‘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…

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 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  

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  

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.

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….

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.

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.

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 Garofalo: Allegory of Love", Charlie Kirkham, watercolour pencil on paper, 2015.

After Garofalo: An Allegory of Love

  The strange caped man in red swooping in, the lizard, the goat and the weirdly headed cupid all make this a great painting to draw from. That’s before we get onto the beautifully painted landscape on the left. This very strange painting follows a popular theme and shows us another Allegory of Love. Hosted by the National Gallery for more information on the painting click here.

"After Willem Kalf: Still Life with Drinking Horn", Charlie Kirkham, watercolour pencil on paper, 2015.

After Willem Kalf: Still Life with Drinking Horn

  There’s something that always appealed to me about lobsters. I’m not normally a big still life fan, but the iconic nature of Kalf’s lobster is captivating. As you can see from my page extension, I misjudged the height and needed to glue a bit more onto my sketchbook. Click on the image of the original painting to find out more about it. This piece has influenced my own work, I’m starting another large tree drawing, this time themed loosely on Saint Sebastian.

After Moroni “Portrait of a Gentleman”

The RA Moroni exhibition was an inspiration. London has the best collection of Moroni’s work outside of Italy, he was enormously popular with the Victorians. I’ve learnt so much from looking at his work. Here is my version of his “Portrait of a Gentleman”. I return to Moroni because his work is so compelling. It also a great exercise in tonality as the flesh isn’t the brightest, lightest part of the picture. For more about this portrait the National Gallery website has details.

‘Minerva protects Pax from Mars (‘Peace and War’)’ after Rubens

  At the moment the RA is showing the blockbuster exhibition of Rubens and his influence. In light of this I thought a bit of drawing from Rubens was in order. Once again, while the RA is full to bursting the National Gallery’s collection of (free) Rubens paintings is rather quiet. Minerva Protects Pax From Mars is a stunning painting. Rubens is famous for the sensuality of his paintings. He captures flesh in such a powerful,believable way. When I was drawing this I was conscious of the weight of each of the figures. The arrangement is really complicated and working in monochrome…

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.

ING Discerning Eye 2014

I’m delighted to have had three pieces accepted from the Open Submission for the 2014 ING Discerning Eye exhibition. The Discerning Eye annual exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. Work is selected from open submission and from artists invited by the individual selectors. Each selector’s section is hung separately giving the impression of six small exhibitions within the whole. Running from the 13-23 November at the Mall Galleries, London. Here are my three pieces.