My Life In Art - Blog Post February 2019

My Life In Art - Blog post #1

It has been quite a while since I last forayed into writing a blog. Since then much has changed within myself, my art and my approach to it. While it continues to be the rich vein of my life, it has more structure, more focus and hopefully has progressed.

My fascination with the art of the past, or traditional art, is as ever present as it once was. I still gaze in awe at the works of the great masters as I once did as a child. Still wide-eyed and eager to learn. And hoping that time and persistence have opened me to a greater understanding of that which I gaze upon. And from those myriads of brushstrokes and colours emerges a language I am now better placed to understand. That I can now still exclaim ‘wow’ but along with ‘yes, I see.’

I have learnt along the way the importance of the ‘likeness’ of the subject. By this I not only mean the resemblance, but also the expression of character. Showing the subjects soul if you will. I believe a likeness is more than skin deep. And I have always found that those around the subject, including the artist can sometimes see foremost the features and appearance. Asking themselves, ‘do I recognise you there’ when they see the artwork for the first time. But the sitter themselves look for a deeper similarity, and often looks beyond the visual likeness asking, ‘Is it me?’ I think adding this to portraits can bring a whole new light to the piece. And while it can be a struggle, it is a pursuit worthy of its gain.

I am ever eager to progress with my study and practice of portraiture, and there is no greater practice than production. I hope to paint many more portraits in the future and to capture my subjects ever better. Trying and experimenting with new ideas and techniques. And I hope to do more conversation pieces. Where the sitter is cast among an array of objects and scenery that come together to set a scene or pose a question. Where character becomes a story and in paint you weave its dialogue and prose.

One subject matter than I return to easily and with much enjoyment is the horse. I find no greater compliment to this genre than painting the Thoroughbred racehorse. And as you will see from my gallery, it happens to be my favourite subject. My passion for horseracing has spread far beyond the boundaries of the easel, and I have a very keen interest in the history of the sport and well as one for bloodstock and breeding. I love to spend many an hour tracing bloodlines and looking for traits and matches. And I find looking over these noble beasts a great reward, from watching yearlings right through to the racetrack and eventually the breeding shed.

As part of my fascination with what makes the great racehorse, I enjoy painting the elite athletes that we all enjoy watching. And from this I have branched out into painting great stallions and look forward to painting the stallion Frankel this year, having had the pleasure to meet him in the flesh last year. Ever the traditionalist I will capture him in conformation pose in oils on a large canvas. And while I shall try to capture his likeness, I am intrigued to include some of my study of the works of the Napoleonic period into securing something of his magnitude in the piece. Conveying that quiet confidence about him. This fills me with trepidation as well as eagerness.

Well, I shall round off my first blog post there. There is much to look forward to this year and hopefully many more blog posts to write.