Beyond the Madness

I was asked last month to make a painting demonstration for a group of non-artists. Given a challenging time limit of not much over half an hour in which to complete the demonstration I unwisely chose too complex a subject – chrysanthemums in a glass vase. My approach to the early stages of painting can…

Saying Happy Birthday with Alstroemeria

It’s been difficult to fit in much painting of late for one reason and another (workshops, admin, art group shenanigans), but I was determined to fit in one today in order to dedicate it to my wife’s Oma, whose birthday it is. Something told me last week when I bought these flowers that I should…

In Praise of Alkyds

These days I like to vary the media with which I paint, in turn embracing the unique qualities of oils, acrylics and alkyds respectively. I’ve been working with Winsor & Newton alkyd paints for over 20 years; most of my pre-2010 work (and around half subsequently) labelled ‘oils on canvas’ on my website (www.birtall.co.uk) was…

Thinking Outside the Recycling Box

I have recently started recycling materials – mainly cardboard packaging – as alternative surfaces to canvas or paper. This move probably has its origins in the production of Keep an Eye on the Amaryllis #5, which was painted in acrylics on cardboard, and a self portrait painted on the back of some mount board. However,…

Cosmos and a Bird Table

My motivation for this little 7″ x 5″ painting was twofold. I have recently sought to produce work with more of a connection to the passing of the seasons. The garden, though now well past its’ summer best, provided the perfect subject. On a chilly day, it had the added benefit of being paintable from…