Category Archives: Paintings

Work In Progress – Getting Inspiration From Bad Photos

Since my kids rarely agree to model for me I often have to resort to photos. (I don’t use bribes. That wouldn’t feel like good parenting). I think a bad photo can be an excellent trigger for an interesting painting. The subject in a perfect photo is probably better left as a photo and using something you are not content with will to my experience leave more room for my own creativity.

I started this oilsketch from an out of focus badly lit photo of my youngest daughter sitting on the kitchen floor. I liked the pose, the reflected light from the floor and the limited palette.

I used titanium and zink white, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, terra di sienna and black..and a small touch of blue. It is painted on paper.


I haven’t done a selfportrait in oil for years but I got tired of painting from photos ( my kids won’t sit still for very long).  With a mirror it’s easier to leave out the worst wrinkles and sharp shadows. When I paint from photos I focus to much on details.



I’m not a redhead. I’m just fond of Terra di Sienna. Below is the image of the end result.


My Two Peppers Painting

Finally finished a small oil of my daughters where I tried very different colours than my usual ones. The first base sketch was made with acrylics and I haven’t completely covered it with oils.
I wasn’t pleased with the face of my youngest to the right so I repainted it to make it look like her and not a doll. As the painting has been put aside for a while I have been afraid to continue as my way of painting might have changed and the palette as well. I wanted to keep the sketchy look and not go into details.


Painting Over An Abandoned Portrait

Last year I started a portrait on a larger than my usual size canvas. I left it for several reasons. Colours, Bad likeness, bad composition and bad painting. I had not used the whole surface of the canvas so there was large boring areas.

I find that the easiest way to make an image more interesting is to simply add another person. And if they happen to be sisters there will be interaction. It is inevitable. So I asked my two daughters to sit in the chair already used in the painting and my oldest to try to get into the original position so I could use the original portrait as much as possible. I took a series of images and they managed to go from laughter to crying and back to laughter in five minutes. Firstly I thought I had nothing to use as they were mostly fooling around but then there was this wonderful image of older sister trying to deliver whilst controling unhappy sibling. There was lots of hands and arms all over the place which I felt gave a sense of motion.

The final result.



Portrait With Headphones

Finished the oil portrait of my youngest daughter. Had a really hard time to get her right eye to match the left in colour and proportion. The detail photo was shot indoors so it turned out a bit yellow but that is the final eye. I used Burnt Sienna, Cobolt and Ultramarine Blue. Yellow Ochre and Cadmium red with Titanium white for the skin.