Tag Archives: oilbars


7 Feb

07 Ben

Here’s another one from last night’s life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop. I love drawing models in a foetal position. There’s a terrific tension and movement in the pose as well as some great foreshortening. I precoloured a canvas sheet, size A3, with Rodamine Red oil pigment, squeegeed on with a cheap window-cleaning squeegee and left to dry. I did the initial drawing with a white conte crayon, drawn over with black conte and then rubbed some cerulean blue oilbar onto it. It’s a long way from finished but it was only a 30 minute pose and the basics are there for me to build upon.

The Artist’s Feet

14 Dec

14 feet

Not mine this time. I often scribble my feet when I’ve reached the end of the day and I haven’t done a daily drawing, but today I drew the feet of my chum and fellow artist, Melanie Ezra. Poor Mel tripped earlier in the week and fractured her foot. Today, she kindly offered me her feet to draw. The unfractured one is very slim and pale pinky-white but the broken one is swollen, misshapen and livid colours. It’s far more interesting to draw someone else’s feet.

I used a piece of Bockinford 250gsm paper, pre-coloured with yellow System 3 acrylic paint mixed with a little acrylic medium. I drew with black conte crayon and Winsor & Newton oilbars in white, cobalt blue, crimson and hookers green rubbed with a rag dipped in linseed oil.

Window Dressing

21 Sep

double window

Finished the third day of drawing in public at the Creative Bubble shop. It was stimulating to have the space to work on a very large piece with other artists close by. I’m developing some large-scale drawings, overlaying different types of drawing media. This is brown wrapping paper underneath with tracing parchment on top. The bottom layer is drawn with compressed charcoal and chalk but I switched to oilbars and Indian ink, applied with a large reed pen, on the translucent tracing parchment. The building in the background is the old Palace Theatre in Swansea, currently the focus of a campaign to save it from falling to bits.

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We’ve finished the event now, although we’re hoping to do this monthly, but we’ve left the work on site, putting a pop-up exhibition in the shop windows for the rest of the weekend. I’d like to do this in all the empty shop windows in the city centre.

Artistic License In Buckets

2 Apr

02 hot bay

It’s been a gorgeous bright, sunny day, although very cold, so Husb and I headed for the beach this evening for a spot of scribbling and fresh air. I re-used a board that was a failed experiment. It had some images in rhodamine red oil pigment overlaid with lemon yellow and I wasn’t happy with it so I dug it out of a cupboard and scribbled over it in oilbars – yellow ochre, white, ultramarine and black, thinned to varying degrees of translucency with the neutral oil bar. Finally I put in some marram grass with Hooker’s Green.

Now here’s where the artistic license comes in. This is Swansea beach. In Swansea weather. Under a Swansea sky. So if anyone’s tempted to book the next fight to this red hot landscape, forget it. I’ve substituted the searing pinks and oranges for various shades of grey. It’s not a bit like this really. But I’m an artist so I can do it. Ner ner nerner ner 😛

Hoody And Hat

31 Mar

31 beach

We’ve been cooped up for months so as it was bright and dry, but very cold, earlier today, Husb and I went for a walk on the beach. I wanted to get out and sketch en plein air and blow away the winter cobwebs. I sat down in the dunes behind a couple of people who were huddled up together in hoody and hat, sheltering from the wind. I did about 7 minutes scribbling onto an A3 piece of mountboard, prepared with 2 coats of acrylic gesso, using white, yellow ochre and black oilbars, overlaid with a splash of blue oil pastel. It was very sticky and I threw a handful of sand over it to finish it off. Had a terrific appetite by the time we got home.

Oily Scribbling

28 Mar

28 oilbar

I went out of my comfort zone again tonight at life drawing and used my new yellow ochre oil bar to lay a scribbled base on top of an A3 card I’d prepared with 2 coats of acrylic gesso. I’d normally work with very fine pens, doing lots of linear detail. I prefer oilbars to liquid paint because I can draw with them, but there’s no chance of doing fine work.  I worked over the ochre ground with a black carbon bar and some chalky pastels in red, green and blue. The oily ochre base made the pastels glide over the surface beautifully giving loads of texture. Finally, I scribbled some highlights with a white oilbar.

Colour, Vibration, Reality

8 Jun

I’ve been re-reading one of my favourite art books, Victoria Finlay’s ‘Colour: Travels Through The Paintbox‘. Most of my books on colour are dry and rather academic but this is a rare book – well researched, informative, intelligent AND beautifully written. She’s a social anthropologist turned journalist with a passion for art and that passion shines through in this book. There’s a bit in it about how what we see when we look at colour are actually vibrations, wavelengths of energy, electrons excited when light falls upon them. I’m absolutely fascinated by this and am trying to represent this in someway in my art. She also spent some time with Australian Aboriginal artists who explained that what we perceive as the real world actually lies ‘like a blanket’ over the reality of existence and this duality is what they are representing in their art.

I’ve been working on this piece for some time. I blogged the initial stages a couple of weeks ago and this week I’ve been overlaying the basic drawing and colour washes with a layer of white oil bar, thinned with a translucent colourless oil bar. Then I’ve removed some of the oil pigment with cotton buds [Q Tips] to create a vibrating mass of patterns across the surface of the figure. When you get up close, you can see through the surface pattern to the underlying ‘reality’. I feel like I’m getting somewhere with this.





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