Painting Noel Fielding
MAY, 2020
Portrait Artist of the Week Sky Arts Noel Fielding
Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the week races on and I can’t believe we are almost reaching the conclusion of this wonderful series. This week the sitter was comedian and artist Noel Fielding and what a treat that was to paint.
Due to work commitments I had sadly missed the bulk of the broadcast which was a shame as I would have loved to see the interaction between Noel and Kimberley Krauss, the 2017 finalist. However having said that I was inspired to take Christian Hook’s advice the previous week and start embracing mistakes a bit more. 
Noel Fielding. Oil and Acrylic on canvas. 2020
I decided to throw my usual method out of the window (burnt sienna underpainting, charcoal sketch, build in layers etc.) and throw caution to the wind. I embraced acrylics again after a long hiatus. I used to use acrylic paints a lot in my earlier work. My earlier paintings in 2016 were done in acrylics and for my own entry in the PAOTY in 2018 with Meera Syal I had used an acrylic underpainting with oil on top.  There was no conscious decision as to why I went to exclusively oil paint. I think it was because as I had more time to paint and allow layers to dry it just became easier to do everything in one medium but it wasn’t because I was firmly against acrylic.
“I decided to throw my usual method out of the window”
Acrylic paints are wonderful but very different to handle than oil. They dry usually within seconds therefore application has to be fairly urgent and you cannot rely on blending the colours on the canvas because of its rapid setting time. This means working fast and methodically. I’m sure there are artists out there who use acrylics in a similar manner to oils however because I sometimes take my time with my mark making by them time I’ve thought about maybe blending tones it’s too late!
So I proceeded with wild abandon with Noel Fielding. I painted straight on white canvas (shock!) and used a raw sienna base to map out the face. As Noel was sitting in front of two of his own paintings I painted those in rapid acrylic as well. I then proceeded to paint Noel’s face with thin oils and I was really happy with the final result. I used synthetic brushes on this occasion with a very square brushhead which is in contrast to the round hogs head brushes that I used in the past. Overall I’m glad I experimented. It keeps the mind fresh and also allows you discover new ways of doing things and new styles. I also have a new found appreciation of acrylics and I certainly plan on doing more paintings in that medium in the future.