Monday, 2 April 2018

Glint on the Water

Oil on Board, 10 x 7.5 inches

Sometimes, the simplest of subjects can prove quite compelling, as was the case here. Generally, this view wouldn't have cried out "paint me", but at the moment the sun poked through the clouds straight ahead of me and the blinding reflected light bounced off the water with scattered jewels of twinkling diamonds, I knew it was a painting. 

Snow is white as we all know, but when facing into the light, it is predominantly in shadow, and with pure sunlight on the water, everything else, including the snow, had to be a tone or two down from it to appear convincing. You can see how relatively dark the snow is in the foreground compared to the white of the surrounding page and the light on the water.  This is often where amateur paintings fall down - keen observation and consequent translation through the brain, down through the hands is the critical thing which separates a painting that just doesn't convince the viewer, from one that does.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Sundown at Uffington

 Oil on Board, 9 x 12 inches

I went out to paint one afternoon at 4pm, determined to get a little en plein air piece done/half-done, and here's the result...half-done, in an hour-and-a-quarter. I was surprisingly warm, despite a howling gale blowing behind me, but with my padded old painting coat which Jane loves (haha!), overtrousers, scalf and Muckboots (unbelievably warm for the feet), it was all fine, except that...I didn't have my specs with me, durgh! Having set up, I was not going to let a tiny thing like being unable to see the board in front of me stop me, oh no! It was super-challenging with the sun moving incredibly quickly straight ahead of me, and chasing the light (doubly blinding) isn't a good idea. I persevered, and these two pics are one hour apart, and you can see how much the light changed and moved as the sun went down. The painting looked awful when I got home and finally put my glasses on, but I managed to rescue it with the aid of a couple of photos. Great experience though, nonetheless, out in the raw, and when clearing up, unable to wear gloves, frostbite soon set-in the fingers with temperatures around -7, but a simple swipe with a sharp knife soon got rid of all four fingers and I'm as right as rain now

Nature Notes

Nature Notes:I had a walk alongside the river after the heavy snowfall a couple of weeks ago, and within a couple of hundred yards, startled a Brown Hare just six feet from me, near the bank, and as it shot off like a...Hare...I just managed to get a snap of it before it was a hundred yards away as fast as a Ferrari would have got there. Second pic shows its 'form', the term for a Hare's resting place, quite cosy beneath a covering of vegetation and snow, a nice little igloo, before yours truly disturbed him.
Spot the Swans in the next pic - can you see them, just before they slipped into the water? So well camouflaged - surely they evolved from Arctic regions and haven't caught up yet with green!

These next three pics show a Grey heron after it had seen me before I it. I love the way the long neck acts like an independant counter-weight, moving backwards and forwards as the rest of the body gains momentum.

It was really hard-going, walkng a couple of miles through thick snow - up to the top of the wellies, and over, as you can see here:
Some of the snow had a hard crust on it and I could walk ON it, but every few steps the boot would sink down 18 inches, as you can see in this next photo, and I was exhausted at the end. I did also attempt to cross over the river in the shallows....but not quite shallow enough...yes, you guessed it, a bootful of icey water later, I had an even more uncomfortable track back to the car.
This last pic shows the Winterwonderland view from the house looking down to my studio before my outside light went off, as the snow continued to fall - just love that long shadow of the Oak tree!

Three more 6 x 8s!

 A Corner of the Welland

A little oil from a recent trip to my river. Grey day, but the snow looks so white when it's overcast like this.

 Bank Drift

This one was all about that amazingly sculpted snow drift on the opposite bank. There were so many such drifts on the roadsides around here, but I've never seen snow drifts like this on a riverbank - just beautiful!

Snow by the Welland

Here's the last of my subdued snow paintings, well, not subdued paintings - they were all completed with slashing gusto, obviously...🙄🤔 The lighting was subdued, making the snow appear very white. I do love the subtle colours of Winter, without the flashy greens of summer, and in this one there were maroons, browns, greens, ochres and blues, as well as the obvious white.

Glint of Sunlight


Here are a few stage photos showing the painting evolving to the finished article, which I know some folks like to see. The painting is only a little one, at 6 x 8 inches.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Tracks in the Frost

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches

I love painting into the light, and when there's a frost, what more could you want? Frozen grass is particularly gorgeous, and to capture the surprising array of silvers, blues, purples, greys and pinks is a lovely challenge. Winter, although devoid of Summer's rich greens, has a bounty of subtle colours - how lucky to be able to earn a living from painting such beauty!

Friday, 19 January 2018

Snow Pocket

'Snow Pocket', Oil on Board, 7 x 9.5 inches
Another painting after the recent snowfall in Rutland. This is a quiet road from the village of Wakerley to Wakerley Wood. One of my favourite light effects to capture in paint, the morning sun was straight ahead, piercing through the huge Oak branches, dancing its light over the verge and road, with its rays beaming across the hedgerows, picking out globules of dew. The snow was still lying on the verge, kept in shadow by the trees for most of the day, and the road gleamed with ice - gorgeous!
The backdrop of trees and the near hedgerow were painted mostly with my decorator's brush, whilst the road was picked out with a worn old hog, dragged with successive layers of paint over the tacky underpaint - one of the advantages of Alkyds with their fast-drying facility.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Light Coating

Oil on Board, 9 x 12 inches

After the recent snowfall down here in Rutland, I went down to the River Welland at Duddington and found this view at one of my favourite painting spots.
With the sharp, morning sunlight ahead of me and to the left, it provided a nice composition, with the snow on the foreground riverbank and in the far distance in shadow, contrasted with the sunlit snow on the fields in the mid-distance.

Most of the network of feathery branches was done with my 1" decorator's brush, with a few rigger strokes to suggest the bigger branches. All the water was painted with a flat synthetic brush, the lighter, sk reflections firt, then the darker bh and tree reflections aft, then worked together and blended in places with a Rosemary & Co Eclipse long flat.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018


Oil on Board, 10 x 17 inches

This is the first painting for 7 weeks!!! That's probably the longest spell not painting since I started this mularkey 34 years ago. Just been so busy doing up a house, navvying, Christmas, not to mention running a gallery...but it's great to be back in the saddle.

This was a demo painting I did last year which I thought needing some finishing off, and in fact pretty much entirely repainting, so here it is!

Frost is a joy to paint, and when there's a mist too, with a hint of it being burned-off by the weak Winter sun, doubly so. This sort of atmosphere provides lots of soft blues in the distant trees, now devoid of their leafy garb, so, if you, the painter, can replicate those colours and most of all, tones - the relative darks and lights throughout the picture plane - you can make the painting appear three-dimensional, although on a two-dimensional surface.

It feels good to be back with brush in hand!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Five more tiddlers...

 Frosty River-Run

 Winter Sunshine

 Autumn Beeches

Sparkling Water near Gretton

 Pembroke Waves

All these little guys are the 3.5 x 5 inches again, so there will be eight in the gallery, framed and ready for Christmas in the gallery in a couple of weeks!