Thursday, 19 October 2017

Finished sketches from Jo-Joo circus

Yesterday I made a post about my field sketching in circus Zoo. I had few sketches in pencil and one in full colour. Based on that one in full colour (in order to wind up) I finished two of them before bed...

They are about 1,5 by 1,5 inch each just like the previous one.

Have a nice Thursday...Petr

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Circus Came to Town!

Today our small town in the middle of the country in the middle of Europe became a home for upcoming week or so for a glorious Circus called "National Circus JO-JOO" (národní cirkus Jo-Joo In Czech)

They have among other variety of animals lovely tigers (whom I admire greatly since childhood) and they have during a day open circus Zoo for a reasonable toll. So I decided to go there to study them from life and see their majesty in person! There's no substitute for real thing and photographs can't describe the beauty of those animals.

It was really challenging to attempt a sketch because all the tigers were moving a lot in their cages so I ended up with rather scarcity of sketches in my field blog. However I managed to do one portrait in full colour of one of the sleeping fellows. You can see my setting in this video:


I've done this thumbnail (literally) sketch in watercolour with some touches of white gouache. Since I have the colours at least in one portrait (And now I have mixtures on my palette in my travel rig) I can finish rest of the portraits now with that sole colour study and from photos that I made in black and white - I think that os good practise - not to be influenced by colours that see my camera and rather to use colour that helped me to express myself right on the spot.

Remember - there's nothing more than a real thing. Photos are fine but to see things in person and really "inhale" them is completely different thing.

And what is your experience in sketching wild animals from life?  I'm a newcomer to this realm and it's a great and exiting challenge. Next time - cows and horses maybe? 


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

My first oil portrait from life

On Thursday 12th of October, 6 Days after my arrival home (Town of Zdar nad Sazavou, Czech Republic) I finally after some minor struggles with organising my work place at my parents house persuaded myself to ask my mother to pose for me for my very first oil portrait from life (I have done some portraits of my parents back in April in gouache). So far I have done paintings in oil of a still life - which is quite easy since the bottle on the table is not keen to move, or have a bad temper when painting gets too long etc.

My mother was quite convenient topic - She intended to watch TV news that evening so she sat basically moveless for me about 2 hours so I had a time to study her vigorously.

Anyway...Lighting in our living room is a nightmare. Intensity is really low so final portrait is quite dark (I have to use additional light for my canvas and palette to judge the colours properly.

On the other hand my task was a little bit easier since I have started use Rosemary and Co. Brushes from West Yorkshire recently - They are superb brushes!! (I love especially Evergreen series)

My Setting to see the bad, bad Lighting (and my lovely mother of course):

Here I used an old gessoed canvas that bared awful attempt from my previous times - I scraped it with scourer)

Here's the final painting - I sketched the proportions with No.1 round Evergreen dipped in a mixture of burnt sienna and ivory black. After that I blocked in general tones of the face and proceed directly with rendering. Sketch took me 2,5 hours. I put bright background to make the picture more vignette like. Hopefully I will become quicker! I want to be like James Gurney - prolific in every instance.
"Evening News" (oil on canvas 11x14) 


Useful pages:

My favorite brushes:
My oils paints - Especially good for indoor painting:

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Getting back - calling of my upbringing

Hi all good people and art enthusiasts,

I guess some of you maybe have noticed that I recently moved back to Czech Republic. The reason is quite simple - I've begun to miss my family. It was a great experience - two years in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire (by the way county where you can buy the best brushes in the world - but I'll talk about it in a future), occupation as a delivery driver for primary schools (there's around 200 places in Leeds and Bradford alone so we have been busy). I met genuine people. I want to give my farewell especially to Istvan Docza (my Boss), Lucy, Jamie-Lee Fogarty, James Lockley, Terry Fogarty (She teached me how to drive on the left side of the road), Peter Cinone,  Shayna, Anthony, Damon, Jason, Dan, Andrew Colburn and his lovely family (and their two dogs Zac and Zephyr) and to the whole gang of GT produce family. I would like to say it was a great sessions (although a few) in the gym with PJ Stone (Hope you'll come to visit mate) and with Sam Hewitt as well! I Have to say I'm so thankful to meet you all! I want to thank to Tony which was some kind of utility guy in our lovely old Victorian house in Beeston, where I has lived past year, and to my  Landlords Mike and Soni (lovely people Indeed!!)

Before I left I wanted to have same handmade memories on the common places, which I don't know why have some precious qualities for me. Let me introduce you some of my pictorial notes from my life mainly from past month (September 2017), I hope It'll not be boring for you. I really appreciate all those little moments in my life greatly and I want to share it with you:
My window (only one in my apartment with some remnants of a grocery)
Gouache on Paper 22 September 2017

This is my art corner in my room before my departure (Watercolour 28 September 2017)

This is Tony (Utility guy) Gouache on Gesso

My self portrait from my driver's seat (Ballpoint pen)

Quick portrait of me and great dinner lady Monica from Harehills Children Centre) (ballpoint pen)

Lady From a bus on my way downtown (ball point)

I thing sketches like this from field (Except my selfportrait and the one with Monica - they are from photograph) improve your skill in execution of drawing and hone your visual memory so I thing practise like this is essential. 

In the next post I'll tell you about my new settlement and about more art that I deal with in current days...


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Painting exercise - warm and cool painting

Hi all,

I have a feeling that won't cease I think in any time soon. And that is that I stink (artistically :-) ). My visions in my head are always better that outcome on the canvas. I think we all feel that and it is natural. Nevertheless it is important even in times of great disgust with ourself to push through and persevere. One of the action for that is to do some basic exercise from time to time.

It's a great advise from any great instructional book on art that you should learn to see colours in the temperature relationship and warm and cool painting with just two colours is a great opportunity how to see this relationships.

I started my exercise with ultramarine blue and raw Sienna according to my favourite book (thanks to Juliette Aristides:

I did a mixtures between the two colours and lighten them in ten steps with white and made this colour chart:

That provided me with an information of which range is achievable with those colours.
Next step was to set up a still life that would be manageable with this range of colours. So I put into my shadow box a pumpkin (warm orange) and blue plate with some blue cloth underneath.

On the image you can see my setup. It was a quick study approximately 4x6 inches just in sake of a practise. You can see my chart above the painting to guide me. 

Here's the outcome. As you can see you're able to achieve a lot just with two colours (plus white). Some things has to be downplayed greatly - for example the green stalk of the pumpkin - but you can achieve believability by mixing a colour that is not green at all but have relative temperature right to adjacent colours! And that's the key of this exercise)

I was so focused on the colours that I put to much of a detail in cloth and the background which ruined the picture but in overall I think the exercise served the purpose. 

I would like to know in comments your suggestions how else to train warm - cool relationships. I strive to get better in this so any advise would be appreciated greatly. 

Sincerely Pete

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!