The Discerning Eye Exhibition – 2017

The selection process for this year’s Discerning Eye Exhibition is now complete and Andrew is delighted that he will have three new paintings included in the show. Sponsored by ING, this is a show of small works in various mediums and is always very exciting.

All three pieces to be included in this year’s hanging represent more of Andrew’s figurative work; an area within which he is keen to further develop fresh ideas and techniques.

Taya sketch- Oil on paper – 41cm x 31cm SOLD

It is always a daunting prospect for an artist to offer up their paintings for judgement in the public sphere. However, as mentioned in previous posts, submitting work into a show can, in fact, be a useful tool for an artist to gauge reaction, and where this exhibition differs is that the broad variety of curators also put together their own individual selections further contributing to the  show’s vibrancy and variation.

sketch 01A – Oil on paper – 41cm x 31cm

Andrew wanted these new works to be muted and uncomplicated. The more monochromatic approach of these images simplifies the decision-making process; where he can focus on the application of the paint, the marks and the tone and by using a limited palette, Andrew is able to concentrate more on the physical aspect of painting.

The Exhibition takes place in November at the Mall Galleries in Central London.

On their website, Discerning Eye says:

“The Discerning Eye annual exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. […]

The selectors choose both publicly submitted works and works by personally invited artists. Each selector’s section is hung separately to give each its own distinctive identity. The impression emerges of six small exhibitions within the whole. […]

The open submission provides an unusual opportunity for works by lesser-known artists to be hung alongside contributions from internationally recognised names. Each selector is solely responsible for their own selection, not by committee and are required to select at least 25% of their section from the open submission.”

Auba – oil on paper – 41cm x 31cm

This year’s selectors are:

Artists: Elmo Hood and Anne Magill, Collectors: Ellen Bertrams and Miranda Richardson and Critics: Nicola Coleby and Simon Tait.

The 2017 Discerning Eye Exhibition will be open to the public from Thursday 16 November until Sunday 26 November, between 10am and 5pm daily, at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1. Admission will be free and all the works will be for sale.

We now have to wait for the show to open in November to find out who has selected Andrew’s work for their wall in this year’s exhibition.

For more information regarding the Discerning Eye Exhibition,

please see:

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© Andrew B Holmes 2017. All Rights Reserved.






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
in two pieces Oil on paper 76cm x57cm SOLD

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

To visit Andrew B Holmes website, please see:


© AB Holmes 2016, All rights reserved.