“Cool Jeremiah” was made in 2017 on my third visit to the De Niro International Artists’ Colony in Bitola, Macedonia (now North Macedonia). It is in oils on canvas and about 3ft x 2ft.
At home I had been working on some very tight realistic work and took the chance at the colony to loosen up and play with the faces of my fellow artists.
In my aim for atmosphere rather than detail and given the larger than life scale of the ‘portraits’ I decided against using brushes. Cloths and kitchen roll were much quicker to work with and gave the broad marks and blends that I wanted. Using a limited range of colour left the emphasis firmly on tonal work. Lighter and darker areas were patched in, blurred and re-stated until a balance was made.
“Cool Jeremiah” started as a portrait of a clean-shaven fellow artist but he left the studio before I had finished. Rather than put the painting on hold I decided to take some liberties with his image. Still using cloths and kitchen roll I gave him long hair and a generous beard making him look like a biblical prophet. Brushes were finally needed to sharpen some features and to add the slightly wonky glasses introducing a Hippy aspect to the Prophet and prompting the title.
It has been a privilege to be invited three times to the De Niro colony since 2011 to work alongside some outstanding artists from across the world. Such colonies are clear proof that art transcends language as ideas are shared and friendships formed.
“Self Portrait” 2017 Oils on canvas 3ft x 2ft
This self-portrait preceded “Cool Jeremiah” as a practice run for the technique and only used cloths and kitchen roll to complete the painting.