I used to draw a lot. The prospect of painting intimidated me, and after every apprehensive attempt I made with painting mediums, I’d go running back to the safety and predictability of my pencils. Now in recent years, as my confidence with painting has grown, the only drawings I make are the crude preparatory drawings scribbled out when I start work on a new painting. I put little care into them as I only need a rough map to begin with.

Occasionally, I see drawings by artists that just make my jaw drop and remind me of how potent a well executed drawing can be. I just stumbled on the drawings of Scottish artist Paul Emsley and I’m simply amazed and inspired. His chalk and graphite renderings are exquisitely detailed and demonstrate a stunning sensitivity to tonal relationships with deep shadows and glowing highlights. I love how the light blooms.

Paul Emsley - Indian Rhinoceros

Paul Emsley – Indian Rhinoceros (www.paulemsley.com)

Paul Emsley - Roses

Paul Emsley – Roses (www.paulemsley.com)

Paul Emsley - Cosmic Dreamers

Paul Emsley – Cosmic Dreamers (www.paulemsley.com)

Paul Emsley - Study for a Bulldog

Paul Emsley – Study for a Bulldog (www.paulemsley.com)

Check out his site, there’s a lot of great paintings as well.


UPDATE: Jan 12, 2013
Sometimes you find you’ve stumbled into the Twilight Zone…

Okay, so I posted this entry about Paul Emsley yesterday, really knowing nothing about him except for what his website bio says. (I’d happened upon his site via a Google search for charcoal drawings.) Later the same day, I read that there’s this big current event fuss being made about an official portrait of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, painted by none other than Paul Emsley. How’s that for extraordinary coincidence?

Apparently, the portrait has generated a lot of negative reactions from the public and critics alike. Many are saying the portrait is not a good likeness of the Duchess, that she looks older than she actually is, that her eye color is wrong, etc. As someone who has painted portraits and knows first hand how tricky capturing a person’s likeness can be, I have a good deal of sympathy for Emsley and feel he did a pretty good job. Kate Middleton praised the portrait saying, “It’s just amazing, I thought it was brilliant.” So really, he met the most important objective. And of course, as they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Link: Kate Middleton Portrait Painter Hits Back At Critics

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