Written by Mike Lamble – Art Journal

mike's donated painting to rnsh

Happy Discovery – written by Mike Lamble

Mike and his Painting donated to Royal Northshore Hospital

The painting is hung on the ward wall on Level8, RNSH.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

As many of you know, last year I especially painted a sunset had it framed at Shore Style picture framers and donated it to the new Royal North Shore Hospital as an expression of appreciation for the wonderful care in saving my life after an emergency a few years ago.

The photo was taken by Erika (the gorgeous student I painted last year) after a meeting we had with a gentleman who had contacted me the previous week offering an exhibition for the art school as part of the RNS exhibition programme for the new multi million dollar building.

He took us to the ward where I asked the painting to be hung this was the first time I had seen it since it left the art school.

erika mike

“ERIKA” The finished painting. – written by Mike Lamble

"Erika" with Erika and Mike


mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

About a year ago I worte a blog “What has the Titanic got to do with Mike’s Portrait?”.

I will quote from a few selected lines;
“In painting this portrait of Erika in the the way the Renaissance Masters would have approached it more or less so far without a hitch…”

I then drew parallels with the disaster which followed Titanic’s maiden voyage;

“What on earth has this got to do with my portrait of Erika? My students see me paint or draw from week to week often comment I make it look so easy, that’s the surface, it what’s hidden beneath that surface that counts,”.

Unlike the Titanic, the portrait progressed with a few minor scrapes.

The inspiration Erika’s walked into art class looking like this;


which reminded me of…


The Journey.












Due to many requests from my students I will give a talk in greater detail how I painted her term1.

Art Talk at the NSW art gallery by mike lamble

[REVIEW] Art Talk at the Art Gallery of NSW – Written by Mike Lalmble


Art Talk at the Art Gallery of NSW

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

I wanted to thank all of you for giving me such a great time by allowing me to indulge my passion for standing in front of original paintings and talking about them at the Art Gallery of NSW, just by being there all of you inspire me. Thank you for all your comments to me during the following week. Many have asked if I will do another “Magical Mystery Tour” and “not leave it so long this time”.

As a suggestion, 2-4pm Saturday 29th March 2014.


” Mike’s Gallery Tour really showed me how to look at art through the social and political context, as well as through artist’s eyes. He told us about the history of when the piece was painted and the story behind each painting. It was an inspiring afternoon and makes me want to visit the gallery more often. Thank you Mike for a fabulous, educational and uplifting tour!”

– Judyth Wiley

“As an aspiring artist, 2 hours in the Art Gallery of NSW is heaven at the best of times, but when combined with Mike’s obvious excitement and passion in the artworks he chose to share with students during the tour I gained not only a brand new perspective on many pieces that I had seen previously, but hope that maybe producing my own fine piece of artwork was within reach.”

– Vicki Edler

“Mike’s tour enables you to see beyond the beautiful artwork that is on display. He provides an insight to the life and times of the artist, the story behind the picture as he shares his appreciation of the artists’ technique. Mike’s enthusiasm for the Art Gallery of NSW is infectious – making this a wonderful to unwind on a Saurday afternoon. I especially appreciated viewing the Australian artists and his comparisons with pieces contained in other galleries worldwide.”

– Julia Huxley

“I joined my fellow art students on the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ of the NSW Art Gallery with Mike on a lovely Saturday afternoon in early December. We learnt about a variety of artists spanning different genres, a range of paintings techniques and the history behind the artwork. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and it was inspiring to see Mike talk with such passion about each painting. I am looking forward to the next one!”

– Avneet Narula

“I attended Mike’s “A Magic Mystery Tour” during December 2013 and found it to be incredibly informative, thought-provoking and, most of all, fun! Not only is Mike an art history expert, he is also a genuinely nice person with a fantastic sense of humour. Attending one of Mike’s talks HAS to be on any art appreciator’s list of top things to do in Sydney!”

– Marna van Zyl

annual exhibition at mosman art gallery

REVIEW – Annual Exhibition – written by Mike Lamble

The Celebration Night of Annual Exhibition 2013


mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

This is the sceond time we have had our annual exhibition at Mosman Art Gallery. It is always exciting to see our students’ progress in their artworks the end of the year. As I looked around the paintings and drawings assembled, I had this glow of pride and pleasure at the achivements all of you.

I want to say THANK YOU to all those who helped in setting up the exhibition. Annie who flew down on Friday from Queensland especially to help then flew back on Sunday. Pye, Judith and Peter who made my task of organising all the paintings unnecessary. Thank you all who contributed the wine, champagne and food.

Ako Lamble Ako said I would like to share the experience I had at the exhibition. When I got in the room to take a few more photos of the paintings, A several people were already there, one of them was a middle aged man and he told me that he talked to Mike about an art class earlier and came to see the students’ art works. He said “I’m a taxi driver and i’d like to learn how to draw and paint PROPERLY with my spare time, I would like to paint like this and like that (pointing a few paintings with his finger). I don’t want none sense of the modern teaching saying ‘let your inner self come out and teach you’ which I had previously in other place”. He will join one of our day classes from February.

I wondered how many people had been encouraged by those high standard art works at the exhibition and decided to start their creative journey again… I like the idea that the exhibition is not just for showing off but inspiring viewers, the art community should be like this. Isn’t that wonderful?

Click the image below to see all the photos from the exhibition.






mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

  • Celebration Night: 6.30pm SATURDAY 18th JANUARY
    ( Simple drinks and snacks will be served ).
  • Venue: Mosman Art Gallery
  • Dates: Saturday 18th ~ Thursday 23rd January 2014
  • Opening Hours: 10am ~ 5pm

Whoopee! Will see you all at our annual exhibition.

I want to show you all off to your family and friends see what you have achieved. Many of you have said to me when first joining the art school “I can’t draw, I can’t paint.” Yes, you can if you keep up the practice, you will just get better and better.

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Charlie, the cockatiel singer and Mike, the human artist.

Art Talk at the NSW art gallery by mike lamble

Art talk at the Art Gallery of NSW by Mike Lamble


Art Talks at the NSW Art Gallery by Mike Lamble.

mike lamble henry

‘Art a la Cart’, a personal view by Mike Lamble.
Saturday 7th of December, 2pm.

We will explore various paintings from the gallery’s permanent collection – ‘A Magical Mystery Tour’.
To gain access to the paintings of great artists is to go on a journey with infinite possibilities, sharing visions of another age. I will guide you through six centuries of western art.
We will examine what makes a great painting – the use of context, technique, narrative, symbolism, meaning and historical style. We will discuss context.
After an hour we will make our way downstairs to the cafe and enjoy excellent company while nibbling on something wicked resuming our tour approximately half an hour later.
The tour will conclude at approximately 4pm.


Click Here for advice on parking or public transport access to the gallery. Note our tour will exceed the time limit for the meter parking in Art Gallery Road so the Domain parking station is the best place to park.

drawing by Mike Lamble

“Talent? What talent?” – written by Mike Lamble

Scenary Sketch by Mike Lamble

The scenary sketch by Mike Lamble.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

It was great to see that some of my students practiced drawing in the recent holidays. You have no idea how that encourages me as a teacher, it is an essential discipline if you want to improve as artists.

I have mentioned to most of you that over the years I have endured anger, frustration, temper, and lack of progress from some students who then dump it on me because they don’t practice! But then expect to just walk into the studio and paint and draw ‘just like that’, then complain “It’s not working for me” as though it is something beyond their control! Or I hear “I don’t have the talent”. Well this may surprise some of you, nor do I!!

My old Art Director used to remind me “You are only as good as your last job”. So whatever I have painted in the past counts for nothing if I DON’T PRACTICE!!!! Which is what I did in the holidays. Here are a few examples:

Scenary Sketch by Mike Lamble

The scenary to draw

A statue drawing by Mike Lamble

A statue to draw

How many of you have heard it said by great sportsmen, musicians or anyone good at what they do – “Practice at least 10,000 hours”. In my case I knew in junior school when asked by my teacher what I wanted to do for a living, “Commercial Artist” was my reply. I have painted for some of the worlds biggest companies. I was once offered a job in Hollywood (yuk), nothing to do with talent, just sheer determination and single mindedness. So if there is hope for me what does that say for you girls and boys who have real talent?

Henry and Mike @Canberra

“How touched was I by the events of 9/11” – written by Mike Lamble

"The Indian village" by Mike Lamble

“The Indian Village” by Mike Lamble.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

I was reminded last week that it was the twelfth anniversary of the events of September 11 2001, the attack on the World Trade Centre shocking us all as we stared in disbelief at our TV screens. At the time I was working for The Bill Smith Studio on Fifth Avenue New York as a freelance illustrator here in Australia.

My latest painting for them had been picked up by FEDEX from my studio two days before and had gone missing. In the subsequent correspondence between myself and Lily Coluna (art buyer) we eventually tracked it down to Dallas Fort Worth as all packages destined for New York from around the world had been re-routed for fear of further terrorist attacks.

I asked her how she was feeling? this is what she said in part,
“We work only three blocks from the World Trade Centre. She cried, a great sadness had spread over the city. That first day they all went home they were so scared”

It was said at the time the world would never be the same. Twelve years on the scar inflicted by that event on the consciousness of humanity remains as potent as ever!

Henry (6months)


Thank you for all of your kind words. – written by Mike Lamble

Henry on Friday 30th August 2013 at Vets

Last picture of Henry (8yo) taken at the Vets – Friday 30th August 2013.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

This week was a very sad week for all of us connected to the art school as we lost a much loved and highly valued member of staff. He loved going sketching with me all over NSW and most weekends in the local area. He would spend afternoons with me between classes toasting his toes on my radiator and when excitedly I would show him the progress of my latest masterpiece I was left in no doubt what he thought of it as the rumbles emanating from deep in his abdomen found expression a few seconds later on my carpet Henry the much loved dog is missed and will be missed for a long time to come.

Henry with Kids going to the park, lunch time of school holiday workshop

Henry with Kids going to the park, lunch time of school holiday workshop

Henry in the Adults evening class.

Henry in the kids class

To see ourselves as others see us Henry was a huge part of my life but I never thought of it from the point of view how my students saw us until their expressions of shock and sadness this week “You and Henry were so close, great understanding between the two of you… so a beautiful dog so well behaved” to name a few. Thanks Pye for the card. Sill there is a little bit of him sitting on the mantlepiece in the studio!

  • Henry and Mike in 2005
  • Henry and Mike in 2010
Henry and Mike in MG

Henry and Mike

iPad Art by Ako Lamble

“The Best Friend” iPad Art by Ako Lamble.

Ako Lamble Ako said: I’ve learnt a lot from the loss of Henry. One of them is that our mind can easily create illusions according to our expectations. I still see him or rather feel him somewhere in the art school. I KNOW he’s gone but I see his huge face with a rather sad look appearing at the entrance as I climb the art school stairs, I can even hear his wagging tail banging on the door in welcoming rhythm. I suppose it will be like this for a long time… yes we all miss Henry.

Henry waits for everybody coming.

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Mike Lamble taking a photo of a landscape.

” Will miss you all ! ” -written by Mike Lamble

Mike is taking a photo of the landscape.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

I pinch myself  to think I have you guys round me every day of the week I am probably one of the few people that loves what they do and looks forward to Mondays.
Love what you do and do what you love has been my approach to my working life since leaving college which hasn’t always been easy as I referred to in my earlier blog on starting out as an illustrator and leaving the security of working at Saatch and Saatchi behind.

 If I have any time I practice drawing more than painting between researching, writing, scanning pictures, archives and paintings for my next talk, but it isn’t always easy sometimes I feel like “bad cop” when students miss a few classes and state “they will make them up the following term” I have to say no even though the terms are on the website under Fees
then I find I am explaining the reasons to stop their irritation.

Many of my friends say I’m lucky luck has nothing to to with it, very often I have to work seven days a week running the school. When I first started the art school for over two years I slept on the floor in the room at the back sleeping on the models mattress with cockroaches for company before dashing off to work as a freelance illustrator until the art school started to support itself it was hard meeting those deadlines in the States as I started to spend more and more time here but at least I had a kitchen and bathroom(and there is another story) boy it was worth it then and worth it now, so whilst I am looking forward to driving god knows where with my sketchbook thats a hint to all of you! I will be hanging out by then to see you.

All I got was sun for lunch

New arrangement for weekly monday night art classes northshore school of art

The new arrangement for the Monday night class -written by Mike Lamble

New Monday Night Art Class

New arrangement for the monday night class.

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

The new arrangement will start from Term 3

In my last blog I wrote about the benefits and pleasure of life drawing this was written as an encouragement not only to my students but to other artists and students who may read my words. Many of us who are professional artists understand it as an essential form of practice as an aid to our painting drawing or illustrating, sadly not every artist or student appreciates that.

Over the years I have become aware through models, teachers, artists and students the number of life drawing classes has been in decline around Sydney, unfortunately even we have not escaped the declining number of students. On the other hand, the number of enquiries for the drawing & painting class for beginners was increasing, so we came up with a great idea.

Monday night will now become a beginners drawing and painting class for new students, but for our existing students including iPad Art students an extra class has become available.

I still encourage our students to do the life drawing once a term in the Monday night class and Wednesday night class. We also will increase the Saturday morning life drawing workshop from once to twice a term.

I believe that the new arrangement will give more of a chance to many of our students to experience the benefit of the life drawing.

Beginners Draw & Paint (weekly / casual)

7 – 9pm Mondays
$330 per Term (10wks)
$35 per Casual Class

For absolute beginners

For all those who doubt that they have a single creative bone in their body! Let us prove you wrong! Everybody has the ability to draw and paint. All you need is the enthusiasm to do so. We uncover the tricks of the trade through simple exercises that will teach you to see like an artist. Get your lines right, get your tone right, understand how perspective and scale works. Learn how to use colour pencil and be introduced to oil painting. Discover skills you never thought you had in our fun and relaxed environment!

Oils or iPad?

After completing your first 10-week-term in basic drawing, you have the option of starting your first oil painting (it will be explained in greater detail on your first night) or discover the iPad as your powerful art tool and create the digital art.

Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about the class. Email: info[at]art-art.com.au / Phone: +61 (0)2 9968 1233 / Download Enrolment form

Henry 8weeks old

Drawing from direct observation – written by Mike Lamble

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike LambleWhy some are afraid of life drawing?

We all inhabit bodies of different shapes and sizes, sit at any street cafe and observe how we watch or even perv at people walking by. In so many ways we are fascinated by are own species. Why then are some so afraid of life drawing?

I often ask my students “Do we really observe what we are seeing we have an idea of how the human body looks but only an idea?” We have more awareness of the human body than say a flower or a simple every day object like a cup so it’s more obvious, that’s the difference between what we draw and what we see, thus our mistakes can be obvious and we feel it’s too difficult, so our tendency is to avoid the challenge of drawing the human body.

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

The class

However, from the ancient times till now the best artists and illustrators I know have endevoured to do as much life drawing as possible. What we are doing is discovering the essential appearance of a body by close study. The training of how to see the body comes first the result, you will draw it better.

I introduce a variety of ways or drawing in class, for example, the students will draw on but not looking at their paper the focus is to study carefully the body’s shape. At first students feel insecure especially the control freeks but this exercise frees them up to look and face there fear of “making a mistake” For the same reason, I let them draw with their non dominant hand as well as quick poses where students have to work quickly with not too much time to think this breaks down old established patterns of thinking .

The beauty of life drawing is it trains us to see by drawing from direct observation to represent what is seen in front of us the gap between what is observed and what we know is there in stark reality on the paper before us, this can be disconcerting at first especially for beginners but also for those of us who are more experienced.
Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop


I use a number of exercises to help (beginners in particular) draw what they see (objectively) with persistence and enthusiasm even my rocket scientists have learned to draw with understanding,clarity, and realistically.


To my students who have reveled in my life drawing classes for a number of years, it still helps them to resolve ideas and focus the mind on enquiry. In theory to draw the figure, knowledge of what lies beneath the surface is not an essential, if the planes and valleys of the body are closely represented the underlying structure will be evident, although some knowledge of anatomy will be useful.

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

A little history of life drawing

It wasn’t until the Renaissance do we see a flourishing of figure drawing,detailed studies from life particularly Michelangelo and Leonardo. Leonardo had to flee Italy to escape the wrath of Pope Leo X he was accused of witchcraft for cutting up bodies and studying them at night but what artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo and many others who were to follow was to extract from their models information required for their paintings, this has become standard practice in all art schools since then, in a similar way students who do life drawing notice the rapid improvement in their ability to express their ideas in paint.

Anatomical studies of the shoulder by Leonardo Da Vinci, 1510-1511

Anatomical studies of the shoulder by Leonardo Da Vinci, 1510-1511

Untitled (2013-05-22 05:22:37)

Study for a Nude by Michelangelo Buonarroti 1504

Review of “Saturday Morning Anatomy Life Drawing Class”

The anatomy /life drawing class was quite unusual in respect of the model I used thought it was a good idea to show some of the underlying structure of the skeleton and muscles so we arranged a special Life drawing class for a Saturday morning. It took me almost two hours of drawing on Amber before the class started and even then I ran out of time before I completed the job, as you can see the class was full half of my students were doctors. There is no limitation when it comes to life drawing.

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

Anatomy Life Drawing Workshop

Some observations of my students

“It was great to have a sense of what’s underneath it certainly helped with my drawing.”
“It makes a change being able to draw the bones and muscles on a real live human instead of a cadaver!”

Life Drawing Class for All Levels

7 – 9pm Mondays
$275 per Term (10wks)
$35 per Casual Class

Why don’t you join our Monday evening life drawing class? If you are not sure, try it out as casual first. Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about the life drawing class. Email: info[at]art-art.com.au / Phone: +61 (0)2 9968 1233 / Download Enrolment form

Hunter the model

“I need to draw” – written by Mike Lamble

Drawing by Mike Lamble

Saturday 11th May

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

With increasing desperation I had to get away for the day and draw, I had started a drawing in the holidays so after spending most of the day driving, breakfast at Pie in the Sky on the old Pacific Highway found myself late afternoon at exactly the same spot drawing in Lambs Valley with the setting sun behind me in blissful silence, for many a true artist drawing isn’t a chore it’s a need something I understand.

Drawing by Mike Lamble

Saturday 4th May

Something I encourage all my students to do, draw draw draw as much as you can this will develop your powers of observation. Some of the drawings I have done in the last few weeks.

Drawing by Mike Lamble

Drawing by Mike Lamble

Drawing by Mike Lamble

Henry said "I prefer to be a doormat instead of moving out of the way"

Sometimes Henry has to stay home
while his master having a fun sketching in the country side.

The inspiration behind my painting of Global Warming – written by Mike Lamble

Sydney Harbour by Mike Lamble

“Icebergs in the Harbour” by Mike Lamble, Oil

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble

Here I am sat almost half a days drive from Sydney roof down in my thirty odd year old MG, enjoying the peace and solitude of another spectacular day listening to the birds calling, cows mooing in the field next to me it looks and feels like paradise. Adam listened to the wrong voices and lost his paradise through greed and selfishness. In a moment I lost mine as the serenity was broken with the roar and whirl of helicopter blades as it dashed across the sky I thought how well this illustrates mankind’s greed and folly.

As I looked up I remembered a quote from German astronaut Ernst Messerschmid as he looked down upon the earth.
“When the Russian cosmonaut tells me that the atmosphere over Lake Baikal is as polluted as it is over Europe, and when the Americans astronaut tells me fifteen years ago he could take much clearer pictures of the industrial centres than today, then I am getting concerned.”

The shock is those words were spoken in 1988 twenty four years ago, global warming wasn’t even an issue then, one wonders how the same scene would look today as China and India continue to industrialise at a rapid and increasing rate, and yet only a few years ago the politician that represents the electorate I live in called global warming “a load of crap”.

My painting of Sydney Harbour with icebergs floating in it was my outraged response to such stupid short sighted and self serving comments.

Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway by J. M. W. Turner

Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway by J. M. W. Turner

When Turner painted Rain Steam and speed in 1844 Britain’s rapidly industrialising railways were very much the new wonder of the age, from a largely rural society at the beginning of the 19th century to an industrial one at the end, Turner depicts the changes contrasting an idyllic rural landscape fading in the background with the train racing towards us showing the incoming age of invention and science.

Coming from the mill 1930 by L. S. Lowry

Coming from the mill 1930 by L. S. Lowry

This was a romantics view. Turner loved to portray in his paintings of “progress” in British society at the time, never the consequences of such rapid industrialisation as poverty, disease, overcrowding, vast inequality, black soot covered dark Northern English cities.

That’s the short list, he never saw the implications of what he was portraying in this picture. To be fair how could he especially in the light of another 170 years of global industrialisation and yet our politicians talk about expanding the “global economy”, full employment, higher standard of living, while paying lip service to the ever increasing cry from scientists and visionaries we choose to ignore at our peril.

In an earth that has finite resources, at the rate we are going now we need another earth to satisfy our demands for “stuff”. Like Turner we are looking in the other direction in our greed selfishness and the pursuit of money. The train (Turners train) we are all riding is out of control with only disaster ahead.

Image of Earth

Suddenly from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-orion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery.
It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth…home.

Edgar Mitchell
USA Astronaut

“ON HOLIDAY WOOPEE!” – written by Mike Lamble

Mike and Henry on their holiday

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble
Our dear students,

After the usual busy term ” I wish to be alone”
By Tuesday i’m missing you all, I know for most of you it’s work as usual, seeing as I am not here to nag, plead, cajole you all to practice drawing while I am away you don’t get off that easy I can do it by email.
What I think all of you don’t realise is when some of you bring your drawings to the school or email me them how happy that makes me to see your progress and tells me I must be doing something right, in my opinion a good teacher inspires others and if it hadn’t occurred to you how much that encourages me to practice, so send me some of your drawings……please.
So by the weekend I will be driving somewhere out there sketchbook, ipad and dog in hand plonking myself in a quiet spot God knows where drawing I will post them on the next blog.

Mike and Henry having Siesta

Response to “Practice, practice, practice” – written by Mike Lamble

Sketch 1 Lautrec - Woman washing herself - the toilette by Janelle Wallace

Sketch 2 Lautrec Woman curling her hairs by Janelle Wallace

Sketch 3 Lautrec Caudieux poster by Janelle Wallace

Sketch 4 Lautrec Tete a tete supper by Janelle Wallace

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble
I’ve received a very nice email from one of our students Janelle Wallace (Tuesday 6.30 – 9pm) she attached the image of her drawings.
Janelle kindly agreed to share her drawings with you to inspire and encourage all of you to do much more when you are away from class.

Thank you Janelle, your hard work made my heart rejoice as a teacher!

Hi Mike,

Took your advice while sitting in the hospital with Mum in Canberra, after
visiting the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition. Two and four above need a lot more
work but I’m not too unhappy with 1 and 3.

Might redo 2 and 4 next week.



mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble
For my all my students who haven’t visited the exhibiton of Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC GO while there is still time (till 2nd April 2013).
This is a must see for any lover of art, one ‘cliche’ only ‘brilliant’ many lessons there for my students, in persistance and drawing practice, over a hundred pieces, paintings, drawings, posters. I will give an in depth analysis next term.

Mike and Henry at the dog park in Canberra

Henry had a good time at Weston Park Fenced Dog Park after (long-waiting-in-a-car) the exhibition in Canberra.

Scraping the Iceberg, My Portrait of Erika – written by Mike Lamble


mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble
In my last blog I stated ” no problems so far” but there was always the possibility of encountering something hidden I hadn’t noticed, this was the week I saw it for the first time.

I started to paint the shadow cast by the hair over the eyebrow and down the side of the face then I noticed the distance from the corner of the eye to the edge of the face was slightly too wide, it was looking at the space between the eye and the shadow it became evident there was too much space.


Probably no one would notice but I knew I had to change it which meant the whole length of the face on the right hand side as we look at it had to be narrowed then re-painted and blended into the existing paint, took a couple of hours to fix.


Not a disaster just a hassle which means I have to wait to let the paint dry for a few more weeks before I can start glazing the skin colour over the tone. Scrapping the Iceberg as it were.

Portrait Workshops
for Beginners

10am – 4pm Saturday
11th & 18th May 2013

Would you like to discover the art of portrait?

BOOK NOW! Download the flyer.

Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about the workshops. Email: info[at]art-art.com.au

What has the Titanic got to do with Mike’s Portrait? – written by Mike Lamble

mike lamble henryWritten by Mike Lamble
In painting this portrait of Erika in the the way the Renaissance Masters would have approached it more or less so far without a hitch, this reminded me of the Titanic’s disastrous encounter with an iceberg, what I can hear you say! obscure it may be, stay with me dear readers you will get it in the end.
From the crows nest in the distance the iceberg didn’t look that big avoiding action was taken it appeared the ship had just scrapped by, Erika so far is progressing to my satisfaction, does she represent the Titanic in my little story you may ask? I hope not but the potential is certainly there, its all to do with the iceberg what’s hidden from view and time, any clearer? We often only see what’s on the surface of peoples lives the public face as humans we often do draw conclusions which are erroneous and judgemental the tip of an iceberg as it were.
What on earth has this got to do with my portrait of Erika? My students see me paint or draw from week to week often comment I make it look so easy, that’s the surface, it what’s hidden beneath that surface that counts, the years of struggle to survive in the early days as an illustrator trying to earn a living, after giving up the security and income of being studio manager at Saatchi and Saatchi in the UK, but I just had to draw and paint, the all night struggle to meet a deadline only to be told it’s not good enough we will have to find someone else who’s better and more experienced, the weekends practicing when your mates are going out having a good time, must keep studying this technique “how did he do it? now go away and practice it until you get it, that’s what the market wants.”
The times my guts were ripped out just like the (Titanic) out at the fear of having my work rejected when a kindly art director was prepared to give this new kid on the block a go “but you can’t charge us what Ken Fowler charges he’s so good”
I would take on any kind of work to keep me going as a freelance, pasting ads up with glue in any art studio that would have me because I was cheap, then go home and practice a technique the art director wanted for his latest ad campaign, Ken could do that picture in a day meet the deadline and have a life, Mike said ” I can do that” take three days and nights with hardly any sleep meet the deadline and have no life! I had to grow a hide as thick as an Elephant but had to keep going my work was my life it’s about the job I would tell myself not you, slowly at first I noticed clients would come back to me with the easy jobs, Ken got the glamorous ones with fantastic money, I didn’t care I was in, if I kept on doing the right thing I didn’t care about the money the art directors would lend me originals of Kens work I would take them home study how he did it then copy them, as I got better so the quality of work got better that’s all that mattered to me my whole motivation was to be the best, as time went on I superseded Ken and developed my own styles from what I had learned from other artists/ illustrators that many art directors admired and commissioned.


I still remember as though it was yesterday as one Titanic survivor lamented bits of ice scrapping through the open porthole window and gabbing at a few shards as it spilled onto the carpet. For me the shards of ice was the British Rail (as it was then)  painting/illustration starting Friday morning delivering Saturday lunchtime to meet the deadline without a break not eating just drinking cups of tea to keep me going, I had to do if i wanted the job, they loved it many more commissions followed, was it worth it “you bet ya it was”………………. now do you get it?


Portrait Workshops

for Beginners

10am – 4pm Saturday
11th & 18th May 2013

Would you like to discover the art of portrait?

BOOK NOW! Download the flyer.

Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about the workshops. Email: info[at]art-art.com.au

Cartooning – written by Mike Lamble



mike_henry_100heightsWritten by Mike Lamble
I spent last Saturday working on a cartooning job as you can see the final draught before proceeding to finished drawing.



Quite a few of you have enquired about my advertised CARTOON WORKSHOPS so what I have advised is fill in the enrolment form drop it in to the appropriate holder next to the monitor on the notice board when I have enough students I will talk to you all about a date that suits. I have included a few cartoons from a book I illustrated a little while ago (below).





Sunday continued to work on Erika re-shaped the dress to create a sense of her breasts fitting underneath, or as I texted her that night “tweaked your boobs again to fit in the dress” much hilarity by return text, I do love this woman!

ERIKA 20130302 #1

ERIKA 20130302 #2