My current concern is with portraiture where I am creating oil paintings on plywood. These are idealistic views of my friends frozen in time. When you first meet someone, sometimes we freeze an image of that person and it is that image that stays with you throughout the years of friendship, it never leaves you, firmly imprinted into your psyche. I am calling this series 'Young Masters', idealized portraits, portraits of masters in their own professions, taking inspiration from the Renaissance (Hans Holbein the younger) plus later old Dutch masters, Rembrant, Van Dyck etc., These paintings draw on references from a parallel project I am undertaking which is a series of drawings from life (a single sitting) of family members and friends. In this series I am interested in capturing a moment and the mood of the person on the day.
Inspired by David Hockney’s large-format drawings of family members and friends, which were included along with the portraits of his Daschunds in Some Drawings of Family, Friends and Best Friends 1993–1994 at the 1853 Gallery at Salts Mill, Saltaire, near Bradford in 1994.
I remember the exhibition running the length of Salts Mill. The freshness of the portraits using just crayons or pencil, seemed to capture a moment in time, not worked and re-worked, no layers upon layers of paint, just pure simple, honest and immediate drawing. I have always wanted to create a similar body of work, keeping it simple, using just one or two drawing mediums, also focusing on friends and family. It’s been a lingering ambition ever since.
In total contrast to the immediacy of the drawings, perhaps as a reaction, the paintings I am currently working on are created by using a glazing technique with oils. By occasionally putting down layers of impasto, I will leave them to soak into the wood, to make their mark and then wipe them away to leave an impression, a stain and then build more glazes upon those layers.
I will be exhibiting the series of drawings and paintings at a solo show in the Long (Tudor) Gallery at Lauderdale House, Waterlow Park,
Highgate Hill, London N6.
1st - 30th September 2014. Private View, Weds 3rd September, 7pm (all welcome)