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.

"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.

El Greco “Agony in the Garden” version two. 

Working from a pair of paintings lends the copying experience an intensity. Like working from Veronese’s “Allegory of Love”  set, working from the El Greco pair means you can compare and reassess throughout. Drawing the second “Agony in the Garden” was easier in many ways. I had a clearer sense of the composition. This didn’t stop me wildly underestimating the width of the angel again though!   Fantastic experience of copying from one of the most idiosyncratic masters.

El Greco “Agony in the Garden”

When you find a new painting in the National Gallery it’s a good idea to sketch it fast! I was very excited to see that this El Greco version has been lent by a private collection and is hung next to the gallery’s own version of “The Agony in the Garden”.   El Greco is a complicated painter, taking Tintoretto’s school of composition and running with it. Always an exciting artist to copy.  If you’re near the National Gallery this week run in and see this painting before it returns to its collection. 

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.

"Treemen and A Rev. Rook", 297x420mm, paint marker, ink and pencil on paper, Charlie Kirkham 2013.

Treemen And A Rev. Rook

Using studies of Using models Gary, Paul and Tim as a basis for the figures I was also inspired by the Old Oak Tree. The Old Oak Tree on my grandmother’s drive really looked as if it had faces in it, as a child I remember it looming over me, a massive structure in wood. The tree was fairly covered with twisted ivy. There was another old pear tree in my parent’s garden which was so covered in ivy the tree inside had died. I watched it fall down in a storm, watching through the window with my brother. It…

Wren in the Treemen’s Wood With Three Goldfish

The Wren started off as an idea in my sketchbook, as so many drawings do. It was an image that I liked but was unsure what to do with. Later, as I began the series exploring the imaginary woods of the Tree People, a people who are based on mythological tree spirits. For more myths about trees see http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Tr-Wa/Trees-in-Mythology.html Working in paintmarker and ink for the colours I wanted to fully integrate the pencil drawing into the work. Each branch of the trees and the shadows of the fish are creating using HB pencil. The leafless branches become a pattern…