Undeterred after the joys of drawing Homer's beard in charcoal, I jumped into this painting of Ajax with both feet! The cast itself is a good four feet tall and the sheer quantity of space the eye has to traverse meant it was tricky to get the underlying drawing right. I certainly had the value of standing well back from the subject hammered well and truly home, after a first attempt drawn at somewhat closer range ended in frustration and abandonment.
Curly beard and waving locks notwithstanding, I decided to make life a little more challenging still, by painting the coloured background in alizarin crimson. Anyone who has tried using it will know how incredibly staining it is. During my first attempt at the cast I tried, foolishly, to work fairly directly and establish the contour painting wet into wet. Result: a bright pink halo around the entire thing. Lesson learnt!
So, take 2, and I stood much further back and did a fairly comprehensive underpainting in raw umber. I left the final painting of the background until much later and kept it simply as an approximation of the overall value of the background done in raw umber. Once I'd progressed the cast painting much further, I then built up the background colour in a series of glazes.
All in all a good exercise in learning some of the difficulties of working large scale in colour - and not a completely unsatisfactory end result, now I've got over the traumatic experience of actually painting it.
Framing costs notwithstanding (!) my show at the Horsham Museum and Art Gallery has been a fantastic experience. The private view was really well attended and I have been absolutely humbled by the kind comments I received that night and since. It has been really encouraging to know that people are interested in artists who are studying figurative art.
The exhibition features, predominantly, works on paper - showing how students in the academic tradition learn to draw. The Museum shows off the works to real advantage. Being used to looking at my work in isolation, for me it makes quite an impression seeing my pictures all together in one place!
The show 'Silence and Slow Time' is now into its last weeks and closes on 10th March.
Here are some images from the opening.
Aspiring artist, training in the classical tradition.