I’ve updated my website with new work. Feel free to visit at http://www.josephdawsonpainting.com

I had spent a good part of the afternoon drawing, happily subscribing to those limitations which keep the enemy of art at bay.

While doing so, I was left with an odd impression of myself grasping at, what I am only now calling “that element of mystery” which seems wired into the heart of whatever was happening on the page.

It struck me that “this mystery in visible things” must possess a kind of inexhaustible potential for revelation.

Perhaps this might account for that dissatisfaction so often felt by painters. It seems to escape us in proportion to our striving to take hold of it.


It is a difficult thing to stop drawing once you have begun the habit of doing so. I was watching an old Vincent Price film, The Hound of the Baskervilles and it had this rather rotund Scotsman getting all blustery about some hunt or other while at dinner. I immediately paused the film and sketched him with his fork raised in mid conversation. I just love the mutton chops!

To the left is a sketch of two ladies in period dress from an English film whose name eludes me. I thought the shot was elegantly framed and their interest in the menu card before them lent a wonderfully thoughtful expression to their features.

The final drawing is a “Bargue study” from that wonderful atelier drawing course.

A small collection of images which represent what can be seen on my webpage.  It's all classical realism!
I’ve decided to add a “Sketch Book” category to my website under the HOME/PORTFOLIO menu. I say a little something about each drawing and I hope at some point in the near future to record some demonstrations of my process.

My newest painting has also just been added to the landing page. It is “The Crowning of Thorns” which will be going to one of the Catholic churches here in Seville, Spain. To be honest, I often wander around these magnificent buildings and think about how wonderful it must have been to have had those walls as a canvass!
I’m sure I’m not the only one to have expressed this sentiment.

I wanted to do something with a vintage aesthetic and so I came up with the design above. A link to the page where it can be downloaded can be accessed by simply clicking on the image or you can go to my website and under fonts, have a look to see what I’ve got going on there.

Draw! Everyday!

Here are some of the drawings and studies I get up to in between major projects. It’s a good thing to always be drawing. Drawing directly from nature, copying from the masters trains the eye. It is the foundation of all good painting. It is here that you chiefly learn about values independent of hues. If you can good handle on values, you will be better able to manage your colors when it comes time to paint.

“Let whoever may have attained to so much as to have the power of drawing know that he holds a great treasure.”               – Michelangelo 1452 – 1519

When drawing something this complex it is important to find a good position for your plumb line. Organize your shapes along the vertical and then plot out your lines constantly checking for accuracy. The light coming in from the left emphasizes the halftones of the muscles and the whole surface is modeled. Now, I drew this in a sketch book whose dimensions are 7 by 10 inches so errors become immediately apparent when drawing at this size. It was a bit of a challenge but enjoyable.

You can download this font for personal use at dafont.com or fontspace.com

I wanted to design a font that was evocative of those old pulp horror magazines like Weird Tales but perhaps its greatest source of inspiration can be found by looking no further than Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt…

The painting used in this promotional image is one of my own. It’s part of a larger still life done in oils.

This was painted with burnt umber on 300g paper, primed with a clear gesso.

Sometimes I will do a small study in a watercolor sketchbook with a paper thickness at around 300g.  I primed the page three times with a transparent primer and then drew the image in. I then primed it once more and set about my painting employing a limited palette. I put a light wash over the drawing using raw umber to establish the overall mid tone.  I get all the dark values in first using raw umber before subtracting the paint for the lighter areas.  You can use your fingers or a cloth or both as required.  Titanium white is then used in the lightest areas and then I use lamp black or a nice bone black for accents and the darkest darks.

I tend to work from the hair into the flesh finding all my local colors and only add refinement when everything is done.

Just remember that the mid tones are neither as dark or as light as should be.  You should work out your darkest darks and lightest lights from your mid tones.

For this little study I used a very simple pallet: Raw Umber, Titanium white and a Light Ochre which has great transparency.

This is a self portrait of William Hogarth.  It is one of his earliest known portraits.  He was a very interesting man; a painter, a printmaker, an art theorist; certainly someone worth getting to know.