Painting Kelly

Over the weekend, myself, Mrs Lyons and Mrs Longmuir, from Notredame High School, attended a life painting class held by Andrew Radcliffe. Andrew has painted many important people including Prince Charles and Neil Kinnock. He can paint photographically, almost hyper-real (too real).

For 4 hours we painted, I have to say, it was such a daunting task for me, those who know me will know that I’m not a patient man, I have to have things done and they have to be done yesterday. I suppose that I should have found the whole task relaxing and rewarding, though I found myself becoming very frustrated and unhappy with my own progress. Something that I would usually pick pupils up on… now I know how you all feel.

I am still fairly happy with my work, though I find that I didn’t get enough ‘work’ for the effort that was put in, maybe that’s why I work with digital media most of the time. It’s quick to use with a virtually instant output.

The piece above is what I finished the workshop with, below is the piece 20 mins in.

It contains no starter guide lines or pencil layouts, it’s just straight painting. Below, Mrs Lyons works colours into her piece at 20 mins in too. Her style is frustrated angular lines like mine, though she layers her paint as if it is a sculpture. This gives her figure more form and life. I was so amazed by all the different styles created by the handful of art practitioners.

I really like Mrs Longmuir’s piece below (20 mins in), it’s a style of painting that I wish I could do… flowing, curving lines. She shows off Kelly’s (the life model) femininity, while capturing the colours perfectly.

Creating Beauty From Ugliness

This week’s ‘Artwork of the Week’ comes from Rachel M (S3) from the Lochgilphead Joint Campus. Rachel is working on a project for the Scottish Learning Festival. The project centres around issues of prejudice and understanding, there were a lot of great pieces produced, though they are currently either unfinished or just short of the ‘Rachel standard’, so Rachel has sneaked in to claim it with her beautiful drawings, so simple and filled with character and emotion.

She and the rest of her class had to create a digital work using Photoshop within two days, which is no easy feat, especially when you’ve never used Photoshop before. I was so impressed by Rachel and the rest of her classmates’ progression with the software, they merged photography with drawings and paintings with ease.

Anyway, back to this week’s star… Rachel’s piece reminds me of the work of Chester Brown or Jeffrey Brown. It holds so much drama and tension within a single frame. She initially had her characters on a pale background with light bubbles, though I think the added corridor and black bubbles is a great change. The line work around the faces expresses so much, you don’t really need to see the text. Well done Rachel.


Zoë Murdoch is a friend of mine. I first met her many years ago in University when we were both studying Fine and Applied Arts. Everyone else was creating huge, colourful paintings, Zoë and I were creating tiny little works in boxes and books, they weren’t made to be seen by all, they usually weren’t even created with an audience in mind. I hated my own stuff, but absolutely fell in love with Zoë’s. Her work, at that time, was created from old sepia toned photos and words were typed onto old papers with a very old type-writer.

Her work has no main influence, though little comparisons can be made to the combining of images by Man Ray and the box art of Joseph Cornell. Her work cries out to moments of the fantasical, like that from a nursery rhyme or a children’s book, though it also contains domestic subjects, traditional objects and unfamiliar things in familiar places.

Zoë’s work thrives with recurring themes, usually around loneliness or broken relationships, it also features a variety of recurring animals; foxes and wolves, ravens and song birds. She usually uses her own image in her photos, though this is mainly down to ease and control, rather than self obsession or vanity.

Originally from Belfast, she has experienced many other cultures, these help her bring a collection of different view points and cultural references within her work. Although mainly working in photography, Zoë is an extremely talented sculptor and fine mark making artist.

If you are interested in viewing more of Zoë’s work, she has kindly allowed me to let you visit her Flickr account:

Qic Time

Connor M from Oban High School is very busy indeed. Busy creating websites, busy making packages, busy taking photographs… busy, busy, busy. You would think with all this ‘quantity’ that the quality simply wouldn’t be there, but you’d be very wrong.

He is creating industry standard work while still currently studying in S5, not only is this amazing, but it’s also very annoying, he’s so young, talented and brimming with ideas. It could make you angry, he’s so good.

Spending a little time browsing through Connor’s work you’ll soon see that he has a very distinctive design style. He likes clean lines that are usually juxtaposed with a little messiness or something unexpected. It’s this combination that makes his sharp design ideas even more dynamic.

Not limited to software and design, Connor also takes a huge range of photographs, each image lingers in the viewers mind as either something a little humorous, tongue in cheek or provoking.

I am incredibly impressed by his photographs, though it’s Connor’s design work on Illustrator and Photoshop that bowls me over. His ideas and ability to design diverse and varied shapes, from dirty, grimey illustrations to simple and clean logos, is just staggering. Keep an eye on this pupil. You’re sure to see him again very soon.

To see more visit:

Learning The Tools Of The Trade

I had to do a little filler lesson with some S2 pupils from the all girl school Notre Dame High in Glasgow. I decided to let them have a go at Pixlr and Glogster to learn some of the basic tools of Photoshop, an essential in any creative industry.

Lauren M attempts the above Frankenstein creation by putting a Retriever’s face onto a Chimpanzee. I guess you would call it a ‘Donkey’ or a ‘Mog’. Alexandra M creates a ‘Lady Bobo’ below.

Alexandra C G tries a similar slant with Gaga, though with a much bigger monkey below, I can’t help but laugh at this picture.

Above Cheryl G shows us her workspace using Pixlr as she creates a Justin Bieber/Pig amalgamation, while below she lets us view her workspace while using Glogster during the creation of a retro poster.