It always starts with a seed of an idea, something that sparks my interest and a story begins.
Lately I have been drawn to trying to create a sense of time and place, a certain atmosphere. Something that will draw the viewer in and encourage them to think that they may have been there at some point in the past. These photos are from my recent visit to Calke Abbey, a national trust property that has gone to wrack and ruin over the last decades but that is in a constant process of conservation to keep it as it is rather that restoring it to its former glory. There are lots of dark corridors with peeling layers of wallpaper and paint and it has an incredible beauty and atmosphere.
Of course there always has to be a character, someone that could be me, could be you or someone you know or have read about or have imagined.
I never tire of drawing and painting faces. They are a combination of self portraits, images of friends, from inspiration but also from my own imagination.
With this painting I wanted to create a real sense of light and shade so took lots of self portraits with the light the way I wanted and sketched from those.
The image started to come together in my large moleskine sketchbook that I use for painting in (someday I will do a slideshow of all the pages). Here I can work big, with no expectation, just enjoying the texture of the page and the feeling of the paint.
I prepared a lot more for this painting that I ever have before as I wanted to paint big (well bigger than my usual at 60 x 80 cms) and wanted to get the scale and perspective just right so I worked on yet another drawing and played with light and shadow too. Then time to start painting – but that is for another post!