Visions of Science Art Bursary 201

A few months ago I saw a Call for Entries that looked particularly exciting. It was to collaborate with The University of Bath through Edge Arts Bath, on a science and art project. My submission video is here. https://vimeo.com/271723048?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vimeo-cliptranscode-201504&utm_campaign=28749 The starting point for the painting came from the 1445 Giovanni di Paolo (di Grazia) paiting, “The Creation of the World and the Expulsion from Paradise”. I pitched the idea to Edge Arts Bath of creating an oil on board version, using the same basic compositional elements but exploring the theme of microbiology. For my Visions of Science Art Bursary I…

"Jasmine", oil on paper, 6.5x9" (framed), Charlie Kirkham 2015. Exhibited in the ING Discerning Eye 2017.

ING Discerning Eye 2016, Mall Galleries, London

I’m thrilled that my “Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet” collage and my mini oil painting “Jasmine” were both selected for this year’s Discerning Eye. It’s the second time I’ve been selected and last time the exhibition was really good fun. I’m looking forward to seeing the work in situ. This exhibition is all about small work, which makes it very intimate. There’s something really comforting about getting up close to a wall of work rather than standing on the opposite side of the gallery trying to take it in. All of the works are under 50cm framed! The exhibition runs…

After studio of van Dyck, “Drunken Silenus supported by Satyrs”

It’s an odd painting, hung taking up a the wall between corner and door in Room 31 of the National Gallery. This painting appealed to me in part because it is quite disjointed, there seem to be several styles at work. My initial drawing was done over a few sheets of different toned paper, partly as I had run out of grey. I wanted the painting to be about the exploration process, rather than a direct copy of the original. Colours: Paynes Green Cobalt Blue Cobalt Violet Indian Red Permanent Rose Cadmium Orange Lemon Yellow Titanium White The primer is…

After Gerad David: painting in the National Gallery

Drawing in the National Galley, as this blog testifies, is a habit of mine. The ultimate cure for artist block and a great way to discover artists for free. Drawing in a public place comes with its own set of challenges. If you can’t handle criticism don’t draw in a gallery. Every passer by has an opinion and generally they feel obliged to share it with you. Since the National Gallery began allowing photography in 2015, drawing also comes with the peril of being considers part of the exhibition. Bus loads of tourists go home with a blurry photo of a…

After Moroni "Portrait of A Man with Raised Eyebrows"

After Moroni , “Portrait of a Man with Raised Eyebrows”

          Moroni is great because he had an amazing knack for capturing people’s expressions. I love his work and really enjoyed being able to visit it for free at the National Gallery. The RA Show last year was fabulous but nothing beats sitting and looking at the paintings for ages. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/giovanni-battista-moroni-portrait-of-a-man-with-raised-eyebrows

"Rebecca and Violin", oil on canvas, 90x90cm, 2015.

Rebecca and a violin 

A square canvas and a brief to get two figures in… I chose a palette of Indian red, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, zinc white, black and Paynes grey to start thus piece. Later,  to push the redness of the red satin dress I added in a strong cadmium red. As a general rule I dislike painting redheads wearing red lipstick in red. It always strikes me as overkill, and it’s hard to focus on painting when faced with the Orange fighting against the blue-red dress. However, like so many thibgs in life it’s all right once you get stuck in….

Bermondsey Street Festival, Tanner & Co. Exhibition 

From the 16 – 30 September, as part of the Beemondsey Street Festival, Tanner & Co. will be displaying works by members of Southwark Studios. I’ve submitted the following three canvases:       For more information on Southwark Studios click here. For more information on events and exhibition at the Bermonsdey Steeet Festival click here.

"Lucy's Dream", oil on canvas, 76 x 122Cm, Charlie Kirkham 2014.

Lucy’s Dream 

The painting developed from a life drawing of Lucy, seen from above. The drawing was a good exercise in balancing on a box as well as drawing from a high view point. Something about the drawing reminded me of flying and so it seemed natural that Lucy developed wings in the pairing. Rather than being in the studio sun lounger she is transferred to a textured dreamy space. I limited the colours to reflect the initial drawings limited graphite colour shades, but I added in the bursts of bright yellow. The painting will be on display at Tanner & Co….

The Model Has Flu! 

Sometimes working from life presents a unique set of challenges. In portraiture one of the most problematic is what to do to the painting when the model’a appearance changes? This can be caused by haircuts, changing make up or in this case the dreaded flu! In a typical English winter, more so in a drafty old art studio, flu is bound to strike artist and model at least once. So, over the three weeks of sittings for this portrait the flu developed. I found that it added another dimension to the portrait. Increasing the number of breaks and working faster…

After Caravaggio: Salome Receives the Head of John the Baptist

Caravaggio was the master of dramatic chiaroscuro. This was hard to capture using my HB pencil! The intensity of the scene is compelling. What really attracted me was the post of Salome, the faux modesty and disdain over what she has done. For more on the painting click here. This piece influenced my painting “The Conversation“.

"Diana and Callisto", oil on canvas, 25x36", Charlie Kirkham 2015.

Diana and Callisto

I love mythology and story telling. Lately, having been spending a lot of time working from History Paintings in the National Gallery, I have tried to approach my own work in a new way. The idea behind this painting comes from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. It’s quite a complicated story so I have reproduced it below: Often, as Jupiter came and went, he would stop short at the sight of Callisto, a girl from Nonacris, feeling the fire take in the very marrow of his bones… she was one of Diana’s companions…Jupiter, seeing her there weary and unprotected, said ‘Here, surely, my wife will…

Portrait with stuffed fox cub and escaping armadillo

This painting explores composition. I wanted to create a diagonal focus and give as much attention to the objects surrounding the sitter as to the portrait itself. Working on a full figure, on such a small scale, presents its own set of challenges. When the face is only the size of a 5 pence coin every stroke becomes important. Capturing the posture of Tara was important in getting a likeness. Initially the set up revolved around the fruit and stuffed fox cub, the elements of the Yew tree and armadillo developed more organically. My first idea for the large space…

Rhymes Nursery, Birmingham

Large scale mural exploring Healthy Eating concepts and the Lifecycle. Designed for pre-school children. I included interactive elements such as changing the shoes on the caterpillar so they can be used for a counting game, also ‘spot the difference’ images. The idea was taken from the book “The Hungry Caterpillar” and adapted to run around the nursery walls, the caterpillar grows as he eats healthy food (and a few sneaky chocolates) before going into a chrysalis and emerging as a beautiful butterfly. The best part was seeing the reaction from the excited bunch of toddlers who had been watching me…

"Four Figures in the Studio", oil on canvas, 10x12", Charlie Kirkham 2014.

Four Figures in the Studio

Completed over nine days this small scale painting was first drawn out using the sight size method. As the left of the painting looked empty an extra portrait, canvas and rug were added in fading into the space of the wall to create an imaginary dimension to the room. The colour palette was more extensive and I glazed the final layers of the painting using a linseed oil and oil paint mix (2:3 ratio).  

Bernadette Sleeping

One hour oil study sketch of Bernie sleeping. Using a low view point, painting from a kneeling position with Bernadette high up lent a new dynamic. As I was kneeling my right foot kept going numb at the same time as Bernadette’s arm, giving a synchronisation to the artist-model breaks.

Lucy’s Summer Hat

Inspired by the current Matisse exhibition at Tate Modern, the set up includes ferns cut out of cream paper on a turquoise background. Lucy’s hat matches them and her peach summer dress stands out wonderfully against the fabric. This is an oil on canvas, 38×42″. Displayed as part of the Heatherley School of Fine Art end of year show 2014.

Queen Esther Painting

Inspired by the Biblical story of Esther, and the King Ahasveros, the painting will be a depiction of one of the highest drama moments in the story. “Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther clothed herself regally, and she stood in the  inner court of the king’s house, opposite the king’s house, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal palace, opposite the entrance of the house. And it came to pass when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she won favor in his eyes, and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter that…