This is my wife Cesca. A few years ago she went to Africa for a month and I painted this to come to terms with missing her so much. We have it above the TV in the lounge. This is Cesca when she was in Amsterdam, the prior occasion we had been apart for a long time. Strange fact: the time taken to paint this, including drying time, was exactly the same amount of time it took to watch the movie Predator, which I had on in the background (I know the film so well now that I don’t actually need to watch it!). What I was going for was the happiness I saw in the original image, Cesca has a fantastic smile when happy and here it is full flow.
Grandad Bell. After Grandad died I wanted to paint something for my Grandmother that would show how much I loved him. Here it is. Grandma has in hung in her lounge. This is him in his classic pose; sitting in his chair and enjoying his paper. This is how I remember him. I had not painted anything for 4 years before bashing this out first go. No warm up, no practice and no pause. It took 4 hours and the end recipient was very happy.
Tabs was a wonderful cat. More human than cat really. Tabs was a fat, happy and peaceful feline. I had nursed Tabs using a mothering kit after his mother was knocked down and killed only a week after his birth. 10 years later he died. My family felt the loss very hard and I wanted to paint something to remember him by. This is my painting of Tabs when he was young. Again this was the first run at it and it took only 4 hours. I remember being unsure whether it would come together before I added to darker colours. This brought the image into focus and made the 3d effect suddenly pop into life.
This is a very bad image of the painting as the original is up on my mothers wall.
This is him posing like only a cat can!
Back in the year 1999, I was poor. Very poor. I couldn’t even afford to give my mum a ‘proper’ present at Christmas, so I painted her this. I hid it on the top of the shelves in the front room and didn’t tell her about it until speaking with her over the phone on Christmas day. Her reaction was fantastic. Not the best painting of mine by any means, but one that is loved by the owner!
A-Level final pieces
Final pieces during A Level are hard. Not in the way you might expect though. Rather for me the difficulty comes in completing too fast. If I paint a watercolour then I am done in 4 hours max. If this is a 15 hour exam then I have to take a book! This leads to the worst possible situation for a watercolour artist; improving. The number one, silver plated rule in watercolour is to WALK AWAY AND DON’T GO BACK! Seriously. Nothing will destroy a fine painting more than spending too much time on it.These are my non watercolour final pieces. I cant stand my other ones. You see, I learned the above rule through painful experimentation.
This pastel represents the painful knowledge of death that all beings hold. It is about entropy and knowing that we are all food for worms. The bottle, you notice, doesn’t change. This represents the light of truth, which will one day go beyond the cycle of birth and death and empower us all. This was, of course, from when we were studying dreams in art.
Teddy here is a still life, something that we had to do regularly. I drew him straight into neat using a darker set of pencils than in the past.
That skull makes another appearance in yet another still life. Our teacher would set up the scene and we would all draw it over a couple of weeks.
This is the final piece that got me into my A Level. You see I had not studied a GCSE in art and the A Level was going to be denied to me. My teachers struck a deal with me. If I did the GCSE in one year and got an A, they would let me onto the A Level in year two and pass my GCSE work as my year one. This painting was my final piece on Lautrec and one of the very few oil based paintings I attempted. I got the A.
Cezanne was my study artist for my second year in A Level. My mind was being woken up for impressionism and he was by far my favourite. I learned everything I could about him and spent many hours getting into how he painted and, more importantly, why. I visited all the galleries I could to see as many real paintings of his as possible. I feel I eventually ‘got’ him but emotionally, I am light years behind.
Japan Brush Sets
One year Cesca received a Japanese art set from her aunt. These are my playful attempts to paint with it. This style of painting is all about the ‘whitespace’ and I painted all these in about an hour total.
Anyway, If you liked the paintings, there are many more to be found (61 in total) at my Flickr page.