Thursday, 26 March 2020

Oaks by the Brathay

Oil on Board, 10 x 17 inches

I painted this over the last couple of days, from my trip to the Lakes in November. I had just painted a small oil on site, facing in the other direction, then turned around and here was this most glorious view which just had to be painted. I didn't have the time there and then, so took a couple of photos and made this painting from them, and filmed the painting of the water. Many people who come into the gallery say they admire the way I paint water, because it's so difficult, and I always reply that painting water is the easy bit, it's trees that are difficult! So, I've posted a video of painting water in oils, and if you fancy sitting through 55 minutes of real-time painting, click on this link:

Saturday, 29 February 2020


Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches. 

I'm doing a lot of experimenting with my efforts to become more painterly, ie., getting the final result looking more obviously a painting. This seemed a good subject to try this out some more. I'm quite pleased with the result, especially the cluster of trees on the right, painted with a soft, flat brush, rather than the more spiky household brush I've used since Noah was a boy.

Silver Dawn, Duddington

Oil on board, 12 x 17 inches.

This painting started life as a demo a couple of weeks ago, finished off in the studio today. I love painting frost, and with a low sun again, this was a challenge to portray the brightness of the sun at the top left of the picture. I used a pallette knife to give just that bit more intensity to the pure light.

Snow Sunset

Oil on board, 9 x 12 inches. 

We're waiting for snow here, but when we did get snow in 2018, I took a few photos and this painting is a result of them. Just down the road from my studio, I was driving home when I saw the glorious sun behind some low clouds, creating this fabulous view. When the sun is low and casting strong shadows, snow can appear very blue, and the highlights pink - a tone down from the brightness of the sun itself. The key to a successful painting is noticing the subtle differences in tone. Had I painted the highlights on the snow pure white, the sun's intensity would have been lost. It's raining the eye to paint what you see and not what you know, or think you see.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Winter Tones, Duddington

Oil on Board 6 x 8 inches
My first completed painting for ages - running this gallery malarkey takes up a lot of time! I polished this one off with some looser brushstrokes again, in my effort to evolve into a more painterly artist and to capture the essence of the scene. Such a different method I'm using, and it's fun, and I think more painterly, so just hope I'm heading in the right direction...

Clearing Fog

Oil on board, 10 x 14 inches. 

This was demo painting I did recently, completed in the studio. Foggy scenes are tricky to paint - it's getting the receding, close tones light enough, I find. There are no really dark tones when fog pervades, and here, the darkest dark is on the frosted Teasel heads in the right foreground.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Frost Spangles

 Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

I painted this as a demonstration painting for Blaby Society of Artists a couple of weeks ago, finishing it off in the studio this morning. I love painting the lovely silvery colour of frosted grass, just before the normal green colour returns as the sun heats up the icing sugar dusting. This painting was largely about the subtle tones looking straight into the sun. The white colour of the bark of a birch tree only appears white if the sun is shining on it, but here, looking directly into the light, it appears quite a dark shade of blue, yet our eyes tell us it's white. See how dark it is next to the sky colour. The spangles of the title are those lovely little jewels of light that twinkle on the leaves and twiggery, spotted in with a palette knife. #silverbirch #woodland #frostedgrass #frostedvegetation

Patrick's Byre

Oil on board 7.5 x 10 inches. 

Jane's been on at me to paint this since we got back from our holiday in the Dordogne, so today, I did it while she was at work in the gallery. Who said I can't do loose?! Painted in 1 and a quarter hours, it was a refreshing change to 'dash one off' with free brushstrokes. #frenchbyre #frenchbarn

Beacon by the Brathay

Oil on board, 10 x 14 inches.
This was a fleeting light effect which lasted for all of 5 seconds, never to reappear again. It was by the River Brathay in Langdale, when the sun suddenly came out and shone on that young Oak tree on the mid-distance hill, lighting it and it alone, like a bright orange beacon - hence the title. I managed to get a photo of that moment and painted this from it. #sunlitoak #riverbrathay #langdale #autumncolours #paintingofautumn #fallpainting

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Autumn Oaks above Buttermere

Oil on board, 9 x 12 inches.

I painted this one on site last week on a trip to The Lakes, but had to abandon it when the light faded and my hands got frostbite. I liked the great purple-grey mountain looming up into the clouds, and the orange of the Oak trees seemed perfect against the blue curtains behind, so I scrambled up a hill to find the best vantage point and quickly sketched out the composition and got the gist of it down and finished it off in the studio.

I can't express enough how important it is to keep standing away a couple of yards from the painting in order to see any drawing faults and check the colour and tone put down. It's much better to keep assessing, rather than ploughing on and finding it's wrong when you're nearly finished. That's why I like to stand when I'm painting, even in the comfort of the studio, because it's so much easier just to step back, instead of getting off your chair.

Friday, 15 November 2019

By the River Brathay

Oil 6 x 8 inches SOLD
Here's a little painting I painted on site on a trip to the Lake District to absorb the breath-taking Autumn Colours. Having got home, I tickled it a bit in the studio. The river is a deep, slow-moving one, where it flows from Elterwater and winds around the subtle bends, providing lots of beautiful reflections - right up my street...or river!

Friday, 1 November 2019

Castle Crag, above Grange-in-Borrowdale

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches 
A quick oil sketch of the River Derwent where it turns under the iconic bridges at Grange, with Castle Crag in the background.

Still endeavouring to paint more loosely and painterly - the journey continues...

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Barns near Hawes

Oil on board 12 x 17 inches.
Strong sunlit lights and dark shadows, with lovely stone and metal textures, this was a dream subject. Lots of tones to observe and replicate in this, and if you can get them right, you can create a sense of depth and distance.
Learning to loosen-up a little, with trees that look as though they've been painted by someone else, but really enjoying the process - you never stop learning in this game, and if you think you know it all, you don't!

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Langstrath Beck, by Eagle Crag

Oil on board, 6 x 8 inches. 

I particularly enjoyed painting the backdrop of Larches, moving the oil paint around with a large flat Rosemary&co Eclipse brush. It looks complicated, but the painting came together very quickly - always lovely when that happens! For sale at #langstrath #lakedistrict #lakeland #cumbria #landscape #waterfall

Towards Wardley Wood

Oil on board, 10 x 12 inches. 

I don't often paint on a squarer format 10 x 12 board, but this subject lent itself perfectly, with those towering cumulus clouds as a backdrop. I'm persevering with the big flat brush to describe the trees, which definitely gives a more painterly feel, so a new chapter continues with my painting...
For sale at
#wardley #rutland #clouds #landscape #oilpainting