Our Marketing Manager, Liberty Rowley, is having her portrait painted by Peter Clossick NEAC. Here she describes the second day of the sitting.

Read about Day 1 here


It wasn’t until I had left work and was on my way to Peter’s studio that I remembered I wasn’t wearing the same dress I wore last time. Would this be a problem? I apologised as I arrived and Peter said he would manage, but I could tell that it was an annoyance.

Peter started this second session by drawing into the painting with a stick of charcoal. I could hear the charcoal splintering across the rough surface of the paint and showering over the floor around the easel. The easel has a cloth pinned under the bottom of the painting, to catch any blobs of paint that escape from the canvas. It is encrusted with paint. 

We looked at some of the Colour Wheels that Peter has pinned up next to the easel. In particular at Goethe’s Colour Triangle of 1810. Goethe’s book Theory of Colours deals with perceptions of colour based on Newton’s experiments with a prism to render the spectrum visible. The Colour Triangle however, arranges colours into groups based on the feelings and moods that Goethe believed they represented. Based on this the portrait so far is in ‘reflective’ section. I find it hard to imagine how sitting so still and so quiet for so long would not result in one feeling reflective.

Peter uses Tonal Colour, different shades of a small group of colours to create the effect of depth and form on the 2D surface. Some of his paintings are fairly monochromatic, but still show form and depth and weight. 

As Peter paints with his large brushes and quantities of paint, the easel wobbles and bangs about under the force and vigour of each stroke, making the easel and the canvas seem very small and fragile. After saying that he would paint around the problem of my wearing the wrong dress, I noticed that he had painted in the black and white stripes that I was wearing, and I realised I must wear this same dress next week. Of course, there was no white in the white stripes he had painted, there was blues and greens and even some red, but I could still recognise it.

 My face was more recognisable as a face, I had eyes and a nose. And amazingly, despite now 2 hours of applying huge quantities of paint, there were still areas of the canvas that shone through as bright, untouched white.