My Art

Doug in studio

Doug at Work in Richard Barry’s Studio

One of the main reasons I took early retirement in June 2002 was to create some free time to get back into my art. I have enjoyed drawing and painting from an early age but owing to a number of factors I never took the opportunity to obtain any formal education in the arts, something I regretted.

Even though I recently received some private art tuition from a local well know artist Richard Barry (www.richardarthurbarry.com) (www.RichardBarryPaintings.blogspot.com), I still class myself very much as an amateur artist. This said, Richard took me back to the basics of understanding the importance of ‘the ‘shape of the shape’, the ‘tone of the tone’, the ‘darkest dark’ and the ‘lightest light’. Richard also taught me the way the ‘old masters’ produced their paintings, a process I used for my first self portrait and other oil paintings thereafter.

The four stage process used by some of the old masters are; 1: The pencil drawing, 2: The colour sketch, 3: The grisaille and 4: The final painting.

It is claimed that by using this process all the important decisions are made before producing the final painting. For example, the composition and detail of the painting is decided at the pencil drawing stage which allows easy alteration and reworking until the desired final picture has be achieved. The decisions on colour and relationships are made using small and simple colour sketches. The grisaille provides a template on which oils can be applied by simply overpainting the existing picture on the grisaille.

My Self Portrait

Pencil Drawing on Tracing Paper

Pencil Drawing on Tracing Paper

STAGE 1: Looking into mirror I produced a self portrait pencil drawing on tracing paper suitably sized for tracing down directly onto the canvas.

A4 Colour Sketch

A4 Colour Sketch

STAGE 2: A number of copies are produced from the self portrait drawing on tracing paper (modern day solution was use of a digital camera and print out required number of copies). The copies are then used to create colour sketches to determine the preferred colour scheme for the final painting.

Grisaille on Canvas

Grisaille on Canvas

STAGE 3: The finished self portrait drawing is traced down onto the canvas. Using tonal mixtures of underpainting white and raw umber a grisaille (greyscale) oil painting is produced using the tracing marks on the canvas and reference to the original self portrait drawing for detail. Once the oil has dried the grisaille is coated with shalac (similar to varnish) to protect the painting. This coating allows oils on the final painting to be cleaned off (if needed for changes) without damaging the original grisaille painting underneath.

Self Portrait: May 2010

Self Portrait: May 2010

STAGE 4: The self portrait is produced in full colour using reference to the original self portrait tracing paper drawing, the chosen colour sketch and the artist’s image reflected in a mirror. 100cm x 70cm.

The finished self portrait oil painting was unveiled at Downderry in front of family, friends and documentary film crew for Montambanco productions on the 8th May 2010.

Toe Dipping Maidens

My next oil painting using the old masters process was the ‘Toe Dipping Maidens’. The trace down pencil drawing and the finished oil painting are shown below. 100cm x 70cm.

Toe Dipping Maidens Grisaille (100 cm x 70 cm)

Toe Dipping Maidens Grisaille

Toe Dipping Maidens: October 2010 (100 cm x 70 cm)

Toe Dipping Maidens: October 2010

Three Granddaughters

My next oil painting using the old masters process was that of our three granddaughters from Janice’s side of the family. The finished oil painting is shown below.

Three grand daughters

Zofia, Flora and Heather (70 cm x 40 cm)

Portrait of Janice

My next oil painting using the old masters process was that of my wife Janice. Three stages of the process are shown below.

Janice drawing trace

Janice drawing trace

Drawing Trace

Janice colour card A4

Janice colour card A4

Colour Card (A4)

Janice

Janice

Janice (40 cm x 70 cm)

Farewell 10,000 Men

My next oil painting using the old masters process was that of Farewell 10,000 Men, my anger art at the needless death of 10,000 men each year from prostate cancer which if it is diagnosed early enough it is curable. The 70 x 100 cm oil painting is shown below.

10,000 men by Doug Gray

10,000 men by Doug Gray

Narrative

The Iconic Auschwitz sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” is modified to read “PCa Macht Frei”, indicating that it is wrong for the Government to knowingly let 10,000 men die each year of prostate cancer when early diagnosis through screening can significantly reduce the number of deaths, increase longevity and minimise treatment complications. The figure 10,000 is visible in the raging smoke of the crematoria to indicate these unnecessary deaths.

The flower “Forget-me-nots” in the bottom left hand corner are used as a symbol to remember those men who have died, and will continue to die unnecessarily, if nothing is done about it.

Some of the “dead men walking” in the picture passing behind the Secretary’s of States for Health are using a number of different hand gestures to express how they feel ranging from, surrender, salute, two fingers, fist, one finger and blowing a kiss.

The Secretary’s of State for Health, 1997 to May 2010 under Labour Government, who were responsible for endorsing the UKNSC decision in 1997 not to screen for prostate cancer are (from left to right) Alan Milburn, John Reid, Patricia Hewitt, Alan Johnson and Andy Burnam. They are all shown with their backs on the 10,000 men that die each year and are also shown with sloped shoulders as they ignored the opportunity to solve the problem.

The silhouetted figure is Andrew Lansley the new coalition Government’s Secretary of State for Health. He is shown as a silhouette because he has the power to address the problem. The question is “will the painting be updated to show him with his back to the 10,000 men or looking at them recognising the problem and doing something about it?”