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I never fail to smile when I watch the birds bathing. Even in the coldest weather with the ice removed and the bird bath replenished our little feathered friends take delight in performing their ablutions. Ive watched the blackbird thrashing around and showering the Dunnocks on the ground below while they wait their turn to use the washing facilities. This little water colour painting was 'judged' too busy at a recent exhibition. Ive yet to witness birds having a relaxed, calm soak but I have witnessed the critic from an international artist and judge as a disappointing hogwash or wash out

 
 
It's rare for me to set down my brushes and say, "it's finished". Ive have often set my brushes down and thought, "I will set this aside and return to it with a fresh mind". It's usually when something in the composition is not to my liking or there is something not quite right or to my pleasing and I cant work out what it is.
 There are other times I should set the brushes down but cant, the journey has concluded, its all over, finished and I keep on painting, right through the National Anthem in total denial of the journeys end. This morning will be the first time in 11 days that I go to bed before the blackbird sings and I will sleep well with the knowledge 'that it's finished'
All that I wished for achieved, my promises accomplished. All I pray for now that the painting brings some joy, comfort and solace from the unimaginable sorrow that prevails in the household that it is destined for.
 
 
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Beautician is one of three paintings currently on display at The City Gallery in Nottingham just facing the Council House on Long Row. Wet on wet its a fun quirky painting in a style I return to from time to time. The two other art works on display are 'Looking Back' & 'Grandad's Parlour', funny enough they are in a similar style too. Another commission is occupying my time and thoughts at present & keeps me from adding to my gallery page. In fact the commission has taken over everything here at the studio and home. It was such an honour to be asked to paint it, yet the client says that THEY are the ones that feel honoured. Like all my paintings there is narrative, even 'Beautician' has a story but this is different, a tragedy so horrific that it would melt the coldest heart, it is sad, sorrowful and heart breaking beyond imagination. No need for research either as it recently unfolded on national television.  Its the first time in my life that I fear of failure in my art.

 
 
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Nine Strikes
'Nine Strikes' almost complete now with only drying and then varnishing to finish it off. I hoped to expose the cats tail but as the art work progressed the lower half of the canvas had enough distraction as it was. In a lot of my paintings I usually paint something in that almost merges with the background. a little sparrow or a prop that is of significance to the narrative. Concerned at not showing the cats tail I doubled up and painted the fur on the angels cuff sleeve to look like a tail. The fur was originally intended to be feathers so I altered that to appear as whatever the viewer wishes. Its all about illusion, just visual trickery,,, Look at the wings, then the cuffs you say "feathers", look at the cat first you will assume fur and does the picture portray a lady with a cat standing in front of a stone angel statue or is it really an angel ?

 
 
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Sometimes you strive as best you can & never actually achieve what you wish to portray or worse, if its a commission, ending up in a compromise with both parties not entirely comfortable with the results. The message & review below testifies to a successful outcome effectuated by a short sequence of e mails and half a dozen small sketches.
 Final consequence, a delighted client and an artist gains a friend.
 
Hi Michael,
 The painting arrived safely this morning, and I had a chance to open it and have a look at it privately this evening. All I can say is....WOW. You were right, it really is a totally different thing seeing it on a computer, to real life. When you can see the paper, the detail of the strokes, the shading and lines, it just looks stunning. On a computer is an image, but in your hand its an actual painting. I put it on the wall where I think it will go, and it looks terrific. Thanks again for a great piece of work, I'm sure we'll never tire of looking at it.
 Regards
 
Then this review
 
The work was a painting for my wife's birthday, based on a series of photos taken during our honeymoon. I've never had a piece of art made like this, so wasn't sure what to expect.
I found Michael very easy to work with. His emails were very detailed, and he produced the sketches very quickly. He was also able to take my feedback on board and make adjustments just right. All this helped to make it a smooth process.
The final result is perfect, I'm more than happy with it. And I feel its a nice combination of what I wanted, with his artistic take on it.
Would definitely recommend to anyone wanting a piece of art done for them.

 
 
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Angels Garment
It's about time I got back to Nine Strikes, it does no harm setting a painting aside for a while as a rested eye often leads to a better composition or a rethink as to the initial direction. This rest convinced me to paint the Angel's garment in a jade like green and I duly mixed some casein for the under painting. Right on the first paint stroke I knew it was a mistake,,, come on,, how many ginger angels have you seen wearing a green gown ? Not many I wager ! It had to go back to theoriginal blue/violet/mauve hue always favoured by cat cradling angels for as long as I can remember. For this stage I abandoned the glazes and painted the garment in wet on wet,, oh the joy, the abandon, McEvoy living on the edge. I had to set down my brush and make another brew just to get my adrenaline rush under control. Have a peep at my painting method on the garment, this may be of assistance to some. Often large areas ( although not large in this case) are somewhat daunting to beginning artists,, I'm actually completing the garment in seven individual sections which also results in possibly seven slightly different shades of the same colour, each section is on a different plane so in reality, would be absorbing light or shade at varying levels. Note that in the section of torso to the bottom of the canvas I have started by putting the shadow in first, that's a trait I usually adhere to as it helps develop a feel for form, contours, folds etc. Works for me and besides, ' its a journey not a race '.