Monday, 10 May 2021

portrait in oils

Mary and Liam, the finished painting. 

               This portrait was a birthday present for Mary, from her husband Liam and shows both of them. 

It's a very natural pose, rather than a formal setting. Oils have a layering process, which is needed to give the finished painting a richness than isn't possible with just one layer of paint. Oil paint is transparent, so the more layers you paint, the more solid and rich the painting feels. 
The first layer can be in colour, or in a neutral - I chose Raw Umber for a tonal under painting. 

First layer (oil paint thinned with Sansodor),  to get everything in the right place!

The next layer is in colour, and is a careful investigation of tones and colour. I like to start with the faces. 

Creeping down the canvas until all areas have the first colour layer. 

Start of the second layer of colour on the jacket 

In all, I did four layers (including the first Raw Umber layer) and it took eleven days. 

This photo shows the size.

For details about workshops in oils, in portraiture and weekly classes in drawing and water colour please email 

Sunday, 2 May 2021

baby baby! Coloured Pencil on Bristol Board

 Babies are challenging to draw as their skin is so perfectly smooth - too much tonal variation and you can accidentally age the subject by months, if not years! 

This little chap is the youngest of three siblings, and it's been my pleasure to draw all of them. They have been, as babies, uncannily alike.

A couple of stages along the way to completion. As you can see in the background, usually all areas have at least two colours, to get the tones and colours required. 

Here he is on Christmas Day, being shown his portrait! 

All workshops are currently on both Zoom and in studio. If you would like info on weekly or one-off workshops please email