Yellow Door and brown paper

The Yellow Door gallery in Dumfries is exhibiting entries to its portrait competition at the moment. Last week I had a lovely surprise when they awarded my self-portrait first prize! The exhibition is on until Saturday 1 September.

Self-scrutiny, oil on canvas

And here is an irrelevant drawing on brown wrapping paper photographed from a flattering angle. Still experimenting/playing with non-representational drawing, and the way lines can create apparent depth.

Mixed media

After Giacometti

I’ve been playing with my phone’s drawing app again. Also using up a free trial on Netflix, where I found a film about Giacometti, Final Portrait. It felt like a visit to his studio.

I assume some of the dialogue was authentic:

‘a portrait is never finished…’

‘to paint you how I see you is impossible…’

Not cheery, but inspiring.

Hence, this drawing.

(I have also ventured on to Instagram. I knew getting a smartphone would be dangerous.)

portrait painting in progress


preliminaries – oil sketch on acrylic wash

So (don’t you hate people who start with ‘so’?) there’s drawing and there’s sculpture and there’s painting.

Colour is a very uncharted ocean (for me) and a lot of the time I’m drawing with paint rather than painting (by which I mean dragging the brush across the surface to make a line, neglecting colour and light, as if it were charcoal, instead of applying the paint as an area of with hue, tone, saturation and all that) – but there are occasions when the paint goes on like clay and the brush is a modelling tool and then it feels like sculpting with paint, placing it carefully, not smeared or muddy, which seems like progress.

Painting with paint is another matter however.


Portrait commission – or ‘living the dream’

Over the last several weeks I’ve been working on a portrait commission. It was painted from life, squeezing sittings into spaces in the subject’s busy life. It’s painted in oils on canvas, though the underlying bluish wash is acrylic. Here are some photos of the work in progress:

initial sketch
getting a bit more solid
 Photo1815 and some background
in its finished state (though some of the paint is still wet)