Over the moon to report that the new studio is finally finished. We started the project over six months ago and while it has taken time away from painting, its great to have a space that is so comfortable and enjoyable to work in. I'm really pleased to be fully installed and have some exciting projects to get started on.
The picture shows the portrait space, with natural north light and an LED panel light for winter evenings. The mezzanine (accessed by the ladder) has proved amazingly capacious and means I can stash all kinds of things out of the way, leaving the downstairs free for working. A few friends have subsequently asked for my thoughts in relation to improving or developing their own studios. If you have questions about my new set up or want any advice, do get in touch.
I had a wonderful day yesterday visiting the private view of the ROI's annual exhibition, which I was lucky enough to get work accepted into. It was great to catch up with artists, friends and family there and to see the fantastic artworks that are included in this year's show.
My painting, 'Composition with Blowtorch' was completed towards the end of my academic training and it was so encouraging when the piece was accepted for the show.
I was drawn to this collection of old objects because of their varied textures and the dynamic shapes that could be made with them. While the picture was completed in the studio, I enjoyed pondering on their individual histories and imagined each of them in their 'prime' when they were used every day in busy workshops, on fishing vessels or in factories, how they slipped slowly into obsolescence, redundancy and abandonment, before making their way on strange and varied journeys into my possession and onto this canvas.
The Royal Institute of Oil Painters annual exhibition is at the Mall Galleries, London and runs until 8th December 2019. For more information click here.
While the new studio has been under construction I've been doing quite a bit of teaching in various locations. The image to the left is from a class I ran in Sussex which introduced sight-size painting in the context of still life. The sight-size method is where the canvas and the subject are placed side by side and judgments about proportion and colour are made by stepping back to a fixed position. The students produced some really fantastic work and learnt a lot about traditional oil painting techniques, and colour mixing.
The sight-size method, originally used in portraiture, is especially helpful for people new to drawing and painting. Properly understood, it is not merely a measuring aid but contributes to a philosophy of seeing in which the big visual impression is painted and the constituent parts kept in their proper relations. Used in the correct way it is a highly effective means of training the eye to judge proportion, value and colour and often unlocks a degree of naturalism in painting that has sometimes eluded students for years.
Ben Laughton Smith
Contemporary works of art in the classical tradition.