Alan McGowan class

This week I shall be working on the portrait with Alan McGowan, the Edinburgh-based figurative artist.  Alan works works in a free and expressive style.  This apparently improvisatory style is actually based on a rigorous knowledge of anatomy.  Such knowledge”gives  the freedom” to improvise, as Alan says.   Alan McGowan teaches all over the world, so I am especially fortunate that he is able to provide workshops so nearby.  This week the focus is on the portrait, but he also teaches life painting and drawing and specialist anatomy workshops.  Highly recommended.

I hope to build my knowledge of the human head and the face, and to learn more about the use of paint and colour.  The week will be an opportunity to share time with a group of dedicated artists in a great environment near the Old Custom House of Leith Docks.  The experience will complement my work based on the time with Martin Campos earlier in the year.

LATER  in the week

These images show the work that I did in the Alan McGowan class  We began with drawing and then moved into a single study the following day.  I tried to focus on the tonal composition as suggested by Alan.  In some ways I succeeded.  During the second half of the week we had the same models over three days, so there was time to build up a more complete painting.  I was looking at paintings by American artists such as Alex Kanevsky for inspiration, as well as taking in Alan’s practical advice and wisdom  (MIX PAINT CAREFULLY      FIND THE STORY     USE YOUR EYES!).  A very enjoyable and stimulating week and perhaps quite importantly a change in routine with new people.  Thank you to everyone who was there.



Alan McGowan class painting by Diana Hand

Alan McGowan class painting by Diana Hand Alan McGowan class drawing by Diana Hand Alan McGowan class painting by Diana Hand

Martin Campos demo

Painting with Martin Campos

In July I went to Cork in Ireland to study with Martin Campos, teacher at Philadelphia College of Art.  Martin is a figurative painter, who specialises in the human figure, and he is a wonderful draughtsman and painter.  But I like the way he places his subjects in an abstracted context.  I want to learn how to place my equestrian subjects in a different context, and that is why I wanted to learn from Martin.  But I am enjoying working with the human figure as well.  It contains so much meaning to us as a species, so different from the meaning of an animal.  We can never fully share the experience of an animal in the way that we can empathise with other human beings.  However, my passion is for drawing and painting horses

Martin also practises plein air sketches as a daily routine.  This is another great idea to loosen up  and discover one’s own interest and focus.

The workshop was organised by another teacher, Pauline Agnew.  Pauline is also an inspirational and liberating artist, and she runs on line courses and also workshops all over the world.  “Pauline is truly an art whisperer” to quote some of her students.



Martin Campos demo Martin Campos plein air painting Martin Campos painting Martin Campos painting




Painting horses

I am exploring the use of colour in my equestrian art.  The coat texture and the colours so rich and different from our human skin.


Leo oil on canvas WP HORSE'S NOSE WP oil painting of horses



WP Oil sketch on canvas

Life drawing in Edinburgh and Glasgow

As well as the portrait class, I am  practising life drawing each week at the excellent untutored sessions at Leith School of Art.

WP Figure in charcoal on paper WP detail figure in wash WP figure drawing on paper





Portrait Class at Glasgow School of Art Open Studio

WP PORTRAIT CHARCOAL AND CHALK ON TINTED PAPERI  am learning about the structure of the head in the Portrait Class with Cynthia Bowles at Glasgow School of Art Open  Studio evening class.  Wonderful…!!





Life Drawing and Painting at Glasgow School of Art 2015-2016

Over the winter I continued my study of human life drawing and painting at the Continuing Education Department of the Glasgow School of Art.  The tutor for the class was Cynthia Bowles, and she was excellent.  For more information read my blog entry on the GSA site.

Studies in Anatomy 2015-2016

Writing the drawing book has inspired me to study anatomy more deeply, both human and equestrian.  Last July I spent a week at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford with tutors Sarah Simblet and Eleanor Crook.  This January I attended a weekend course in Edinburgh with Alan McGowan, and I am studying a part time course at Glasgow School of Art with Cynthia Bowles.  All these tutors have an impressive and profound knowledge of anatomy.