Studio

A very special portrait night! by Michele Del Campo

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ENGLISH: What a fantastic gathering of talents in just a few square meters we had last Thursday! The place was my studio, and the names of the artists will sound familiar to many who appreciate painting at its highest level of representational skills. Some of them came from far away and knew each other by name or were virtual friends in the social media, but had never met in person before, some others were good old friends that regularly share space in high profile society exhibitions. There were all sort of drinks and food on the table, and the noise of our excited conversations was high, but when the time to draw came, suddenly absolute silence! I switched on the spotlight and each of us took turns in sitting still in the middle for 12 to 15 minutes. We all got busy at sketching against the clock, and in all sorts of mediums: pencils, sanguine, charcoals, pens, watercolours and even ipads! We ended up having a collection of everyone's portraits, and we could appreciate each others different approaches, but it felt so delightful to recognise ourselves in each and every sketch!

ESPAÑOL: Qué reunión más buena de talentos en apenas unos pocos metros cuadrados tuvimos el pasado jueves! El lugar era mi estudio y el nombre de los artistas sonará familiar a muchos de los que aprecian la pintura en su más alto nivel de habilidad representativa. Algunos de ellos vinieron desde lejos y se conocían de oido o eran amigos virtuales en los medios sociales, otros eran ya buenos amigos que exponen regularmente en sociedades inglesas de alto perfil como la ROI (Royal Institute of Oil Painters). Había todo tipo de bebidas y comidas en la mesa y el nivel de ruido de las concitadas conversaciones era alto, pero cuando vino el tiempo de dibujar, de repente el silencio absoluto! Encendí la lámpara y cada uno de nosotros se turnó sentándose en el medio desde 12 a 15 minutos. Todos estábamos ocupados a dibujar contrarreloj en una gran variedad de medios, desde lápices a sanguinas, a carboncillo, a bolis, acuarelas y hasta ipads. Terminamos teniendo una colección de retratos de todos los artistas presentes, y pudimos admirar los distintos acercamientos de cada uno, pero fue muy divertido reconocernos perfectamente en todos los dibujos!

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From left: José de Juan, Glenn Fitzpatrick, Adebanji Alade, Michele Del Campo, Haidee-Jo Summers, Peter Keegan, Graeme Messer, Nur Shodjai, Edward Ofosu.

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Portrait Commissions by Michele Del Campo

ENGLISH: I am honoured that the Press Team of the Mall Galleries came to interview me in my studio about my approach to portrait commissions. Not many people know that some of my paintings are portrait commissions, for which I usually have the freedom to create a narrative typical of my exhibition pieces, like this one of two siblings from a family in Madrid: www.mallgalleries.org.uk . Also you can contact the Mall Galleries if you would like to commission me a portrait. ESPAÑOL: He tenido el privilegio de ser entrevistado por el equipo de prensa de la Mall Galleries en mi estudio, sobre mi acercamiento al retrato por encargo. No mucha gente sabe que algunas de mis pinturas son en realidad encargos, para los cuales en general tengo bastante libertad de tejer un hilo narrativo típico de mi trabajo expositivo. Un ejemplo es este cuadro de dos hermanos, encargo de una familia de Madrid: www.mallgalleries.org.uk

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New 3-day Workshop in my studio by Michele Del Campo

13-15 November 2015 10-5pm daily

It will be my last workshop of the year. Places are limited and it is now possible to buy tickets. The workshop is in my studio, in The Chocolate Factory, North London (N22 6XJ), and there will be morning demonstrations and afternoon practice for participants. I will demonstrate on the students canvases when it will be useful for a better understanding of the technique and the use of materials. For all the information and to buy your ticket, please  click here.

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Life drawing sessions in my studio by Michele Del Campo

_MG_4935 ENGLISH: Since I left my studio in central Soho, I quit organizing life drawing sessions. However I always liked the nice atmosphere that was created by the weekly gatherings, with other artists, old and new friends interested in practising and improving their drawing skills. We would invite always different models of all races, dancers, performing artists, contortionists, pregnant women, twins and couples, and we would often end up in one of the pubs nearby to socialize afterwards. Last weekend, during a night out with some of those old friends who used to draw with me in my sessions, they gave me the idea of resuming the classes, and I thought that it was a wonderful idea. Anyone who is interested in taking part is very welcome, until places are full.

These are the details of my sessions:

Tuesdays, 7-9pm, please RSVP by email or whatsapp with your name if you are coming.

Entry fee: £10

The Chocolate Factory, Studio 9, Unit B104, Clarendon Road, N22 6XJ London

Tel/Whatsapp: 07853538527

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Part 2 of my "Figure Alla Prima" workshop by Michele Del Campo

Last weekend I gave Part 2 of my "Figure Alla Prima" workshop. It was a very enjoyable experience, moreover the participants came all from Part 1 of the same workshop and there was an air of familiarity. Under suggestion of the participants already in Part 1, I began each morning with a demonstration where I would explain in detail every colour mix and every brush stroke. In the afternoons the participants applied the knowledge acquired in the mornings under my supervision and help where needed. It was a big satisfaction for me to see that even painters with a wide experience in traditional methods of application of colour could become so familiar and find so useful my particular approach to colour mixing for maximum purity and vibrancy. _MG_7086

A great workshop in my studio by Michele Del Campo

_MG_5033-1 Yesterday was the last of my 3-day workshop "Figure Alla Prima" in my London studio. I enjoyed very much the experience and I am so happy that everybody was very enthusiastic with their experience too, in fact all of them are interested in attending future workshops or a part II of this same workshop. The available places were limited to only 5 painters, so they could be working on big canvases and get individual attention, and I had a great group of lovely people, mix of professional and amateur artists. It was a very peculiar workshop because I gave my students the task to do the same painting that I am doing, and they progressed alongside me watching my demonstrations, looking at my painting in progress and listening to my advises. I started every day demonstrating on my canvas, explaining in detail my methods and then letting my students do the same work under my constant guidance, demonstrating on their canvases too when it could be useful for a better understanding. I was very pleased at the end with the results

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of each of them. I taught many aspects of my technique, but the highlights of my workshop, according to most of the painters, have been my teaching about colour mixing, colour theory to achieve clean and bright colours, and how to use the brushes to achieve all possible effects with very few touches. My next workshop will be from 15 to 17 May and it's already bookable here.

ESPAÑOL: Ayer fue el último de los 3 días de taller "Figura alla prima" en mi estudio de Londres. Me ha gustado mucho la experiencia y estoy muy contento que todos los participantes estaban contentos también con la suya, tanto que me han convencido a organizar pronto otro taller y quizás también una continuación de este mismo taller, la segunda parte. Los puestos disponibles eran tan solo 5, para que todos pudieran trabajar en lienzos grandes y tener atención individualizada. Ha sido un taller muy peculiar porque di a los participantes la tarea de realizar el mismo cuadro que yo estoy pintando, así que ellos progresaron junto asistiendo a mis demonstraciones cada mañana y repitiendo lo que habían aprendido en sus lienzos, con mis constantes consejos y ayuda teórica y práctica. Enseñé muchos aspectos de mi técnica, y los puntos más atractivos de mi taller, según me han dicho los participantes, han sido la teoría y la mezcla de los colores, y la utilización de los pinceles para conseguir todo tipo de efectos con pocos toques. Mi próximo taller será desde el 17 al 19 de abril y se puede reservar aquí.

The Chocolate and the Custard Factories...Artists studios by Michele Del Campo

the-chocolate-factory ENGLISH: I have been included in this video about The Chocolate Factory in London and The Custard Factory in Birmingham. These two buildings, former factories of, as their names says, chocolate and custard, have been converted into quality spaces for artists and creatives of all kind, with the advantages of its structure (high ceilings, very big windows, heavy duty lifts, big staircases for the passage of big paintings, etc.) Above all, they are, in theory, permanent spaces dedicated to foster creativity in the community and to sustain the arts. Other artists studios organizations around London in general have to struggle to find old buildings to convert into artists spaces, usually abandoned and in bad conditions, and further and further away from the city center. These organizations usually only obtain short-term leases of 4 to 7 years (many artists don't even get that time to stay when they arrive towards the end of the lease). Consequently the investment of these organizations in creating divided spaces to rent to artists is minimal and the maintenance too (although rents for artists remain high). Moreover, the lease in some cases can be ended sooner than established, as it happened in my previous studio in Soho (the lease was 5 years and we got to stay less than 4) with very few weeks of warning. Artists then live in the uncertainty of a transitory situation, having to move from one place to another when the lease ends, with all the difficulties of finding a new studio, being the demand for space far superior to the offer.

When I first came to The Chocolate Factory I was impressed by the level of service that we get, a permanent space with a reception, 24h security, free parking space, everyday cleaning of the common areas and facilities, central heating, a yearly Open Studios event, two restaurants and bars, free events like poetry readings, live music, exhibitions, video projections, theatre perfomances, etc... Perhaps these advantages that we have, compared with other artists studios around the city, justify the use of the old name of the building: it is in a way still like being in a chocolate factory!

My new studio at The Chocolate Factory, London

    The courtyard of the building

ESPAÑOL: He sido incluido en este video sobre los complejos de estudios de artistas de la Fábrica de Chocolate de Londres y la Fábrica de Natillas de Birmingham. Estos dos edificios, construidos para la manufacturación de, como dice el nombre, chocolate y natilla, han sido convertidos en espacios de calidad para artistas y creativos de todo tipo (música, teatro, cínema, diseño, etc.), por la ventaja de su composición estructural (techos altos, ventanas grandes, ascensores enormes para cargas pesadas, corredores y escaleras anchos que permiten el paso de cuadros grandes, etc...). Sobre todo estos son ya, en teoría, espacios

    The reception and entrance to the studios

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permanentes para la fomentación de la creatividad en la comunidad y para sostener los artistas. Otras organizaciones  que proveen espacios para artistas en Londres en general tienen que luchar para encontrar edificios, generalmente viejos y abandonados, y cada vez más lejos del centro de la ciudad. Estas organizaciones normalmente obtienen permisos para utilizar el espacio solamente de 4 a 7 años (muchos artistas que llegan más tarde no llegan a quedarse ese tiempo, y algunos llegan hacia el final). En consecuencia, la inversión para crear en el interior de esos edificios espacios divididos para uso de los artistas, es mínima, así como el mantenimiento, aunque los alquileres sigan siendo altísimos. Por eso los artistas viven en una situación transitoria y de incertidumbre, teniendo que desplazarse de un sitio a otro periódicamente, enfrentándose a todas las dificultades de encontrar otro espacio, siendo la demanda de estudios muy superior a la oferta.

Cuando vine por primera vez a ver la Fábrica de Chocolate me impresionó el buen nivel de servicios que recibíamos, un espacio permanente con recepción y seguridad 24h, aparcamiento gratis, limpieza diaria de los baños y los espacios comunes, calefacción central, evento anual de Estudios Abiertos, dos bares y restaurantes en su interior, en uno de los cuales se organizan eventos gratis de música, performance, cínema y exposiciones. Quizás estas ventajas que tenemos, comparadas con otros complejos de estudios de artistas en la misma ciudad, justifican el uso continuado del viejo nombre del edificio: ¡en cierta manera es como estar en una fábrica de chocolate!

I will teach "Figure Alla Prima" Workshop in my studio by Michele Del Campo

march-workshop-del-campo1I could not foresee that my workshop would be so successful from the first day that I published the information, so there is now only one ticket left! I was going to post about it tomorrow in this blog but now I feel obliged to advise my blog followers as soon as possible, in case any of you is interested. Here is the poster for the event, by clicking on it you will get all the information and will be able to buy the last ticket (if you arrive late and are interested in the workshop, please message me and I will inform you if I organize another one later on).

Chocolate Factory Open Studios by Michele Del Campo

I would like to thank all visitors last weekend, I enjoyed meeting and talking to everyone of them and, being new to the place, I enjoyed also meeting the other artists of the building. Also a big thank you to Collage Arts for all the work that they do to make this event a success. I leave you with a few shots from the event, and some of the wonderful artists that I am proud of having as neighbors (the majority of the pictures are taken from other websites).  

 

Open Studios invite by Michele Del Campo

michele del campo, studio_MG_3074-1          Sat 15 and Sun 16 November,  12-6pm,  free entry The Chocolate Factory, Clarendon Road, N22 6XJ London  Studio 9a, first floor, Unit B104

ENGLISH: Next weekend I will open the door of my brand new studio and welcome anybody who wants to see my space, my work and say hi to me. In fact I am taking part to the popular N22 Open Studios event, which last year attracted more than 7.000 visitors, and there is no better chance to discover what goes on in this beautiful building, The Chocolate Factory, with 120 creatives of all disciplines. For the occasion I will also put some paintings, original drawings, giclee prints and catalogues on sale!

ESPAÑOL: El próximo fin de semana abriré las puertas de mi nuevo estudio y daré la bienvenida a todos los que quieran ver mi espacio, mi trabajo y hablar conmigo. De hecho tomaré parte en el popular evento N22 Open Studios (estudios abiertos), el cual el año pasado registró la visita de más de 7000 personas en dos días a los 120 artistas que trabajan en este edificio maravilloso que es The Chocolate Factory. Para la ocasión pondré también varios cuadros, dibujos, estampas y catálogos a la venta. ¡Os espero! OPEN2014-invite-2

A painting demonstration by Michele Del Campo

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ENGLISH: I started this painting in a 4 days demonstration in Art in Action, some of you who have visited the fair have seen it half-way through. As it always happens to me, when I don't finish a painting in one go I might take an incredibly long time to finish it, or I even abandon it. That is because I always find that I have more urgent paintings that I need to work on, or administrative work that cannot be delayed, and time always runs too quickly. But luckily I did go back to this painting!

 

ESPAÑOL: Empecé este cuadro durante una demonstración de 4 días en Art in Action (Oxford), quizás algunos de vosotros lo hayáis visto allí a mitad. Como siempre me ocurre, cuando no acabo un cuadro de un tirón, podría acabar estando un tiempo larguísimo en mi estudio hasta que lo acabe, o, peor, podría abandonarlo del todo, ya que siempre tengo cuadros y tareas más urgentes, el tiempo corre demasiado deprisa. Pero afortunadamente volví a retomar este cuadro!

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Video interview for "The Master Secrets Summit" by Michele Del Campo

master-secrets-summit---del-campo ENGLISH: I was honoured to be invited by American artist and teacher Kathryn Lloyd to be part of her successful series of Skype interviews to renowned representational artists, called "The Master Secrets Summit". The first series, with 21 interviews to mainly American artists, made more than 80.000 views in the very few weeks of broadcasting in internet. This second series, which has just begun, releases three interviews each week and will be available for a very limited time. You can watch it here: www.juskathryn.com/blog/michele-del-campo

 

ESPAÑOL: Fue un honor ser invitado por la artista y profesora americana Kathryn Lloyd a tomar parte en su exitosa serie de entrevistas por Skype a reconocidos artistas figurativos, entitulada "The Master Secrets Summit". La primera serie, con 21 entrevistas principalmente a artistas americanos, tuvo más de 80.000 visitas en las muy pocas semanas en las cuales fueron publicadas en internet. Este segundo "summit", que ha empezado hace pocos días y está publicando tres entrevistas por semana, estará disponible solamente hasta principios de octubre. Aquí puedes verla (en inglés): www.juskathryn.com/blog/michele-del-campo

The end of Soho artist studios by Michele Del Campo

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ENGLISH: In 2010 an organization that provides studio space for artists offered me the great opportunity to rent a studio in Soho, a very central and fashionable area in London. Beside our building had to be built one of the underground rail stations of Crossrail, the biggest construction project in Europe, which will link the west with the East, passing through the centre through a series of newly excavated underground tunnels. From my window, just at the end of the worksite, I can see Oxford Street, perhaps the most famous commercial and turistic street of London. The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square are just 15 minutes walking distance towards South, and so it is the British Museum, towards East. Also in the East, but just 10 min. away, is Covent Garden, and within the same distance are Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, towards West, and these are just a few of the many nearby touristic attractions. The same street where my building is, Dean Street, is full of history. For example, this street was regularly frequented by writer Charles Dickens, during his early career as an actor in the Royalty Theatre. In Dean Street also lived his childhood years Karl Marx, in very poor conditions, and his close collaborator Friedrick Engels. In Dean Street there was also a famous private club for artists and bohemians, The Colony Room, frequented by Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and, more recently, by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. But everything has an end, and the most central and sought after building for artist studios in London has been sold to a new company, owned by Crossrail. After receiving a very recent warning about the end of our lease, before 31st August all artists have to hand back the keys, and many of us are still looking for a new studio. For sure there won't be any more chances to be so close to the centre, nowadays artists studios tend to be in old factories in the outskirts, but my 4 years in Soho have been a privilege that I will always treasure among my memories as an artist.

 

the Crossrail worksite seen from my window in 2010. Beyond the worksite is Oxford Street.

ESPAÑOL: En 2010 una organización que gestiona edificios con estudios de artistas en Londres me ofreció la gran oportunidad de alquilar un estudio en Soho, un área muy central y a la moda de Londres. Nuestro edificio estaba a lado de una zona de obras que formaba parte del proyecto de construcción más grande de Europa, la nueva línea de trenes Crossrail,

    The Crossrail worksite from my window in 2014

que unirá el sur-oeste al nor-este de Londres, pasando por el centro a través de nuevos túneles subterráneos. Desde mi ventana, más allá de la zona de obras, se ve Oxford Street, la famosa calle comercial más turística de Londres. La National Gallery y Trafalgar Square están a 15 minutos andando hacia sur, la misma distancia que el British Museum, hacia el este mientras Covent Garden, siempre al este, está a tan solo 10 minutos, igual que Piccadilly Circus, al oeste, entre otros lugares turísticos famosos. La misma calle donde está mi edificio de artistas, Dean Street, tiene muchísima historia. En esta calle estaba el teatro Royalty Theatre, que frecuentaba mucho el escritor Charles Dickens, en sus comienzos como actor. En Dean Street también vivió su infancia Karl Marx, en condiciones muy pobres, y su colaborador Friedrick Engels. En Dean Street también surgió un club privado de artistas y bohemios, The Colony Room, frecuentado por Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon y, más recientemente, Damien Hirst y Tracy Emin. Pero todo tiene un final, y el edificio de artistas más central y buscado de Londres ha sido vendido hace poco a una nueva empresa, propiedad de Crossrail. Tras  recibir un aviso muy reciente, el día 31 de agosto todos los artistas tienen que entregar las llaves, y muchos no hemos encontrado todavía un nuevo estudio. Seguramente no habrá más posibilidades de encontrar un espacio tan cerca del centro, hoy los estudios de artistas tienden a estar en viejas fábricas abandonadas en la periferia de la ciudad, sin embargo, mis 4 años en el Soho han sido un privilegio enorme que quedará siempre entre mis recuerdos más entrañables como artista.

"L'Illustratrice" (The illustrator), oil on linen, 162x114cm

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Girl and Dog by Michele Del Campo

ENGLISH: This is the painting that came out of a chance encounter with Maisey and her dog Dopey, in the park close to my studio. I saw them walking by and I soon envisioned the possibility of a painting. I asked her and she agreed to pose for me with her dog another day, so we could get organized and i could sketch some ideas. Yesterday she came to my studio to see the finished piece and was really happy with the result, and Dopey seemed happy too, until he spotted another dog passing by and started to agitate furiously, not caring anymore for the delicate work on canvas just beside him... ESPAÑOL: Este es el cuadro que ha surgido de un encuentro casual con Masey y su perro Dopey, en el parque a lado de mi estudio. Los ví pasar y en seguida concebí la posibilidad de pintarlos. Le pregunté si posaría para mi con su perro y aceptó, as´y que quedamos par otro día para organizarnos y preparar unos bocetos. Ayer vino a mi estudio para ver el cuadro acabado y se quedó muy contenta con el resultado, y Dopey pareció contento también, hasta que vio pasar a otro perro y empezó a agitarse furiosamente sin preocuparse del trabajo delicado en lienzo justo a su lado...

Girl and Dog, oil on canvas, 114x146cm

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Interview about the cadmium debate by Michele Del Campo

ENGLISH: I was interviewed by Liquitex Artists Materials, together with artists Stuart Semple, Liz Elton, Dale Adcock and Alexander Heaton, about the possible cadmium ban in Europe. This is the video: bit.ly/cadmiumvid

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After watching the video, you can participate in a useful survey to express your opinion in favour or against the ban: bit.ly/cadmiumdebate

ESPAÑOL: He sido entrevistado por Liquitex, junto a los artistas Stuart Semple, Liz Elton, Dale Adcock and Alexander Heaton, sobre el posible bando de cadmios en Europa. Esto es el video. Después de ver el video, puedes participar a un sondeo y expresar tu opinión en favor o en contra del bando haciendo clic aquí.

 

 

Studios in different cities: ideal, but where is the problem? by Michele Del Campo

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ENGLISH: I love working in my new studio in Valencia, even though I continue living, working and exhibiting in London. But there is a problem when one is working in two cities, how do you plan your painting in the second city in order to finish it in time and take it back with you in your main city? This puts some pressure on me, as I never like to be forced by the events to leave a painting unfinished and then go back to it after several weeks. In fact I have abandoned various promising paintings because i did not finish them when i had the inspiration for them. Therefore my paintings in Valencia must be planned according to the time that I have available, but here is the problem: art is not a science, and I find it impossible to predict how much time I need to finish a painting! In fact my efficiency is very variable and I am amazed at my speed in rendering certain things that in the beginning looked difficult, and, in contrast, my slowness in painting other things that looked quite easy to do (and many times it depends on the day...).

Said this, I am proud of how I managed my time in this occasion in Valencia, as I finished a quite laborious painting and managed to bring it back with me yesterday, in the flight to London. I owe a big part of the achievement to the "Liquin" medium (Winsor and Newton), which speeds up the drying process of oils, so I could roll up the canvas into a tube without problem. This painting will be exhibited in Art in Action, Oxford next week, during my four-days painting demonstration. I hope that you will find the time to come along and enjoy the fair!

 

ESPAÑOL: Me encanta trabajar en mi nuevo estudio de Valencia, aunque siga viviendo y exponiendo en Londres. Pero hay un problema cuando se trabaja en dos ciudades, y es cómo planificar la pintura para que, durante los días de estancia en una ciudad, puedas terminar la obra que hayas empezado para podértela llevar luego contigo en la otra ciudad. Esto me pone un poco de presión, porque nunca me gusta dejar un cuadro a medio acabar y luego volver a ponerme tras una pausa de varias semanas. De hecho, he abandonado varios cuadros que prometían bien, por no haberlos acabado cuando tenía la inspiración para esa pieza. De esta manera, mis cuadros en Valencia tienen que ser planificados según el tiempo que tengo a disposición, pero el arte no es una ciencia y encuentro imposible predecir cuánto tiempo necesito para acabar una obra, de hecho mi rendimiento es muy variable y me asombra mi velocidad en pintar ciertas cosas que parecían difíciles y, en contraste, mi lentitud para pintar otras que parecían faciles (y muchas veces depende de cómo me siento cada día...).

Dicho esto, estoy orgulloso de cómo he sabido gestionar esta vez mi tiempo en Valencia para acabar a tiempo mi última obra y poderme llevar el lienzo, ya parcialmente seco (gracias al milagroso medium de secado rápido "Liquin", de Winsor and Newton), conmigo en el avión para Inglaterra, donde lo expondré en Oxford la próxima semana durante la feria Art in Action.

 

 

My studios, London and Valencia - the importance of the light by Michele Del Campo

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artist studio michele del campo valencia

ENGLISH: In the last few months I have started to spend long periods of time in Valencia, close to my newborn daughter and to my wife, for that reason I have rented a small space where I have set-up a new studio for painting. Valencia always feels like a special place to me, the sun, the countryside, the sea, the buildings, the warmth and friendliness of the people, all bear a certain resemblance with the cities in my South Italian region Puglia. Waking up even in winter with the sunshine filtering through the shutters is to me a luxury that has no price, and for a painter it is a bliss, even if the economical, political and social situation in Spain lately is not as bright as the weather, and that is a perception that has darkened the mood of my paintings, as I am very attached to Spain and to its culture. However now my frequent travels to Valencia have sparkled in me the wish for a return to that brightness that was such an important feature in my earlier paintings, when I lived in Spain (Madrid) and in fact I am starting to re-introduce it in my new work, and there is nothing better than painting the light in a city of light. Practically speaking, a sunny and warm city has many advantages for a painter, for example, it allows me to keep the window of my studio open even in winter, lessening the harmful effects of the solvents for oil painting, it also allows me to paint outdoors at almost any time of the year with quite steady conditions of light, or to organize outdoor shoots with models in sunny settings almost at any time and well in advance (in London I cannot rely on having a steady sunny interval even in summer). Moreover, the light in winter lasts much longer in Valencia than in London, which is important when I work from life, and the sun makes it more pleasurable to go out in search of new inspiration outdoors, and to me there is nothing better than the direct sunlight to enhance the shapes of people, objects and spaces (if the light goes away suddenly behind some clouds, for example, a scene that was very interesting can lose completely appeal and become ordinary and dull). For now this is only a temporary solution of a studio in Valencia, but it is certainly giving back to me those practical advantages that were missing since I moved to London and that will certainly be reflected in my new work.

 

SPANISH: Hace varios meses he empezado a pasar largos períodos de tiempo en Valencia, cerca de mi recién nacida hija y de mi mujer, por eso mis suegros me han alquilado un espacio donde me he montado un pequeño estudio para pintar. Valencia siempre ha sido un sitio especial para mi, el campo, el mar, el sol, la arquitectura típica, el calor y la amabilidad de la gente me recuerdan un poco las ciudades de la Puglia, la región del sur de Italia de la que provengo. Despertarme incluso en invierno con los rayos del sol que se infiltran por las persianas medio cerradas para mi es un lujo que no tiene precio, y para un pintor es una dicha, aunque la situación económica, política y social en España no es tan luminosa como el tiempo, y esa es una percepción que ha oscurecido el humor de mi pintura, ya que estoy muy ligado a España y a su cultura. Sin embargo, últimamente mis frecuentes viajes a Valencia han propiciado en mi la voluntad de un retorno a esa iluminación que era una característica tan importante en mis pinturas anteriores, cuando vivía en Madrid, y de hecho he empezado a re-entroducirla en mis nuevos trabajos, y no hay nada mejor que pintar la luz en una ciudad de luz. Hablando de ventajas prácticas en el trabajo, una ciudad soleada y caliente te permite tener las ventanas del estudio abiertas incluso en invierno, atenuando los efectos dañinos de los disolventes de la pintura al óleo, y de pintar al aire libre durante todo el año en condiciones bastante estables de luz, o de organizar tomas fotográficas con modelos bajo el sol casi cada vez que quieres y con antelación (en Londres no puedes confiar en tener el sol, o el sol constante, ni siquiera en verano). Además, en invierno la luz en Valencia dura bastante más tiempo que en Londres, lo cual es importante a la hora de pintar del natural, y el sol hace que sea agradable salir en busca de nueva inspiración en el exterior, y para mi no hay nada más fascinante que los contrastes que crea la luz directa del sol en la gente, en los objetos y en los espacios (a la hora de tomar una foto, por ejemplo, a una escena con iluminación solar directa, si de repente desaparece el sol tras unas nubes todo se hace plano y pierde interés). De momento en Valencia este pequeño estudio es solamente una solución temporánea, pero ciertamente me devuelve esas ventajas prácticas que había perdido desde que me mudé a Londres, y que ciertamente se verán reflejados en mi nuevo trabajo.

 

 

 

 

"Redhead" by Michele Del Campo

ENGLISH: I saw some pictures of Paulina and I was impressed at her rare features, a clean face with childish, smart, mischievous and dreamy-like expression on a natural bright orange hair, with pale, frecklish skin and blue-green eyes. I invited her to pose for a pencil portrait with the intention of studying her features to later on perhaps paint her. The idea of painting her grew on me and this is how it came out. With a big thank you to Paulina for giving me her time and posing for me. ESPAÑOL: Vi Paulina en unas fotos y me impresionaron sus características raras, un rostro infantil limpio con expresión despierta, traviesa y ensoñadora, unido a un color natural de pelo naranja muy encendido, una piel clara con pecas y unos ojos azules y verdes. La invité para posar para un retrato a lápiz, con la intención de estudiar ben sus características y quizás luego pintarla. Sentí que no podía perder esa ocasión de pintarla, y este es el resultado de mi trabajo. Con un agradecimiento muy grande a Paulina por haberme dado su tiempo para posar.

michele del campo, redhead,-89x130cm

michele del campo, redhead, detail

Drawing Paulina's first portrait

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paulina-_MG_8020

"The Ageing Dancer" by Michele Del Campo

When I first met Susie, in September 2012, she told me that when she was young she wanted to be a ballet dancer, but a short career was curtailed through catching a terrible fever and being ill for an extended time. Normally I use models as actors for scenes that I have created in my imagination, but since I started to work more from life, especially for portraits, I have started to incorporate pieces of their real life in my paintings, to take inspiration directly from them. When Susie offered to pose for me, I thought that I could do something special with her, because I had very seldom worked with  models of middle age and because of her enthusiasm, a quality that is very valuable when you start a project that can potentially last several months. I thought about beauty and strength that changes with the ageing, and I wanted to relate these facts a little with her personal story. I painted her as a mature dancer holding on to her past and memories. I made the painting completely from life and it was a challenge to paint her from right above, and I had to be careful with my tools not to let anything drop on her.

My sketch for the painting, done from imagination.

susie 1

ESPAÑOL: Cuando encontré por primera vez a Susie, en septiembre de 2012, me contó que de joven quería ser bailarina y que tuvo que parar porque le diagnosticaron una enfermedad. Normalmente yo utilizo los modelos como actores de una escena que yo he creado en mi imaginación, pero desde cuando he empezado a trabajar más del natural para retratos, he empezado también a incorporar pedazos de las historias reales de los modelos en mis cuadros, a tomar inspiración directamente de ellos. Cuando Susie se ofreció para posar para un cuadro mio, pensé que podía hacer algo especial con ella, ya que nunca había trabajado con modelos de su edad. Pensé en la belleza y en la fuerza del cuerpo que va cambiando con la edad y quise relacionar estos hechos un poco con su historia personal. La pinté como una bailarina de mediana edad que se agarra a su pasado y a sus recuerdos. El cuadro está pintado completamente del natural y fue un reto dada la pose en picado. Tuve que asegurarme además de no dejar que nada cayese encima de la modelo mientras la pintaba.

"The Ageing Dancer, oil on linen, 110x80cm

A life portrait (part 2) by Michele Del Campo

For a long time I had wanted to paint a portrait completely by life and finally, almost by chance I had the opportunity and I grabbed it. I met Jacqueline just at the right moment, when it was already strong my impulse to explore a new territory in painting and to discover how the personality of a model with whom I would share days of work, would be given expression onto the canvas. This portrait has been possible thanks to the generosity of Jacqueline, available to pose for me the days that were needed. Even though I have painted many objects and spaces by life, and I continue to do life drawing so often, my paintings of people were based on photos. However, I would modify those pictures to adapt the subject to my own vision, which frequently reflected my own personality instead of the sitter's. Nevertheless, Jacqueline has a very peculiar personality and, by knowing her, I realized that I could not force my vision into her. I had to see her for what she is, a young lady as petite and graceful as her refined illustrations and her cuddle toys, to which she gives names and treats like people. Jacqueline has come to illustration late, she is very talented, although mostly self-taught, as she has studied something else at university. Now she is moving to New York to look for a job and she knows that perhaps illustration is not what will give her a living at first, but she will go for her dream.

This is the image that I have tried to give her in my painting: Jacqueline is surrounded by her illustrations, with her favourite sweets, the M&Ms, which she would eat frequently while posing, with her cuddling toy which I have converted into a real rabbit, with flowers in her hair and a jar full of brushes. She looks thoughtful towards the interior, in her naive and fantastic world, while out of the window the buildings and the construction site create the contrast and remind of the raw reality.

Technically the portrait has been a challenge because of the constantly-changing reality, like the lighting conditions during the day and especially the exterior of the window, which I could only paint if it was sunny and during a little range of time in the day. Also the machines in the construction site, the folds of the dress, the locks of the hair and the same pose of Jacqueline on the sofa were never the same, so I had to paint and finish those parts in the same session, confiding on Jacqueline's resistence to hold the pose.

A painting like this contains not only the image of the model but also incorporates the enriching experience of the sitting, which makes it symbolically more valuable than a painting of a mere likeness.

 

 

ESPAÑOL:

Hacía mucho tiempo que quería pintar un retrato integramente del natural, al final la ocasión me ha venido casi casualmente y la he tomado al vuelo. He encontrado Jacqueline justo en el momento adecuado, cuando era ya muy fuerte el impulso de explorar un territorio nuevo dentro de mi pintura y de descubrir cómo la personalidad de un/una modelo con el/la que se comparten días de trabajo se plasma en el lienzo. Este retrato ha sido posible gracias a la generosidad de Jacqueline, disponible para posar para mi los días que hiciera falta.

Aunque yo haya pintado mucho del natural objetos y espacios, y aunque dibuje a menudo la figura humana del natural, mis retratos estában basados en fotografías. No obstante, esas fotos yo las modificaba para adaptar el sujeto a mi propia visión, la cual frecuentemente reflejaba más mi personalidad que la suya. Sin embargo, Jacqueline es una persona muy particular, el conocerla me hizo entender que no podía forzar mi visión dentro de ella, sino que tenía que verla por lo que ella es, una joven pequeña y graciosa como sus refinadas ilustraciones de moda y sus peluches infantiles, a los que dá nombres y trata como personas. Jacqueline está por mudarse a Nueva York para buscar trabajo de public relations, que es lo que ha estudiado. De todas formas le gustaría tener tiempo para dedicarse a la ilustración que es su pasión, aunque no sabe si algún día podrá dedicarse profesionalmente a ello.

Esa es la imagen que he querido darle en mi cuadro: Jacqueline, rodeada de sus ilustraciones, con sus dulces M&M, que solía comer a menudo mientras posaba, con su mascota (que yo he convertido en un conejo verdadero), con un jarro lleno de pinceles y unas flores en la cabeza, mira pensativa hacia adentro, su mundo inocente y fantasioso, mientras fuera de la ventana los edificios y las obras representan la cruda realidad.

Técnicamente el retrato del natural ha sido un desafío por el hecho de la realidad continuamente cambiante, como la iluminación a lo largo del día y especialmente la parte exterior de la ventana, que tenía que trabajar sólo en días de sol y durante ciertas horas, pero también la forma del pelo de la chica, los pliegues de su vestido, las máquinas de la obra, etc. Así que tenía que pintar y acabar esas partes tan cambiantes en la misma sesión, confiando en la capacidad de resistencia de Jacqueline en mantener la misma pose.

Un cuadro así contiene no solamente la imagen de esa persona sino también la vivencia de la enriquecedora experiencia del posar, que convierte la obra en algo más que el cuadro de un parecido.