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