Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Passing Car

Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches
I do love the sparkle on water when the sun is straight ahead of you. This painting was all about tone - that progression of darks to lights, judging that very pale backdrop of distant woods. As I always say in my demos, you must keep the painting going at an even pace - if you dwell too long on one passage, adding detail, and don't place adjacent tones down first, you may find the tone you thought was right first, is actually too dark in all likelihood. Every tone and colour you place down will change as soon as that adjacent one is placed next to it. If you then plough on without getting the lightest tone right, everything else will be correspondingly darker, and the finished painting will lack the depth and impact you desired.

The delightful finishing flourish to a panting like this, is to place those tiny dabs of pure white to simulate the twinkling jewels of refected sunlight on the water.

Frosted Track

Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches
I love painting Silver Birches - they're such beautiful trees, rather like the Aspens over the pond. Frost, too, is a delight to capture in paint - that lovely silvery green as if the grass is dusted with icing sugar!

Oaks at Morcott

Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches
This is a view I pass every time I drive to the gallery - have I ever mentioned that I have a gallery, Peter Barker Fine Art? Glancing across the Welland Valley presents this lovely view and never better than contre jour, looking straight into the light as it is in the morning. Painting on this scale really concentrates the eye, still using a 1" decorator's brush to describe the three Oak trees.

Lyndon Avenue

  Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches
I've painted this wonderful avenue of Oaks many times, and never is it more majestic than in late Autumn when the colours are simply awesome and the foliage produces dancing, dappled spots of light on the road and verges.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Sunset /sky over Rutland Water

 Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches

'Sunset Sky over Rutland Water', oil 3.625 x 5 inches
I felt it was time to paint half-a-dozen Christmas-present-sized paintings, so here's the first one out of the blocks. I've deliberately reduced the size of the file - at high res, because that comes out much bigger than the actual painting on the screen, it looks awful and shows up every flaw, so here it is, more or less actual size on a screen so it doesn't look too bad!

Hay Bales near Preston

 Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches

'Hay Bales near Preston', Oil 3.625 x 5 inches
I've been meaning to paint some bales for a while - just love the light effects on these roly-poly rolls - they have the most subtle tone and colour shifts. I aranged the bales into a pleasing composition - a reminder of late Summer as we head into the cold Winter months!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Beech Fall

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

I painted this a couple of years ago and have revisited it, adding some Fallow Deer for interest, repainted the background and reframed it. Sometimes there's no reason why a painting doesn't sell, and other times it's obvious. Not sure which sector this fits into, but you as an artist have to put yourself into the shoes, or eyes, of a buyer and ask "would I buy this...does this have what it takes for me to fork out my hard-earned money?" A painting has to have a hook, be it bravura brushwork, a familiar place, a romantic vista, an atmospheric quality, a light effect...some sort of impact on the viewer. I think this one is better now, but we'll see by the reaction in the gallery!

St. James's Park

Oil, 9 x 12 inches

Here's my two-hour effort from the magnificent British Plein Air Painters' paint-out at St.James's Park back in October, where the entire park was monopolised by artists, causing lots of passers by to have a chat and wonder what was going on! I couldn't resist the contrast of the overhanging foliage set against the backdrop of blue trees on the distant shreline. The chap leaning against the fence was there for about a minute allowing me to dash him in. I tickled it up in the studio with the help of a couple of photos as aide memoires, and hopefully it captures the beautiful warm hazy light we were blessed with all day.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Autumn Larch by Buttermere

Oil on board 10 x 14 inches

A yellow/orange tree set against a mauve/grey backdrop of mountains - what's not to paint! By the steep shores of Buttermere in the Lake District, a beautiful part of our country and an artist's paradise.

The sky, backdrop and water were all painted with hogs and softer flats, then my 1 inch decorator's brush came into its own, with lots of texture pushed in with that gorgeous colour of the foreground tree...yummy! And those dark tussocks of grass were also pushed in wwith the same brush, as was the rest of the grassy bank.

Friday, 14 September 2018

River Brathay in Little Langdale

Oil on board, 10 x 14 inches
The beauty of the Lake District is astounding, and I'm asking myself why I haven't painted it more. I guess because I live in middle England, but I can feel another trip coming on...
I painted this from a reference photo taken a few years ago from exactly this time of year, with just a hint of Autumn colours appearing. How can you not be drawn to paint this glorious place in our country? 
I used my 1" decorator's brush for most of the painting apart from the distant mountains. Sometimes I think I should use conventional brushes like my esteemed colleagues, but then maybe it's my stamp, and whenever I do try to use them beyond the underpainting, it never looks as I want, so maybe I should just accept that it's my way, and contrary to opinion, it's fast, too.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Broken Willow at Harringworth

Oil on board, 9 x 12 inches
I did this one at yet another demo at Bawtry a couple of years ago, polishing it off yesterday in the studio again. Very unseasonal, but nice for a change instead of the verdant greens of the countryside at the moment. It was a change, too, to paint sunlit yellowy-green branches, with shadows cast all over them by their near neighbours. With the wonderful Summer we've had, you forget the silvery, frosted meadows, but it won't be too long now...soon be Christmas 😱

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Dashing Moorhen

Oil on board 12 x17 inches

This was yet another demo painting I did sometime this year. A Moorhen dashed across the water just as the pleasureboat appeared around the bend, so I included it in the painting and used it for the title.


Oil on board, 12 x 17 inches
I painted this on the Mall Galleries stand at Patchings Festival this year when I was guest artist, just titivated in the studio to exhibition standard. 
This bit of water, a backwater of the Nene near Waternewton, has given me a lot of subject matter over the years, and the stretch of river changes remarkably each year as new Willows sprout up and in no time become significant trees.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Harvest Fields, Towards Seaton

Oil on board, 9 x 12 inches
I painted this one en plein air last week in an hour-and-a-half in very blustery conditions, barely able to place the paint on the board. I finished it off yesterday in the studio. 
The hook was that lovely dome-shaped tree against the bright sky, silhouetted against the bright sky at the end of the tractor tracks, directing the eye straight to it!

Friday, 24 August 2018

Cattle by the Canal

Oil on Board, 10 x 17 inches

This was yet another demonstration painting done a while back, now finished off. That stately Oak tree on the opposite bank was a gorgeous shape, and with its attendant brown reflection, it made a for a classic composition. Luckily, the cattle in the mid-distance, grazing on the buttercup meadow were perfectly placed and were facing to the right, helping the eye not fly out of the painting on the left. The big trees in shadow on the hill in the distance also made a nice foil to the sunlit fields below.