The Pose: Recent Life Sketches

Over the past few months, Andrew Holmes has been further developing his figure drawings.

Andrew B Holmes – Life sketch – 01_4

When possible, Andrew enjoys joining a life drawing group as this provides an opportunity to share the same space and ideas with other artists.

Based in West London, the sessions attract an eclectic and multinational group of people from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds. All have varied styles and skills and nobody is there to cast judgement.


Short five or ten minute poses start the evening off, allowing the artists to focus.  Andrew says it is helpful initially to look for the basic shapes when time is limited. These are very useful short studies and frequently this time restriction can produce livelier work than the longer thirty-minute sessions.


In addition, models can adopt more challenging poses over a short period without drifting from their initial position; holding a physical shape over a half hour requires a sitter to have considerable stamina and the artists appreciate this.


Some models are students or budding actors who use the sessions to help build confidence, but others choose to sit for drawing purely because they share an interest in art.




Andrew’s practice is centred on an interest in painting and a curiosity in how contextualisation influences our perception and intellectual judgement of art.

      These sketches form part of the preparatory work he hopes to discuss in more depth soon.

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see :


© Andrew B Holmes 2017. All Rights Reserved.

New figurative studies

 White Dresses and Generic girls

To celebrate a new year, here’s a selection of  Andrew Holmes life paintings he’s developed over the past few months.

The ‘white dress figures’ are first painted as full life studies and Andrew then overpaints a simple white shape to highlight the form and contrasts between the soft and sharp surfaces.

untitled figure 7 - oil on canvas - 51cm x 41cm
untitled figure 7 – oil on canvas – 51cm x 41cm
untitled figure 06 - oil on canvas - 51cm x 41cm
untitled figure 06 – oil on canvas – 51cm x 41cm
untitled figure 05 Oil on paper 76cm x57cm
untitled figure 05 Oil on paper 76cm x57cm

In particular, the works are rooted in Andrew’s interest in aesthetics and how an image affects us on a more emotional level.

Using a limited palette for the ‘white dress figures’ he wants these informal  poses to flow and invites the viewer to take a closer look.

Whereas in the generic series (below), these are not as obviously sensual but seemingly frozen, isolated, squared on to the canvas and confronting the audience.

Generic girls
Generic girl in black -oil on panel -76cm x 57cm
Generic girl in white - oil on panel - 80cm x 60cm
Generic girl in white – oil on panel – 80cm x 60cm

Some artists use greens as a colour for underpainting skin tones and Andrew liked the idea that, similar to applying make-up, this could be used as a suggestion of camouflage.

In either group, substrates, textures and colours have been used to differing effect. In Generic Girls the ghostly pallor in girl in black or broken green and brown patina on girl in white’s skin and use of heavier paintwork in the dress, is designed to make the viewing remote and less comfortable.

Commercially, generic forms are employed to target larger audiences and Andrew’s background in providing imagery in this field makes him very aware of the power of this subtle use for psychological messaging.

Girl in blue - oil on paper -76cm x 58cm
Girl in blue – oil on paper -76cm x 58cm

In the faces and body poses Andrew intended to offer an oblique familiarity. Using a combination of his own sketches and references, he continues to explore different techniques and further examine the power of this language. 

untitled figure 9- oil on canvas - 51cm x 41cm
untitled figure 9- oil on canvas – 51cm x 41cm

For Andrew Holmes website, please see :

 To contact Andrew, please email

© AB Holmes 2016, All rights reserved.