Lucian Freud A Self Portrait (b 1922- d1911)

Exhibition on Screen

For those of us privileged to see this showing at cinemas on Tuesday it was a wonderful insight to the career and thinking of one of the great figure painters. Lucian Freud isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but in my mind he is a painter’s painter and this showing referenced his connection to other great painters such as Rembrandt, Hockney and Auerbach, I am sure there were many more. Freud was working throughout the 20 Century and emerged from the likes of Sutherland and mingled with Minton,  Bacon and Picasso. Therefore his enquiring mind, like any artist, must have taken reference from all quarters. The film gave a fascinating insight into the progression of his work over the passage of time.

This was my first time at an exhibition screening and I had expected a walk through of the show. This didn’t happen although most of the works were shown at some point, what did happen was the screening of larger than life close ups of his portraits, showing every brush mark, colour and detail – fabulous – I was on the edge of my seat examining them.

Another absolutely wonderful ingredient was the interviews with Freud himself and the live insight into his studio. At one point he was talking, choosing brushes, mixing paint, trying it on the studio walls and then aiming his brush towards the canvas… at which point the film cut! A tease all the way!

Freud’s reputation towards social behaviour and women in particular was probably not to be commended. Did this idiosyncratic personality make him a great painter? I don’t think so, he was a person totally and utterly dedicated to his craft and he let nobody and no thing distract him from his quest. He choose his subjects and sitters – some people he just couldn’t paint as they offered nothing of interest to him. He had the fortune to apply himself to it for a long life time (he was still painting at his death at 89). Personally, I think he had a way of seeing that was unique – others may disagree.

 ” I want each picture that I’m working on to be the only picture that i’m working on …….the only picture that i’ve ever work on…….. the only picture that anyone has ever done”

Lucian Freud

Further reading: A face to the world on self portraits by Laura Cummings 

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting For a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford


New Year News 2020

Welcome everybody and a very Happy New Year to all!

So much has happened since Karen Stone Art evolved and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us whether by attending workshops or courses, visiting at open studios or simply enjoying a passion for art together.

Here are a few memories that that made me either smile, laugh, cry and above all feel enormously privileged to have creativity in my life.

Unframed exhibition Chapel Galley Bromyard.

I was delighted to have my very large drawing of a fictitious seaside harbour (1.5M x 2.5M) selected for this show but had to smile when, on the opening night, I saw it had been hung upside down. In fairness to the curators it did work well upside down. A lesson in making sure you mark the orientation of your work clearly! The drawing was completed at a workshop on experimental drawing that I was lucky enough to attend at the Royal Academy.


The Outdoor Summer Sketching Course was altered from previous years in that this summer we moved away from our usual venue to visit a number of different gardens. Some open to the public via English Heritage or Open Gardens, and some private gardens of friends whose hospitality I was graced with. On one particular visit to a beautiful garden near Bromyard refreshments included fizz and strawberries – let it not be said that Karen Stone Art lacks class! The photograph above shows us all hard at work!

‘Still Life Abstract’ Artist’s Proof (30cm x 50cm Framed)

Worcestershire Open Studios arrived far too quickly and I was very excited to have the image of my screen print Still Life with Orange on show at the walkway, behind Waitrose in Malvern. This is an old print from my university days but I still love it.

Max and I had the studio open at York Place. Here he is with his easel and paints.

Sadly, and amidst many tears, I lost my faithful studio assistant later in the year. I know he will be missed by many and I shall miss him always.


Karen Stone Art is fortunate to know so many extremely talented students whose work I regularly post on the face book page. Below is an image from a Christmas card I received. The artist is Tess Jay and she came to a her first lino printing workshop this autumn where she got to grips with the technique, bought the optional kit and went home to design and make these lovely cards.

Finally, I am delighted to introduce my new studio assistant, Basil. He found me after a period of roaming the streets and is a little bit of an escape artist rather than a visual one at present. He is not quite ready to be introduced to all the roles that Max filled so competently but his training is going very well and early indications show that he is certain to pass his probationary period. Here he is helping with sea paintings in Pembrokeshire.

All good wishes for 2020







Beginners Portraiture Workshop 28 March 2020

Saturday 28 March 2020 10 am to 4 pm

Stable Studio, Bevere Gallery, Worcester WR3 &RQ

Price £85 (includes lunch and refreshments plus materials)


This workshop offers the study of the basics of portraiture looking at the the features and proportions of the human face and how to begin looking. It is aimed at those who have always wanted to draw and paint people but don’t know where to start. Simply the basics.

Palette Knife Acrylics Workshops 29 February & 14 March 2020

Saturday 29th February 2020 10 am to 4 pm

Saturday 14th March 2020 – Fully Booked

Stable Studio, Bevere Gallery, Worcester WR3 7RQ

Price £85 (includes lunch and refreshments plus materials for the day. Materials available to purchase to continue your practice).

This workshop centres around the use of acrylic paint applied with a palette knife. General instructions for the use of acrylics are given and the workshop focuses on how to active results using a palette knife. A truly enjoyable experience with the freedom to move paint around and absorb yourself in creativity. The workshop begins with some simple exercises and progresses through to the creation of your own masterpiece. No previous drawing or painting experience necessary.


Experimental Watercolours Workshop 1 February 2020

Saturday 1st February 2020 10am to 4pm

16 York Place Worcester WR1 3DR

Price £65 (includes refreshment and light lunch. Materials pack £5 available to purchase.

Indulge yourself in a day in a day exploring different techniques that can be used to enhance this beautiful and vibrant medium.

The workshop covers a variety of conventional and non-conventional materials over a broad spectrum of subject matter. The emphasis is on creativity with paint so drawing skills are not essential. Everyone guaranteed at least four art pieces by the end of the workshop. Materials pack includes different papers to experiment with.


Beginners Watercolour Workshop 15 January 2020

Wednesday 15th January 2020 10 am to 4pm

16 York Place Worcester WR1 3DR

Price £65 (Includes refreshments and light lunch. Materials pack £5 available to purchase)

Watercolour Palette

Relax after the excitement of the festive season with a day playing with and getting to grips with the basics of this beautiful and versatile medium. Beginning with a guide to surfaces, paint and general materials then following on with colour mixing and washes together with different approaches to achieving exciting results. Materials pack includes different papers.





The Joys of Sketching in Public.

‘What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.’ The words of Welsh poet William Henry Davies often come into my mind when I am poised with a pen and a sketchbook. Whether in the midst of a breath taking landscape or the bustle of a busy railway station, sketching in public is all about standing and looking.

We all know the importance of ‘looking’ as an essential part of drawing practice but, unlike the life room, when out doors our concern is for capturing  a sense of place with all its interesting intricacies: a moment in time, a smell, a weather condition. As artists we are privileged to be able to leave the exact capturing of detail to the cameraman and indulge ourselves in the recording our own personal response.

I nearly always sketch in pen for the exact reason that you cannot rub it out of fiddle with it. This allows you to become less precious about representational accuracy and allows your sketches to become more responsive, plus you don’t have to carry an eraser. I often use water fast, fine tip liners as I can brush watercolour over the top without the ink running, however, any pen will do – biro gives a lovely quality of line and old fashioned fountain pens will give a line that transforms into beautiful tonal washes with just a touch of water.

Paper wise I generally use a reasonable weight watercolour paper (140lb rough) or a good quality cartridge paper but again don’t miss an opportunity through lack of resource  – I have sketches on paper bags, serviettes and till receipts.


Sometimes it can be difficult to find a starting point within the seemingly infinite subject matter that the public domain offers. Choose something that interests you as your central point and work outwards – don’t get bogged down with composition, you can crop or expand it later – it can be a vista or a row of flowerpots. Whilst accuracy is not essential it is still important to look for relationships, angles and negative space and if your picture includes buildings keep the rules of basic perspective in mind.

Put things in or take things out, move things around – remember it is your visual record of a sense of place.

Flowers and tree fern at Plas Gwlard gardens

Vary the complexity of the sketch according to circumstances: if you are stood on a headland in driving rain you may want to note a few landmarks, if you sat in the shade on a summer’s day then a detailed sketch may be more fitting.

Remember, sketches don’t have to be finished, although it is a good idea to date and label them. You and others will enjoy looking at them in years to come.

Finally, never be irritated or embarrassed when passers-by want to see what you are doing for it is a pleasure to watch an artist sketch. As artists, we should feel privileged to be in a position to oblige.

The next date for sketching and painting outdoors will be on Saturday 29th June in the beautiful walled gardens at Brockhampton. See courses for further details







Life Drawing session 30th April

This was the first session of our summer term and a way of easing ourselves into this enjoyable but demanding part of art practice the beginning of the session was slightly different to usual.

Tim our amazing life model held the same pose, against a blue screen for 45 minutes. Members of the class were given the task of completing three drawings of approximately 15 minutes each.

The first was to study the outline of the model and the ‘negative’ shapes that his body formed.


The second drawing was to be completed using straight lines only, no curves! Kirstie chose to work with white chalk on black paper (recycled from her Arches watercolour pads no less!).

Tim by Kirstie Trobe 


Tim by Don Emmerich

The third and final drawing was to be made by starting with a mid tone charcoal base and using a rubber to carve out the lighter areas in the model before adding charcoal to get the dark tones.

At our tea break we had a wonderful catch up chat discussing the latest exhibitions and generally putting the art world to rights. In particular this week the ‘Artist’s Statement’ came under review. A difficult one for all artists who wish to appear both intellectually cerebral and approachable at the same time. My thanks goes to Alan for his constructive criticism of mine!

The second half of the session concentrated on one pose with a short study of hands to conclude.  If you are interested in life drawing but the thought of taking part terrifies you then do get in touch and I will find away to get you started.






The beauty of the monotype

Monotypes and mono prints are viewed, in the art world, as unique images.

A monotype is a print whereby the image has been created each time and there is no reusable matrix.

A mono print differs in that it has a common underlying matrix with other prints but it differs in terms of colour or finish.


There are lots of different ways of producing monotypes and I like to use it as a process of mark making to construct a visual work. The images above shows the acetate used over several inking applications with the image in the process of emerging. The second image  shows and a negative print taken from the final acetate.

I often combine several base resource materials such as leaves and flowers together with sketches of my own. I use the printing process itself in a painterly fashion often working with different elements over a period of time before reaching a result I am happy with.

Interestingly, the negative transparencies that evolve form images of their own with a different quality to the finished print (shown below). 

The two finished prints form part of The Marks We Leave Behind  collection of work. They can be seen in detail on the Gallery Page