Follow that painting: Day One

I don’t do portraits and I’ve only ever done one self portrait, handily fudged by the size of the phone in front of my face. But the OCA course is about to demand I take another crack at it so I thought I’d get a head (ha!) start. I mean, all that learning-by-osmosis from Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year has to have had some effect, right? Here we go then:


Step one – pick a suitable selfie. Ok, that’s Step two; step one is getting something decent in the first place. Then, to get a feel for the larger shapes, trace those shapes with pencil on tracing paper.

Then the big step, assault the canvas. This is prepped with acrylic gesso and the medium is gouache. All I’ve done there is put on some broad sweep colour undercoat patches and hinted at the shapes from the tracing. Gouache dries quite quickly, although this is dilute, so it’s possible to come back to it quite quickly.


Here I’ve put on some more layers of colour; again no detail just big sweeps and blocking in. There are the beginnings of skin tone, the shades in the hands and face, a hint of the glasses (and don’t I wish I wasn’t wearing those!), and some stripes on the Tee top.


Now it’s gone a bit weird – unless I really do look like that! It should improve with attention to my ear, the slightly odd upper lip area, and that nose. But it could all go so very wrong (more wrong, even) at any moment. That will be tomorrow’s trauma but meanwhile, here are some sheep.


Next day: never be afraid to get rid of something that’s not working, the old masters painted over things all the time. Bye bye Weird Face.


There’s a cow in the basement …

… what are ya gonna do?

Luvvit, that’s what!


This is, let’s call her Muriel, whose first job was to illustrate a story called The Bridge in Not Being First Fish, and who today has joined several cats and a sheep at The Basement93 in Steyning.

Here’s the rest of the gang.


You can have a flick through the book and if you like what you see (read), you can nip across the road to get a copy at the Steyning Book Shopotherwise you can click your way over to that there Amazon.

From February 1st, the gallery will be holding a Black and White exhibition which, I’m chuffed to report, will include some of this menagerie. Very mooootivating 🙂

Getting all sheepish at the Basement

Joining the flock at The Basement93 tomorrow, and giving those cats a run for their money, Her Royal Woolliness of the House of the Red Wellies.


The print is from an original pencil drawing coloured digitally in Rebelle software made by Escapemotions. Her Woolliness appeared originally in Not Being First Fish and other diary dramas as an adjunct to a Michael Fish anecdote (obviously), and if the wind’s in the right direction, there’ll be a copy nearby for a browse and possibly for sale. Several other illustrations are also available as prints so if you see one in the book and not in the shop, ask. If it’s not been ‘upgraded’, tell Susanna or Sarah and I’ll see about dusting the digital magic over it. There’s Yoda working on checkout for a start …