Category Archives: Art

Brickwork No.3

This one is a little bit of a throwback to the “Red Door: Richmond” I did a few months/years ago. It’s a narrow door set in the face of brick wall, but this time I decided to do some fancy brickwork which meant a lot of shadow play.

Base Colours and tones. Most of it was leftover paint from the other paintings.


Line work established in Burnt Umber wash.


Filling in the blanks with pastels of white mixed with reds and yellows, and dark washes of umber and violet.


Ta Dah! with a quick door knob.


Brickwork No.2

Just a quick shot of working on 4 at the same time.


Here’s another one done. Brickwork is fun (not)!



I had to re-adjust the brickwork on the top of the architrave to match the perspective.

IMG_1990 IMG_1998 IMG_2001



Brickwork No.1

So I’ve been monitoring my (non existant) cashflow and I’ve come to the realisation it’s back to supplementing my “starving artist” lifestyle with some more painting to sell ( And it looks like there’s a few more “doors” left in me. Eventually I’ll paint, like, 78 of them and realise I could have done another Tarot Deck (sigh) – but I don;t have a full deck in me, ready to come out … and these things cannot, or should not, be forced.

Doors, however, I can paint and doodle for peanuts.

This series of four (always a nice round number), will be based on brickwork. The doors themselves will be recovered wood, made into doors. This gives me a lot of creative freedom to “age” my paintings with dirty textures and surfaces.


Starting with the base colour – all of them got two layers of Warm Red (working in Acrylics). I find two layers gives a good solid barrier between the canvas and the washes of paint I apply on top. I’ve noticed on my thinner pieces that if I’m not careful with my brush pressure, the paints rub right off the canvas with thinner layers. Two layers of “primer” or “base” layer protects me from that lack of grip.


After the Burnt Umber sketch, I start working on the contrasting light undertones. Note that I’m still thinking of all the colours which will be under the final ones I paint on top. I’m not sure if this a particularly great technique, but the end result is much richer when I have layers of paint and translucent washes.


Here’s a Day Time shot of laying on other mid level tones over the darker ones. The photos here vary between light and dark because I work throughout the night under warm (yellow) light. I also work on 4 paintings at the same time, till i get to a stage where one needs to be detailed. It’s a workflow process I’ve adopted to save paint (and leftover paint gets applied as a under layer on another painting, regardless of whether it’s suitable for that painting).


Going back to lighter tones, I start detailing the brickwork in the architrave.


A few more perspective adjustments (painting without sketching can be tricky, but since the canvases are so small, the adjustments are easy to make) and I start laying the base colours of the door.



And here’s the final with highlights and shadows worked back in. I’ve opted to give the door a bright/sharp light source and an overcast shadow from above to give a bit of depth. It makes it a little peculiar but I think with a final shadow wash, I can anchor it all back in. The perspective isn’t perfect, but I suppose that’s what make paintings not photos.



Hmm, to-door-knob or not-to-door-knob?

Visual Cover Letter (& Resume)

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So here is the slideshow/gallery of the Visual Resume I made, in an attempt to get my foot in the door in an (mid-sized)  Architectural Firm (I’ve blocked out the names of the people involved and some references directly to them for their privacy) . I did get an “interview” of sorts, but unfortunately there were no positions available for my administrative experience, creative skills or architectural background. The upside was that one of the principals was impressed with my work (I had to generate a port folio from scratch for the “interview”) that he might contact me in the future for presentation work to add to my “industry experience”.

The background/inspiration of this piece came from a thought “what would I want to see if some one sent me a resume/cover letter for a position in a creative agency?”.  Writing my own brief, I determined that I should make it post/mail-able, showcase of my ability to communicate visually, quirky enough to be different but anchored enough to show my personality. Most of all it had to be personable, because the person reading this would have to get an idea of who I was as a human being of 30 plus years.

I went old school for this using blue mechanical pencil lead (old school drafting) and felt-tip pens for the lettering. I also left faint construction lines, to evoke that old school feel.

I had a lot of doubts while producing this, as it was a significant body of work (40 pages of hand drawn images and or typography), about the success of it. Thankfully I managed to push through it, because the response was “delightful resume” and “come in and let’s have a chat”.

(While I am pretty amazing with my baking, I decided not to risk food poisoning and opted to get a cake from Le Petit Gateau for the “interview”)

Side Serves: Concept Art & Visual Resume

While working on the illustrations I’ve blogged about, I have also been working on two other little projects.

(One) Some concept art for an ex workmate who wants to create a RTS type Game. Humans, Robots, Aliens – usual stuff. At this moment I have free reign on concept with a very bare frame work suggested by him. I’ll post some images up later once I get an okay from him.

(Two) I decided to do a Visual Resume/Cover Letter to apply for an entry level job at an Architecture Firm. I figured, if I was hiring, I’d like to see something personal and creative from the applicant. In this case I am also cold-calling. It’s a 80 page Moleskin blank journal – which I only used 40 sides, because of how thin the paper was. All the lettering was done in felt tip and all the background images were done in mechanical blue pencil (old school drafting). I left the construction lines for effect. I’ll probably post the sequence out, once I find out if it had the desired effect (even if it doesn’t work out, I’ll probably still post it)



Wish me luck!

Take the Red Pill

Here’s another quick one – no process because it was a simple background and I spent more time blending the characters skin tones than anything else.


(He’s a Maths Teacher – corny, I know)


Caged Heart Part 3

I’m actually not enjoying this. The constant repainting over mistakes is wearing thin. I’m definitely not enjoying the fact the paint dries darker and either takes too long or too fast. Acrylic is definitely a harder medium to work with when working with a limited supply of paint as I’m practically applying washes of colour only to guess what the end result will be. In actuality I should be working with a thicker more forgiving medium like oils (which I can’t afford or have ever used). Perhaps this will be another half-attempted painting, with the canvas to be salvaged later for some more abstract piece.


Caged Heart Part 2

I do really hate noses. I have a general idea of how they look like (you know, everyone has one), but when you’re trying to paint the subtle shaded difference of noses from a frontal light source and have to blend it with the skin that connects to the cheeks, that’s where I get lost. The gradual shading makes or breaks a face.

Here’s my Michael Jackson sides post-op nose.


Here’s the detail in it’s truly hideous  manner. The shading is all wrong and the scale to the face needed adjusting.


This was my first attempt at fixing it, then I gave up for the day. I realised it wasn’t dimensional enough, ie, triangular and popping out, so I painted over as you would extending it out in a geometric manner.


Anyways, after a good night’s sleep and with clearer eyes, I realised not only was it flat, but small and basically out of scale (along with the mouth). Here’s the improved version.

To fix:

  • The nostril to the right needs adjusting
  • The lips less happy and more relaxed
  • The eye on the left needs to scale across bigger


The thing I’m trying to get used to is that acrylic paints dry darker compared to when they are wet. There’s a lot of faith in the painting process at the moment because I’m not sure if I’ve stuffed up a layer until it dries.

Another issue is the speed of drying, which is at the mercy of the weather at the moment. Summer heat and a personal fan blowing on me is making my palette harder to work with. I’ve resorted to the technique of pre-wetting/washing the surface with water for blending of tones. At this point I’m trying to get all the tones right before I attempt the crazy over lay layer of skin details – this airbrushed look is a little plastic.

Caged Heart – WIP Part 1

I’ve had an idea/canvas sitting around in my vicinity for a while and I’ve finally taken the plunge to paint a large portrait. Personally I find portraits challenging only because what I end up painting is never what the actual image looks like. A crippling personal flaw which I’ve been trying to overcome for years. The challenge here though is minimised a touch because the person doesn’t actually exist.

The idea ia an amalgam of two digital images I did a few years ago – a self portrait of a clown getting up facing his morning demons; and a symbolic tarot card image with a cavity in the chest housing a caged heart. This would be an extension of both of those images, but also an exercise in detailing human skin for hyper realism.

Here’s the Work In Progress so far:

Sketch work to work out positioning and scale. At this point I haven’t worked out what the shadows would be, but it was more than likely a single point light source from above. Here you can see the maths of transferring the image onto canvas as I scale up a grid. The canvas is 24 by 36 inches.




Here’s the sketch in pencil on the painted over canvas. The original image on the canvas was a scene from Adele’s Rolling In The Deep video which I haven’t touched since 2009. I painted over the canvas with a semi thick layer of white to get rid of the blues and purples, but obviously not enough for it to look like a lavender explosion. Nevertheless, the light purple will add a good complimentary tone base of the skin tones I’m thinking of employing.


Here’s the background colour done to help visualise the tones on the foreground. Seasoned artists seem to have worked out how to paint foreground before background for their images. I seem to work the other way around because of my lack of experience with colour. It’s gonna be a warm blood red fading to purple.


I forgot the reason why I stopped working with traditional media – dirt! I really don;t miss smudging carbon/graphite across pristine white surfaces. Admittedly, most of the pencil work has been covered up or wiped off at the time of typing this, but I’ve had to wash my hands a fair few times because my work surface is white and the smudges are annoying.


Using a Burnt Umber wash to paint over the pencil lines to establish the painting and some shading zones. I also reduced the forehead/hair which was exaggerated due to distortion.


Playing with some colour tones. Using only a limited palette of (Acrylics) Warm Red, Warm Yellow, Violet and White. Burnt Umber is currently a wash I’m using to establish some tonal variations.


Base tones put down – time to start working on detailing. (I think the nose looks too small, but let’s see what happens).


Moroccan 2 and Cellar Door

The second Moroccan is done (as done as it can be). Moving on to a cave like cellar door. I think a mild Celtic influence may emerge.