Saturday, 12 August 2017

Self portrait from mirror - "Nocturnal creature"

It is not that long ago that I decided to paint portrait from life. The reason to paint from life rather than from photograph is that is more challenging because your subject matter is not still and the colour are more truthful then in the photograph. So you learn yourself to be ok with a moving subject and learn to see colour properly. 

And since I'm so slow in process of painting and I don't have enough confidence to invite any sitters into my humble room to keep them moveless for several hours yet I'd decided before I'd ventured to paint with oils someone else to put a mirror in front of me. The great example of this approach is Rembrandt - Throughout his life he made a copious amount of self-portraits. 

I began with heavily stained canvas of burnt umber - it was an unpleasant endeavour from past that I'd had to scrape down (therefore I don't want to talk about it :-))

You can see the settings while I was painting and final painting down bellow. Since I've done it throughout evenings after work it is somehow on the dark side - I have to rethink lighting setting of my work place :-). The final picture is really really dark. But I think it conveys some kind of mystery at least about a person depicted. If you don't stick the picture under a strong daylight the face is barely visible. 

Me painting myself...

Final painting - Nocturnal creature (oil on canvas 11x14 inches)

Best wishes to all of you, Pete

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Late quick invitation

Hello all you good people from all around!

I have to admit that I'm not the most disciplined person when it comes to keep people updated. Maybe reason is that I have a still life to work on and that lemon in it turning already green (ouch - gross)

I have an announcement to make - Tomorrow (I know :-/ ) and day afterwards I'm exhibiting my work at Ilkley art show that runs from 10:00 till 17:00 daily. Venue is in The Kings Hall/Winter Gardens, LS29 8HA, Ilkley

Here's a rough staging of the pictures that I will exhibit - They're all gonna be for sale! (Caution - Not all work in this photo has made it to final selection!)

Thanks to all of you for your time in this overwhelming age! Petr

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Brief flashback No.1

Back in April when I was on my holiday back in Czech Republic I brought up my gouache sketching set to record my visit somewhat differently than just with a camera. I think that to record things from life with paint or pencil improve one's appreciation of any given moment - because this sketching usually takes some time not like a mere fragment of a second with a digital camera.

Here's some of my sketches of my family and home surroundings:

Mom - pencil portrait  4th of April

Father sleeping 06th of April 2017

In our living room 6th of April

Pilská nádrž (date unknown)

My mother's cat

Mother sleeping 

In the cellar 

Enjoy your summer wherever you are. Petr

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Recent oil painting from paint my photo pages - Turban fellow

In May I found a nice and interesting photo of an old woman from east Asia at "paint my photo" web pages when I was seeking some photo reference:

I began with an unstained canvas with rough charcoal sketch and proceed with a colour transparent wash after I'd sealed it with some spray fixative. After the transparent wash I started to apply paint opaquely with the most difficult area - face, just to get it rolling. Once I was happy with the face (apparently more mannish in my opinion than in the reference) I put some effort in the collar. The rest of the painting leave some space for breathing of that initial wash and I think it helps to keep a main focus on the face. Since I converted a woman to a man I won't try to deceit that so the name of the final painting is Turban Fellow. (I must admit that from very beginning I thought that it is the man) 

 Initial sketch + wash (I put that transparent wash after sealing the drawing with fixative - I think it was pastel fixative)

Turban Fellow (oil on canvas 10x11 inches)

This is one of the few paintings that will make it's way to the party of paintings for sale - Once It's completely dry and in a frame.

Regards, Pete 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Plein-air in June's hot weather

One lovely Saturday - on 17th of June to be precise, I set myself out with my french easel because it was unbearable in my apartment - In England attic apartments lack isolation so in the winter its super cold and in the summer red hot. No worries, at least I'm forced to go out!

It was a sunny afternoon and I was looking for some lovely view of a simple landscape where I would not be burdened with heavy drawings demands - I wanted to avoid any architecture or any geometric shapes because in that case it would be possible that I would not start to put colours at all :-) And the main purpose of painting from life is to observe colours so I wanted to start mixing/putting colours in as soon as possible. 

I set my easel after 2 hours of walking around the landscape near Aberford, which is the rural area of Leeds. I was not satisfied with the view and I had to alternate the shapes to my liking. I made a curvature of the nearby road little bit more stronger and I trimmed some of the trees as well. 

After initial struggle I felt in love with all the colours that the landscape provided me with and I spent lovely 3 hours of painting this piece. 

Aberford Landscape plein air (oil on canvas 11x14 inches)

Have a nice summer you all,  Pete

Friday, 23 June 2017

Italian salesman

Back in winter I found a great reference to paint from. It's from my friend back in Czech Republic Nikola Adlerova, who is a great photographer and she posted the picture on her fB Pages.

FB of Nikola's pages

Here's the photo of an Italian salesman that she took on her trip in Naples:

It is gorgeous, isn't it?

I was especially drawn by the expression of the face so I cropped the image and started with burnt umber underpainting and after that I proceeded with opaque paint starting with darks (more transparent) and finishing up with highlights (put on with palette knife)

step No.1 Burn umber underpainting

Step No. proceeding with colour (from darks to lightest areas)

Italian salesman (Oil on canvas board, 6x8 inches)

It was just a small quick endeavour to have a fun and I hope you can feel it from this little sketch :-)


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Gouache master studies

It has been a year ago since I stumbled across this great video of Jeffery Watts showing his extraordinary skills in action:

On the basis of that video I did a series of studies on a rough watercolour paper in June 2016:

From top left to right bottom - my own character design (it's painstaking to paint from memory - I don't like it too much), Frank Frazetta's destroyer, Barbarian from Deviant art and some old warrior again based on some reference from deviant art.

After one year I decided to revisit this idea in more depth. I think I will continue to do these master studies in the future because it is so helpful in developing the sense of design, brushmanship and so on. I did all tree master studies based on the video. The hardest part I have to admit was to draw the pencil underdrawings. To see all the shapes properly in space and put them right. Skill of drawing is essential really - so If you can, don't trace your subject and draw it free hand like I did. Here's my final takes on those master studies.

Stranik after Watts after Cornwell

Stranik after Watts after Leyendecker

Stranik after Watts after Frazetta

I approached all the laying of the paint in style of tiling as Jeff Watts describes. I watched a chunk of the video for a few minutes, paused and tried to emulate the Jeff's handling of a brush. All of this took me three times more that on the video. 

Keep learning whatever it is guys, Pete

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

It's been a while

Hello all the good people from the internet,

I have to admit that I've been quite inactive for past few months - I mean blogging wise. I'm at the beginning stage of learning that beautiful craft of painting, art, illustration etc and I strive to get better every possible given time - that is - when I'm not at work. So I train how to draw, move paint around. There's too many topics to master - portrait, landscape, figure, still life. If I train in one realm for a while I can see almost in an instant that I neglect another area - It could be so overwhelming. Nowadays I seldom do my own finished work and if so I have this feeling most of the time that it is not worthy to put on the web - maybe because You can see all the beautiful work from another artists all around the world by just clicking the button. You can see that you have so much to learn ahead of you.

But, I feel that It's helpful to share my personal journey of learning in order to keep pushing, so I have decided that I'll share with you even my study progression and some of my finished work as well. At times, there would be something for sale on my DPW (Dailypaintworks) pages.  

I would be so grateful for your feedback in comments - What do you thing about my work, what would you improve and If you're from Yorkshire area I would be really grateful for suggestion of collaboration if you're a fellow artist for example. We can do an plain-air trip together or to share some knowledge about techniques etc. 

I intend to have my posts shorter and brief to maintain some kind of frequency. At times I'll post just a link to my new instagram endeavours to keep you briefly updated. 

Sorry to be inactive and there's just some bits of training endeavour that I've been working on:

Drawing from life - my sleeping corner (it's quite laborious)

Quick sketch of my "moka" gadget 

These following pictures are master studies of my favourite artists:

Jeff Watts master study

Jeff Watts master study

John Singer Sargent


Joh Singer Sargent

All the well for all of you, Petr

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Still life: Pete's essentials

Another try of my painting from life has happened merely 3 months back when it was still quite cold to go outside. I set my self a little still life made of things that I use for cooking the most. Healthy stuff, Isn't it? On the attached pictures you can see my setup in the final stages. Unfortunately in the beginning stages I don't usually feel compelled enough to make some photos because these moments when I don't know what's gonna happen always put a lot of anxiety in to my soul. But briefly - I started on stretched canvas over the drawing board with tape. I Use rolled primed canvas ( Than I proceeded with underpainting in this case directly as a colour wash. In this case it is more difficult track your values so I had to be especially conscious about value changes. Afterwards I stared with all the high chroma objects (i.e. yellow pepper, vinegar bottle and tomato) One may start with oil can but I thought that I needed warming up :-) It looked so cumbersome to start with the oil can. Once I gained confidence the finish was quite pleasing process. Only thing that I edited was the background of the picture towards the edges - I made it more darker so that my subject could appear with a more gleaming effect.  

Picture of my setup and a "selfie" with a better expression than at the beginning stages.

Completed thing - Pete's essentials (oil on canvas 9x11 inches)

Friday, 7 April 2017

Why I try to maintain a physical fitness

My regime of my sportsmanships conveys 4days per week of disgusting exercises - Why Do I do that? Basically It's three-fold!

First reason: TIREDNESS

As an artist who always strives to learn more and more artistic stuff I always have a feeling that I don't have enough free time to do my learning. But If I had just a free time and wasn't tired physically I wouldn't be able to concentrate on the process of learning as much as I would want. If you're tired you can relax more and you have a feeling that you deserve your relax time. And because the pure essence of relaxation for me is art it's a good idea to wreck myself with some exercises.

In addition to that reason I would like to mention that I've learnt how to compress my exercise time to a minimum with a same amount of tiredness. The only problem is that is so painfull! :-) It's a usually crossfit kind of training for time with some handstand pushups, pull ups, squats, deadlifts and so on. It takes me usually 20 minutes per session. I have this kind of training twice a week usually on Tuesday and Thursday straight after work. Through out a weekend I have both days a Sprint session in park in Beeston here in Leeds at 5:45 sharp. It's literally 10 minutes of compressed pain which contains 8 bouts of sprint at my top speed (nothing to brag about I think but I have to mention that I always put 100% effort on them)

It always help me to collect some references of facial expression (before and after session :-D ):

My self-portrait after session - endorphines at their best
In the picture at left that's me with my cuppa before session (not so exited) and on the right that's my self-portrait straight after session with endorphins at their best.

Since I believe that for maintaining an optimal body composition it's wise to look in the mirror instead on the scale I took photos of me in the mirror to evaluate the hard work and to see If I'm able to maintain solid shape - I know it is somehow narcissistic but it is way more accurate that a scale trust me.

But that's not a point. These images provide me a great learning tools for anatomy of a human figure. Some of the studies are shown down below:

Third reason: I CAN EAT MORE! (I know - not art related)

I don't eat junk food and I eat considerably low carb diet so I know that If I want to binge on carbs, I have to deserve them. I think only appropriate time for carbs is post exercise and that is the time when I have my high healthy non simple sugar home baked sweet potato pancake with some yogurt, strawberries and nuts on top. For sweetening everything up I usually use stevia powder.  

If you would be interested for exact recipe for this pancake give me a shout! Here's the picture of the final product down below. It doesn't look so great because there's a loads of cinnamon and cocoa powder on top but trust me it's gorgeous! Maybe I'll do a still life in the future from the ingredients of that pancake - I think that would look alright - strawberries, sweet potato, eggs, yogurt in some nice glass jar... What do you think?

My sweet potato pancake with some heavenly stuff on top...(caution! - only allowed after exercise)

Have a blast all of you,

Best regards Pete!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

My first sold painting overseas...

It's been almost a month since I received a mail from my main art-selling pages that someone wants my picture!

I was so thrilled because it showed me that some can appreciate what I do and all of my effort is worthwhile and the idea of my painting hanging in someone's home is so exiting! So I'm happy to announce that my painting "Chill" have it's own place for chilling in California!! (on the picture right bottom).

It looks happy - isn't it?

After this success I managed to sold another painting "Delivery" this time to Massachusetts! 

I want to express unbelievable happiness of mine. Knowing that the pictures could last on these walls for god knows how long wherever in the world - What a lucky me!

Be grateful, happy and enjoy your day wherever you are.


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Importance of master studies

I think and many successful artist that I know and learn from have a same opinion. In order to get better it's not a bad idea to copy some of your favourite artist. You can observe their brushwork, colour mixtures, edge work and how loose or tighten they are/were. Since I love portraits and it's always a challenge to do them correctly I've decided to give a try and study one of the greatest - John Singer Sargent.

I started with his rapid studies of some people because this unfinished pieces can reveal the most of the procedure. I wasn't that cautious about to have the same likeness of the subject which you can see on pictures down below, but I was more eager to capture how the paint is layed out on the canvas, how colours are vivid/gray or his edge work.

On the pictures there's original on the left and my copy on the right - Under first comparison there's an example how I approached this copy for a start - I used raw umber for an underpainting. The rest two master studies were started as Sargent would do it - just lay in the proportions with charcoal...

Few things that I've learned:

1. My final studies are lot more cooler because my lightning in my studio is warm  - So I have to change the bulbs for neutral light (5000K) to get my colours truthful. Pictures of the studies are captured in day light (more neutral) so it's even more conspicuous. If I would make a shoots of the pictures under my artificial light it would be that vivid.

2. My darks are on some places little bit duller because I polluted them with white in order to lighten them a little bit - That is mainly in warm darks - So in future I'll try to lighten them with a mixture of yellow and white.

3. Sargent made me definitely more aware of the edges and I thing that was the most valuable thing that I've acquired from this lesson.

Sargent master study 1 

My tonal underpainting for my first master study of Sargent work

Sargent master study 2

Sargent master study 3

So my fellow artists please give me some suggestions/advices/tips how to improve my oil painting portraiture. From this comparison I can tell that I have lots to do.

Have you all blast! Petr

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Watercolour experience - tips and tricks that I've learned

It's been a year when I tried watercolour for my first time. I found a series lectures on this topic on youtube via a great artist by the name of Stan Miller:

The quality of the videos isn't the greatest but the information I think is top-notch. Stan himself is a master watercolorist and I think there's merely no one better...

The main difference between watercolour and oil paint for example is that watercolour is not opaque medium, it's transparent and you have to basically diligently start from the lightest colour and go step by step towards darks. So in watercolour planning ahead is crucial - once you put a darker colour than you've intended in and don't react within 5 seconds or so you can't really fix it. That is the reason why it's one of the hardest mediums to handle.

You always have to be careful and aware about edge work. You have to do it on the go every time you put the color, line, splash of mixture on the paper. There's no way how to fix the edges afterward.
That's the main reason I think that my picture of John Scofield lacking various edges - I was more focus on leaving the highlights untouched - nose, beard, forehead. Next time I'm gonna be more aware I promise!

So in my little step by step pictorial demostration I show you how I proceeded with the portrait of John Scofield - my favorite Jazz guitarist.

STEP 1. Reference picture:

I must admit this picture lacking various edges itself - that is the reason why painting from life is more accurate and you can add more of your perception of the subject. Unfortunately John didn't want to go the the bloody rainy England :-)

STEP 2. Lay in the drawing:

No cropping! I always try to do it freehand from observation. Sense for proportion is like a muscle and it is necessary I think to exercise it whenever you can - If I would be professional artist with deadlines maybe I would have to crop it but if you have all time in the world I suggest do it freehand. It's not perfect but I think likeness is almost there...

One most important thing - in watercolour it is crucial to have this lay in as accurate as possible due the properties we've discussed - no room for error.

STEP 3. Laying in the colours:

I'd stared with the most difficult area crucial for likeness - eyes and nose, then more compelled for completion I proceeded outwards the face. 

STEP 4: Finishing the painting.

- I definitely overthought the background and the three colour is to much. I've learnt from this mistake and I now now that the simpler background the better...

John Scofiel portrait (watercolour on A4 watercolour paper)

As you can see if you concentrate to much on one thing you can lost awareness of something else - I think I depicted the likeness in some degree and the colour and values (which is the most important thing) are on spot. But I definitely lost perspective and some sense of the form in the picture (feels flat) and as I've said edge work is not something to brag about also. 

It's been a year since I did this one so I hope that I've made a significant progress along past 12 month and my work is better now. Although I'm more focused on oil painting...

Have a lovely state of being, Petr