Monday, 10 June 2013

Panoramic View of the Abbey Gardens

Latest painting fresh off the easel in time for the Cotton Art Show at the Village Hall, Blacksmith Road, Cotton, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 4QN.  The preview will be on Friday 5th July at 7pm with the exhibition opening to the general public from Saturday 6th July to Monday 8th July 2013 from 10am-5pm daily (4pm on Monday).  £2 entry with proceeds going to Friends of Cotton Church.  We will be exhibiting several works on view for the first time, and look forward to seeing you there.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Art Aid Article

Many thanks to the Master Photographers Association for picking up on the Obidos Lagoon story which appeared in this month's Master Photography Magazine.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The auction is open!

Delighted to announce that the painting of Obidos Lagoon is now up for auction. Bids are being received by Help for Heroes directly so please follow the instructions on this poster to place your bids!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Poppy Field

This is the finished oil that we will be presenting at the opening of the Endeavour Centre at HMS Drake in Plymouth, the new Help of Heroes recovery centre offering facilities similar to those at Headley Court in Surrey. The painting will hang in reception and we understand that limited edition prints will be made to raise more funds for this great charity.

In the news

The Bury Free Press published the story of the Obidos Lagoon painting that will be auctioned for Help for Heroes and we are hoping that various other publications will be picking up on the story soon.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Before and after

As many of you will remember, back in November we launched our photo competition and the winning entry was Nigel Harper's 'Obidos Lagoon'.

Well, Roger has just completed his oil of the same title, which is now up for sale to the highest bidder with proceeds going to Help for Heroes - for further information, contact

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Release your creative spirit

Roger Harvey, ABIPP, AMPA has teamed up with Peter Jarvis, LBIPP, LMPA, a colleague of many years standing, to launch photographic training courses. Following popular demand, and alongside his painting, Roger will be running these training courses on a remote learning basis from anywhere in the World, with a series of six sections, each with a lesson and an assignment set, together with a manual to give further information, do's and don'ts, helpful hints and practical photographs showing examples. Each assignment will be assessed and helpful feedback provided and, on satisfactory completion, each student will be issued with a certificate of competence. All material will be sent electronically.

The first course is directed to beginners, either who have just bought a camera or want to get the best from the camera they are using and to help and encourage them to release their creativity to create stunning photographs. This beginner's course of six sections will cost £180. Further courses will follow for intermediates and there will be advanced courses. Watch this space for more details.

If you love photography and want to understand more or want to achieve stunning results with your camera, enrol yourself, or why not purchase a course as a gift for someone looking to get more out of their hobby.

For more information, telephone Roger on +44 (0)1359 259708 or email

Friday, 1 February 2013

Thoughts From The Easel - part 4

There is no doubt in my mind that camera obscura was the precursor of the camera we know, but the first images produced were ethereal – to keep a record of them, they had to copy and paint them onto canvas or board. The next exciting development was the permanent recording of the image to create a photograph. Louis Daguerre was the first to record an image onto silver coated copper in 1839 and presented his invention to the French Academy of Science on 19 August – this was named a Daguerrotype and artists were alarmed because they thought they had lost their market for painting because photographers would be able to produce portraits more quickly and accurately. In 1841, Fox Talbot developed his invention of the paper negative, from which additional prints could be made.

Because of their fears, the artists moved from traditional paintings into impressionism, thereby moving art forward yet another step. As things settled down, and artists were still commissioned to do portraits, they started to use the new inventions and they commissioned photographers to take photographs of their subjects, from which they then worked to create their portraits and the clients were pleased because they, and often their families, did not have to sit for many hours for the artist.

Hence the close connection and dependence of art and photography.

I do not feel that I am bastardising my art by using my skills as a photographer to capture the subject through a number of photographs, which allow me to create a true likeness, reflecting the personality of the sitter in my finished portrait. This is how I created the paintings of the sporting personalities in the 1970’s and 80’s, when I realised that a series of photographs captured the idiosyncratic actions of individuals, which make the painting a true likeness.

I am now looking for portrait commissions to prove my point. I would love to talk to you about yours - you, your family or your pet!


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Thoughts From the Easel - Part 3

The word ‘Photography’ is derived from the Greek ‘Photos’ (of light) and ‘Graphein’ (to draw) so literally ‘drawing with light’. Photographers paint with light – artists paint with colour. So how did they become so closely linked? It is thought that it was probably by chance. All that was needed was a darkened room on a hot, sunny day in Florence, with the heavy curtains slightly ajar, a sun lit piazza, a concave mirror on the studio wall and suddenly, there was the image from the square outside, reflected onto the studio wall, in colour and it was a moving image. Imagine the artist’s surprise and delight; this image could be traced onto a canvas accurately. True ‘camera obscura’ (darkened room).

This is probably how the transition occurred from mediaeval art to early renaissance, but the artists were all very secretive. Look at the difference between these two images – a mediaeval 11th century fresco (1) and a Leonardo da Vinci c1508 (2). As early as 1420, there are records of camera obscura and Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) observed its use in his notebooks. David Hockney, considered to be one of the most influential British artists, has written a wonderful book, ‘Secret Knowledge’, which is well worth reading, in which he looks at the use of optical devices to create images.

Some of the artists who used optical projections were Jan Van Eyck, a Flemish painter active in Bruges ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’ 1434 (3) and (4) a section from the same piece - look at the detail of the chandelier and the reflection in the mirror, Caravaggio’s ‘The Young Bacchus’ 1597 (5), one of my favourite’s, Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675) ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ (6) and Canaletto (1697 – 1768). They all used camera obscura with a lens; without these tools, Vermeer would not have been able to paint the spherical earring so perfectly, as has been recently proved by x-rays and the chandelier in Van Eyck’s painting would also have been virtually impossible to paint so accurately without the use of camera obscura. Camera Lucida was a later development in the early 1800’s.

All of these tools helped the artist to create a two dimensional image from the three dimensional subject with the use of an optical lens. As this was only a single view point, it would have been necessary to divide the subject matter into a number of areas, in order to record the picture accurately. The problem was that, by so doing, you can often see areas of the painting, which are out of focus. This is a further clue that many of the old masters’ paintings were created with the use of optical projection. This is why, when we look at them, we can recognise the photographic look of these paintings.

The other book worth reading, if this is of interest to you, is ‘Vermeer’s Camera - Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces’ by Philip Steadman, where he proves, to my satisfaction, that this is how it all happened.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Letter to the Editor

Roger's letter to the editor of the Daily Mail was published on Wednesday following the debate over the recent portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Thoughts From The Easel - part 2

I wonder how many of you have seen the recent painting of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge? I know my views, but I would love to hear yours! The painting is by Paul Emsley, a very successful portrait artist, selected by Catherine to do her first official portrait. It has caused a lot of contraversy in the art world. She said "It's just amazing. Absolutely brilliant" and Prince William added, "It's beautiful, it's absolutely beautiful." However the art critics' comments are not so complimentary. "Ghastly ... rotten ... an out and out disaster", "It's only saving grace is that it's not by Rolf Harris" and "I wish I could find one positive thing to say but sadly, I can't". Is this criticism for the sake of criticism or is it right?

My views are that, if the sitter is pleased then that is the most important criteria for both the subject and the artist. However, my critique would be that it's a bit lifeless and doesn't capture either her personality or her beauty. I believe that the eyes are too small and too far apart and the bridge of the nose is too wide. My main concern, is the suggested criticism of the use of photographs as the main reference for painting. I understand that there were two sittings, when Paul Emsley took photographs, one of which was selected by Catherine, as his main reference for the painting. I have always used photographic reference, combining a number of photographs for the early sporting portraits and the more recent portraits. I have found that the lighting and composition are paramount to achieve a true likeness with the added benefit that the person does not need to give up a huge amount of their valuable time to actually sit whilst the portrait is painted.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Thoughts from the easel

Looking back over the past year, my work has been divided between landscapes, seascapes and portraits of people and animals. The most recent portrait of Elizabeth, which so many people have commented about, has caused quite a stir and made me think deeply about the way ahead for painting in 2013. I intend to develop the portraits as the main focus for this year. Of course, I will still do some landscapes and seascapes. I have enjoyed doing the portraits so much and I have done some in-depth research in the area that I have always been interested in, which is both the northern and southern Renaissance and, of course, the Dutch golden era. I intend to produce work of an even higher standard and quality than I have previously achieved. The portraits will be even more photographic and with much greater detail. This is where my research led but follow my thinking in further 'thoughts from the easel'.