Wednesday, 15 November 2017

NEW Painting - Winter's coming.

Hi all of you. I've been thinking that would be nice to share with you how I made my recent painting called "Winter's Coming"

I visited my brother's place on 31st of October to help him just a little bit with the wood that he uses for his heating. After some chopping and cutting I made a few pictures of him in the cellar making finer wood chips. So here's my reference:

I got pretty lucky that a picture in its self had a quite good staging. I tried to get myself going with ballpoint pen preliminary (plus white chalk on toned paper):

BW preliminary sketch for "Winter's coming"

While doing a sketch I realised that in order to tell the story and the movement i.e. "gesture" I have to emphasise few things - so I intended to do the hands and the axe little bit bigger to push them closer to the viewer and to suggest more movement in my brother's right hand. After that I proceeded to small colour study in oils:

Preliminary colour study for "Winter's coming (4x6 inches on canvas) (you can see a little bit bigger hands and the axe and action lines in his right hand)

For this study I pushed colours in his hat and in the axe toward green to compliment reddish colour of his trousers. I declared that a warm grey of the hoodie is ideal and it will support both compliments. After that I proceeded for a final painting.  

Winter's coming - beginning stage

Above is my beginning stage of the final painting. I started with a gesture, emphasising hands and the axe even more and putting even more movement to the whole body. I even tried to put more "air" into the back of the hoodie. I strived to have little bit cartoonish feel (something like Norman Rockwell). I would like to point on the fact that it is not about a mere coping of the photograph but more about telling a story and push your narrative as further as possible (but still maintaining believability) So this is basically the third time that I draw a picture freehand. 
As for materials side of things I used a MDF board with two coats of white gesso and final coat of transparent gesso with tooth which I like so much (I don't like it slick). I used water soluble oil colours Cobra and great brushes Rosemary and Co. As I worked I used my photo reference in BW for proportions and my colour study for my mixtures. 
Painting took about 3 days of interrupted work (I've got troubles to start - yep you have that right - procrastination) and I tried to stand the whole time in order not to lose sight of a whole picture and to maintain gesture within the picture - you can lose it so easily when you get into detail. 

Winter's coming (17x24 inches, oil on gessoed board)

I love this kind of narrative work. There's something familiar in it I think even for a person who never met my brother. I hope that picture can give you a feeling of home, warmth or maybe makes you think about state of mind of the subject (I made him look somehow mysterious)
My opinion is that it is not about a single interpretation but more about what you (my audience) can derive from it based on your experience, feeling etc. And that is so magical in art I hope and that's the reason why I love it so much.

Stay warm, winter's coming! Petr

Monday, 13 November 2017

Evening news series No.III - quickie done from life within 1,5 hours

On this Friday the 10th of November I tested my new home-made field sketch easel in my parents living room, where I tried to depict my father watching evening news in this case . It has been done within 1,5 hours from life without any editing touches afterwards. I had that time range firmly set in the beginning of the session so that I was forced not to fuss about which I tent to do. The result is juicy application of the oil paint and a quick sketch that I'm quite happy about:

Father watching news (oil on board sketch)

It is really important to train oneself to paint from life, it will give you more confidence over time I hope. It's also more fun than photographs where you can't really soak in the character of your sitter. 
(More of a Evening news series here and here)

In the future post I will share with you how I made my sketch easel. 


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Morning cuddle painting

Recently I gave you a suggestion which of the preliminary sketches should I use for a oil painting. I was a nerve wreck to already start with my lovely oil colours so I made my pick. Since I love to paint people and animals I picked as a topic of my painting my mother with her morning coffee (5am) whilst cuddling her cat Symba. I picked my mother again because I knew that I can do a better job than in the past (see posts: here and here) because those were a paintings for time (around 2 hours) and now I had more time since I was working from photo.

To remind you I used this preliminary sketches of the hot spots of the picture:

After I'd acquired feeling for the expressions of my subjects I started with painting itself on very heavy watercolour paper (600 gms) with two coats of white gesso and final layer of transparent gesso which gives you more of a tooth which I prefer for more detailed work.

Again big thanks to rosemary brushes - working with them is just pure pleasure.

Morning cuddle (oil on gessoed board 10x14 inches)

I really enjoy this kind of illustrative work with traditional media so you can look forward to see more of the work like this. (If you enjoy it of course)

Stay warm beside a nice hot beverage and make sure that you have someone/something to cuddle - winter's coming!


Thursday, 9 November 2017

Preliminary sketching

I love to sketch with ballpoint pen and white chalk on toned paper in order to find out which idea would work as a bigger painting and which not. Here's some of my sketches coming from various family members, the final sketch is about 4 by 4 inches in oils - it's my father peeling potatoes expression :-) )

Mother's cat

Father peeling potatoes 1st take

Father peeling potatoes 

My brother chopping wood (future painting "Winter's coming")

Mother cuddling her cat

My brother

Father peeling potatoes

We will see which one will make it as a bigger piece.

Have a nice November everyone..

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Common place sketches

If you have a time and you have some gouache/watercolour/pen and ink or whatever with you take your time to sit in front of silent/humble/sincere place in your home and appreciate the quiet quality of that place. You'll discover that time can fly while completely silent trying to convey the place on the paper. I try every now and then to sit down with my gouache sketch pochade box and do that very thing. This small pictures feature my "raised and born" house where I'm living right now after my arrival from England. 

It is on one sheet of 300gms watercolour paper (quite rough texture) witch is part of my pictorial pocket journal. Give me a nod via comment section if you want to see it in its wholeness. I can do a post or video which would run quickly trough all the pages...
I love common places like this, There's something divine behind the places like this....


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Portrait Of My Good Old Friend

On Friday night the 13th of October right after I finished this painting I visited our good old jazz club in Zdar to see my friends that I hadn't seen for a bit (as you maybe know I've spent past two years in England working). It was a cheerful event full of music (It was a jam session night - after some consideration and some wine I resumed to play some old tunes too - it was awful I have to admit :-) ). But most importantly I met a friend that I haven't seen for a while - a great singer and fabulous conversation buddy Zuzana (she likes to talk about life and its meaning and I dig this topic a lot!) So I invited her to come over on Saturday to just talk about life whilst painting her. And She agreed!
It was my third oil portrait attempt in three back-to-back days, big challenge as well - soft light plus young flawless face without wrinkles is deadly combination.

In the first BW picture you can see the setting at the end of the session (3 hours) with her proportion slightly off (I blame her for getting me distracted because all of those interesting topics that we had been discussing :-)

Finished work at the end of the session with Zuzka in my vista

I got a break from the painting till the evening that day. I put my photo on BW to force myself to use colour just from my mixtures done on my palette and adjusted her proportion accordingly. So here's the final painting:

"Zuzka" (oil on board 11x14 inches)

Do you have any suggestion, tips etc how to stay alert and present while doing a life portrait and having a conversation with a subject at the same time? I find it very challenging!

But challenges are here to be overcome so everyone near Zdar who would have some free time is welcomed in my humble room to sit for me!

Sincerely Petr 

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Colour study - Midday afternoon still life

Two weeks ago It was still warm outside so I set myself with my french easel on our terrace and set a small still life near mason wall of our house to see how direct sunlight can effect colours. It was a lovely experience. I have tried to be faithful to what I was seeing but maybe I emphasised some colour a little bit just in sake of my understanding that every shape have a definite colour family - even shadows. I didn't use black in order force myself to use chromatic content every time I put brush onto my painting surface.

This is my setting to se roughly the composition (I put it in BW - I hate a colours of photos - Especially from iPhone - sorry apple :-) )

This is basically first laying with and beginning of some details - In this stage I tried to have every colour shape of a definite colour family

Here's final study (oil on canvas primed with oil primer - I love the surface, 8x7 inches)

Both pictures are taken under a balanced light temperature 5500 K to have colours as truthful as possible.

I have some question for artist friends - has someone tried to study colour from a colourist Henry Hensche's perspective? I'm reading this "free be" article from Camille Przewodek's web pages:

I get an idea from it and I have actually tried beginning stages of study described in the article. But opinions shared in the article are quite strict and I would say doctrine like. For example in mids of it its author says that it is painting strictly with colour and not with values - but I think he misses the point that value is inherent aspect of colour and you can't simply get it out of an equation. 

Another point is that all the people suppose to have a wrong bias for colour given by conception and so on and one should by exercises given by article overwrite those misconceptions. Although I'm on board with this idea - meaning you should try to put colours as you see them and not how you think they are coloured (for example wrong approach would be - I know that that apple is red so I mix red on my palette). We all know that local colour of an object is always affected by light effect and its surroundings. But I'm worried about a procedure - I have to honestly admit that it seems to me really, really cumbersome (It's advised 20 years of development by studies and accordingly author wants from reader some humility) and I would lost my enthusiasm (I thing I would lost that spark that art gives me in the first place) and another thing that I'm worried about is that you can impair your perceptual development sort of speak by doing studies at the beginning with just tube colours (Although If I look at final and complete pieces of Hensche students, e.g. Camille Przewodek I don't think that would be the case.)

And my final point is that I find article quite offensive against any other traditional approaches (starting with just black and white and limited palette and proceeding to a full chroma slowly once you get confident with the basics)

Any opinions on colourist approaches in the comment section would be very well appreciated since I have troubles to get my head around it. Or you can write me an e-mail (