‘Adam & Eve’ after Lucas Cranach the Elder

The Courtauld Institute houses the fantastic ‘Adam and Eve’ by Lucas Cranach the Elder. I drew from it some years ago, a quick pencil study which has been at the bottom of my sketchbook gathering dust. It was when I drew from Cranach’s National Gallery Venus and Cupid painting that I remembered my previous love of this one. What draws me to Cranach the Elder is the bizarre forms of the figures and the composition of the elongated shapes. I looked at my sketch, a detail from the centre of the painting and wanted to continue with my collage series…

"Virgin and Child with Saints (Vision of Saint Jerome)", collage on board, 8.5x9" (framed), Charlie Kirkham 2016.

Vision of Saint Jerome

I started this after the Parmigianino in the National Gallery. The shape was a challenge, especially when I decided to use glue dot backed rhinestones. Fortunately, the rhinestones left over from the enormous Esther Collage came in a variety of sizes, so I got a good fit on the semi circle. Although I’m sure the other devotees of Parmigiannino would be horrified at my homage the collage is in no way intended to replicate the original. Like all the other pieces I’m working on inspired by the National Gallery’s collection, it has been a way of exploring composition. It’s also helping me…

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…

Detail from "Dorethea's Apple Tree", 100 x 100 cm, ink & acrylic on paper, Charlie Kirkham 2015.

St. Dorethea’s Apple Tree makes longlist for Jackson’s Art Prize 2016!

  Really happy that my tree series has got some recognition after the slogging on it. So pleased that St. Dorethea’s tree has made it to the longlist. https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2016/04/15/joap-longlist-announced/ I’m on page 12 of the blog!  

Queen Esther collage (in progress)

It’s a long process using hole punched paper to create a stain glass window! This large scale collage, based on collected sketches, is a great way for me to explore collage on a larger scale. Initially the collage was to be a painting, but the first few bits of paper crept into the canvas no it developed from there. Getting my three wonderful models in the same place has been part of the challenge. Further exacerbated by them now being based in three different countries. The charm of the collage medium is that it allows a reinterpretation of the light….

"Dorothea's Apple Tree", acrylic and ink on paper, 100 x 100 cm, Charlie Kirkham 2015.

Dorothea’s Apple Tree

Following on from the progress post about Saint Dorethea’s Orchard  I’ve finally got this drawing finished! It’s 100 x 100 cm on grey (acrylic) primed paper, drawn with ink and paint markers in black, grey and white. I took this to be photographed a few days ago and am really pleased with the high resolution image as it shows a lot more of the details than my phone pictures.

After Gainsborough “The Painter’s Daughters with a Cat”

This portrait shows the artists two daughters and their black cat. It’s an unfinished painting but I love it. The two girls epitomise the relationship between sisters beautifully.  When copying from an unfinished painting it makes it easier to see what the most important elements are. In a way, a lot of the hard work of analysis has been done for you. I used colours pencils and think the scratchy quality works well for unfinished paintings. For more information: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/thomas-gainsborough-the-painters-daughters-with-a-cat  

"The Reason Elephants Don't Eat Popcorn", marker pen on collograph, 6x6".

The Reason Elephants Don’t Eat Popcorn

I created a collograph of an Iris using a very, very small plate and magenta pink ink. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens with collographs, the print was disappointing. I liked the colours and shapes though so used a marker pen to draw over it. In Psychology the concept of Perceptual Set Theory was explored by Deregowski (1972). It showed the cultural bias in the perception of perspective by using two elephant drawings, one showing a split view and the other a top perspective. Only one child preferred the top view and for the reason that the elephant in the split image was…

SGFA Annual Exhibition @ The Menier Gallery, London

Opening on Monday the 5th of October and running until the 17th the Annual Open Exhibition of the SGFA shows drawing in all its forms. I will be showing three pieces, “Golden Boy”, “The Red Tree” and “Autumn Leaves“.

Saint Dorethea’s Orchard (so far!)

The third in my series of Saintly Trees. This is based on the saint of orchards and gardeners, Dorethea. The story is reproduced here: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=221 There are also some fantastic paintings which helped me with he apples, Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Venus & Cupid is a great example (and free to visit!) http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/lucas-cranach-the-elder-cupid-complaining-to-venus The drawing is 100x100cm. Initially I primed the paper with grey acrylic as my main challenge withy he last two was getting a sense of depth and tone. Obliterating the white was liberating. Here’s the journey so far: I will publish more photos as the drawing progresses.

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel", Watercolour Pencil on Canvas, 2015, 92 x122cm, Charlie Kirkham.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel…

Every so often it’s good to refer back to fairytale a for a bit of inspiration. I came across this version of Rapunzel  http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/Rapu.shtml Rather than following it verbatim I wanted to create a piece that reflected different elements of the story. As a child I always imagined Rapunzel to have black hair, so I have kept her a brunette for this painting.  To give a time lapse feel I connected her hair to her final rescue where her tears restore the Prince’s sight and they have twins. To begin I used quite a range of coloured Watercolour pencils. I…