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Work in progress and recently completed commissions
Artist John Twinning, who is based in the West Midlands / Staffordshire is available to undertake commissioned work in many subject areas. He has previously undertaking topics as varied as :- Family, Pet and House Portraiture, Churches and Cathedrals, Topographical paintings and Townscapes, Architectural Studies and Boat and Seascape paintings. His gouache (which is a kind of watercolour) paintings and pencil work are finely detailed and of the highest quality.
My second painting of Holywell (right) features one of the village's beautiful streets, Holywell Front, as waters subside after a flood.
Prints of 'Refections of Holywell' are available from the Gallery area of the site. Click on this link to take you straight to the relevant page.
Holywell Village after a flood! Again, this is my reference photograph. Well actually it's a heavily 'photo-shopped' picture and I am not going to divulge ALL of it's secrets.
A certain amount of airbrushing out has gone on. Several large cars, wheely bins, telegraph poles, security lights and a whole range of other modern paraphenalia was removed in order to give a more historic feel to the work and to make it harder for the viewer to tell that this was painted in the 21st century.
All the figures you see have been added as the original image was completely unpopulated. The figure next to the boat in the foreground (right) is yours truly with a little hair of a slightly different colour added (not that you can make much out in a picture at this size!) Perhaps the most striking addition to the scene are the pools of water; again another Photoshop trick. Those familiar with Photoshop will doubtless be able to figure out how this was done. I also added some further clouds to the final version of this reference picture as the customer thought that the large area of blue sky needed to be filled with something; and then I was ready to begin.
Over 200 hours were spent working on this painting between August and December 2010.
A number of other projects have kept me from working on the promised series of photographs of some pictures I took on a journey to Paris in 1983.
However, prints of the first image in the series (left) 'Street Musician, Montmartre, Paris, 1983' are available to purchase in the Topographical section of the Gallery.
This commissioned painting below features a Spring time view of the church of St. John the Baptist in Holywell, Cambridgeshire.
Prints of 'Holywell Church, Spring Time' are available from the Gallery area of the site. Click the link above to take you straight there.
Initial reference photo
This picturesque church is purched atop a hill which rises gently from the fenlands and stream below. It is surrounded by trees.
All paintings present an element of challenge, but as you will see from the original picture I took on my visit to gather source material in 2009 (see picture above left); the aforementioned trees provided a somewhat restrictive view of the main subject.
Main reference photo after image manipulation
I used a variety of pictures to create a montage view of the scene, ommitting as much of the foliage as I could as it was important to show as much of the church as possible. I inserted some cows which were 'digitally' borrowed from a field close-by into the main composition. (see picture above left).
Painting progress - early February 2010
The picture (left) shows the painting as it appeared at about 36 hours into the piece with some of the original pencil sketch still apparent.
NO THIS IS NOT A PHOTOGRAPH! It is in fact another stunning painting by John, in his almost photorealistic style.
One of John's recent commissions was an animal portrait for a family in Staffordshire of the their beautiful Golden Retriever, Molly.
Prints of 'Molly's Portrait' are available from the Gallery area of the site. Click the link above to take you straight there.
Molly's owner said "she was bred by Guide Dogs but sadly rejected by them at a very early age because of a problem with her legs. It was diagnosed as a rotational problem in her hind legs. Instead of puppy walking her, we kept her as a family pet. She has taken part in a few fund raising events."
Molly, as you can see from the photograph below, was an extremely affectionate dog and I really enjoyed getting to grips with this lovable canine. I say was, because sadly, since the painting was completed in December 2009, Molly has had to be put to sleep.
I outline below some details of how I approached this work. Directly below is the photograph I used as my source reference for the painting.
Molly reference photo
The pictures below show the work in early stages of development. When you consider the finished piece above, you will see that the early stages were not really quite so appealing to the eye.
The first image in the series is in fact just the skeleton of the piece and needed to be considerably “fleshed out”. The initial drawing was sketched in using pencil and the painting was established with thin washes of gouache to mark positions of important features such as the eyes and nose etc. Concentration on positioning the eyes was particularly important as it is surprising how much information the eyes and their position give in identifying a subject - human or animal. Layers of thicker gouache were then added and the details built up. One of the reasons I rate gouache so highly is its ability to be over-painted. However, one must be careful not to work the paint too heavily or one can mix and drag up the colours underneath into layers above.
Molly painting in early stages of development.
Molly painting at about 38 hours of work.
Below is the preliminary sketch which I completed earlier using a limited palette of black, white and grey pastels on a neutral brown/grey pastel paper. Prints of 'Molly - pastel sketch' are available to purchase in the Animal Portraiture section of the Gallery.
Completed pastel sketch.
St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, from New Cannon Passage
Original - gouache on paper © John Twinning 1996 & 2010