Recently I have done some digital speed paintings in my free time as an attempt to keep up colour work and painting techniques while we study drawing and rendering in grayscale. I wanted to talk about two incredibly influential painters who have helped me develop my painting style a great deal and who I briefly looked at again to help me with the paintings.
Firstly, Nathan Ford, a portrait artist primarily working in oils, has had his work displayed in the GP portrait award exhibition every year since 2009 where I first came upon “Paul”. Before seeing this I couldn’t stand any of the work I had produced and really hadn’t had a great understanding of colour use and painting techniques. “Paul” like many of Fords paintings showed off an amazing understanding of colour and technique it also grabbed me because it emanates a certain quiet yet powerful feeling, a feeling that I couldn’t put a finger on and still can’t. I’ve slowly come to think that perhaps the work allows you to understand the subjects thoughts a great deal more than a photo realistic painting or a stylised illustration or a impressionist piece. It was this humble insight into the subjects thoughts that kept my attention focused on Ford and has my focus still. I had also been fascinated by the abilities of concept artist/illustrators speed painting techniques and the end result being stunning as often you see all you need to but no more. I subconsciously latched on to this style of painting where speed and an understanding of what is necessary for the viewer to understand the image are quite obvious this is very much the same with Ford’s work. Below is a painting by Ford below a painting by an artist know as Izzy (Image found here).
|"Joachim" by Nathan Ford|
Transferring elements of Ford’s technique to digital painting seemed like it would have been easier that it was, having often worked digitally and in oils I thought the colour strength and brushes of oils could be quite easily emulated digitally at speed. The main issues I had when I produced the upper image was that because I was working digitally I could zoom in and fix elements and I ended up spending far too long on the areas which I shouldn’t have and in the end took me a good few hours and can’t really be classed as speedy... The lower image was produced from some drawings at a pose workshop conducted by second years on the course and was painted in around 30 minutes. I don’t really want to show this off because of the errors. The lighting is somewhat problematic as the dog has a separate light source to the person and for such a small quick image this isn’t explained and so just looks wrong furthermore the arm holding the dog is out of proportion to the hand. The image is also incredibly washed out. Suffice to say I am going to try again.
|Painted March 2011|
|Painted November 2012|
|Oil and Ink painting Painted in early 2011 while heavily studying Nathan Ford|
When on my Art Foundation course in Bournemouth I visited a couple of local galleries and came across Bill Bate. Where Ford varies the detail across the image Bate uses a very undetailed approach to painting for much of it. The colours of the painting “Freedom” and “Mysterious Dip” really grabbed me, another thing to interest me greatly about the images was the transparency of the subject, some areas having mere hints of flesh tone. I found the silhouette of the subjects were skillfully broken up by elements of the background coming through which gave an “airy-fairy” feel to the image, somewhat mystical and calm.