Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Clear Water, Langstrath Beck

Oil on board, 14x20 inches

Having slotted in a commissioned painting since my last post, here is my second offering to be shipped up to the Lakes very soon.  This is from surely one of the most beautiful valleys in all England......where?  Well, I'm hardly going to tell you that am I...I don't want all of you going up there.  

The water was absolutely crystal clear, with every stone on the bottom visible, appearing slightly bluer in the deeper water on the left where the beck has gouged out its contour on this bend.  This called for an intense period of concentration to get that subtle shift of colour and tone (value if you're reading this in the U.S., pronounced vair-you if you're from the deep south) and make the water appear convincing.

Painting the slow rivers around my home is easy-peasy compared to this - you just paint the reflections, but this is a different kettle of fish altogether, looking through the water, too.  The stones and boulders littered about the banks were pretty tricky to paint, too - well out of my comfort zone of painting dense, bankside vegetation.  Quite a lot of palette-knife work to get that appearance of the solid, lit surfaces.  The bare, spikey tracery of rusty-coloured branches and twigs of the near trees on the right were no pushover to do in paint either, mostly done with my big household brush and a few heavily laden swipes of my single or double-haired home-made brush (a bit like the brilliant Seasick Steve's home-made, Blues, two stringed guitar).  And the slightly more blued-off, paler tones of the distant hill were darned tricky too.  Come to think of it, it was a right royal battle, touch and go all the way, but I'm pleased to have scored a narrow points victory on a split decision. 

Paintings like this always run the risk of becoming overworked, but I think I stopped just about in time, leaving enough for the onlookers' eyes to complete the story in their minds, hopefully!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Glassy Water, Borrowdale

Oil, 10x14 inches

I'm currently doing a few Lakeland paintings to take up to Cumbria, so here's the first offering. 

I am drawn to painting water, having always been fascinated with rivers and lakes as a boy, when I spent all my time (before picking up a golf club) fishing, following the 'Peter' in the 'Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing' by Bernard Venables, that genius of a book about a bygone era of the 40's and 50's.  I no longer fish, but In the Lake District I'm like a boy in a sweet shop - at every turn there is a painting.  I'm off up there again soon and can hardly wait!

Anyway, this little painting of the river Derwent in Borrowdale, was a gem of a subject.  Looking into the sunlight, the deeper water on this bend shimmered with glassy light and I hope I've done it justice.  

I had the pleasure of meeting David Miller and his wife Lisa at the Bird Fair at Rutland Water on Sunday. I've long been an admirer of his work - David, as well as a superb painter of birds, is a brilliant painter of fish in their natural habitat, a fairly unusual genre and one in which he really excells.  His passion for his subjects shines out from the canvas.  I bought his excellent book, 'Beneath the surface', which is a must for anyone who loves fish especially, or who just loves great art.  He paints what's in the water and I paint what's above it.  Hmmm, that's not a bad idea for a show sometime.............

Sunday, 21 August 2011

David Cameron

Well, you knew I would comment didn't you?  David Cameron, who I think is a pretty genuine kind of guy, as much as a politician possibly can be, has just had installed in No10 a Tracey Emin 'work', below:

Brilliant, isn't it?  A neon sign with two words cunningly arranged with two stunning lines artistically placed beneath.  We are indeed lucky that it doesn't contain any spelling mistakes and has no slang for female reproductive organs included.  

Mr Cameron admits to being a big fan of Miss Emin's 'work'...................my respect for the man has plummeted.  He needs to concentrate on running the country methinks and stop being deluded like the other prats who have had the wool pulled over their eyes, seeing the king's new clothes in the plethora of garbage out there, masquerading as art.

Here's my own nod to tracey's brilliant new work:

Less Crap

I think I posted this link in an earlier diatribe about modern art and Miss Emin, but it's worth clicking on again.  Brian sewell hasn't yet commented on No10's acquisition, but I'm sure he will and I'll post it here if and when he does, but in the meantime, settle down with the greater Oxford English dictionary and read what he said about dear Tracey's exhibition at the Hayward Gallery:

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

RSMA Acceptance

Well, I got two of the three paintings that I submitted for the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition accepted, hoorah:
Sunlight on Mud, Brancaster Staithe

Moored in the shade, Brancaster Staithe

 I'm hoping to become an Associate Member of the RSMA at some point - to be invited to join you have to have a number of works accepted for the Show every year for a number of years and then if the Committee, all fine painters, consider your work is of sufficient quality, they may ask if you would like to join the Society.  I've had sixteen paintings accepted in the last six years, so fingers crossed.

Obviously, if I am offered Associate Membership of the RSMA and I can put ARSMA after my name, my paintings will quadruple in price overnight, so to beat the rush and be canny, I would STRONGLY advise all of you to snap up all my paintings currently available in the Galleries representing me.......

Thursday, 11 August 2011

LPS Annual Exhibition

To any of you who are interested, the Leicestershire Pastel Society Annual Exhibition starts with the Private Viewing this Friday 12th August from 6.30-8.30pm and on Saturday 13th and 14th from 2-5pm at St. Philip's Church, Evington Road, Leicester LE2 1HN.

This will be a bit of light relief from watching the little impoverished darlings running around smashing up their local shopping centres because they've had zero discipline from their equally undisciplined moronic parents, knowing they'll get a nasty 1 day prison sentence in some cases - yes, one day.  These 'clients' are really scared of receiving such ruthless punishment...yeah right.  Ooh, bit of politics Peter, steady on...................

So, did I paint the third one?

Moored in the shade, Brancaster Staithe  Oil 10x14 ins
(Click to enlarge)

So, you've all been wondering, did I finish the third painting to submit to the RSMA Annual Exhibition?  Sorry to have kept you all biting your nails all day long, on the edge of your seats, worrying, unable to sleep or eat properly - most unfair of me to not to have told you earlier, for which I apologise....what's that, DID I MANAGE TO PAINT IT?  YES!  But not without incident........

I was painting up until 3.30am this morning before I was happy with it and finally hit the sack at 4.15am after fitting the painting in a frame, setting my alarm for 6.45am for a refreshing two and a half hours sleep, ready to meet Mike Challoner of Picture Post, who takes artists' paintings down to The Mall Galleries for each Society exhibition, at 7.15am on the A1 at Stamford.  The alarm went off and......yep, you guessed, I failed to rise, only to be woken by Mike calling me at 7.30 to see where I was.  Having leapt into clothes and driven to Stamford in double-quick time, still fast asleep and running on fumes, I finally gave mike the 3 pictures at 7.40am, making Mike half-an-hour behind his schedule, for which I was most embarrassed - sorry again Mike!

Having got back to have some breakfast before going off to Leicester to help set up the Leicestershire Pastel Society Exhibition, in which I have three paintings, I remembered I had to fit one in a frame - a task I had put off because of trying to get three paintings done for the RSMA.  So, another panic, no shower, no shave, managed to get to Leicester for 10.20am, sporting a very attractive designer stubble......

Enough of my travails, you want to know a bit about the painting.  One of my favourite painting locations, Brancaster Staithe in Norfolk provides a wealth of subject matter.  The bright crimson fishing vessel was a lovely splash of colour to act as an obvious focal point, lit by some dappled sunshine in the shade of the foreground.  The rivulets of water running through the mud provided a nice directional tool to take the eye through the composition and I particularly liked the gorgeous red reflections in these little watery trenches.

I also enjoyed the challenge of depicting the bluish hued mud in the shaded foreground, set against the orangey sunlit mud of the middle and far distance.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to put a lick of retouching varnish on the painting before it went off to London.  The thin varnish always gives a lift to the colours and unifies the whole picture, but, it's beyond my control now - I'll have to wait and see if the acceptance committee of the RSMA consider these efforts of suitable quality for the exhibition in October. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Winter Dawn, Thornham

Oil on Board, 10x14ins
(Click on image to enlarge)

This is my second offering for submission to the prestigious RSMA to be collected at 7.15 this Thursday morning.  I was hoping to produce 4 new paintings, but this one has taken me ages to paint, so unless I can paint another pretty complicated Brancaster Staithe subject later today after I've had my usual 5-6 hours sleep, it looks like I shall only submit two this year.  You can submit up to six, but unless you are a member (voted for and invited by the committee) you are only allowed to have a maximum of four accepted.  Last year there was what is technically known as a cock-up - they accepted all six that I submitted, then had to call me to explain their error and get me to withdraw two of my six.  So, that error won't be replicated this year as my Devon exhibition has prevented me producing enough boaty paintings.

Listen to me, dear dear, you don't want to hear all about that, you want to know about the painting itself.

The appeal for this one was not just the beautiful, piercing yellow light of dawn, with the sun rising behind the group of trees, but the amazing, fleeting light effect of the boat cabins lit up, just as if electric lights had been switched on. This made for a dramatic painting, full of visual impact, with soft, purpley darks, bluish mud and boats, all receiving reflected light from the water, and those intense yellow highlights dotted about the composition.  Very concentrated painting with subtle shifts of colour and tone - phew, I'm exhausted after the fight!

Must get to bed to rise early to attack the third painting to see how far I can get...............

Friday, 5 August 2011

Sunlight on Mud, Brancaster Staithe

Oil on Board, 10x14 ins 
(click on image to enlarge)

Here's the first painting I'm submitting for the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) annual exhibition at The Mall Galleries in London.
This is absolutely the sort of subject that gets my creative juices flowing.  Looking directly in to the sun throws all objects into silhouette, with highlighted edges that catch the light.  When you look at these dazzling highlights, like on the car roof and bonnet and the rims of the two foreground boats, the space around them is diffused and that is the trick to make these edges look convincing.  Obviously, only a genius like me can possibly capture such effects.......

Also, looking into the sun, you would imagine the sky to be the brightest and lightest part of the composition, and indeed the actual sun itself would be, but having cunningly placed the horizon high up on the board, the reflected sunlight on the mud is the lightest passage of the painting, so the sky has to be painted a tone darker, reserving pure Titanium White for the blindingly bright mud. 

The background buildings and trees are close-toned greys and purples and difficult to get right.  This makes for an absorbingly tricky and concentrated period of painting that only modern-day painting giants can pull off....cough.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

It's me - I'm still alive!

Hi everyone, I bet you've all been wondering what I've been doing since my last post 25 years ago.  Well, I've had my exhibition in Devon which is now finished - thanks to all of you who came down to try and catch a glimpse of me in the melee on the opening day......and to see the paintings. Nineteen sold, so I'm solvent again, but still not rich beyond my wildest dreams.......
I forgot to add - if any of you reading this bought one of my masterpieces in Devon I'm eternally grateful - you've made a very young man (cough, nasty catch in throat) very happy.

I've been catching up with commissions and am now trying to get four new paintings done for the RSMA (Royal Society of Marine Artists) Annual Exhibition at The Mall Galleries in London, so I just thought I would tune in.  I'll post these new masterpieces as I do them in the next few days.....