August Thoughts (Commission), August 2018

A pretty straightforward commission – do a painting like this one from four years ago


…but with a male model instead. Righto!

First step was to find a pose and model. Since I’m currently lacking in any life drawing sessions, I browsed through the Croquis Cafe Photo Archive until I found some pictures that clicked. Once the client had confirmed which pose they preferred, I got the same kind of paper (textured paper made for acrylic painting) and the same paints – water-mixable oils. The majority of the painting was finished in one evening, with some extra touches the following day after I saw it from a distance and thought “hmmm… hang on.” Now it’s all done and the client is delighted with the result. Hooray!


August Thoughts, 2018 – Oils on canvas paper (SOLD).

It was the first time I’d tried oil painting in the evening for as long as I can remember (ie, since becoming a parent) and I was pleasantly surprised with how it went. As a result I’m now committing myself to more evening painting (when I’m not reading bedtime stories, of course) working from videos like Croquis Cafe and New Masters Academy in the absence of a real model. Stay tuned for more!

Stretch in Ochre (1), 2018

First in a new series of oil paintings I’m going to produce (hopefully on a weekly basis, if reality will let me) based around poses showing various kinds of stretching, working with a limited palette. Such poses are a real pleasure (and challenge) to capture, especially in a painting. It’s one thing to do a sharp, exaggerated gesture drawing in 30 seconds, quite another to maintain a similar vitality in a painting that took a couple of hours to produce. I’m looking forward to seeing how these paintings progress as the weeks go by, but here’s the first – now up for sale.


Stretch in Ochre (1), 2018 – Oils on canvas board, £60.


Zoo sketchbook, 16th August 2018

Lunch over at the Budongo Trail at Edinburgh Zoo today, the highlight being the littlest chimpanzee (I really should learn their names) twisting a rope before using it to spin like a top, much to its obvious delight. Couldn’t sketch it, but a joy to watch.



Zoo sketches

One of the benefits of where I currently work is that Edinburgh Zoo is just a few minutes walk away. As a result of that, and buying a year’s membership to said Zoo, there’s going to be a steady stream of animal sketches on this here blog, hopefully leading towards some paintings. That’s a good way off yet, but here’s some sketches to start me off.

Right now my focus is on the chimpanzees, who present a fantastic challenge in both their similarities and differences with the human figure. They can be wonderfully expressive, character coming through in facial expressions and body language. I’d love to capture that someday.

Here we go again…

A blog? For blogging? Oh, how quaint!

Yes, I’m tapping into the cultural digital zeitgeist of 15 years ago by reviving the ancient artisan craft of amateur blogging. I started back in, god almighty, October 2003 (why hello, Wayback Machine), went on and on for years (gradually becoming less hysterical, thankfully), getting engaged and married along the way, then becoming a dad. I eventually shut Falling Sky down after a decade or so for a theoretically-more-focused artblog that lasted a couple of pretty quiet years before dissipating into nothing, unmourned. Blogposts turned to Facebook statuses, statuses turned to tweets, until I got sick of the latter two and basically became silent online. So why am I going back to the Old Ways?

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