Thursday, March 31, 2016

Georgina With Dylan

This is my niece Georgina, daughter of Valerie and Trevor and sister to Jessica. In her Facebook profile she is in the arms of her boyfriend Dylan, outdoors in a woodland scene. I think it must be Lucy's Gully, judging by the Redwood trees.  The image appeals to me as it kind of has a fairytale "babes in the wood" feel to it! This is one of those images where I regret choosing such a small size to work on. At only 100mm, or about 4 inch square, it is just too tiny to effectively capture likeness in the faces, with the impasto oil paint I use. However, I have been considering developing some of these little sketches further in larger paintings. We will see.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


This is another niece, Sarah .  Daughter to sister Karen and David Keeble. I haven't got to know Sarah quite so well, as Karen and Dave didn't live so close by as the rest of my family. One aspect that occurred to me as I was painting this one is how three out of four of my nieces profile pics are taken in the Great Outdoors. Not sure if this has any significance, however, Sarah definitely seems to be an outdoors kind of person. Perhaps taking after her father David, who has always been a keen tramper and climber. In fact, as I write this, Sarah and her boyfriend, who both work for the Department of Conservation, are embarking on a long, off grid walking adventure in the South Island.


This is my niece, Jessica. Daughter of sister Valerie and Trevor Barrett.  She was born about the same time as my own daughter, Toby, so I watched Jess growing up at the many family gatherings over the years. She has recently married , and is the mother to two beautiful girls, Cassie and Tayla.

I found this one difficult to paint as it is a high contrast sepia tone photo. I had to have two goes at it.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lauren Otis

This is my niece, Lauren Otis, daughter of Lynne. She studied Consumer Food Science at Otago University. She married Jason Otis, and they now live in California, where she works at the Chlorax Company as a sniffer and taster, or something along those lines...! 

In her profile pic, she looks as though she is about to take a giant leap of faith, or perhaps commanding nature.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lynne and Karen

Oil on aluminium

This is the eldest of my three sisters, Lynne.  Seen here embracing her daughter, Lauren at her wedding.

This is Karen who is about a year older than me. She lives in Tauranga, so I don't get to see her too often.
My youngest sister, Valerie, is not on Facebook.

Being the only boy in a family of girls, I guess I grew up with strong female role models. My father was always rather distant. Lynne, Karen and I were all born in England, in Middlesborough. I think we were all very well behaved and mannered children when we were very young. Very English.

    In the 1960"s , Canada was financially assisting young families to immigrate. We were all taken to start a new life on Vancouver Island. Not long after we arrived there, Valerie was born and I think its fair to say that she had a different, more relaxed upbringing in Canada, especially with three older siblings to dote and look after her. 

We lived in Canada for about eight years before going back to England in the early 70's.  Lynne and Karen had finished school and began working. I became very withdrawn and unhappy back in England.

In 1974, the family again emigrated. This time to New Zealand where my father had got a job in horticulture with Duncan and Davies Nurseries in New Plymouth. We had only been here a few months when first Karen and then Lynne found steady Kiwi boyfriends and got married. Karen and her husband David, soon left NZ to travel the world and Lynne with Graham, built a fine and large modern house. They had a daughter, Lauren in 1983. Karen and Dave returned to NZ and had daughter Sarah. Valerie finished school in New Zealand and met Trevor. They married and had two daughters, Jessica and Georgina.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dale Copeland

Dale Copeland
oil on aluminium

This is my partner Dale. She is an assemblage artist, website writer, mathematician, teacher and a long time friend, and mother to our daughter, Toby.

She doesn't approve of social media sites. Despite this, she gets far more likes and attention than I could ever hope for.

When she learned I was painting my Facebook friends she immediately changed her profile picture to this one. I was tempted to paint the old one, but I'm happy with the way this one came out.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Toby FB

Oil on aluminium

I almost aborted this project as soon as starting it.  I always feel vulnerable and full of self doubt when embarking on a new project. I guess the only thing to do is to knuckle down and do it. Man up to it. Suck it up, and other vaguely obnoxious platitudes.

This is my daughter Toby's FB profile pic. She is seldom online on Facebook. Too busy with her life as a doctor working in Canberra. She is currently completing her study and training to get her GP licence. Being quite a reserved and private person it comes as no surprise that she only reveals her ear. I found it surprisingly difficult to make a painting out of. Not her ear so much as getting the flower and hair right. Working from a photo it is all too easy to find yourself making a photographic kind of image, and that's not really what I'm trying to achieve. ie: not photo-realism.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Facebook Project

Enid Hutchinson
Oil on aluminium panel

I've had this idea for a new series of small paintings for a while now, and this is the first one.  The idea is to use my Facebook friends profile photos as the source for the imagery and make small paintings from them, which I will post to Facebook as I do them.  I felt I should start out with someone who's face I know well, and who better than my own mother? One of the objectives of this excercise is to see if I can paint from photographs. It is, I guess, my way of facing up to that perennial debate that a lot of artists have, over whether to use photographs, rather than painting directly from life. I have used photographs many times before of course, however, for the last decade or so, I have been quite rigorously painting my subjects directly from life. The predominant genre I have been painting recently has been still life which is ideally suited to working from life. I can set up the subject and stare at it for hours on end usually. Flowers are always a bit of a problem, and I have watched fresh pieces of fruit literally decay before my eyes, over the days and weeks a painting may be in progress.

So this is different. We live in this age of instant gratification, Everything is delivered to us cut and paste, in easily digestable packets of information,usually on a screen or on our phones
 Visual imagery is cheap and disposable. In some ways perhaps this is a good thing. Art has certainly lost much of it's former preciousness. I will probably feel quite differently about this on another day, but right now, this seems like an avenue worth exploring.