here*!)

Cool clean skin tones, quite bluish and great to paint. The natural light comes in from a door to the right. The session lasted an hour and a half and I spent another hour at home to finish. Thanks to all at Dalry and Kilbirnie for the opportunity. 🙂

Portrait Demonstration

A demonstration in oils this time for the Friday class. There are a couple in the group who haven’t had a chance to really see oil painting in action. Lots of questions asked and hopefully answered. There can be a mystique surrounding oil painting to some who have avoided the stuff. Also, portraits can have a reputation for being painted with a mysterious impenetrable skill. I think it can mostly boil down to some tried and tested techniques and strategies. I love it when that realisation sinks in that a likeness is possible with a few flexible rules.

This one was a two hour session. I nearly lost the whole shebang about three quarters of the way through. When I started painting the background I lost the hair bacause of the similarity of the colour and tone. The face too has that same olive complexion that I couldn’t quite distinguish from the surrounds. A few deep breaths, beads of sweat and then loads of corrections, led to regained clarity and my ego intact!

Demo in Watercolour

Here is a portrait in watercolour I used as a demo yesterday. A face full of character but has a still presence. The skin has seen lots of sunshine.

This project for the Tuesday group is an exercise for freehand drawing and carefree application of pools of colour. I like the watercolours of Charles Reid, seen in many an artists magazine, so I had him in mind on this one. Lots of random splashes, a few drips and trails and a mix of layers and wet in wet colour mixing.

I took an hour on this and I would usually take it a bit further but I am going to practice what I preach and leave well alone now.


I keep revisiting this pic of Kate. It’s effective as a demonstration, where time is limited. The composition and the tonal areas make for a dramatic but simple picture. It helps that Kate has such a cheeky face in this too.

This was painted in about 45 minutes. If only all painting was as quick and effective. Maybe I should restrict my time and experiment a little, see what happens…

So here is a painting of big sis, finished tonight with the restriction that I had to finish in one session. I am learning from the life class to speed up and enjoy the surprising marks. This image is not quite got the character of the first one but it does have a stillness I like. ( Something not right with the left eye – i’ll look at that tomorrow)

Fixed the eye I think – I have replaced the image with this new one. I worked on it the next morning for about ten minutes…


This is a demo painted last year sometime. It’s a face I’ve painted before for the Well Kent Faces exhibition in 2007. It’s a good exercise repainting to discover more about revealed colour. Each time, more is apparent. Also, other surprising interpretations of colour can be reassuringly confirmed by repeating yourself. You can’t lose really.

Demo of Sarah(2)

sarah comparison

Here is another demo of the portrait of Sarah. This time for Cunninghame Art Club.  It’s funny to compare the two paintings. Same rules (two hours painting and answering questions)and conditions for both and obviously the same picture but there are slight differences. Check out the left side of the mouth – I haven’t made it wide enough here. Also the forehead at the left side on the second picture looks more correct. One big change from the point of view of applying paint was the fact that I started from a white ground on picture 1 and a reddish ground in the second painting. It was easier painting on the coloured base because there was no rush to fill the gaps as they serve as a middle tone and the final painting looks warmer and relaxed.


sarah demoA portrait demonstration for Troon Art Club two weeks ago.Poor Sarah will be sick looking at this image. The portrait turned out all right, which is a relief when you dont get a second chance. Its an opportunity to slap on the paint and a great learning tool to restrict the work to a time limit.