Monday, 26 December 2016

How I painted barber shop...

It was the 8th of August this year when I've been in the city centre of Leeds chasing my new subject matter for my new project (It's necessary to get exited about your subject, otherwise you setting yourself up for failure). After unsuccessful time in streets (which is not that often because streets of Leeds are filled with interesting topics for painting - I just didn't feel it that day) I discovered this great barber shop right in Corn Exchange called King Koby Chop Shop: 

These guys are cool lads who know how to trim and the environment in their shop is just stunning. I politely asked them If I can make some pictures and made my camera clicking like hell. 
After 2 minutes (Yes I didn't want to be inconvenient there) I had a bunch of reference pictures:

Reference shoots for my project

After making these pictures I went on my holidays and when I get back in September my work begun. I stared with some preliminary sketches to have a feel for my subject matter. I wanted the picture to have a little spark of caricature but not too overwhelming - something similar to work of Norman Rockwell whom I admire. I love his pictures of people and I strove to do something similar.

On these pictures you can see sketch on the left (to warm myself up for a painting process) and finished "underdrawing" on board already prepared for painting itself on the right. I chose not to over exaggerate the characters. 

Some preliminary work

And finally there's the final product. It's a fairy big painting (28x20 inches) I took me about 2 weeks to finish it - mainly because I had to do it after work so I had like 2 to 3 hours a day. I wasn't in a rush either so I listened to the radio whilst painting it. The process itself was really relaxing due to fairly finished underdrawing which I didn't change throughout the process. To be sure that the drawing was gonna guide me all the time I put a graphite fixative on it before I started with painting. The name of the painting is "Don't worry mate I've got that under control"  - you know why - sometimes even the most trustworthy person with a trimmer behind your head could cause you to have a tough times :-D
But don't worry -  It is just for a sake of a interesting name of the painting. These guys trim properly! 
So I suggest when you're in Leeds with some wilderness on top of your precious yourself give the guys a try!

"Don't worry mate I've got that under control" (oil on board 28x20 Inches)

If you would be interested to purchase this piece, write me an email. 

Have a nice boxing day everyone. Hope your Christmas are quiet and peaceful like mine.


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

!Selling art!

From now on you can purchase my work via pages

My first item to buy is called "Security" and here's the link:

More items will come in the future

Friday, 16 December 2016

New place - new start - setting up a new work station

Past week I've been busy like I've never been in last year. On Saturday I came to the tipping point that I have to move out from my place where I'd been over a year. It had just added everything up and I knew that I'm not gonna be able to stay any more longer. So at 8 am I made a decision and at 8 pm I ended up with all my stuff in a new acquired place. Don't ask me how but only thing I can say that I've been really lucky to meet the right people in the right time, for which I'm grateful like no one else.

But lets talk art - that's the reason why I haven't been so productive lately! If you were so OCD like me you'd find a hard time to set your new working place in action too. You know it - If you have your routine around your desk at work, workshop, forge or anywhere else - everything is up to hand, you know where to reach your hand for pencil, drill, hammer or cup of coffee. To reset this take a while. for me it was nerve draining process of trying various things with the knowledge that I have some work to do (commission work - I will tell you about it in the future) and to be settled down with it as soon as possible is necessary.

My new cozy apartment in the attic is really pleasant and I really, really dig it! But it's a small place -just one room with small kitchenette. So how do you include painting in the room where you also sleep, cook, rest and drying your wet clothes? So after few variation with my old stuff I've decided not to be cheap and buy yourself a proper easel. Since I strive to try a plain-air in the future I've found a great french easel (french easel is considered as a plain air form of easel) for 50 pounds which is reasonable. It did not seem so reasonable after all expenses that moving up had brought up but if you consider just the item it is a good price :-)

So on the following pictures you can see my old room in my old share house filled with my paintings and a sad picture right after moving out. Next three pictures are about my work station and its changes- first my old work station in my old room (top left), second is temporary working place in my new apartment (bottom left) and the third one (on the right) is my recent set up with my new easel which makes me so happy :-) On the picture is portrait of Reuben - The Dog - I will tell you story about this painting in the future...So stay tuned

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

In sake of the practice - Set myself loose with oils...

I pulled out some small canvas board (measurement 6x8 inch) and my new Cobra water mixable oils in order to practice Alla prima technique (to paint all at once basically without waiting for paint to dry throughout the painting processes). Since I've been suffering with "detail-tidis" (Carol Marin's term :-) ) which means that every detail on the subject makes me crazy, I tried to loosen up as Carol Marine suggests -  More squinting, bigger distance from the canvas etc....You can find out more about Carol's art at the link that's on the right side of my blog.

Here's the final product.  I'm quite happy with the hands on the picture and I think the loosening and more fresh approach was established on them, but the cups and the rest of the scene would need little bit more practice! (it's quite fuzzy though - maybe I'm not so used to a new set of colours)

Give me your opinion to the comment section here right below the picture what do you think, I would really appreciate that.

"Loose that bad boy just a little bit" (oil on canvas panel 6x8)

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Trying new things - gesso board

I've read something on this surface for a illustration purposes and I saw a video of Jeff Watts doing some gorgeous stuff on a similar type of illustration board on youtube also so I've had a desire of trying it for a while. So finally - last week I took an advantage of a black friday offer at Jackson's art supplies ( and ordered some of these goodies. I also gave a try to Jackson's series of brushes "Akoya" and "Shinku" and both of them are great (especially brights from Akoya have a great control).

I've decided to try a gouache because I had the drawer with the paints still opened :-) you know - from my previous post.

I must say it is a very fine surface and took a while to get used to it. On watercolour paper you don't actually have to use to much pigment because it's more absorbable - but you can lose saturation of colours. With gesso board you're more forced to use more pigment (more paint) and thus you're even more on the side of the oil painting (meaning behaviour of the colour) and you don't lose the saturation. The result is more matt of course (than oils) dependently which brand of gouache paint you use. Because the surface is so fine it's a great stuff for detailed work so now I get why they call it illustration board in the first place.

Can you guess what's the measurement of the board which I used for my first attempt with this material accordingly to the detail of the finished painting?  (see the answer below the picture)

"Tiger study" (Gouache on gesso board 10x15 cm)

Yes it's a very small board yet still you're able to put a lots of details because it's so fine kind of surface. 
I must say I felt in love in this material and in the future I will use it especially for more portraits. 

Thank you for your time. See you shortly. Petr

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Most recent stuff

Yesterday I decided to dive into a gouache painting because I think that's a great way how to train for a bigger paintings in oils (Because you can paint opaquely as oppose to classic watercolours). Setup is pretty quick since it's a water soluble medium. I found a beautiful photograph of Christopher Waltz from Inglorious Basterds on the web.

On the following pictures You can see the actual process from initial sketch (drawing is the most difficult part when it comes to capture likeness of a portrait - it took a while - it's not perfect but I think that Christopher "feel" is portrayed - maybe he looks little bit younger :-) ) to the finished study (first picture). I've tried to emphasise many hues in the shadow but not overcome it in spite of the lights areas because that's mainly what the picture is about.

"Christopher Waltz Study" (gouache on watercolour paper A4)

few steps from the process of creating the study

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

"Recent stuff"

Back in September this year when I arrived from my holidays I strived to give a shot to my new purchased acrylics paints so I went to the Kirkgate market here in Leeds to seek out some reference (and buy some goodies - squashes, tomatoes, prawns etc.). I found there's big butchery so I made a quick unseen shots on my phone (picture 1) -  lacking quality and professionally but as a reference for my first attempt with acrylics good enough.

picture 1 - reference shot

Then I took some of the old boards that I was given by one school whom I make deliveries for (did I tell you that I work as a delivery driver - yea fruit and veg for primary schools here in Leeds - but that's a different story)

I put a drawing in with pencil (picture 2) and put some colours afterwards (picture 3). To put more interest I added my favourite cut of meat -  lamb leg on the foreground table. As it turned out board made acrylics more dark that I'd been expecting. I put a gloss varnish on the painting to seal it up (Still not sure If I like gloss varnish or not - sometimes there's to much reflexion agains light)

Initial sketch mapping areas with values

final painting - Yorkshire butcher (acrylic on board, 12x14,5 inch)

Sunday, 27 November 2016

First thing first - Welcome

First thing of many first things is that I would like to emphasise that English's not my native language but in spite of that I've decided to use it in order to get in touch with more people and since I've been living in England for year or so I found that convenient. So I hope that my friends back in Czech republic will understand that and the experts on the language from this realm would stay calm If they see some big issues in my expressions/writting/order of words etc. because in the end of the day this blog isn't about linguistics but about art - especially drawing/painting. So point No.1 is:

It's not gonna be perfect (language) by any means but there's gonna be pictures instead!

Second thing of many first things is that I would like to share with you my story (hopefully briefly): 

I grew up in beautiful town in Czech republic by the name Zdar and Sazavou which is in the center of beautiful Highlands of Bohemia (really - search "Zdar and Sazavou" in google and you'll see how gorgeous it is). When I was a little child I would drew up animals, nature and everything around me till my pre high school age. Than caused by my bad grades and the treat of being on the low profile school, I refocused - As society and family and government and everything else tells us - we must focus on career in order to make a living and as a result of that I had been studying boring civil engineering since than till I was 26.

After my graduation I'd spent 3 terrible years under pressure of a construction sites as a construction manager (still in Czech republic). I was thinking back than - that it's not my nature, that's not me, do you want to live like this for 40 years or so? So after a especially hard period in summer 2014 I finally burned out and quit my job. After that I spent a whole year finding myself (nutrition adviser courses, fitness trainer courses) and I had also desire to get better in English (Don't get me wrong - I still have that desire), which brought me to United Kingdom (City of Leeds) in fall 2015. So point No.2:

I'm currently in Leeds (UK) and it's freakin cold here... 

but unfortunately as a result of my extreme shyness I've started to avoid people because I was so terrified of imperfection of language. Than I found my lost treasure (see above) - making pictures (You can be hidden in the safety of your room and just dive in into your "world"). So as a matter of fact I've drew all my family members because I missed them and though that would be a nice present for them to give them these pictures on Christmas (not mentioning that this saved me pretty big chunk of money for presents) And that was my starting point for creating art: and thats point No.3

Let's see some pictures!
Yea that's it - these are my first pictures after my abortion from Engineering when I arrived to United Kingdom: My whole family: father Jan, Younger brother Vaclav, Older brother Jan, myself and my mother.  I'll post in the near future the most interesting work that I've done in past year plus maybe some failures and I'm gonna keep you updated about my recent endeavours as well...

Hope you like the introduction to my art journey which is at its very beginning. I'll be please to inform you about my endeavours throughout the time. I wish you all the best and stay tuned...