Research: Charlie Day, Lindsey Bull and the art of painting loosely

Updated on 7 March 2017 (Harvard referencing and changes to content).

4 August 2016. My tutor advised me to start sketching in paint directly, because it has a liberating effect. I followed her advice and right she was. It allows the unrestricted capturing of energy in three dimensions and I guess that it comes from not being able to “fill in” a pencil/charcoal sketch. The paint has to deal with a form directly without any detours. Of course this can go wrong and I am aware it takes a lot of pratice, but once mastered the technique holds wonderful opportunities. I was asked to have a look at two artists painting in that way.
The approach of UK-based artist Charlie Day (*n.k., UK) is described on his website in the following way: “Currently Charlie is making small works based upon the feel of the coastal landscape, of the south coast, where he lives, and of the north Norfolk coast, which he visits often and where he walks extensively. These are not landscape paintings, as such. Neither are they entirely abstract, but a combination of the two, and are inspired by the St Ives painters of the mid-twentieth century.” (Day, n.k.). While I do not feel at home with his own style of loose dry painting, this is in line with a number of other contemporary painters I have already had a look at, e.g. in Glenn Brown (Lacher-Bryk, 2016). There seems to be a weird attraction exerted by the uncanny and I this is what I am trying to include in my own work. Day’s style of painting is rather rough, as in “Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise” or as in – my favourite – “Paint: Titanium White” and it reminds me somewhat of my own developing loose style (Day, n.k.).

Lindsey Bull (*1979, UK) is another artist attracted by the introvert states of mind. Her subjects are sketched loosely and sometimes only in part or faintly as if not part of the real world. I particularly liked the paintings “Emerald” from 2013 and “Glade (Twins series)” from 2015 (Bull, 2017a). Her watercolour sketches (Bull, 2017b) take the concept of drawing loosely with paint to the extreme, where in some cases a single broad brushmark is sufficient to create the illusion of a moving figure.


Bull, L. (2017a) Paintings [online]. Lindsey Bull, n.k. Available at: [Accessed 7 March 2017]

Bull, L. (2017b) Watercolours [online]. Lindsey Bull, n.k. Available at: [Accessed 7 March 2017]

Day, C. (n.k.) Charlie Day: About [online]. Charlie Day, n.k. Available at: [Accessed 7 March 2017]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016) Part 3, project 1, exercise 3: Figure and Portrait Tonal Study [blog] [online]. Andrea Lacher-Bryk, Hallein. Available at: [Accessed 7 March 2017]