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!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Three Little Pickies

I used to paint a lot of these very small landscapes in oil, but at only 3.5 x 5 inches, I haven't done any for years, fearing that my eyes wouldn't cope with the small scale, but surprise, surprise, I found I could still manage them! They make present-sized, affordable gifts for the festive season fast-approaching, so will be doing two or three more if there is demand. 

I have deliberately photographed and posted them at low resolution, because having seen them at full size, at 2-3MB, much larger on the screen than actual size, they looked awful, but the errors can't be seen at actual size, so they look much better without the warts-and-all!

Monday, 6 November 2017

My NEW 2018 Calendar is out!

Yes, my new 2018 Calendar, featuring 14 seasonal images of my paintings, with a front and back cover, is available in the gallery at £15, or via post, online at
Perfect Christmas presents!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Harvest Stacks by South Luffenham Mill

Oil on Linen Canvas, 18 x 26 inches

Slightly out of season this one, but it's been kicking around in my studio for a few weeks and had the chance to finish it off yesterday.

I've always loved painting straw stacks, and I saw this view whilst driving home from Stamford - just had to pull over and take a few photos. The 'hook' really was the beautiful cloud formation, looking almost straight into the light, with the sunlight bouncing off the roofs of the little row of station cottages. I played around with the composition a little and moved the big foreground stack over to the right to puncture through the skyline, which might have appeared a little dull.

Having blocked in the shape of the big stack, I employed my 1" household decorator's brush to pile on quite thick layers of texture to describe the straw. I just love the versatility of oil paint - it can be used delicately, and piled on for impact - lush!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Fishermen's Stuff, Beer Beach

Pastel on Pastelmat Board, 19 x 27 inches

This painting is a commissioned piece of Beer Beach in Devon, with all the paraphernalia the fishermen of the village have stacked on the shingle foreshore - bags, buckets, bins, crab and lobster pots, rope, crates, flags and buoys, all of which provide colourful extras for a painting such as this.

The shingle itself is a bit of a challenge - really, no detail is described, just a sort of gradual build-up of marks until the effect is achieved. There was a strong early morning sunlight bursting through the clouds, lighting up the sea on the horizon behind the main, light blue boat, a fleeting moment to capture. 

Just hope the commissioners like it now...!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Sound of Raasay

Oil on Board, 9 x 12 inches

Just realised that I haven't posted anything for such a long time. I actually haven't painted much in the last month, mainly due to a long-overdue holiday, working on a property, running the gallery and duties with the Royal Society of Marine Artists as social media person and hanging the annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London yesterday. I have 6 paintings in the show, and although it's very late notice, if anyone would like to come to the Private View tomorrow, Wed 4th October between 11am - 8pm, drop me a line by emailing me here and I can email you an e-vite for the PV which is valid for the duration of the exhibition, which finishes on Sat 14th October.

The above painting is one I finished last month from one painted en plein air on the Isle of Skye last May. The weather was very warm indeed, but the cloud rolled in, almost covering the distant mountains and turning the sea grey. Then the sun came out again. These are the most trying conditions for painting on site, and you inevitably end up chasing the light, changing colours and tones constantly. I decided the sunny look provided the most pleasing painting, so opted for that in the end, back in the studio. 

The receding tones from foreground to the distant hills provides a nice sense of aerial perspective to the painting, giving the illusion of depth to a two-dimensional painting.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

On the Move

Oil on Board, 14 x 20 inches

It's that time of year again, when the entries for the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) close on Friday, and I've wondered whether to enter, not having the greatest success with getting work accepted...but, being naturally competitive, I painted this specifically for it as a submission, so we'll see what happens!

I painted this using a composite of three photos I took down at Eyebrook Reservoir in Rutland. The cloudy sky with the sun piercing through in places provided a powerful back drop for the scene, and this was painted in with a minimum of fuss and brushwork, drybrushing the rays when dry. The cattle strolling along the bank gave a nice lead-in to the picture, taking the eye on a gentle journey through the composition. The loan bullock on the right by the tree provided a bit of a side-show for the eye to rest awhile before moving on through the painting. The blinding light on the water between the cattle on the left was a natural focal point for the eye to circle back to, too. 

We'll see whether the hanging committee see any of that and find it of merit. Having served on the committee for the RSMA this year, I know it's a split second decision to say yes or no, and it's not an easy job, and I respect the judges' decision either way.