Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 4

Number 4- Afro XIX

Afro XIX, Graphite, 13.5" x 9.5", Charcoal and Oil Base pencil, 2009

This is drawing was number 19 of my current Afro series. My passion for graphite and charcoal some how takes over here, as I really tried to express myself, and because it was not a commission, I felt a little bit on the free side. The emphasis of this series is the beauty of black natural hair and the model is a lovely little girl in my Sunday school class, she came just like this, the Sunday I taught the class.

In working on this drawing, I worked entirely from a snap shot of her, converting the coloured picture into black and white. I then made sure I used sand paper to roughen the smoothness of the watercolour paper I used. The effect of this roughening up gives the paper some really rugged textures that work well for the Afro hair and for other textural effects. I started by working entirely with a sable brush, water and powdered charcoal. After treating it as a watercolour, I then worked more on the drawing with oil base pencils and then I finished off with graphite for the details and also for the random mark making around the figure. In making these marks, I involve mark making in the form of writing, the writing has to do with how I feel about the work and the theme of the work, I like all this to show up in some sort of graphical poetry of free hand calligraphic strokes.

My blogger friend and Sister, Dominique bought the drawing after posting it on my blog in 2008. She said it reminded her of her daughter when she was small.

"Very early on in my life, I fell in love with the landscape of the human face, where all the emotional states of life are to be found, and the love affair has not faltered."

- Burton Silverman

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 3

Number 3- Pensive II

I wanted a painting that would remind me of the pensive nights that I used have while organizing pool competitions for residents of St Mungo's (A charity that hoses homeless people) at Cedars Road in Clapham London. This particular hostel has just been shut down, this week after years of running, which makes me cherish this piece, even more. These pool competitions were a means of engaging and also motivating the residents into being active, competitive and also a good means of socializing with others. It was during these competition nights on Mondays that I learned how to play pool. I sometimes took part myself but my main role was to organise the competitions. There were prizes at stake and and a trophy too. These prizes meant a lot to the residents and especially for the participants. You could hardly hear a pin drop while these games were being played.

Pensive II, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 80cm, 2008

So that's a bit of the background behind this painting. I normally took loads of snap shots while the games were being played and I was always looking for a good composition that would involve the referee and two players. Out of so many hundreds of pictures, I chose this one and animated the way I painted the figures so that I could make the pensive, tense feeling in the atmosphere, show through in the finished piece. It was an awkward colour scheme, I tried to follow the actual colours in the venue but they didn't really work in harmony for a painting but after much thought, I decided to stick with it and keep it that way because I feared that altering might make me loose some of the effects I had at the beginning. I still have this in my studio and I always look back at it with great pleasure of one of the first successful figurative paintings I did on a large scale canvas.

"Great painters are admired by their "look", their brushstokes, their technique. The viewer admirers not only the "look" of the paintings, but also subconsciously, what is behind the paintings-the painter, the lifestyle, the successes, etc. We buy the whole package."- David Leffel

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 2

Number 2- Internal Congestion

Continuing the works that changed my career this is Number 2. A painting called, "Internal Congestion"- This painting was painted in 2008 and it was around the time I had just left my full time job and was cruising into Art full time. I wanted to do a painting that captured the feeling one gets in a congested train during the Rush Hour. Also, I wanted to picture some people who would not really want to be close to each other on the train but couldn't help it because it's just the way trains are-you find yourself up someones nose and they are almost breathing down into you.

Internal Congestion, 100 x 80cm, Oil on Canvas 2008

I always plan these compositions with a few snap shots of actual scenes, then I play around with some figures I'll want in that aren't in the actual photograph. The big man wasn't in the train, a girl was actually standing where he was, but I decided to replace her with him to make the painting a little more interesting.

I used a predominately brown, red and green scheme because I didn't want the numerous colours the people were actually wearing to clash. I wanted some sort of harmony within the whole picture and then I added a bright red on the man, who happens to be the centre of interest. It was quite weird having the centre of interest right in the middle, but sometimes it's good to break the rules.

One of my old Secondary School friends bought the work and is so happy to have it in his collection.

"Learn to work not from your head but from your eyes. Your real aim is to paint the light, not the thing itself. You have to train yourself to see your subject objectively rather than to identify with it, and to treat what's in front of you as a simple design problem-keys to good picture -making."-Charles Reid

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 1

Number 1-A portrait for Toby Sharp and his wife.

On this day last month, I clocked 40, and I shared 40 works that changed my career on Facebook. But on this blog I have decided to show the works and the stories behind them in the days ahead, so stay tuned!

Mr & Mrs T. Sharp, 80 x 100cm, Oil on Canvas, 2008

This portrait came as a commission from the groom's father, who wanted a great wedding gift for his son and daughter-in-law. It's a tricky one, when it has to be a wedding picture and I have to work from the photo supplied. But to make this work I had to go their houses and sketch them from life. After spending 30 minutes to 1 hour sketching each of them, I then went on to take a series of pictures of my own in the poses they took in the photo supplied. This would help me understand their features better and some of their body language. So I combined this with my sketches while working on the portrait.

After completing, it went well the the groom's face but his dear wife had a few things to correct on hers. I got her over to the studio and had a good look at her face and I could see exactly what she wanted corrected, around the areas of her cheeks and jaw line. Once this was done, they both loved it!

I really enjoyed working on this piece because it had them with a landscape in the background. The landscape helped in tying the composition together. I could use the flowers to lead the eye too.

"Think before you mix and place a brushstroke. Three precise strokes during a painting session are more productive than a hundred sloppy, unplanned, "spontaneous" ones. Think before you act." -John Howard Sanden

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Portrait Sketch in Oil- Shots from the day

Cass Art, Islington was the venue for my second workshop demo at Cass Art. Altogether I had 17 participants and they all had fun! The workshop ran from 12-4pm and I decided to do 2 colour sketches with all the talk and explanation in the first 2 hours and then let the class do their own paintings from 2-4pm with a bit of critique and feedback from me. Winsor & Newton joined up with Cass Arts to supply a generous amount of oil colour, brushes, solvent, medium, disposable palettes, canvas boards and canvas for the demo and the participants to try out.

The class had 3 options of which to choose two.
1. was to watch me do a portrait sketch from life in an hour.
2. was watch me do a portrait sketch from a photo.
3. was to watch me to a portrait sketch from one of my black and white sketches.

They decided to watch me to

1. a portrait sketch in colour from a coloured photo (Kezia)

2. a portrait sketch in colour from a black and white photo(Monty)

I am really thankful to Emmanuel and Iman (participants on the day) for taking great pictures while the workshop was going on

1st demo was one of Kezia

Adebanji starts the First Demo

Adebanji finishes the First Demo

2nd demo was one of Monty

Adebanji starts the Second Demo

Adebanji finishes the Second Demo

Other shots from the day




"Using a little bit of paint, one cannot learn to use a lot. Using a lot one can learn to use a little"

"Start the finish with the first brushstroke-then finish the start"

In learning how to paint, the only technical thing to learn is how to hold the brush and make the brushstroke."

-David A. Leffel Mantras

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sketches on the tube, train and bus in March III (And some great news)

These are some recent sketches I have done on public transport. I am also happy to introduce you to the New blog-Urban Sketchers London, and also The New Book The Art of Urban Sketching in which I am featured (I think the first Print has already sold out, so they are in the process of a second print-that's why the amazon price is a bit expensive at the moment). Also I have a short 7 minute video that shows how I go about sketching on public transport, I am also recording this at the same time I am sketching so it's a bit fussy but I hope you enjoy the whole process.

Recent Sketches

This sketch is completed from start to finish in the video clip below.

The Video

The New Urban Sketchers London blog.

These are some of the new pictures and sketches I posted on the New Blog. Which will feature mainly sketches of London Scenes

Tower Bridge at Night

Adebanji sketching Tower Bridge at night

The Art of Urban Sketching Book

The Sketch and Picture here are part of the features of me in the book

This is book cover from amazon-you can click to HERE to see some more features of this great book!

"The main thing is to keep working, questioning, experiencing, growing. You've got to train your eye to develop your emotions to work together. We are all students. There is no end to learning."-Everett Raymond Kinstler from his book "Painting Portraits"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The "OIL PORTRAIT SKETCH"-My Free Workshop at Cass Arts

Cass Arts have been running free workshops every weekend this season and on Saturday I going to be running the show from 12-4pm. In collaboration with Winsor & Newton, who will be supplying all the materials for the day-I'll be demonstrating how I convert my black and white sketches to colour. It's all about the portrait sketch.

I have copied and pasted this from the Cass Arts website
Saturday 24th March
Drop in 12pm-4pm
FREE Materials also available to sample, age 18+
Paint oil colour portraits with Adebanji Alade and get
hints, tips and advice on everything oil. In this
hands-on workshop learn how to capture the story
behind every face and see how you can ‘sketch with
colour’, bringing gesture and life

It's a great opportunity to come and have some fun, ask all the questions about sketching in black and white and colour!

Where others found inspiration in dreams I found it in Nature. Many have called that a lack of imagination. I gladly call it a love of reality.~ Anders Zorn (culled from The Art and Influence blog)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Some things I have learnt while Sketching on Public Transport.

These are some things I have learnt while sketching on public transport. Hope you enjoy!

1. Be very friendly, smile and relax. People around have enough stress already, don't add to it.

2. Be thankful, if someone admires your sketches, always be ready to say a hearty, 'Thank you'

3. Be free to sketch openly, when I started out, I think for my first 7 years I normally had to hide and avoid people noticing me. But now from experience I have learnt to just do it in the open, it works! That's how I got to do a workshop with students on the tube-sketching right there and they were all learning and sharing the process.

4. People really want to know why we sketch. Be sure to have a ready answer available!

5. If anyone objects to you sketching them, simply stop, people are not all the same.

6. If there are children, sketch them, if possible, give them the sketch-it really puts a smile on their face and makes their day!

7. Sleeping commuters are the best to sketch if you are just starting out and still feel timid.

8. Have a bag or some sort of support to rest your sketchbook on. It helps to give your sketchbook a good support.

9. If someone really gets personal and asks, why are you sketching me? Make sure you make it clear first that it's nothing personal but that you are what you are and just sketch people, hand over your sketchbook to them and let them see all you have done in the past and then explain all the reasons why you do it with smiles, enthusiasm and passion!

10. Finally, sketching on public transport is a great habit- I have never had a dull moment while on public transport except the days in which I forgot my sketchbook. On days like that I still end up sketching on newspaper, my books or anything available.

"When you are not painting, devote as much time as you can to drawing. Buy yourself a sketchpad of good sturdy drawing paper and draw faces whenever you have a spare moment--friends, family, strangers. drawing is not only fun in itself, but it's the best way to study the most fascinating and varied of all subjects: the human head."From the book, "Portraits in Oil" by Wendon Blake and George Passantino

Friday, March 09, 2012

On the Way to Bath Rugby Home Game, 36" x 24", Oil on Canvas

On The Way to Bath Rugby Home Game, 36" x 24", Oil On Canvas, 2011 SOLD

This painting was one of my entries into The Bath Prize last year. It didn't sell at the auction but once it went up on at The Bath Gallery on the first home game after the auction- the inquiries started rolling in and one lucky couple got it and not only did they get it but they had the opportunity of having themselves put in to the painting. The husband loves Bath Rugby and really wanted to be in the crowd and his wife doesn't really love Bath rugby but loves Mallory a Classy Shop that also features in this painting, she wanted to be seen as the the odd one out, leaving Mallory with her shopping.

It all worked well, as I went to their house and did all the painting right in their presence, they were really thrilled and you can see it on their faces in the picture below.

The Proud Owners of The Painting

It was another opportunity for me to see the new home of my painting as this is not always the case. Most of the time the paintings just leave the gallery wall never to be seen again!

Planning the insertion of the couple

I had to take pictures of the couple, sketch form those pictures, work them into the right size and proportion to the other figures in the painting and then start the painting proper.

Finished insertion of the couple

This painting was only done in four colours- Titanium White, Terra Rosa, Prussian Blue and Yellow Ochre. A limited palette I learnt to use at Heatherley's during my first year.

"With a limited palette, the older painters could do just as well as today... what they did was sounder." (Pierre-Auguste Renoir)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Sketches and Tips on Sketching People on Public Transport in March I

Recently my friend Haidee-Jo asked if I could give her a few tips on sketching to share with her students in one of her painting workshops. I put together these 10 tips which I also felt I needed to share here. Enjoy them and enjoy the sketches too!

1. There's only one thing that can stop you from being a sketching machine-your eyesight-make sure its good, make sure your sketching hand trusts your eyesight.

2. There's always something called the overall view of anything. Let this be the most important thing you aim for while sketching anything. Never get bogged down with details.

3. Your sketching equipment-I don't care what you use. Just make sure you understand everything that it can do. That way you become a master of the material. The way to master the material is to love it, play with it, experiment with it, do everything possible with it, until you know every single thing it is capable of doing.

4. You are a unique individual, there is something about you that everyone needs to know. That's why we don't look the same, so why should our drawings and paintings? Get to sketch loads and loads and loads, until you become you and nothing but you.

5. You look at your sketches and you feel proud-(good!) But beware of being comfortable with what you are producing now. Strive for more, long for the best you can ever be.

6. You look at your sketches and you feel low(-bad!) Never let where you are now determine your pathway. Always have a healthy, comfortable view of what you have done and NEVER communicate that low feeling when talking about your work.

7. When sketching, it's all about time. If you have a longer time, make that your pace. And if you have shorter time make that your pace. It's always about how much time you have at your disposal.

8. Your mind is everything when it comes to solid sketches. Always have it at the back of your mind the words, IT IS POSSIBLE.

9. If you don't like perspective don't worry. What you need to like is the reality of how things need to appear in distance to create a meaningful use of space in the three-dimensional on a two dimensional surface. Sometimes its just the word that scares us not the meaning.

10. Finally, there's nothing that can stop you from progressing to the next stage of your career! The only thing is YOU. Believe in yourself!

"HASTE IS THE ARTIST'S WORST ENEMY"-I heard while in College