Sunday 26 February 2017

Louise 5 - finished

Not too happy - I don't capture the vivacious character. Can't win 'em all.

                                                     "Louise"                                John Simletrt
Oil on Stretched Linen Canvas
18 x 14 inches (45 x  35 cms)

Saturday 25 February 2017

Louise 4 - Nearly finished

Nearly finished -  she looks miserable, I will need to tweak a 'smile.'

I've shown a string of photos, as the closer you get to the canvas, the more the light bounces  back off it.

It's oil on stretched linen canvas (18" x 14").

It might help if she wore makeup, but she's more of the 'farm-girl,' happy living on a farm, and walking her Welsh sheepdog (Blodwyn) along the cliffs and shoreline.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Louise 3 - Grisaille planes.

To remind you: this is not a lesson! BUT ... 

 ... if this system was good enough for Diego Velázquez, then it's good enough for me (although I got more hits on my blog than he ever did! ........... just saying.)

Today I added grisaille planes (which the dictionary defines as: decoration in tones of a single grey [gray] designed to produce a three-dimensional effect.)

I mixed the grey (gray) using a W & N Carbon Black (a slow drier) with a W & N Alkyd Titanium White (a quick drier) to speed up the drying process.

I made a grey (gray) string mixing proportions that gave me a match with each value on the scale shown above (right).

I placed splotches of the mixes on a throw away paper palette, with pure unmixed black on the extreme right and similarly unmixed white on the extreme left.

I them mixed a medium for this layer of painting thus:

Using the value finder to identify the values on my reference photograph, I replicated the value planes on the painting, observing not to blend at all; just laying in planes of grey (gray)



Finally, I just softened the lines where the grey planes met, with a dry and paint-free soft sable brush - avoiding fully blending

I've left it to dry overnight.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Louise 2 - Blocking In

Let me first say that I'm not intending to teach you how to paint; I'm not qualified to do so.

 There's three reasons for spelling out the process (that dates back 100 s' of years) that I use:

a. You may well see that something I'm doing is wrong or can be done in a better way, and you may be kind enough to let me know.

b. There just might be someone starting out who has little or no idea about painting, who may realise that if I can blunder through a portrait then so can they.

c. It journals my play work.

OK, so I'm using a pre-primed linen canvas measuring 18 inches by 14 inches.

I've sketched onto the canvas, with a soft pencil, a drawing of Louise, copying a (awful) photograph as a reference.

I then lightly sprayed over the canvas with a fixative to prevent the pencil running and getting all mixed up with paint.

I then mixed up my first medium as follows:

I used a kitchen scales and metal jug for this ... don't tell Pat!!

I like to use throw-away paper palettes,  and on to mine I put a squirt of oil paint

It's an Burnt Umber coloured Alkyd - a quick drying oil paint - from Newton and Winsor.

I then sploshed it over the sketch to show me were the darks are.

Then I left it to dry, and started another portrait of a surprise visitor to the blog, Blodwyn!

Still Having Model Problems!

You may recall the problem I had with getting my great-grandson 'Topgun' (Logan) to model:

His brother 'Billy' (Koby) is just as awkward, but then he is a pirate.

I blame the parents, Giselle and Max

At least Louise (Giselle's mum) is behaving for my current painting

Monday 20 February 2017

Every Little Breeze....

... Seems to Whisper ..... Louise.

My poor daughter thought she was going to escape ...........wrong!

Louise: The initial rough sketch.

Started back on the boat-build today ... sanding down the varnish for the final coat.

Saturday 18 February 2017

Max - Writ LARGE!

I'm still over-the-moon that I painted such a large portrait 'accurately.' Here's a photo with a chair close by which gives you some perspective of the scale 

Friday 17 February 2017

Max Completed

I had a lot of fun with this one. With a large 36 inch x 28 inch canvas there was plenty of room to cut-loose and splash paint around. I had lots of fun with the folds in the fabric where I went totally alla prima.

Because it didn't really have to be a good likeness, I just 'painted' totally relaxed and a good likeness just appeared.

When Max was younger he liked to be seen as an 'Emo' (?) and he has always tended slightly towards the 'Gothic'. Therefore I invented the idea of him clothed in a robe and painting in mono.

He tends to be a shy and very modest Australian (a contradiction in terms some may say) I needed to draw him out and capture the passion he shows when he's talking about his art. I did this by imagining his surprise when he sees this image of him in a non-existent robe.

                                                   MAX                              John Simlett
Oil on Stretched Canvas
36 x 28 inch
(91 x 71 cms)

 Needless to say the camera records the light thrown back from the medium and gives no idea of the size of the painting


Friday 10 February 2017


Don't ask where the locomotive series are....? I continue to go where the mood takes me. So I'm painting my grandson-in-law, Max: the Australian who married my best friend/granddaughter Giselle!

Why I've gone for a massive canvas (36 inch x 28 inch) I don't know ... wanted to bring a bit of drama into things and slosh some oils about.


It began formally but the brushes took over and the hood began to appear! Not sure where this one's going ... only that it's going to be in mono .... but who knows it could end up anywhere!

Just had a few days up in the mountains of North Wales - reminds me of Austria.