Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Rising Sun and Tide at Thornham

Pastel on Pastelmat 13 x 19 inches

I was going to put this paintng into the RSMA exhibition, but didn't get it finished in time, so it will shortly be on view and for sale in my gallery, you lucky people!

It started life as a demonstration piece, but having assessed it in the studio, I have to confess I used a little artistic licence in putting in the rising sun, which I think improves the composition and overall impact of the painting. 

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Glistening Mud, Porthleven

Oil on Linen Canvas 18 x 26 inches
This painting involved probably the most intense periods of concentration of any painting I've done, with so many boats lined up, all with so much more boat to paint when their hulls are exposed at low tide. 
It was a really bright Summer's day, with strong, crisp shadows thrown across the mud, and those sunlit roofs etched across the skyline of the row of houses looking down on the harbour. I had to get the tones of all the relevant players right, in order for those sunlit roofs to really 'pop' - too bright a sky and they wouldn't pop at all. Then all those beautiful red buoys of varying tones and subtle hues, and when I'd finished them and all the boat shapes were more or less completed, I had to attack the mud flats and gorgeous little rivulets of blue water running through them, again paying careful attention to the relative tones of both. Here's where I used the faster drying qualities of Alkyd Oil, letting the paint underneath dry a little and become very stiff and tacky, so that I could use a brush and palette knife to drag more light, thick paint over the top to get the effect I wanted. It feels like my 'Bohemian Rhapsody'! 
The painting will be in the RSMA Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London in October.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Dawn Light, Mevagissey

Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches

The last small oil for the RSMA exhibition in October - now to a BIG one, well, relatively so...

People often very kindly comment that I paint water well, and I generally say that actually, painting water is a darned sight easier than painting trees and the other stuff above water. But, in this case, it was a lot more tricky. The water was ruffled by the early morning breeze, breaking up any reflections and casting very subtle streaks of dark and light tones on the sea. I blocked in the rough tones with a fairly 'dry' brush, not laying too much paint on, so that it dried relatively quickly, then dragged the adjacent tones and colours over the underpainting, using a palette knife and hog brush. Then, with a little blending here and there with a Rosemary Eclipse Long Flat no 6 brush, I peppered the rest with a well-loaded a 1" daler-Rowney Script System 3 Rigger, varying the colours throughout to suit. Quite enjoyed it actually!

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Into the Light, Burnham Overy Staithe

Oil on Board, 10 x 12 inches

Another smallish oil for the RSMA show. The hook for this one was the intense sunlight bouncing off the water, spots of sparkling light twinkling like jewels. The Poppies growing in the foreground bank echoed the red buoys in the water, too - and yes, they were actually there! Boats are terribly fiddly creatures, and they have to 'look' right - getting their sexy curves is paramount. The next big studio painting is going to be a real challenge, with a LOT of boats resting at low tide on mud - right up my street, so look out for that one a-coming... 

Friday, 12 July 2019

Remus and Fearnot at Brancaster Staithe

Oil on Board, 12 x 14 inches

Another painting for the RSMA exhibition this October. I've painted this boat on numerous occasions, in different light and changing seasons and from different angles. Resting on wet, sparkling mud is always what attracts my eye the most, and oil paint is the most perfect medium to depict it. I love dragging a palette knife across a tacky underpaint to get the effect I'm looking for.


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Lion Rock, Near Kynance Cove

Oil on Belgian Linen Canvas, 18 x 24 inches
Here's my second painting for the RSMA exhibition,  The glorious West Coast Patch is just full of paintable subjects, and on a bright, hazy Summer's day, there's no finer place to be. Looking down from the high cliffs on the surf crashing onto the rocks below makes us, mere human beings, seem very small and insignificant, compared to the power of nature. And what a superb subject to paint, rocks galore, all described with halos of light. I found the best vantage point with some lovely Gorse and Heather in the foreground, and placed a couple of figures on the top of the cliffs in the distance, which gives some scale to the majestic rocky outcrops.

Towards Morton

 Oil on Board, 9 x 12 inches

This one is a commissioned painting, looking down towards Morton, a village near Bourne in Lincolnshire.

From the top of the hill, there was a nice progression into the distance across the fen, with a lovely blue on the horizon line. The strip of bright yellow Rape field provided a stripe of gorgeous colour, and lots of umbellifored Cow Parsley adorned the roadsides for more interest. The sky was a uniform blue when I was there, which was a bit boring, so I used a little artistic licence and conjured up some light clouds for more interest too.   

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Leaving St.Mary's

Oil on Board, 11 x 24 inches

This is the first painting that I'm submitting for the Royal Society of Marine Artists annual exhibition this year. Based on a couple of photos I took when we were leaving the glorious Scilly Isles last October. I loved the overall grey tones, punctuated by that flash of yellow light near the horizon. And the lovely orange and blue of the lifeboat provided a gorgeous touch of colour - put your thumb over it and it would have been a very boring seascape!

Painted entirely with Titanium White, Cad.Yellow Light, Permanent Rose and Ultramarine Blue, it was mostly about getting the mixes right, especially for the choppy sea, and changing those subtle variants accordingly.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Beech Spring

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

This is the second in a series of four commissions I am painting for a client, all from the same spot, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, this being the spring version, as if you hadn't guessed!

Beech leaves are a spectacular sight at any time of year. Here, in May, they are fresh acid green, getting a deeper green tone in Summer, before transforming into the orange of Autumn - quite looking forward to painting that one! There is always a bed of composting old leaves at any time of year beneath beech trees, and I suggested these with lots of palette-knife work over a sticky underpaint. the same technique was used for some of the leaves nearer the viewer, too.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Birches and Bluebells

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches

The Bluebells are all gone now for another year, but just can't resist painting them each year. These were in Barnsdale Wood on the banks of Rutland Water, a beautiful woodland, carpeted with these glorious flowers. I used a bit of artistic licence, adding the two Silver Birches for interest. 

Most of the painting, aside from the trees themselves, was done with my trusty 1" decorators brush and a large fan brush, which can load sufficient paint on and apply in the right manner to depict foliage and flowers.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Oaks Under an Indigo Sky

Oil on board, 6.5 x 10.5 inches

I was playing golf a couple of weeks ago when a thundery storm was brewing all around us, and looking to my left, there was this magnificently dark sky, with sunlit Oaks and a yellow Rape field set against it. I took a quick snap with my phone, then this fabulous light effect, where the foliage of the trees was lighter than the sky (so rare that it happens) was gone in a few seconds. But I had enough to make a painting from, fortunately, and here it is.

Beech Trees in Spring

Oil on Board, 9.25 x 13.25 inches
This beautiful wood is part of an ancient woodland called Bedford Purlieus in Cambridgeshire. Beech trees are beautiful at any time of year, but in Spring, their acid green leaves are just an emblem of the season. With a few Bluebells on the woodland floor, a painting subject is made.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

January Light, Wakerley Wood

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches

I did the underpainting for this little oil a while ago, and have another big one on the back-burner of a similar subject - very much looking forward to finishing that one. 

I just love the muted tones of Winter, here with blue frost still in the shadow of the mid-distant field, providing a lovely complement for the orange of the leaves still left on the Beech trees and the russet-toned carpet of leaves on the ground. Lots of impasto dabs to depict the leaf carpet - delicious! The sunlit bright yellow-green headwear of the tree stumps were also a delight to paint.

Daffodil Wood at Manton

Oil on board, 7.5 x 10 inches

I passed this wood a few weeks ago in the car and spotted Daffodils, and thought this might make a painting. So, I popped back when I had more time. Someone had obviously planted them, along with some Fritillaries, neither of which grow wild in woods, but what a sight they looked - cue the oils! There was just a distant haze of Bluebells,which provided a nice foil to the predominant yellows and greens.


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Sun Reflection

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

Orange and blue are complimentary colours and always sing together, and there are plenty of both in this painting, which again started life as a demo last year. It would have made quite a nice composition without it, but the reflection of the sun glaring full power off the water really was the obvious hook.