Highlights of The Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2013 (Main Category)

acrylic cityscape exhibition figurative landscape Mall Galleries oil oil on board oil on canvas portraits ROI still life

The 126th Annual Exhibition was opened by The new President, Ian Cryer who succeeds Peter Wileman, who had been President since 2008. The Opening Speech and awards were given out by the eminent Historian Dr David Starkey.

Dr David Starkey speaks about the history of the ROI and some reasons why the Institute gained it's Royal status.
I am happy to say that those two paintings in the middle of Dr Starkey and The President are mine......yeah!

The Exhibition runs  till Saturday the 21st of December. If you are in London please try your best to get down to The Mall Galleries, it's a cracking show!

A cross section of the crowd at the Private View

Every year I personally highlight a few paintings that caught my eye. These are just a few paintings that interest me! Apart from sketching and painting, I like to review paintings and say what excites me about them. So relax and enjoy a few of my ramblings!

Adebanji with his painting Sloane Square, Summer Shadows

Above is one of the paintings I have in the show, It's of one of my favourite spots in London, "Sloane Square, Summer Shadows".


Early Morning, Elephant Gate Udaipor, Peter Brown

I am always on the look out to see what Peter Brown has up his sleeves, as I am a great admirer of his work and his work ethic!

This particular painting of his above is just one of the rewards you get for waking up early and chasing the beautiful light! I can just imagine him working on this one! It has the force of a typical energetic "sketched plein  air piece".

 Everything is in the dark and mid tones apart from the source of that lovely Naples yellowy light peeping through the gate! It is not a common thing to see that he has not overstated the light but just apportioned the right amount of effect it makes on the surrounding environment!

I can almost see myself walking through that warm light into the distance!

I would like to own a piece like this because looking at it would always remind me that there's gonna be a way out of the chaos of the day, if I remained focused!

Peter Brown with his paintings in the show


Moorings at Hayton- Chesterfield Canal, David Curtis

David Curtis, so modest, so humble but yet his paintings speak volumes! You instantly know when seeing his paintings that he is an ardent draughtsman! You couldn't get a better  silent lecture in drawing than when you look at his paintings!  I love both of them! The one above is incredible! How did he capture that light without making it look overworked or unnecessarily detailed? The effect of sunlight on the dirty water is so REAL! Yet when standing close up to the painting, you almost feel a certain measure of mystery  about the whole piece!

I'll have to attempt something like this is the new year! When I look at paintings like this I just want to paint!

Midwinter, Slaynes Lane, Misson, David Curtis

The striking thing about the snow scene above is the tree! I love trees! But David even makes me love them better! He has a deft touch.....It's a combination of loose washes with some thick and thin applications of oil strokes that just bring out the beauty and reality of those twigs and branches!

Zooming into the branches wasn't something I planned doing until I saw my fellow painting colleague-James Bland, had done so on Facebook. This is what the Zoom-in looks like below:

Detail of David Curtis' painting-Midwinter, Slaynes Lane, Misson

Michele Del Campo, Haidee-Jo Summers, David Curtis and Kieron Williamson (Mini Monet) with David's paintings in the background


Punt Station, Magdalen Bridge (Oxford)
David Pilgrim has developed into a very mature painter. I must say I struggled with getting a good image of his painting above because it was taken under a strong tungsten light in the gallery but all the same I think this piece blossoms well with it's very loose and impressionist handling!

I have seen the smaller version of this piece which I'm sure David blew-up on, to create this one. The thing that I noticed was that he managed to keep the same spirit and vitality in the small piece as in this larger one. This is not an easy thing for the painter to do. Many a painting is ruined while under this process of enlarging.

He uses a very complimentary shadow of purple to form an inviting abstract shape around the centre of interest where the figures are, to the left.

I just love the way he interprets shadows, he never overworks them and never paints them too dark. That's the mark of a plein air painter who is observant and keen to get his colour mixtures, spot-on!

Above all, I love the overall composition and the combination of the organic and inorganic elements in the scene!

David Pilgrim with his paintings


White Hoarding in Morning Light, David Walker

This guy was the one who stole the show in this exhibition. A discovery!!! He mainly paints in watercolour but his transition to oils has been incredible. Let me put it as William Wray put it, "One medium will inform the other....."

I saw his work and I was shocked, I thought of Jeremy Mann and William Wray! But this is neither of them, this is David Walker who takes two awards on the day and makes my  mouth water as he explains his slick technique as a designer!

You can see this concept instantly when viewing these paintings. I can talk about what excites me here all day long. Is it the application of paint? The lost and found edges in the shadows? The overall abstract design of the piece? The balanced tonal values used or the way he handles the light in the whole scene? Well, hold your breath because this is a guy to watch!

I'll say no more!

David Walker with two of his paintings on show


Passing Gondolas, Douglas Gray
I can't remember seeing his work in the ROI exhibitions in the past but I have always been fascinated by his work in the Royal Society of Marine Artists Exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

To me he is just a great lover of light! He knows how to capture it and make you just want to walk right into his transforming scenes!

I like this one because of the atmosphere. Can atmosphere be painted? Can it be captured in paint? Well, Douglas has the answers and this piece makes you feel the heat of the light as it moves from the  horizon.  Another great feature is the warm and wonderful rippling effect of the Venice waters. It is just a delight to behold!


Sails up in Harbour, Paimpol, Haidee-Jo Summers
I had seen this piece on Facebook before seeing it in the flesh and it just made me think once again that the images we see on the computer screens never do paintings the justice they demand....you have to come up and see it live!

When I saw it live, I was able to appreciate some of the lovely use of lush colour and loose stokes which almost looks flat in the painting when viewed on-line.

The treatment given to the water in those lovely interlocking horizontal strokes are one of the main reasons why this painting is so appealing.

It also takes a vast amount of confidence to use red the way she has done here. It's the mark of a confident, hardworking and lively painter, who has won many awards and is doing a fantastic job in the plein air realm at the moment!


East End Market, Hashim Akib

Everyone who has seen my Rush Hour paintings knows I am a fan of crowded scenes. It is no wonder why I was drawn to this fabulous piece by Hash.

It was painted in acrylic and the colours are nothing but static! They are vivid and harmonious!

I love the way he uses the square brush stroke! It keeps the viewer well engaged and excited!

Dynamic! That's the word I was looking for and I really would love to own one of his paintings one day, he makes every stroke count!


Alan, Maryam Foroozanfar

You can't walk away from this piece, it won the An Award and rightly so because it has the mark of a maturing painter who knows what to put in and what to leave out!

This is not something easy but most of the time it works out as a result of proper planning and preliminary sketches.

I've known Maryam to paint very detailed pictures but now she is opening up her free spirit and I'm just loving it!

There's just something spooky about this, a bit of mystery, the overall application compliments the mood so badly.....you just want to know what was going through his mind.

I love the static drama inherent in this piece!

A far more clearer image of this painting is seen below, as the one above was taken with the glass over, as framed in the Exhibition.

Alan, Maryam Foroozanfar


Navel Oranges, Michael Travis Seymour

Some may look at this and say, "Just a bowl of oranges, right!"..... No, I'll say a carefully designed still life with every force and tempo that keeps me activated and involved from the first sight of it. 

The lovely treatmernt of different textures, the emergence of the light and the one orange that didn't want to be in the container, freely allows the eye to go in and out of those uneven negative spaces with such ease and flow.

One of my favorite Still Life paintings in the show!


Rubbish, Michele Del Campo

Michele Del Campo!!! I just love his name! Sounds like that of a movie star! I had to include the picture of Michele with his painting below so you can appreciate the size of this amazing piece!

I have seen a series of works that Michele has executed on this scale and they are all so great to behold!

This particular piece titled, "Rubbish" is  a lovely exploration of some of the things we take for granted and the beauty around them. I would never have seen this as a painting concept but Michele is a story teller, picture director and an intelligent painter!

Everything here is carefully planned and executed to precision. He uses lots of oil colour, it's thick, bold and vibrant!

I really love his attention to detail and how on the overall this piece stands out as a successful abstract explosion of colour when one looks at it with eyes almost closed!

Michele Del Campo with his painting.


Winter Oaks 2012, Stephen King
This was chosen for my love of trees! Bare bone beauty! I love the way he takes us on a journey through the skeletal system of woods in the winter!

Again the drawing is also what I love, the attention to detail but not over-worked! He selects what he wants us to see and exaggerates the chiaroscuro on the middle tree to evoke some excitement and interest!


Waiting, Tim Benson

I am not sure whether I got the right colours on this one (photography), but this happens to be one of my best paintings in the show.

I am passionate about faces and I love the painted face. But this piece is electric! I mean, I get a buzz, a sensation, a feel for the three-dimension, it's basically SCULPTED PAINT!

I just need to be this bold in the New Year, I now regret missing his Masterclass at the Mall Galleries, I'm not missing any other one!

Tim is always working hard, he once did a striking 30 minute oil sketch of me which is not in this show but below.

While being a model and observing him paint, I must say,  he paints with a stern looking face, with movement, energy, attitude and flair!

The Sketcher- sketched in 30 minutes by Tim Benson


Rosie, Valerie Smith
This is amazing! Valerie works only from life! She told me she can't work any other way! 

I just love this piece! The mood on the ladies' face is striking! Her use of colour and brush stroke applications just lures me to want to paint right now! Look at that "chequered" dress! The handling is second to none!

There are not many portraits in the main category of the show but this is one outstanding one and ticks all my boxes for a very successful portrait!


Polperro, Cornwall, William Carney
This is my best little painting in the show! Why? It's all about less is more! The limited use of colours, the way he has applied the brush strokes in the most haunting manner!

It's almost as if I should just live with this one for the rest of my life. I am sure this was not the colour of the scene-What William has done is to bring in a romance of his own and transform this scene into a mini-paradise!

THE SYMPHONY OF SUBTLE GREYS......It's the greys that make the colours sing- I once read somewhere...... and this painting sings the most harmonious rendition of a solo composition from William in his unique painterly voice!


Look out for another post on this exhibition which features the young artists (Under 35 category)- I have always loved this section since winning the First Prize in 2007!

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