Tag Archives | Acrylic Painting

Someone’s whole life in a box! How sad can it be?

A corner of my former gallery, showing some original watercolours.

A corner of my previous gallery, showing original watercolours and drawings.

Many years ago, almost in a different life it seems, I used to buy and sell English paintings of the late Victorian and Edwardian era, including many watercolours. I used to buy at auctions, up and down the country and sell them in my shop in West Malling High Street, at Art and Antique fairs at country house venues and the NEC Birmingham, where there were 600 + exhibitors and also later, on the internet.

Viewing auctions often meant rummaging in ramshackle barns and cold warehouses, looking for a gem amongst the dross and detritus on view. Often, I would look underneath the heavily laden tables and find a cardboard box, from someone’s attic and spot a collection of drawings or watercolours, many of them badly marked by damp or foxed, (rust marks from acidic papers). I used to go through these wondering whose they were and if they had passed away, and was this indeed the sum total of their life’s drawing and painting efforts.

That seemed so sad to me, but I kept looking, because I knew someone who had found a folio of Augustus John drawings in a box at the very same auction room, for less than £5 some years earlier. (they now sell for about £2,000 each). So I was being hopeful, but at the same time I was determined that my own scribblings and attempts at painting shouldn’t end up the same way, when I’m gone.

Sir William Orpen - portrait of Augustus John c 1899

Augustus John, RA Artist by Sir William Orpen c 1899

Some useful lessons were learned! If you want your art works to end up on peoples walls, and not languish in those old dusty boxes, or attics, you have to get a little commercial, and create paintings people want to keep, enjoy and cherish for many years to come.

Many of those old drawings and watercolours were created in a ‘black and white age’ when tastes were very different, but by the end of the millennium, they were looking rather tired and dated. I did manage to find a few gems which sold rather well in London and Paris, but that’s another story.

While we are talking colour, here’s a recent painting of mine, showing some London Traffic trying to get about, the busy streets, with typical red London double decker buses, black cabs, vans etc, all very colourful, and in a modern manner. It is an Original Acrylic Painting on stretched canvas and is now in my online gallery. See my website or click the picture for full details.

London Traffic - an original acrylic painting on canvas

London Traffic – an original acrylic painting on stretched canvas.


Leave a Painting face to the wall and it will paint itself! – What ?

Titian - Self Portrait painted abt 1550 - 1562

Titian – Self Portrait c 1550 – 1562

Yes! You did read it correctly. It was Titian who is supposed to have said that if you leave a painting, face to the wall for long enough, it will paint itself!  Now I know what he meant and I’m happy to let you into the secret. The most difficult part of any painting is knowing exactly when it’s finished.

The danger is that if you carry on working it until you think it is finished, then look at it a week later, you start to notice all the faults. Very often, it has been ‘over worked’ and has lost much of its initial vitality and excitement. The act of leaving it for a while, won’t prevent the overworking, but will tell you what areas need attention and how to resolve the issues.

This is what Titian had noticed, so he would leave works to stand, while he gathered more thoughts on how to proceed to their conclusion. In a similar way, I have in the past, been tempted to take photos too soon, publish them on my Facebook Page and a few days later, all the faults and problems begin to emerge. How annoying can that be? So here’s the moral of the story:

When a painting is nearing its conclusion – leave it for a few days or longer – When you return to it you ‘should’ know exactly how to finish it.

Portrait of Oscar Peterson, the renowned Jazz pianist.

Oscar Peterson, the renowned american jazz pianist.

Not quite up to Titian’s standard, here is one of my own acrylic paintings, a portrait of the american Jazz Pianist, Oscar Peterson.

I painted this in my studio using old black and white photographs as reference material. I hope you like it.

Click photo for more details!


If you could choose a portrait of an interesting or well known person, Q who would you choose?

I’d like to know your thoughts.