Sarum Studio, final week

Oil painted portrait

‘Sophie’. Oil on linen panel, 10″ x 8″. 2013

Figure oil painting - Helen Davison

‘Figure VI’. Oil on linen, 70cm x 50cm. 2013

Admittedly I’ve only been using the camera on my phone, but I have really struggled to get decent pictures of these two paintings from the final week at Sarum Studio. These are the best photos I got, but they’re not great. When the paintings are ready for varnishing, I’ll even out the surface of each with a coat and then try again with a better camera and polarising lens.

Anyway, these are both week long projects and I enjoyed them. I particularly like the smaller scale of the portrait, which is 10″ x 8″. I don’t necessarily think it’s easier to paint at a smaller size, it’s just different. Certainly it’s quicker to cover the canvas and then concentrate on colour mixing and building up some texture. The temptation to fiddle is never far away though, so it’s also possible to overwork and kill fresh brushwork. Overall I’m pleased with the result and hope I haven’t made Sophie look too sleepy. We were in a dark little corner, and the poor girl was really fighting the urge to nod off!

The figure painting works as quite a painterly study, which I got down by prioritising the halftones and turned edges to suggest the solidity of the body, while keeping things fairly simple. I’ve been thinking a lot about moving my work on from studies now, and simplicity of brushwork and composition is one element that I’m conscious of pushing.