David Caldwell, Royal Society of Portrait Painters

 

David Caldwell, recently elected member of the prestigious Royal Society of Portrait Painters works primarily in oils either on canvas or plywood panel and always paints directly from the subject. This engagement and sensation is vital for his work. He is interested in the moment of ‘translation’ from three dimensions to two and the intuitive creativity that this endeavour prompts.

David paints primarily from life. This direct engagement with the sitter is an important part of his work. A portrait is not only about achieving a likeness but also about capturing the sitter’s individual energetic presence.

He is concerned with translating his ‘experience’ of looking. He wants his paintings to suggest the sensation of stereoscopic vision, as the camera lens cannot, and to amalgamate the layers of looking – indeed the layers of time – into one image. Ultimately he wants his  work to express the sensation of having been there, of having stood in the sitters shoes.

Each sitter represents a new proposition, calling for a unique solution in response. The artist might consider many factors in a portrait: personality, anatomy, facial expression, body language, aura, style, scale, perhaps even the human condition. This is the excitement of portraiture and the reason that David finds it to be so endlessly engaging.

Composition, colour, tone and all the other considerations of the painter are also answerable of course. The portrait must function as an interesting painting in its own right. Various arrangements inevitably need to be made, and as the layers of time elapse it is vital that the work maintains its freshness in order that the energy and vitality of the living subject be contained in the finished work.

The paint-strokes map the journey of eye and hand, whilst colour and value are constantly weighed against the whole. Nature is not mimicked but rather translated and retold. An equivalent harmony is sought.

For David, it is the representation at once of both the formal structure of the visible world and the intangible psychological insight  – or ‘inner life’ – of the sitter that represents the greatest challenge in portraiture, as demonstrated in the portraits of Velasquez, Goya or Rembrandt.

He has won several awards and residencies for painting including the prestigious Bulldog Bursary from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and The Founder’s Purchase Prize at the ING Discerning Eye (adjudged by the late Brian Sewell). He recently displayed 77 small portraits at the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery.

 

David Caldwell, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, explores moments of 'translation' works primarily in oils either on canvas or plywood panel and always paints directly from the subject.
Wild Flowers

 

David tends to work in a series, examining and probing a given subject or theme. This allows him the freedom to experiment with different options and to test different ideas. It also allows him to accumulate experience that can be carried into the next work. The result is a series of works that relate to one another, and shown together illuminate the different emphasis or intention of each.

 

David-Caldwell,-River-Lugar,-Royal-Society-of-Portrait-Painters
River Lugar

 

COMMISSIONS

 

If are interested in a special commission for yourself or as a gift, we would be delighted to discuss further details, please contact us and we will be happy to help.
David Caldwell, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, explores moments of 'translation'
As for technique and equipment, David’s preferences are highly personalised. He uses a mixture of Hog and Sable brushes, favouring Filbert shape. Oil paints – Michael Harding, Windsor & Newton, Old Holland, Schminke Mussini, based on old masters’ formulations, the artists’ natural resin-oil-colours which are unique throughout the world “which I consider to be the best”. He uses a painting medium of Turpentine mixed with Stand Oil (ratio 5:1) and paints on Gesso board or Oil or Acrylic primed Linen (medium or fine).

 

David Caldwell, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, explores moments of 'translation'
Daisies

Selected Shows & Exhibitions

2017
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
Member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters
Ewan Mundy Fine Art & The Scottish Gallery

2016
The ING Discerning Eye Collection, Temple Church London

2015
ING Discerning Eye Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
Art in Action,Oxford.
20th Century Scottish Painting, Ewan Mundy Fine Art and The Scottish Gallery
Rear Window, New York
Shortlisted for the Seven Investments Management Conversations Prize, The Mall Galleries,
David Caldwell: Drawings and Paintings HSoA Gallery
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
David Caldwell: Drawings and Paintings, HSoA Gallery

2014
The ING Discerning Eye Collection, Temple Church London
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
The ING Discerning Eye, The Mall Galleries, London
Two Scottish Painters, The Caledonian Club, London

2013
The BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery
The Ruth Borchard Self-portrait Competition, King’s Place Gallery

2012
The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
The ROI Annual Exhibition, The Mall Galleries, London
The Ruth Borchard Self-portrait Collection, University of Northumberland and King’s Place Gallery
The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Exhibition
The Threadneedle Prize Exhibition
The RBA Annual Exhibition, The Mall Galleries, London
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London

2011
The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Exhibition
The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition
The Ruth Borchard Self-portrait Competition
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London

2010
David Caldwell : Snow Paintings, Glasgow
The ING Discerning Eye Annual Exhibition
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London

2009
David Caldwell : Paintings from Russia and Other Places, Cyril Gerber Fine Art, Glasgow

2008
David Caldwell : Works from France, Alliance Francaise, Glasgow

2006
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London

2005
Notes from the New City, Centre for Recent Drawing, London

2004
Artist in Residence Exhibition, Lewisham College, London

2003
BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
Drawing from Tradition, Roger Billcliffe Fine Art, Glasgow

2003 & 1999 : The RSA Annual Exhibition, City Arts Centre, Edinburgh
David Caldwell, Mansfield Park Gallery, Glasgow

2009, 2008, 2007, 2000, 1999: RGI Annual Exhibition, Glasgow

 

Awards & Residences

 

2014
The ING Discerning Eye Regional Prize Award
The Hayman-Moritz Award Residency, Pignano, Italy

2013
The Dimplex Dumfries House Residency, Scotland

2010
The Founder’s Purchase Prize at The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition

2009
The Bulldog Bursary, awarded by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, London

2007
Artist in Residence – Collioure, France

2006
Artist in Residence – Port Vendres, France

2005
End of Year Drawing Prize, The Prince’s Drawing School, London

2004
Artist in Residence – Lewisham College, London

2002
The Ruth Davidson Memorial Award – 3-month Artists’ Residency in France

1999
The John Cunningham Memorial Award, awarded at the RGI, Glasgow

 

Education

 

2003-05 The Prince’s Drawing School: The Drawing Year, MA
1994-98: Glasgow School of Art, BA (Hons) Drawing and Painting

© Images David Caldwell

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