Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 20

Number 20-The Royal Crescent bathed in the spring sun

This painting of the Royal Crescent in Bath was done for my Bath Group show in May last year at The Bath Gallery. I went to Bath to do a study in graphite and then I took loads of pictures too. I came back to London with all the reference material and embarked on this piece, which is my largest painting of a place in Bath.

It is such an incredible structure and I love it, ever since I did two (here and here) plein air shots of it during my Bath Marathon. I have always longed to do a bigger piece and this was my chance, although painting the details was a nightmare!

It some how didn't sell during the exhibition but it fetched me a commission of St Paul's in the same format(A couple visited the exhibition and just loved the way I painted this structure that they asked if I could paint St Paul's the same way) for 3K and then I was happy to later hear that this piece sold for the same price after the exhibition was over! It was indeed a double blessing!

The Royal Crescent bathed in the spring sun, 48" x 20", Oil on canvas, 2011

The Sketch

Adebanji with painting at the exhibition

Adebanji sketching the Royal Crescent

I'm a firm believer in the value of working outdoors from nature, and I'm not shy about saying one simply can't be a good studio painter unless one paints directly from nature outdoors. That said, I seldom finish a painting on location. I take digital photographs of the subject when I start painting, and then I complete the painting in the studio. If the plein air piece is promising enough, I will use it as the basis of a larger studio painting, again using my digital photographs to guide me through the initial stages of the larger composition"-Kathryn Stats

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 19

Number 19- Interior Light in Farmyard

This work brings back great memories as it was the first Farm painting I embarked on doing. I haven't been able to keep up this series as much as I would have liked to. But also when I first became a Provisional member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, this was the first painting that I exhibited at their members only exhibition in 2010.

Interior Light in Farmyard, Oil on Board, 18" x 12", 2010.

I always have loved visiting farms and if chanced once again, I'll pick up this series again. I just love interior light in these farm settings, they reveal all these interesting lost and found forms which bring out the beauty of these animals. I have also posted a pencil drawing of this same kind of theme to show the similarity between the way I approach painting and drawing. For this particular painting I started with an underpainting wash of brown on a warm pinkish background, then I built the colours with layers of washes, increasing the colour thickness as I got to the lighter parts of the painting.

Pencil version of Farmyard light

"I don't want dead paint, so I test many of my works by studying them in a dark room at twilight or even after dark to check the luminosity. If the darker forms still have resonance and luminosity, I know the painting's working."-Will Barnet

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 18

Number 18- AFRO XX

This piece comes from my AFRO SERIES, a series which I am still currently working on. This series emphasizes the beauty of natural black hair.

I can clearly remember I met a lovely lady, during a weekend in the winter of 2008 and she had a nice looking Afro, not the kind you'll always see. I looked once and twice....then got the courage to ask if she'll like to be in my current series.....She agreed! I had to take pictures of her and that was sufficient, there was no room for sketching as the occasion wasn't the best for that, it was her dad's birthday and everyone was busy having fun.

AFRO XX, 10" x 8", Coloured Pencil/Sanguine Dust, 2008

This work comes as part of the 40 because after I completed the drawing-there was something about the her face that made it seem as if she was about to speak-an alive kind of feeling, somehow in this portrait, not only the hair got the emphasis but something a little bit more deeper- I always believe the mood is best captured by the mouth. I am not always able to get the inner spirit of those I capture and when she saw it she affirmed it too. This one seemed to evolve through the ghosting technique I used in the initial stages of the work. This was done with ghosting the sanguine dust on a self sanded watercolour paper. Then different tones of browns, reds and orange coloured pencils were used to bring out tones and details. I also added my calligraphic writing marks in the background.

"If you are into portraits, you'll often meet people everyday who are what I call, "dream models"- These are the people one would love to paint or draw all day long. But if you just allow them to pass by, the experience is lost forever. Sometimes a sketch would do, sometimes the meeting might be too brief and you'll just need to take risk and ASK politely-The worst case scenario would be a "NO" but often times it's a "YES"- and if a yes, they may allow you to sketch, take a picture, book a sitting or two and in the end, those are the kind of works that become treasures because they come from the soul of the artist- they are something you really wanted to do, far from the commission type of thing-so TAKE A PLUNGE, GIVE IT GO, BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER KNOW!" -Adebanji Alade

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 17

Number 17-Rain, Rain Rain, London Streets

This painting was done in some of the worst conditions and circumstances I was facing at the time I did it last year. Things were going from bad to worse and I struggled to paint this piece for the Chelsea Art Fair last year. I knew I could do a large painting full of figures but I was also a bit timid and didn't know how the whole thing would work out. To see how I went about painting this stage by stage you can click HERE. The stage by stage pictures do not reveal any struggle, sometimes when stages of a painting are shown it almost makes the painting process seem so straightforward and mechanical-nothing about the frustration, discouragement, despondency or sweat shows up and it is almost easy to say, "I could do that on any given day". I wish the painting process was that simple, probably my life would have been much easier!

Number 17-Rain, Rain Rain, London Streets,48" x 30", oil on canvas, 2011

While working on this piece, my laptop packed up and at the time I was so low in funds, I couldn't even repair it. I was facing other rock hard issues in my personal life, the conflict was great! Then I decided to work from pictures and they were poor. Half way through I almost gave up. Then I decided to keep going. I'm so privileged to share my studio with two artists who always offer hope, constructive criticism and encouragement. This really helped as they corrected
many things that would have gone totally wrong with the piece while it was being executed. Alex Fowler NEAC(Painter) wasn't happy with the warm showing through from the under-painting and the architecture(I painted on a warm background) He said it didn't show the true feel of a rainy day. Richard Burn(Sculptor)wasn't happy with colour of one of the umbrellas-I made it what I saw, the colour of the Union Jack, but he insisted it was distracting the whole sombre and subtle grey mood the whole piece had. I listened carefully and altered these areas as I worked on the painting.

It was exhibited at the Chelsea Art Fair in April last and it didn't sell! I wasn't pleased at all and thought, oh no, after all that pain, no one wanted the rain! Then it was exhibited in June at a group show of London Paintings at Enid Lawson Gallery. It was used as the front cover of the exhibition catalogue and it sold on the opening day for £6,450. The couple who bought it were so pleased with the painting. They said it captured everything they felt London is on rainy days and the guy said he had worked around that area I depicted and his daughter was in Australia and he said I had included Australia House in it too, which he said, made it perfect for them! He said he had a son who exactly my age and was happy to see I was doing something great with my life.

"Sometimes the highs are really high and the lows are really low, but we just need to be prepared for every moment, because we can never tell what lies ahead!"-Adebanji Alade

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 16

Number 16-The Highbury Goal Machine.

This painting was done for an Art Football Competition( I focused on the highest scoring player for Arsenal, Thierry Henry-He is one of the football players that played the game and scored goals with such flair and fluency- it was almost swagger like or should I use his words VaVa VOOOMMM!!!) but it got rejected, and you may wonder why it changed my career. Well, it was because of the rejection of this piece, that made me take on the next football competition that came up in which I featured an Arsenal Fan in Agony and Ecstasy. Sometimes one's work is rejected, it gives room for one to reflect and assess why it was rejected. So when the selected works were exhibited for the first competition, I looked and I noticed that none of the works selected had any focus on a real footballer but more of what football meant to the artists and photographers who took part. Learning from this rejection, I took on the next one that came up and I was a runner up! Learning from what we might term as failure can be very disappointing but I think the best way to deal with it and move forward is to get feedback. Feedback is very important, a readiness to accept criticism, a readiness to accept what went wrong and a readiness to deal with the ego that plagues most artists-It's that feeling we have kind of grown up with , the feeling people have put into our subconscious way back from the times we were in Primary and Secondary School. Those feelings that we are the best! That we are so talented! And that we are always going to excel. Then all of a sudden we get into the real art world and we notice a difference!¬ We put work into juried shows and we get rejected. What's our first reaction? They don't like me, they don't like my name, they don't like my style, they are biased, they only favour a group of people......We could go on!! But the bitter truth normally is we are rejecting the path of failure, which if turned inside out will produce success!

The Highbury Goal Machine, Mixed Media on Canvas, 24" x 18", 2007

Looking at this piece there's nothing wrong with the piece, but without me going to the exhibition of selected works for feedback, I would never have known that they didn't want works that depicted actual football players. So, like I mentioned in some of the earlier posts in the stories that made my career, I'll say it again,. The rejection may be because the work doesn't suit the criteria of the exhibition, and this was clearly my experience with this piece. I hope I can keep reminding myself of these things because as humans we are prone to forget.

"Be humble. Realize that you're not that good. There are 10,000 artists living that are better than you. There are 100,000,000 in art history that are even better. Feel good about what you do but don't lose sight of this reality. Challenge yourself to do things you don't think you can do, either out of fear or lack of knowledge. Expose yourself to ALL kinds of art- painting, sculpture, film, furniture design, illustration, architecture, animation, etc. Ask yourself WHAT and WHY you like certain aspects of your favorite art pieces and allow that to nurture, inspire and motivate your own work. The artists' ego is his/her own worst enemy." -Shawn Barber

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 15

Number 15- Rush Hour III

This painting gave me a great leap, I mean a great leap towards plunging into Art full time. It was painted slowly and carefully for about 6 months or so, combining it with my full time job at St Mungo's, and being a new father of a little boy who was only 1 year old at the time. I was painting from a really bad picture, that wasn't clear at all, so, I kept on inventing all the time. All the faces were derived from my sketches as it was a full motion picture without any detail. I remember taking this picture during the Christmas Rush Hour the year before.

Rush Hour III, Oil on Canvas, 80cm x 100cm, 2007

I remember going to the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition in 2006 and I watched as they gave out the prizes to the Under 35-Young Painters category sponsored by Winsor and Newton, and I looked at the quality of the paintings and I said to myself, "I can see why I didn't get in." One of the paintings I submitted that year was marked "D"(Which means Doubtful)- which was very encouraging!!! I said to myself, "If I can get a D with this painting, then if I put in triple this effort, I might be able to get in next year!"

That's me with Maureen Lipman CBE and Dennis Syrett(The then President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters)

Then came 2007 and I put in 2 paintings, I was so desperate, I didn't even frame them. But I believed in them. When then results came out. One of the paintings got accepted and the other rejected. I was so pleased! But that wasn't all, I later got a call that I had won the First Prize in the Under 35 Category!!! Now that was the last time I could put work into this category as I was 35 at the time. I couldn't believe it. But that wasn't all, they called me to get the work professionally framed and bring it back in time for the Annual exhibition. This work won me £1,000 worth of Art materials from Winsor & Newton and a week into the exhibition someone bought the painting! That was a great year for me because prior to that I had won another competition organized by Winsor & Newton but that was a Watercolour One! All these little strides kept pumping me up for the great leap in 2008 and looking back, I have no regrets!!!!

Adebanji with winning painting

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are the omnipotent. The slogan "Press on"has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race"
-Calvin Coolidge

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 14

Number 14- Rush Hour II

In this post I'll be showing the stages of completion from start to finish. This shows another technique I use when starting off these kind of crowded scenes. With This Rush Hour I started with an abstract acrylic opaque wash, I really wanted the finished painting to have a lot of density and that's why I used this technique.

Rush Hour II, Oil on Canvas, 80 x 120cm, 2007

I exhibited this painting at the Patching's Art Exhibition organised by The Artist Magazine in 2008. It won the Pro-Arte Award- if I can remember, that won me Paint Brushes worth £250, some of which I am still using till today.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Final Stage

"Here are some other ways I try to spark my imagination:
=Look through my reference files, sketchbooks, and photographs
=Take a subject I like and paint a series of it
=paint some fresh flowers
=set up a still life
=buy a new brush, colour, or paper
=read a book or magazine on watercolours
=read about the masters
=look at some of my old paintings
=go to a workshop
=mat some of my work
=go to a museum"
-Angela D'Aleo on the Purpose of Painting

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 13

Number 13-Evening Light From Battersea Bridge

This painting meant so much to me because before this competition came up I had never set up to paint in the Chelsea area. Sometimes we don't seem to appreciate the area where we live or work and always look out to travel or paint somewhere else. But when Heatherleys and The Cheyne Walk Trust decided to set up the competition and auction in aid of a Bursary for Students at Heatherley's I was forced to paint around my studio area. The brief was to capture any area around The Chelsea Riverside and Cheyne Walk area. I entered two paintings-One I did on site on a very grey and rainy day and this one which was painted from a picture of the Chelsea Riverside from Battersea Bridge. Both paintings sold at the exhibition and this one won the Best Work in the show! I was really delighted because a few months before that I had just won the Plein Air Prize at the Bath Prize and this one really fired me up! It was this competition that really fired me up to take on my famous "Bath Marathon in 2010"-Where I painted 212, 6" x 8" paintings of Bath in 4 months-something I still wonder up till today, how I managed to achieve! But there's something very contagious about success and confidence-both become springboards to reach higher heights!

Evening Light, From Battersea Bridge, 24" x 30", Oil on board, 2010.

The use of the digital Camera has become really important in developing some of these paintings. I learned so much from Karin Jurick, who goes around with a camera like a hunter! She comes back to the studio to produce some wonderful paintings-she always talks about not being a slave to the picture but being ready to use one's artistic shorthand to bring it to life!

Below are some pictures of the painting in progress and the award ceremony.

Receiving award from Prof. Ken Howard

Getting the mood, half way through the painting

Even though the quote below is about writing-it applies to painting too!

"So PUT IT OUT THERE. Send your work off to editors and agents as much as possible, show it to your neighbors, plaster it on the walls of the bus stops – just don’t sit on your work and suffocate it. At least try. And when the powers-that-be send you back your manuscript (and they will), take a deep breath and try again. I often hear people say, “I’m not good enough yet to be published.” That’s quite possible. Probable, even. All I’m saying is: Let someone else decide that. Magazines, editors, agents – they all employ young people making $22,000 a year whose job it is to read through piles of manuscripts and send you back letters telling you that you aren’t good enough yet: LET THEM DO IT. Don’t pre-reject yourself. That’s their job, not yours. Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest."-Elizabeth Gibert author of Eat, Pray, love

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 12

Number 12-The Agony and the Ecstasy

This painting was done in acrylics and ink, It shows an Arsenal fan(I used myself as the model)- by taking pictures of myself in both moods, joyful and then in despair. I planned the composition to reveal both moods but allowing the joyful mood to prevail. It was done in 2 days but took weeks and weeks of planning and thinking. The results came on the 1st of June, 2007 and I was one of the 5 runner-ups in a competition organised by the Barclays Premiership called "Finding Fan Gogh", which won me a £1,000 in 2007! All works submitted were not to be bigger than A4 size, mine was exactly A4 size. We were told to paint anything Football meant to us in the most creative way. It was a way of bringing football and art together.

It was really great, I got publicity in my Local Newspaper and while coming back from Youth Camp the same year, one of the boys bought a daily newspaper and said, "Hey Uncle, is this not your painting?" It was one of the first times I got into the papers here in the UK and it was a real boost to my career!

The Agony and the Ecstasy, mixed media, 11" x 9", 2007

"Does he too use photographs? A very great many figurative or otherwise representational painters use photographs these days, or have done, one way or another. Is it an issue? Well, yes, perhaps it can be; and then again no: it all depends. For there is no rule which lays down what is legitimate to the painter, and what not. The camera, after all, is only a tool, and the photograph another kind of image. And the issue, if issue it is, is only one of what record of detail, aide memoire, primary stimulus-each has its turn and place. What the painter does with it is all that matters, the only principle the integrity of the work- William Packer, 2005 on Tai -Shan Schierenberg

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 11

Number 11- Summerlight Clapham Common

In Summer of 2009 an advert came out in The Artist magazine for an oil painting to be submitted no larger than 36" x 24" for a winning place in ROI exhibition of that year and for a mini profile in the November Issue of The Artist Magazine. I gave it a go and I really thank God, I won!

Summerlight Clapham Common, Oil on Canvas, 24" x 18", 2009

This painting took me almost a week working on the figures from left to right, making sure each section was finished as I worked mainly focusing on the shapes, drawing and values. My mission was to make sure the figures retained a glowing play of summerlight on them and also that the whole piece showed a vibrant, lively, sketchy feel of the excitement and childlike drama that scenes like this invoke on our memories of childhood and those great times.

Below are pictures of the set up and how it looked when I was half way through.

The set up with the photo references, palette and all that

Half way through progress

This work didn't sell in the ROI exhibition but sold by Enid Lawson Gallery at the Affordable Art Fair in 2010 at Battersea. The Lady who bought it said it reminded her of times she used to take her children out to splash parks. It's always great to find out why people buy paintings!

"Because a painting didn't sell in one exhibition, is no reason why it won't sell in another....the right buyer sometimes wasn't in the one where it didn't sell. It sounds quite straight forward but how many times have we given up as artists on a work and hid it behind in the dark stacks because it didn't sell...But another secret maybe the Framing and where it was positioned!"-Adebanji Alade

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 10

Number 10-AFRO XXI

This is one from my AFRO SERIES. I remember I was at Church on a Sunday afternoon and I went to the lobby where we normally relax between the morning service and evening service, and these lovely girls were helping themselves look good. I just took a number a shots while the plaiting took place, it was only later while looking through my archive of pictures did I realize this would be great for my current Afro Series. I cropped the original picture to suit the size, abstract shape and composition I was looking for. I really enjoyed working on this piece because it all evolved organically and I was able to infuse my word-mark making calligraphic strokes into this one too. So if you look closely you'll see words in the background effects!

AFRO XXI, Carbon pencil/charcoal dust/graphite, 8" x 10", 2008

I started by giving the watercolour paper a good sanding effect then I sketched very lightly first to make sure I got the right shapes and proportion of the figures. I used my charcoal dust mixed with water to treat the drawing as if I was working on a watercolour, I work in tonal graduation from light to dark. After this was done, I used a blending stick to work the tones into each other. Then finally I used my graphite pencils and mechanical pencils to get the detail.

This work was sold to my great friend Alice, who saw it on my blog immediately I posted it!

"An artist has to earn the right to shade a drawing by first drawing the lines accurately"-Jon deMartin

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 9

Number 9- Rush Hour IV

There are some paintings that bring one the sweetest memories. Paintings that bring one complete satisfaction and joy. Paintings that one looks back and knows, "I did the hard work here, I tried my best and did all I could to make it happen!" If there's a painting that brings me that kind of feeling-One of them is this one, "RUSH HOUR IV"- I painted it over a long period, I'm not sure precisely but it was a matter of months. It was the year I left my job with homeless people, took the risk and launched into the art world, the unknown! Looking back, sometimes I think I was a complete fool, but then sometimes it takes some "utter foolishness" to take risks, I took this risk just when the Credit Crunch was about to explode and I never knew how I'll make it, but I thank God today, that I am still standing! This work was one of those paintings that I embarked upon just after making that decision. I really wanted to challenge myself, I really wanted to do something I hadn't done before, something out of my comfort zone. Previously I had done 3 rush hour pieces but none of them had really been on this scale. The nearest to it was Rush Hour II, but with this one I planned to make everyone's face in the painting a portrait, as if I was commissioned to paint them. Yet I didn't want it to be detailed, just a good impression with nice shapes of colour temperature and value.

Rush Hour IV, 120 x 80cm , Oil on Canvas, 2008

Some people may ask, "How and where did I see this scene?" Well, I was on the escalator at the time at London bridge and I think there had been a terrible incident at one of the main stations, there were delays everywhere and the whole place was jam packed with people not knowing how to get home at the peak of Rush Hour. I just seized the opportunity to take a few pictures and I took a shot of this scene as I normally do, keeping them just in case I'll need a good reference for a painting. It was later while looking through my pictures that I thought about using it for a painting.

I have also decided to show the abstract design for this painting so it shows how I start off some of these paintings. It has an under-painting done with acrylic out of which the figures emerged by painting them from the reference picture shape by shape.

The abstract design of Rush Hour IV

This piece was submitted into the Threadneedle Figurative Open Exhibition at the Mall Galleries and it wasn't accepted. Then I submitted it for the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition in 2008 and it got accepted, not only did it get accepted but it got hung in the main gallery next to The Presidents painting of the Mayor of London with transport now and way back then! That was a great feeling! It then got sold at The Edinburgh Art Fair by Enid Lawson Gallery in 2010 by a couple that are still thrilled to have it in their collection and they recently bought another painting I did of Big Ben in London.

"It's just always a good thing to keep believing in oneself, keep working on ones weaknesses and just to keep dreaming. It's a painful road of ups and downs but if one gets that feeling of a "never say die" attitude-then the road just gets brighter and better!"-Adebanji Alade

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 8

Number 8- Evening Light Charing Cross Road

This piece highlights a road, I can almost, if it was possible, walk through it, blind-folded! It has hosts the very popular Leicester Square station, National Portrait Gallery and a number of theatres. The Theatre I captured here with its artificial lights interposing the late evening light in the atmosphere of a busy London Street is Wyndham's Theatre, which was then hosting Jude Laws' Hamlet.

Evening Light Charing Cross Road, 14" x 10", Watercolour with hints of Mixed Media, 2009.

This piece began purely as a watercolour, then as usual I get into the sketching mode to make up for the areas the unforgivable watercolour denies me freedom and access. I added gouache, acrylic, a bit of colour pencil effects, wax crayons and pastel.

I first submitted this piece for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2009, it wasn't accepted, then I submitted it for the Chelsea Art Society Annual Open Exhibition and it won the Agnes Reeve Memorial Award for a Painting of London. Now, that was a great feeling! I normally share this and many other artists have the same experience about submitting works into juried shows-And it's never to be discouraged by rejections, the people on the jury are humans and not machines. I have been on a jury before, judging the Bath Prize and I can relate to this fact clearly-The decisions made during that judging period are all based on the circumstances surrounding that particular exhibition and the taste of the judges at that particular selection. This sometimes does not mean the work isn't good. So, I'll encourage all to keep submitting work into juried shows as far as they are willing to risk rejection and have a good budget for it. It's a great way to get exposure and some good contacts and sales.

"The last piece of advice I try to leave with students is that they have to be positive about themselves and their prospects. No one wants to be around depressed, self-indulgent artists, least of all collectors who want to know the paintings they buy today have the potential to be worth more tomorrow"-Camille Przewodek

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 7

Number 7-Day Dreaming

I won't write too much about this piece here because the whole story about how I created it from start to finish can be seen on this link HERE.

DAY DREAMING, 13” x 10” Mixed Media(watercolour, coloured pencil, wax crayons, chalk pastel, 2008)

The work was chosen as part of the Patching's Art Competition organised by The Artist's Magazine in 2008 and a nice guy bought it! It meant a lot to me as it was one of the first times I sold a painting at the Patching's Art Competition and one of the first after I decided to take my career full time.

It's of my son Josh when he was much younger and I still love the piece so badly, so how I wish I hadn't sold the original but then-The Survival factor comes into play!

"Painters should focus on creating the best work they can. That is what they can control... Once the work is out there, its value is determined by people willing to spend money that they too worked hard for." -Brigitte Nowak

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 6

Number 6- Tooley Street (London Bridge Side)

I remember it was one morning early in September 2008 as I was passing through London Bridge, that I caught a sight of this view-It was enchanting- I was only armed with my digital camera - and that was it! One shot and the painting was done. Sometimes we see places we love but just can't get down to painting them, but this time I made sure this one wasn't going to elude me!

Tooley Street (London Bridge Side), 9" x 11", Watercolour/Mixed media, 2008

Again this was done in watercolour, coloured pencil, wax crayons and gouache. The procedure was similar to the Drizzly Fleet street scene in my last post.

This was a great piece for me because I submitted it into the Royal Watercolour Society Open Exhibition in 2009 and it got accepted. It didn't sell in that exhibition but ended up selling at the St Stephens Art Festival, Gloucester Road in 2009. I really enjoy scenes that have a good design quality to it and I was delighted to get some real positive feedback from David Paskett, the President of the RWS, who said it was one of his best pieces in the exhibition. This success really boosted my confidence in 2009 and I went on to win many other awards that year. I guess confidence is something we all need, it doesn't matter how well one can do these paintings, if one is low in confidence it can have a drastic ripple effect on everything we do around that time. I'll say, "Do anything to boost your confidence, it's a powerful tool to get to the next level in your career!"

"Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy."-Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 5

Number 5-Drizzly Day on Fleet Street

Some people may want to know why I am featuring these works. It's a way of documenting some of the works that I have done in the past few years before I celebrated my 40th Birthday in February. I'll be featuring these 40 works and some stories of how they were made, where they were exhibited and the effect they had on my career.

This was piece captured on Fleet Street during my scene hunting expeditions in 2009.
During my scene hunting expeditions I take loads of photos of scenes I love, then bring back the pictures to the studio and start editing and cropping till I get the desired compositional effect I'm looking for and satisfied with.

Drizzly Day on Fleet Street, Mixed Media on watercolour paper, 10" x 10", 2009

This was done mainly with watercolour, gouache, coloured pencil, wax crayons, and ink.

I worked with the piece purely as a watercolour to start with then my sketchy side gets the hang of me and I start making marks where the unforgivable watercolour fails me. These marks are made with coloured pencil, wax crayons and ink. Sometimes the watercolour paper gets too much of a whacking and I just have to stop or risk the piece loosing it's freshness and spontaneity. I remember while working on this piece that I kept on thinking I was actually part of the guys in the rain-I think this helps me to capture the necessary marks and strokes that relate to the scene.

This work was part of an exhibition I had in 2009 at St Stephen's Art Festival, Gloucester Rd in London and it was one of the works that sold on the first day. It was used as the front cover of the exhibition brochure. That's one of the greatest feelings when one has an exhibition!

"The beginning of a painting is a very energized, exciting time, and it generates most of the energy I have. If I've gotten 75 per cent of it down, then it takes an effort to really get up that kind of energy to finish it in the same way it's begun."- Burton Silverman