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.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

The Oxford Canal, by Paddock Farm

Oil on Board 10 x 14 inches

I originally painted this as a demonstration piece last year and now finished off in the studio. That lovely, rusty, sunlit roof of the barn was the hook for this one as I was standing on a bridge over the canal, hence the elevated viewpoint.The canal of course takes the eye on a little journey, down into the shadowy area of water with the moored narrowboat just before the next bridge, and on to the distant hills. My old warhorse car is also in the picture, parked up on the road near the bridge.

Canals have always been a fascination for me - as a boy, I spent a lot of my days with my friend Michael Clifton, fishing for Gudgeon and Roach by the Oxford Canal at Bodicote, watching the now almost extinct Water Voles as they paddled furiously along the water margins, in and out of the Arrowheads, Reeds and Yellow Water Lilies. The water was always an ochre colour, constantly stirred up by the plethora of water craft lazily chugging up the canal, and the water in this picture was no exception, which adds a new dynamic to the painting, especially on a sunny day like this one, when the shadows across the water are all the more distinct - lovely for an artist!

Friday, 3 August 2018

Evening Sky, Mousehole

Oil on board 6 x 8 inches

Probably my last painting for the RSMA exhibition on the small paintings wall. The hook for this one was, of course, the fabulous orange in the sky, lit-up by the setting sun on the opposite side of the harbour. I originally painted the sea with a brush, but felt it lacked some oomph (technical term), so decided to go over it with a palette knife to give it some texture and vibrancy, so hopefully that's worked.

Mousehole Moorings

Oil on board, 14 x 21 inches 
Another painting of beautiful Mousehole, that lovely little fishing village in deepest Cornwall. This was another very complicated backdrop to paint, with all those little cottages and chimney pots, done as loosely as I can do. The only restful area is the water itself, and that was complicated enough, requiring great concentration to get all the colours in the right place and rippled together to simulate gently moving water. I'll go and have a lie down now...

Receding Tide, Mousehole

Oil on board, 14 x 20 inches

I've been working on this one in fits and starts for the RSMA exhibition. It's not a huge painting, but with 24 boats in it and 36 cars, it was a complicated piece, but pleased to have finished it, at last. Probably the favourite passage to work on was the foreground wet mud, with the reflections of the boats still showing.

I t's no longer going into the RSMA exhibition, because a couple of my favourite collectors have bought it - always the best reason why a painting doesn't make it into a show!

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Moored at Mousehole

Oil on board, 13.25 x 9.25 inches. 

Wet mud is a joy to paint, and the ropes and little running rivulets of water down to the boat provided a perfect composition. All that was needed for balance was to move the red buoy over the the right a little.  If the painting is ever X-rayed in a couple of hundred years time on Fake or Fortune, the original position of the buoy will be seen!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Early Morning Light, Brancaster Staithe

Oil on Board 10 x 14 inches. 

This one I originally painted as a demo last year, so dug it out and tidied it up to get to exhibition standard, refining the drawing and adding more details. I do enjoy painting mud in Norfolk, when the sunlight is reflecting off it - the dark stones and mussel shells can be depicted with a palette knife dragged across the sticky, drying paint underneath - just a lovely aspect of oil paint.