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JaamZIN Creative – Feature on Patrick Palmer

Painter Patrick Palmer

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Embrace

Patrick is an established artist specialising in the female form – subtle, classical nudes in oil and red chalk. He left a successful career in media at the age of 40 to pursue his childhood ambition. After attending life-drawing classes for 15 years and studying at Heatherleys (London) and NCAD (Dublin) he now exhibits at a number of galleries in the UK and he teaches at The Old Court in Windsor. His work is featured in ‘Images of Women in Art’ and on the cover of ‘Musings of Miss Yellow’ (both available on Amazon).

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Prettiest Girl in Town

Statement

Whilst an element of realism is important, I try to move beyond artistic convention and avoid an image that is too predictable. Realism is not enough – what you take away and what you add to what you see are what transform a picture into art. I believe that the viewer wants to see a degree of draughtsmanship from an artist but they deserve more than this. I aspire to make my pictures touch people personally and to be considered simple works of beauty.

“Patrick Palmer is a modern master of figurative art. His post-romantic nudes are not only exquisitely painted, but also dreamy, delicate and suggestive. They only hint at sensuality and evoke fantasy in the subtle and elegant manner that distinguishes art from pornography.”

Claudia Moscovici,

Co-founder of postromanticism.com and art critic (“Romanticism and Post-romanticism”, Lexington Books, 2007).

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Where Nobody Knows

More info:

Website: https://patrickpalmer.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatrickPalmerArt

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/patrickpalmerartist

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Creating art with Red Chalk – by Fred Aldous Ltd

Meet a Maker – Patrick Palmer

Patrick Palmer got in touch with us to share his impressive and delicate figurative drawings using Conte Sanguine pencils. We spoke to Patrick to find out about his work.

How would you describe your work?

Drawings and paintings of women, 75% realism, 25% artistic licence/impresssionism. Someone else describes it better than me: “Patrick Palmer is a modern master of figurative art. His post-romantic nudes are not only exquisitely painted, but also dreamy, delicate and suggestive.” Claudia Moscovici, Co-founder of postromanticism.com and art critic (“Romanticism and Post-romanticism”, Lexington Books, 2007)

What inspires you?

It varies, sometimes I find inspiration from a particular picture I have seen or from a show or from a particular artist. I do photoshoots of models, normally taking around 400 photos. I play around with my favourite photos on my Mac until I find a design I like and usually a good tonal range. I try to keep the image as simple as possible. Sometimes I struggle and just start a picture and find inspiration along the way. I do art for a living so having to earn money gets me into my studio every day. If I do not find inspiration the picture does not work, I do have to abandon some.

Who is your favourite artist or maker?

Degas, Rodin and Klimt mainly. And Michael Clark who was a good friend of Francis Bacon and a past teacher of mine.

What materials do you use?

Oil paints for my paintings and Conte Sanguine for my drawings. I trained in charcoal so apply the same techniques to my Conte drawings.

Why do you like working in Conte Sanguine pencils?

I like the fact that many old masters used them and that no-one seems to be using them anymore. The colour is wonderful. You can use the side of the pencil for rough tone and to map out the picture, gradually building it up. You can then add detail with the nib. I tend to use a stanley knife and sandpaper to get the pencil the way I want it. I use cloths and my fingers to smudge the image.

What is your favourite piece of work that you have made?

My picture of Rodin by Degas (attached) – it’s my interpretation of how Degas would have painted ‘The Kiss’. The canvas took months to prepare and mess up, adding texture and random tones. Then I applied the image. The key was not to fill it in, less is more etc. I think I got the balance exactly right.

What exhibition or art event have you been to recently that you think is worth shouting about and why?

I haven’t been able to get out to see any recently as I’ve been working towards 2 shows…

Do you have any advice for artists starting out?

Make sure you have an income source from somewhere else until you are successful. Don’t give up, it is very hard. Keep learning and enjoy yourself.

What tip would you give to people about one of our products? 

Buy Conte Sanguin pencils and get practising. Refer to the old masters but try to work out your own method.

Where can people see your work?

Belgravia Gallery, London Box Galleries, London and at my studio in Windsor.

Full interview here.

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Where to buy my red chalks

Patrick Palmer got in touch with us to share his impressive and delicate figurative drawings using Conte Sanguine pencils. We spoke to Patrick to find out about his work.

How would you describe your work?

I draw and paint women, 75% realism, 25% artistic licence/impresssionism. Someone else describes it better than me: “Patrick Palmer is a modern master of figurative art. His post-romantic nudes are not only exquisitely painted, but also dreamy, delicate and suggestive.” Claudia Moscovici, Co-founder of postromanticism.com and art critic (“Romanticism and Post-romanticism”, Lexington Books, 2007)

What inspires you?

It varies, sometimes I find inspiration from a particular picture I have seen or from a show or from a particular artist. I do photoshoots of models, normally taking around 400 photos. I play around with my favourite photos on my Mac until I find a design I like and usually a good tonal range. I try to keep the image as simple as possible. Sometimes I struggle and just start a picture and find inspiration along the way. I do art for a living so having to earn money gets me into my studio every day. If I do not find inspiration the picture does not work, I do have to abandon some.

Who is your favourite artist or maker?

Degas, Rodin and Klimt mainly. And Michael Clark who was a good friend of Francis Bacon and a past teacher of mine.

What materials do you use?

I use oil paints for my paintings and Conte Sanguine for my drawings. I trained in charcoal so apply the same techniques to my Conte drawings.

Why do you like working in Conte Sanguine pencils?

I like the fact that many old masters used them and that no-one seems to be using them anymore. The colour is wonderful. You can use the side of the pencil for rough tone and to map out the picture, gradually building it up. You can then add detail with the nib. I tend to use a stanley knife and sandpaper to get the pencil the way I want it. I use cloths and my fingers to smudge the image.

What is your favourite piece of work that you have made?

My picture of Rodin by Degas (attached) – it’s my interpretation of how Degas would have painted ‘The Kiss’. The canvas took months to prepare and mess up, adding texture and random tones. Then I applied the image. The key was not to fill it in, less is more etc. I think I got the balance exactly right.

What exhibition or art event have you been to recently that you think is worth shouting about and why?

I haven’t been able to get out to see any recently as I’ve been working towards 2 shows…

Do you have any advice for artists starting out?

Make sure you have an income source from somewhere else until you are successful. Don’t give up, it is very hard. Keep learning and enjoy yourself.

What tip would you give to people about one of our products? 

Buy Conte Sanguin pencils and get practising. Refer to the old masters but try to work out your own method.

Where can people see your work?

Belgravia Gallery, London Box Galleries, London (show in July, date TBC) Island Fine Arts, Isle of Wight. Show currently on: http://www.islandfinearts.com/exhibitions/current In my studio in Windsor and on my website.

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A Look at the Human Form – a blog by Art Pistol Gallery

Humans. I’m one. You’re one (probably). We are all unique, and incredibly complex. As a result, we all differ in how we comprehend other human-beings; and we equally differ in how we are perceived and depicted by others. This is an instrumental fact that underpins all art: we all have different ways of seeing life, and, therefore, of seeing the art that is a product of that. In other blog posts, we have touched upon this concept of perception. Many of us view art in the same way that the 15th century, Italian philosopher, Leon Battista Alberti, viewed it: art should be a window into real life. This is the idea that a work of art should be photographically realistic; perfectly depicting a person (in this case), as we see them in front of us. However, in life, we rarely only comprehend people by staring at the anatomical components, that make up their superficial form. Instead, we perceive each other in an infinite number of ways – we focus on different features, different emotions, ideas, and memories, depending on who we are looking at.

Perception may begin in the eye, but it snowballs, shifts and culminates in all sorts of different places after that. So, an artist could, perhaps, be understood as a kind of translator. They may see a person – a life model, someone they know intimately, or maybe a stranger – and lay that complex perception down in paint (or any other medium) in a way that expresses what they experience, when looking at them. Whilst, sometimes they may paint a person’s likeness – other times, they may be painting something that bubbles under that immediate surface. Like we’ve said – we’re complicated! But it’s incredibly fascinating (we think) to delve into why different artists evoke humanity in such different ways.

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Heart of Steel, Original Oil Painting currently on show at Box Galleries

Figure painting in art-history.

When did a image of humanity first appear? This is an impossibly difficult question, with a very, very vague answer. The reoccuring certainty throughout these blogs is that nothing is certain, especially in history, and even more especially, in art. With that in mind, one of the earliest recorded depictions of a human-being, was probably (how vague are we!) in the Upper Paleolithic cave painting (which was from about 50,000 years ago) Rhinoceros,
Wounded Man, and Bison, found in the Lascaux Cave in France. If you look this representation up, you’ll see that it would be difficult to call this ‘realistic’. The ‘wounded man’ has been depicted as a small series of geometric shapes. As a result, many cast it aside as simply a bad depiction of a human-being: ‘primitive’, ‘elementary’, and ‘crude’, are all ways it has been described. These assertions bring us back to the idea that representations in art, need to be realistic, photographic, Alberti-esque windows into life – in order to make them ‘good’ art (whatever that is). However, this perspective can be very limiting. If we limit our appreciation of art, simply to the things that meticulously copy from life, we write off huge expanses of history, geography, philosophy, theory, and medium! And so, whilst we may not like everything (or anything), it can be really interesting to try and unpick different modes of representation, to see all the different ways in which humans – whether it’s now, or 10,000 years ago – comprehend each other.

To do so, we want to start by looking at a handful of figure-focused paintings, from the canon of Western art history, to consider differing uses of, and approaches to, the human form.

Renaissance figures.

For many centuries, the High Renaissance – a short period within the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy, that was particularly saturated with artistic ‘genius’ – was considered to be the pinnacle of figure painting. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael (artists, not ninja turtles) had mastered the art (literally) of perfectly composing human forms, calculating perspective, and rendering flesh so visceral; that it seems impossible to match, even
five-hundred years on. In Renaissance Italy, Christianity was absolutely integral to everyday life: it was the foundation of daily routine, law, government, ethics, birth, and death – to name but a fraction of it. Yet, a vast percentage of the population were illiterate. How could the narratives, morals and laws of Christianity be understood by a person, who could not read the Bible; or even comprehend the preachings of the church, which were in Latin? So, religious painting had a profoundly important job. It needed to encapsulate and express complex religious narratives; it needed to be accessible to all people, regardless of age or education; and it needed to tantalise, and convince the viewer of its own reality, and significance. Thus, the human form needed to be rendered so life-like, that the viewer would be absolutely convinced of its legitimacy. Or would, at least, be tantalized by it. So, as an example, when Leonardo was commissioned to paint the Virgin Mary, Elizabeth, Christ, and John the Baptist, in his 1480s work The Virgin of The Rocks, he had to focus on Alberti’s idea of a window into life. These religious figures needed to be intensely tangible – clear and vivid – whilst still carrying an ethereal luste that marked them as sacred. To many, this so called ‘perfection’ is the ideal in art. When in reality, it is just one, subjective form of depiction, that served a very specific purpose.

Figures of Revolution.

Fast forward to the first half of the 19th century, in France, where socio-political instability tore through Paris; war and revolution caused catastrophic damage; and art was torn between serving the crown or the emerging republic. Eugene Delacroix needed his figures to play an entirely different role than those of Leonardo. In his 1830 work Liberty Leading the People, Delacroix brings together stark, torturous reality; hope for a liberated future; and classical allegory, to evoke the longed for ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’ – all of which he achieved in this painting, through the careful creation and arrangement of human figures. There was no need for these figures to be ‘perfect’, like the Virgin Mary. Rather, they were rendered as dark and painterly, flecked with the tricolour (red, white, and blue) of the French flag; with blood, brains and pubic hair spilling out onto the streets of the French capital (ew…) This raw rendering of humanity served to rally support for the revolution, and highlight the horrors inflicted upon the masses by the elite powers (which triggered its censorship by the French government) – a conviction that required the human form to be raw, rugged, and powerful. Far from the sacred and still beauty of Leonardo’s Christian cast.

The Musical Figure.

To discuss every single historical way in which humanity has been depicted in paint, would take about 10,000,000 years. So before we introduce you to a few of our own artists, we want to finish up our art history run-down, with a look at how the recognizably-human figure, was beginning to be rethought, at the end of the 19th century – which would eventually lead to the deconstruction of naturalism in the work of painters, such as Picasso and Matisse.

The work of James McNeill Whistler (of whom, Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery have the largest permanent collection of paintings) is a brilliant example of jazzing up the representation of the human form. This is because, when he saw other humans, he did not simply paint the objective truth of what they actually looked like. He saw each human being as a musical composition. In 1885, he stated that when an artist is painting, they should look at ‘nature’ (whether this be human beings, contemporary life, events – anything!), but rather than copying it, they should select the best parts of it, and rearrange those ‘like a musician arranges his notes’, into painted symphonies, that represent rather than copy. So, in his 1862 work Symphony in White No. 1: The White Girl, he brings together an artificial arrangement of colour, texture, and form, to create a ‘symphony’ of beauty. The ‘Girl’ could just as well be a sunset, an arrangement of flowers, a landscape – she is medium through which to explore painting the concept of beauty.

The notion of representing concepts through depicting human beings, or more abstractly evoking the essence of a person, rather than copying their likeness, would drive 20th century abstraction (with Picasso or Matisse being famous examples of this). Which, in turn, further widened the plethora of different ways in which humans have depicted each other in art. This absolutely explains the vast breadth of ways that our artists represent humanity, in their works.

We hope this has given you some context to the art of figure painting. In Part II of ‘The Human Form’ we will be showcasing our very own Patrick Palmer, Eleanor Carlingford and Lily Macrae, to examine each of their approaches to painting humanity.

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Singulart – Interview with Patrick Palmer

Very happy to have this interview with me published on Singulart:

Focus on: Patrick Palmer

Monday March 5th, 2018 Louisa BaumgärtelMeet the artist

How did you find your voice as an artist?

As a child I loved drawing and creating things so I have always had an artistic voice of sorts.

I left my job in media when I was 40, took a year off, did up my London flat and went to art college. After that I gradually built up a body of work, built a website and my work started to sell. Fortunately a few galleries started to notice me and my artistic voice grew louder.

Has your approach and process changed throughout your artistic career?

For years I worked purely in charcoal, now I work in oils. The process is quite similar – I still use my fingers to blend and smudge the paint just as I did with the charcoal. I often like to leave some of my accidental smudges in the final work.

Oil is far more forgiving than anything else as you can just paint over it again and again. You can take risks.

I used to work exclusively from life models but as my paintings can sometimes take a year or more to produce I now work from photos.

When I started out I just had an easel in the utility room but now I have a lovely studio in my flat. So things have changed considerably. I now make my own canvases too.

Is there a subject that you find difficult to capture with painting?

Fingers and toes – too fiddly – I try to avoid them unless they are important to the overall balance and composition. Too much detail in an unimportant area can distract attention away from the important areas/focal point

I don’t like painting objects and tend to keep them out of my work.

When did you start painting nudes and what do you find fascinating about them?

I joined a life-drawing class when I moved to London at the age of 23. I then had an office job for many years but would always get excited about going to the weekly life-drawing class in Notting Hill.

It was such a challenge, and so much harder to get right than if you are drawing an object – the viewer may not notice if a tree is drawn slightly inaccurately but they know immediately and instinctively if a head is too small.

And it amazed me how everyone’s drawing was so different. There are limitless permutations.

What have been the highlights of your artistic career?

– Exhibiting with Belgravia Gallery and Box Galleries in London.

– Nearly having one of my images in all the bedrooms of the Miami Hilton (they changed their minds at the last minute).

– Being included in Saatchi Online Catalogue 2016.

– Having one of my paintings on the front cover of a book called Musings in Yellow.

– Being accepted into the Discerning Eye 2017.

Which artists do you admire?

Lautrec, Klimt, Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas, Rodin and Michael Clark.

The artist’s website: https://patrickpalmer.co.uk/

Patrick Palmer on Singulart: https://www.singulart.com/en/artist/patrick-palmer-199