Portrait Drawings on Paper

When I was a student aged nineteen, Lucien Freud came to the tea at the Slade hostel. I have still kept his handwritten 2 sided letter and envelope addressed to me at Cartwright Gardens

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Hand-delivered envelope from Lucian Freud, 2nd page of 2 sided letter.

I had written to Freud because Ewan Uglow, my life drawing tutor at the Slade was keen that I should master the Euston Road school of painting. He was a member of that school of painting which followed a mathematical thinking process.

Unfortunately I just “didn’t get it”. That summer, when I was 19, I exhibited my self portrait at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and some said that my work resembled Freud’s early work.

Self Portrait aged 18- oil on canvas

At that time, Freud was not as well known as he became .I had not heard of him . I went to the office at the Slade for his address and wrote to him for a tutorial .Modestly,he wrote back that he didn’t think he was in a position to advise but nonetheless set a date to see my work.

Freud came to the Slade hostel one tea time and gave me invaluable tips . He stayed three hours and his advice has lasted a lifetime because it made absolute sense to me.

He told me that it would be impossible for me to be follow the Euston Road school of painting as encouraged by Ewan Uglow as my thinking process was that of an ‘additive painter ‘ .Lucien taught me how to do a slow crawl across the face feeling my way as I went … bit by bit…,as he put it, ‘additively”.

Portraits Drawings on Paper

Lucien Freud taught me to do a slow “additive“ crawl across the face. Drawing with exacting scrutiny eventually led to an understanding of what each part of the face meant. I developed an ability to read character and nature on the face as though it were a book.