Thursday, 30 September 2010

Californian Dream Exhibition Opening and slideshow

The opening went well and the paintings look good in the gallery of the Wyvern Theatre. I put together a slide show with all 21 paintings in the show.

Californian dream exhibition
View more presentations from Benoit Philippe.

If you are an artist, you should really consider Slideshare as another way to present and share your art with the public. Presentations are easy to upload and you can then embed them into your blog or website in no time.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Californian Dream Exhibition Trailer

The beginning of my new exhibition, Californian Dream, is coming soon and I am making the last arrangements.

One of the things I had on my list was to make a trailer for the BBC Big Screen. If you want to know how I did it, read my earlier post on "How to take your art to the big screen".

I managed to complete the slideshow over the week-end and I have recreated it on YouTube so you can see it too.

If you cannot see the embedded video, please follow this link.

The music is by Scott McLean, from his album "Rock and Roll Karma". You can listen to this great album on Jamendo.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Oil underpainting, why should I care?

This article was first published in my newsletter "Notes From My French Easel" – July/August 2010. Follow the link to receive this free monthly newsletter.

Nobody sees it when the work is finished, so why should I care about oil underpainting?

I don’t see it, but it is there. There are always parts of the underpainting showing between the strokes or under glazes. A contrasting underpainting (using complimentary colours) makes the subsequent layer come to life.

It gives the mood of the piece. Paint a different underpainting and the finished painting will be different. This initial layer is the foundation for the whole painting; it establishes the composition, the contrast between light and dark areas; it sets the key for the painting. Of course, there is room for many adjustments at later stages, but this first step will influence the final aspect of the work.

This is my playground. I can be bold; I can be brave and quick. There is no need or temptation to theorise. This stage is free and because I am relaxed I can “get in the flow”. This stage of the painting is liberating because I am painting “for my eyes only”. At this stage, I have the modest goal of filling-in the whole canvas with colours and establish the tonal scheme.
Creating a dynamic composition with brush strokes. I scrub colours with brush strokes in all directions to create a dynamic composition and get a sense of a third dimension. David Curtis, in his book “A light touch”) warns his readers about “uninspired linear strokes, without dynamism”. He draws a vivid image of what no to do: “These are applied as one would gloss paint on a door.”

Related resources and articles

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Isabella's is an American Italian restaurant located on the pier in Monterey (California). I like the oversized clock and the two men"talking with their hands" by the entrance.

Isabella's - Oil on linen canvas (50cm x 60cm) by Benoit Philippe

This painting is part of the series for my Californian Dream exhibition.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Cafe de la Presse - Oil painting

This is the painting I did over last week-end at the Swindon Open Studios. The Cafe de la Presse is located 342 Grant Avenue in San Francisco.

Cafe de la Presse - Oil painting (14" x 18") by Benoit Philippe

I took a few photographs along the way to show you the progression of the painting.

Monday, 13 September 2010

First week-end of the Swindon Open Studios

This week-end, I took part in the Swindon Open Studios at The Platform. We were eight artists in this space. I will also be there next week-end.

I managed to do an oil painting that I will show you in a next post.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Cafe Zoetrope‎ (San Francisco)

Cafe Zoetrope‎ is located 916 Kearny Street San Francisco, CA 94133. The whole round tower is covered in weathered copper, which gives it its unique look.

Cafe Zoetrope (San Francisco) – Watercolour (31 cm x 39 cm) by Benoit Philippe

Monday, 6 September 2010

Painting in veins

For my painting “Morning fog in San Francisco”, I used a veining effect. “Veining effect” is an expression I made-up to describe the impression created.

Morning fog in San Francisco - Oil on linen canvas (50 cm x 60 cm) by Benoit Philippe

This effect is an attempt to emulate the veining that occurs in some stones, where brightly coloured veins are set against the neutral colour of the stone.

Veining effect (Click on the picture to enlarge)

In this instance, I used pure Turquoise paint mixed with some Lefranc & Bourgeois Flemish Medium paste (clear) in tube. This product is designed for impasto as it contains cobalt-zirconium siccative and touch-dries in around two hours. It is glossy and transparent and makes the paint it is mixed with “sticky”. In practice, this means I was able to add these stokes of Turquoise blue on the fresh underground without smudging the paint.

Lefranc & Bourgeois Flemish Medium paste

The final effect is interesting because the Turquoise blue paint brightens-up the sky while the overall neutral tone shows through.

I believe it also create interest to give the viewer a different impression when he looks at the painting from afar (where optical mixing happens between the Turquoise blue and the background) and then closer (where he can see the Turquoise veins in the sky).

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Saturday, 4 September 2010

Swindon Open Studios 2010

I will be taking part in the Swindon Open Studios 2010. I will be exhibiting some of my works and painting at the Platform, with seven other artists.


The Platform (Ex railway museum),

Faringdon Road,

SN1 5ED Swindon


11th /12th September 2010, 11am to 5pm and

18th /19th September 2010, 11am to 5pm

Over sixty artists at twenty two venues will be displaying their works for nine days between September 11th/19th 2010. More information on the Swindon Open Studios website.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Serene gardening (San Francisco)

The Japanese garden in San Francisco is a great source of subjects.

Serene gardening (San Francisco) - Watercolour (31 cm x 39 cm) by Benoit Philippe