Portrait Painting in Edinburgh

In early October 2019 I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a week working with eleven other painters under the care of portrait and figure artist Alan McGowan in Edinburgh.

The Cafe Royal pub, spoken very highly of by a local taxi driver didn’t disappoint

Day one (Monday) had some very interesting demonstrations and pointers with short charcoal and conte crayon sessions. I really enjoyed it, the models were great and make the whole difference in quality of image, other factors are incredibly important such as lifting of the subject and artists position and easel height. In the afternoon we worked on primed card using oil paint! It had never occurred to me before to try this but I was so pleased I did because its a bit of a revelation and something I’d definitely do again!

An interesting surface: acrylic primed card! Not sure what our model made of it though?

Day two was a full day painting with one model in one pose and for me proved to be my favourite day. The first day had allowed me not to expect too much from myself and with that forgiveness in mind I opened a large Loxley canvas and got it primed, I’d never tried these and it was lovely, handled paint well and had just enough tooth to capture paint from the brush in a way I found so pleasing. I started to get the drawing to fall into place and before it turned into a full scale monochromatic study I added some colour and it just felt righting on.

The following two and a bit days would be working with a male in the mornings and a female in the afternoons. I used to smaller Bella Art canvasses for this and the canvas grain was very smooth and i struggled over this in both paintings, Using a medium like Gamsol to wipe down then adding paint to the canvas felt not unlike watercolour painting at times and I spent the first session with Derek trying to get some sort of passable drawing. Callie, our woman was another challenge, very short blonde hair with a strawberry coloured crown, I never felt like I’d got to a successful resolution on the drawing stage. All three paintings should be on their way back to Norway and hopefully will make it for our open studio, all three need work but Callie will be have the most to get right.

Derek, a pleasure to paint this distinguished gent.

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