Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Nudes on show

Naked in the Birdcage
I haven't done much drawing since the disappointment of the Take 5 cancellation. However I have been going to the monthly life drawing session at the Birdcage Pub in Norwich. This is a fun setting with good music, lovely beer and a keen crowd. Hollie, who runs the pub and the class has kindly allowed me to show a dozen pictures in the pub during the month of September. The clientele are easy going youngsters so I hope they'll enjoy the naked bodies that have suddenly appeared! I'll be running this month's life drawing session and offering tuition, which they don't normally get at the Birdcage. This class will be on 18th September, 7pm to 9pm and costs only £5.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Exhibition cancelled

Our exhibition "The Beautiful and the Damned" has been cancelled. It was booked in November with Take 5 in Norwich and due to run from Sunday 3rd to Sunday 10th June. Perfect timing for the Jubilee, half term and Open Studios. On Friday 1st Nic Granda-Barton at Take 5 called to tell me he'd decided not to open on Sundays anymore and he was also going to close for the two bank holidays. Our well planned show was reduced to 4 quiet days. He had no excuse. Just wanted the time off. Three days earlier he had said everything was fine and ready to go. He had no idea of the time and money he was costing us and didn't want to hear. His apologies soon turned to annoyance and scorn as I pressed him for a solution. He even refused to display this poster to apologize to disappointed callers. Nic Granda-Barton is a selfish fool and we've abandoned what was left of our show.

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Naked Evening

Evening shadows
We hadn't met up for quite a while and I expected us to struggle with our drawings. Far from it. Naked Two was in brilliant form and fired out a series of A2 charcoals like a child scribbling in wild abandon! The light was perfect with the setting sun picking out lovely shapes of light across our bodies. I hadn't seen her draw so well before and my own confidence was quite challenged. I'd forgotten though how pleasing she is to draw and when it was my turn inspiration drove away the nerves. This watercolour captures the exciting vitality of that evening's life drawing.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Naked Body

Faraway eyes
I keep having long breaks between drawing sessions. This makes drawing feel quite difficult but it also refreshes the pleasure of drawing the naked body. The secret to drawing well is making the effort to see what you're looking at. It's well worth this effort when you discover the beauty of a lovely body in front of you! I began with lots of contour drawings to try and get my eyes working and after a bit did a slow, careful, watercolour painting, which came out okay. Before we finished I tried a few fast, brush drawings of more challenging poses and began to feel like I was getting somewhere. But when will I draw again?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The model and the artist

Finally had a chance to draw again and enjoyed being inspired by someone unfamiliar. My pictures are very much a reaction to the model I work with and the mood of the drawing session. This lady is new to modelling and enjoys the posing and showing off, which is perfect for me. I can just sit back, enjoy the view and try to capture some of the fun and loveliness! I was a bit rusty from lack of practice so not very quick and made lots of mistakes. But this one has some charm about it and the simple, direct finish that I aim for. I must sort out more regular drawing sessions...

Sunday, 18 March 2012

How to paint nudes

Thigh View
I did quite a bit of exploring this weekend. Trying out different approaches to painting the nude. Trying to convey a different mood in the pictures. Something not so pretty and comfortable. Something that thrills the senses fires the imagination! Something direct and honest that acknowledges the animal beauty of the human body. I tried lots of paint. I tried very little paint. I tried washes and daubs and splashes and strokes. I tried clashes of colour and gentle harmonies. Somehow none of it did the trick. Eventually I came back to the approach that I've developed over the years that pleases me most. I know it's not quite there yet but once again I feel it does actually have some integrity.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Drawing simply

All about Form
My head is full of ideas and influences this year. I keep coming across artists and people who prompt me to move in a different direction. By March I no longer know what I want to do! Looking at Lucian Freud has encouraged me to slow down and allow myself to indulge in the pleasure of the looking and drawing with the model. Suggestions from John Cleese have made me realize the importance of defining the space for the creative mind to come out and play in. A space shut away from the everyday world. Hard to find! Looking at Robert Mapplethorpe has encouraged me to have faith in honesty and to keep things simple. I've heard lots of enthusiasm for my pictures this year but people like them for all sorts of reasons. I suppose that's good but it's also confusing! However I managed to draw this the other day and I feel it's the beginning of some new, exciting work...

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Charcoal Nudes

Had great fun with my accomplice Naked Two, last time we met. We did some strong poses and drew them quickly and messily on huge sheets of brown paper. The paper had to go on the floor so it was drawing on your knees and craning your neck to see the model. It's fun to draw so big and so roughly and balances up the more careful work I do. Hope to do some of these on Saturday so watch this space!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Offensive Nudes

Light on Skin
The hard-pressed police had to deal with an emergency in Norwich on St Valentine's day! Two people complained about a male nude oil painting on display in the window of Sinsins. Martin was told to clear all the paintings out of the window or be charged with a public order offence. This doesn't surprise me as he knew he was pushing the boundaries of public tolerance. But it always annoys me that if one or two complain then everyone has to toe their boring and prudish line. Personally I think everyone would benefit in many ways with a lighter attitude to nakedness, and such stifling of body appreciation is unnatural and unhealthy, leading to greater vices. Here's the picture that led to a police car being dispatched. Does it offend you?

Sunday, 12 February 2012


Broad Shoulders
Had some good news yesterday from Sinsins Lovestore. One of my male nude oil paintings sold. It was in the window, which probably explains it. Exposure is everything! Putting on an exhibition for a week isn't as effective as having the pictures permanently on show. I really liked this painting and will miss having it in my studio. I often feel like that when someone walks away with one of my pictures!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Drawing Nudes

The private view at Sinsins last Wednesday was great fun! Lots of people came and enthused about my paintings. Good for my ego! There's lots of interest in the life drawing classes beginning on Friday 17th February. Places are limited to 10 so book up soon. Before that we're going to show off how the artist and model work together to create beautiful nudes. This will be a fun evening with wine and music and a chance to enjoy something special. Again places are limited so book soon!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Nude in Sinsins

We're having a private view evening at Sinsins Lovestore on Wednesday 1st February from 6.30pm. Come along for a glass of wine and a chat with me! You can admire my pictures and take a peek at all the seductive gadgets in the store. I'm not entirely sure what they all do but Martin is very happy to explain if you'd like to know! There should be lots of interesting folk turning up and we hope to make some plans for fun Sinsins events in the future.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Nude portraits

As part of my show at Sinsins in Norwich I'm offering portraits as Valentine presents. The commissions I've done have all gone well and some of the sitters have gone on to become models, as they enjoyed the experience so much. I can usually create something lovely in a few hours but I'm prepared to meet again with the sitter if necessary, to ensure they get a picture they're delighted with. Charcoal drawings and watercolour sketches don't take long to produce so most of the time is spent learning to see the sitter and finding a pose for them. Get in touch if you'd like to be drawn!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Art meets Passion!

Out of the blue... I was invited to show my work in Sinsins Lovestore, Norwich. I met with Martin who owns the shop and liked his open approach to our human needs! I also liked his eagerness to do it now so I returned the next day and hung 14 pictures amongst his imaginative collection of sex gadgets. For once, my frank and open work looked rather tame amongst the erotic packaging of his goods! I was amazed at how busy the Lovestore was and the wide range of customers happily browsing and buying. Martin is very keen on my pictures and wants more, pushing the boundaries and laying on events and activities in the store. So first up is a Valentine's Day Nude demonstration of drawing on Saturday 11th February. Not quite sure what it will be yet but there'll be lots of showing off!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Inspiration for 2012

Beer bottle
I often get inspired by the work of other artists and want to have a go at doing something similar. My wife surprised me with a book on Robert Mapplethorpe for Christmas. I've always liked his pictures and am now very impressed with his approach. He was so honest and open about what was important to him. He saw beauty in things most people find repulsive, and bravely presented his admiration in a frank and stylish manner. He loved the dangerous side of nature, and most of his images have an underlying darkness and this suggestion of another world, beneath the surface. I like this idea and plan to explore it myself. I'd like to try to bring a suggestion of fantasy into my pictures and try to be honest about what excites me. This drawing was an attempt, as I thought the beer bottle might suggest something dark and dangerous. However it came out looking rather sleepy and reflective! Pretty similar to many of my other drawings. This might be harder than I thought!