Nial and Myself (Frome Life) Blog Ready

Over the course of the past year and a half I’ve been working on and off with same model. This model lives near my studio and as he’s been very liberal with his time, this has given me a chance to get to know him and as such the images have progressed organically.

Here’s some brief thoughts on working with same model over an extended period of time.

On first meeting I was painting a demonstration in a cafe as part of an arts festival in my home town: he would pop in to watch as he was a historian doing tours as part of the same festival. After a couple of brief chats in the local pubs after each day’s efforts, I asked him if he would be interested in posing for a small pencil sketch, this is something I usually suggest to a possible models, as one doesn’t know if they’re going to enjoy process or be any good at sitting. 
Nail First Blog Ready
The project was very enjoyable, we had much in common, he also sat very still when needed and seemed to be generally interested in the process.
After finishing the first small pencil sketch and thoroughly enjoying both the act of working with him, and the general atmosphere in the room I decided to do another picture, this time a charcoal.
Nial Stewart first portrait Blog Ready

If the first picture had a little combative of an expression, this one came out a little more friendly and playful. I used a lot of willow charcoal here, didn’t choose to hone the shapes, going for more of a free dithering picture.

He seemed to be happy to continue posing for further projects, his face gave me many ideas, so I was happy to continue too.
Nail Dark 2 Blog Ready
In this painting I’ve tried to capture a fleeting cheekiness, he had a playful sense of humour…I tried making him laugh then quickly advancing to convey that to canvas!
I put a little more reflected light in the shadows than I would usually, also pumped up the chroma in them.

Profile Nial (Blog Ready)

Shaved Niall  Blog Ready

A couple of quick sketches, playing with Ideas. The pencil drawings in this blog are very quick, mainly ideas for larger paintings that I didn’t always pursue. 

Nial Reading  Blog Ready

I spent some time at his flat where there were books everywhere. One day when he was at my studio and he picked up one of my many art books I liked the head gesture while he was reading. 
I’ve not hit shadows as dark as I usually do, was more interested in soft transitions and line, similar to a pencil drawing. I talk a little about pencil in
Nial Grove 1 Blog Ready
I was renting a larger room, I needed a bigger studio as I had some idea for larger pictures. The last charcoal I did of him gave me an idea of doing a bigger painting of him reading.
Nails House Blog Ready
Tower’s of books near model, I like this as a design device. Finished the painting back at his flat, many books everywhere – they are his vice.
Nial Close-up Blog Ready

On the back wall is a picture from a series of mist paintings I was working on at the time, he’s the model on the beach also.

Observer in the mist.

Observer in the mist.

Close-up Blog Ready

Very broad strokes, whatever worked to make it read from a distance. 


The Reader.

The Reader.

What I found from getting to know the model over many hours of the different projects was how he informed the pictures almost as much as myself. It’s rare that one gets the luxury of having that much time with a model, with most of my commissioned work one feels like you can only ask for a certain amount of time as the clients are usually busy and are not used to spending a lot of time being still.

I enjoyed working, getting to know and developing ideas with this model so much I decided to put him on the poster for my last show!

Poster Blog Ready

“ Art reminds us of things that we know, but have forgotten ”
Kit French
“ Painting is far more about editing than adding “
Kit French