Grey Street Painting
This week saw me reach another landmark birthday, I’m now 60 years old. I have to say that I’m grateful to God that I’ve been blessed with 60 years to date. However, compared to my 60th, my 50th birthday was more of a year of contemplation and challenge. In 2011 when I was approaching 50, I had appeared on a BBC programme called “Show me the Monet” with one of my paintings of Grey Street. The comments from the art critics on the programme made me reflect on my art career at the time. I decided to make some purposeful studies into oil painting and portraiture. This led to some amazing portrait commissions.
Painting in Florence
One of the most exciting trips to Italy we’ve made was spending two weeks in Florence at the Charles Cecil Studio to study Sight Size painting. What I learnt in those two weeks was the start of a journey into a much deeper exploration into portraiture which is ongoing, even today. Of course, the real learning came in the weeks and months after the Florence trip as I began to study the portraits of one of my painting heroes, John Singer Sargent.
Many hours were spent copying some of Sargent’s oil painting portraits and dozens of his portraits in my Moleskine sketchbooks. I would fill page after page to get a deeper understanding of his techniques. I also wanted to grasp how he captured mood, light and expression. The hard work paid off and I began receive some great portrait commissions.
Fast forward to 2021 and my career as an artist has seen some exciting developments which were not on my radar in 2011. These changes are still related to art and I’m learning even more. Since March 2018 I have been working part time for a North East Charity called Junction 42. My main role is an Outreach Worker which you can read about in a recent blog post. However, I’ve been using my portrait skills to help teach portraiture to prisoners throughout the UK through the Junction 42 Creative Art packs and Faith Packs.
The way I’ve approached my 60th year is quite different to my 50th in that I’ve more of an attitude of gratitude than the sense of ambition and quest for improvement I had age 50. It’s not that I’m totally satisfied with where I’m at. It’s just that for now, I’m more content in letting God open the doors He wants me to go through.