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…

"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….

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…

"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…

After Veronese, The Vision of St Helene

At the moment room 9 of the National Gallery is even more of a treat than usual. With a host of Veronese pictures hung together, including the four ceiling paintings, it’s worth a lingering visit. Captured by Veronese’s use of anatomical exaggeration to lend theatre to his work, I began sketching “The Vision of Saint Helene”. It’s been a difficult learning curb. Helene’s tilted chin, so artfully painted by the master utterly confounded this student.

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…

"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…