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!  

"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…

After Correggio The Madonna of the Basket  

In spite of sitting in so many art history lectures (or perhaps because of spending so much of them sketching the other students), I had no clue about Correggio before I was encouraged to look at this piece in the National Gallery, London. It’s a tiny painting. It also has an impressively complex baby Christ. The relationship between Mother and child in this painting is depicted with tenderness. For more information http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/correggio-the-madonna-of-the-basket  

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…

"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….

After Rembrandt “Portrait of Margareth de Geer”

The best time to visit the National Gallery is when it’s sunny as all the tourists stay outside! Bearing this in mind, I took my watercolour crayons along to room23 where Rembrandt’s double portraits of Margareth de Geer and Jacob Trip hang.  http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/rembrandt-portrait-of-margaretha-de-geer-wife-of-jacob-trip This portrait is imposing and captivating. It is thought that Jacob Trip’s portrait was posthumous, created from a selection of other portraits. This may explain the contrast between the two portraits.  De Geer is a presence we notice from across the room. A woman in mourning, determined and strong.  Drawing from Rembrandt is always a challenge and…

#Watercolour5

#MakeASplash #Watercolour5 Again for this I employed my Wilko gel pens. This time I drew out some imaginary bits and bobs in blue ink. Afterwards I took my masking fluid pen and added in more details or retraced my drawing. I wanted to have the contrast between using blue ink lines and the white of the paper Once the masking fluid was dry I painted over the image very roughly with a large brush.   

#Watercolour3

#MakeASplash #Watercolour3 This was done using a masking out method. I used: One sheet of Cass Art Jumbo watercolour pad paper, A4 size Masking fluid pen Watercolour travel box set (Windosr & Newton) Watercolour brushes I started by quickly drawing the train as it pulled away from Kingston station. I used the masking fluid pen to get the lines down. The only trouble drawing with masking fluid on the go is that it takes a while to dry. If you’ve got ten minutes until your train is due though, it works perfectly. Once the masking fluid was dry I used…

#Watercolour2

#MakeASplash #Watercolour2 This is my second watercolour sketch from the Cass Art watercolour challenge. It was done using the desk biro and watercolour washes.  I did a quick pen sketch while I was invigilating at RK Burt Gallery, London. Sometimes a simple biro can open up new ideas. I used a quick wash of watercolour to brighten this up a bit.    

After Tintoretto: Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples. Sketchbook page, HB pencil on paper, Charlie Kirkham 2014.

After Tintoretto : Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples

Although badly worn and in part dubiously restored, this painting still has impact. Tintoretto was a very fast painter, favouring a dark ground. Sadly, many of his paintings are badly deteriorated. The picture above is much clearer than the painting itself. I enjoyed drawing from this because the composition is very complex. As you scan it more figures seem to appear out of the ether.

"Study in Silhouette", black paper collaged onto coloured paper, 14x9", Charlie Kirkham 2015.

Paper Cut Silhouette

I started thinking about turning the Dice and Adicia ink on paper studies into papercuts. This was my first attempt at making a figure in black paper on coloured paper. There is a certain charm to the crude cutting here. It convinced me that more work is needed to get a series of them off the ground and that perhaps the printing direction is going to have more longevity to it. So, with that in mind I’ve begun cutting out the collograph plates for the series, which I will get up once they’re  done.

Creating "Wedding Dance" collage on board, 6x4", Charlie Kirkham 2014.

Wedding Dance

Just stumbled across the half way photo from when I was making the collage “Wedding Dance”, as shown in the ING Discerning Eye 2015. This is before the final touches and perspex cover went on, which makes it a bit easier to see the details in the photo.

"Callisto turning into a Bear", watercolour pencils on coloured pastel paper, 88cm diameter, Charlie Kirkham 2015.

Callisto Turns into a Bear

After painting the narrative of Diana banishing Callisto I wanted to illustrate the story of Callisto as she was turned into a bear by Juno. The end of the story sees Callisto and her son Arcas placed in the sky as constellations. Even after being placed in the sky Callisto’s punishment is not over. The two Bear constellations never dip below the horizon to refresh themselves with water. That’s why they can be seen all year round.

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“.

After Manet: Corner Cafe Concert

After Manet : Corner of a Cafe Concert

  Manet is all about black. I had to use colour to copy this painting as the harmonies are so beautiful. It’s hard work to concentrate in this area of the gallery as it is a constant mob of tourists, generally offering a little too much free advice. That said, I had great fun discovering the compositional quirks. This follows an earlier study I took at the Courtauld of Manet’s “Bar at the Folies-Bergere” with it’s strange half trapeze artist.