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…

Painting Made Easy?

Earlier this month I started running weekly art classes at a local community centre on the Wirral peninsula. It was my intention to use these classes to put students on a personal creative ‘journey’. The experience garnered in my painting workshops, which I’ve run from home since summer 2014, is that the majority of students,…

A Thank You to a Fine Pair of Boots

This painting, which I made a couple of weeks ago, is a paean to a pair of boots that I’m particularly fond of. Sadly they’re no longer able to service my feet in the way they once admirably did. The soles are breached, the zip is broken, the seams are coming apart. It’s time to…

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…

Painting the Kiwis

Whilst looking around for suitable subject matter for a quick sketch this afternoon, these kiwi fruit caught my eye. Having heard the conclusion of the World Cup semi-final this morning on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, in which New Zealand beat South Africa in a tense finish, I thought some kiwis might make tenuously appropriate…