Wednesday, 16 October 2013

RSMA Exhibition

Me, with my two paintings!

I had a wonderful day yesterday at the Royal Society of Marine Artists Exhibition at The Mall Galleries in London, meeting fellow artists and viewing the exhibition of some 288 paintings - a real feast for the eye!  The exhibition is open 10am-5pm from today until 27th October when it closes at 1pm, and I thoroughly recommend having a look if you get the chance to. 

The journey home was a little less enjoyable, with the last coach at 7pm not showing...broken down apparantly, so nine of us weary travellers were taken on another coach to Stansted airport, then after an hour's wait, the standard less than helpful, unsmiling, apathetic, vacant-looking staff ushered us to a couple of big taxis to take us back to Peterborugh, an hour-and-a-half late, groan.

The photo above was kindly taken by my colleague Haidee-Jo Summers, with me standing next to my two paintings in the gallery on the right as you go in, which we have nicknamed 'the fridge' or 'cold room', because it is lit, rather uninvitingly, by very cold, blue 'daylight' spotlights!  You can see my pics have yellow 'C' stickers on them, which stands for candidate, NOT what you lot might be making up your own meaning for!  I am being considered for associate membership of the esteemed society and will know in a couple of weeks or so whether I have gained enough votes.  It's one of those long drawn-out pregnant pauses like in every reality show on the telly employs; you can just hear some distant drum beats if you listen carefully...

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Palace from St.James's Park

Oil on Board, 10 x 17 inches

I've long fancied painting this view of Buckingham Palace from the Bridge over the lake in St.James's Park, so I've finally got around to it. Despite being in mid-December, there was a lot of colour abounding, with the cool blue/greys of the palace with its attendant reflections, contrasting with the warm reds, russets, yellows and greens of the trees and grass.  It really was a joy to paint, with some intense concentration required to depict the glassy water.  I particularly enjoyed painting the Victoria Monument right of centre with its gold top.
I think I shall submit this for the ROI exhibition too, as it's another local landscape. And it's more up my street, despite being in the heart of our capital, with lots of trees and glorious reflections, so we'll see what the selectors think...

Tomorrow I'm off to London to see the RSMA exhibition - always a great gig - so I shall be walking over the same bridge from where I was standing for this painting.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Buses on Buckingham Palace Road

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

Here's a bit of a hand-brake turn for me, and a very enjoyable one.  I'm identified with painting the British countryside, especially rivers, and this one is about as far as you can get from that motif.  

Whenever I go to London for one of the major art society exhibitions at the Mall Galleries, I go by coach and walk the pleasant 1 mile to the gallery along Buck Palace Road, and this view is just around the corner from Victoria Coach Station.  I always feel a bit like 'Crocodile Dundee' in London and somewhat lost in an alien world - it's great for a change and a day out, but I sigh with relief when I'm back in my beloved countryside.

There's an awful lot going on here, and makes me even more in awe of Pete 'The Street' Brown's urban cityscapes from which he has earned his alias.  I loved the reflections of the surrounding buildings and vehicles both in the glass clad monster on the right and in the coaches on the other side of the road.  And of course, the new red routemaster provided a lovely vivid touch of colour.  There were at least a couple of London Plain trees to paint, just to make me feel a bit more at home!

I entered 3 paintings digitally for the ROI exhibition, leaving me 3 more possible paintings to enter on the official handing-in day, so this might be one, depending on what reaction it gets...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

My Devon Exhibition!

Just a joint exhibition with Helen Tabor at the Marine House Gallery at Beer in Devon starts with the Private View on Saturday 2nd November, and all the paintings are for sale and can now be seen on their website  at

Royal Society of Marine Artists Exhibition

Just a reminder to you all that the RSMA Annual Exhibition starts next week, 16th October and runs until 27th October, open 10-5pm every day (closes 1pm on final day).  This is, in my opinion, one of the best exhibitions at London's Mall Galleries on The Mall, near Trafalgar Square, SW1, with some of the best artists in the country showing work with a maritime theme.  I am lucky enough to have two paintings accepted for the show (above).

If anyone would like to attend next Tuesday's Private View on the 15th, when the exhibition is officially opened at 3.30pm by Dan Snow from the telly, preceded by a tour of the exhibition conducted by David Howell, the President of the society, please let me know - I have e-invites (admits two) I can email to you, and a few actual ones I can post.  Just click here to email me. The PV has a great atmosphere, with a lot of the exhibiting artists attending, me included - surely a big enough pull in itself!

You can also see half of the paintings in the show at

Monday, 7 October 2013

Crunchy Hoar Frost

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

I painted this one as requested for a demonstration painting to the lovely Horncastle Art Group last Friday, finishing it off today in the studio.

With a sharp hoar frost after a snowfall, the landscape took on a fairytale look last January, with everything coated in crunchy crystal, and, with a steely blue sky, presented a gorgeous light effect.  Being an almost monochrome subject, it was very important to observe the tones accurately, making sure the trees stood out against the darker toned sky.

My big 1" household decorating brush came into its own for the painting of the willows' tracery, adorned with their white coating.

I may submit this one to the ROI exhibition too, depending what reaction it gets on here and Facebook...

Friday, 4 October 2013

Buckingham Palace from Green Park

Oil on Board, 9 x 12 inches

Here's another one I'm submitting to the ROI Exhibition.  Thought I'd do a 'local' one to the Mall Galleries, just down the road to the Palace!  
The contre jour lighting (posh for looking straight into it) provided a spectacular effect, with the Palace and its attendant statues and poncey pillars silhouetted in various subtle shades of purpley-grey - right up my street...well, the Queen's arctually, as Count Arthur Strong would say!
It was a bit fiddly on this small scale, but I enjoyed the challenge for a change, instead of my default riverine paintings.  Maybe one day I'll tackle something similar to this on a bigger scale, like the great Peter Brown whose unparallelled streetscapes have given him the name 'Pete the street'.  I'm more 'Pete the stream'...doesn't quite have the same ring to it does it?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Narrowboats on the Oxford Canal at Enslow

Oil on Board, 14 x 20 inches

I'm submitting this one for the ROI (Royal Institute of Oil Painters) anual axhibition at The Mall Galleries in London.  It's a view from the bridge over the Oxford Canal at Enslow, near Woodstock.  The canal runs alongside the River Cherwell, a tributary of the River Thames, and runs for 78 miles, passing through the Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire countryside.  It was once an important artery of trade between the English Midlands and London, and is now popular among pleasure boaters, as can be seen here.

The canal holds fond memories for me - I spent a great deal of my time fishing on the canal at Bodicote where I lived for most of my childhood.  I would almost always see a Water Vole swimming amongst the lilies and reeds - nowadays a very rare sight and one I haven't seen since those days. 

The inspiration for this painting was the fantastic sparkling light on the rippling water, churned by the boat. This sort of subject is meat and veg for me, and I really enjoyed trying to depict that brilliant sunlight reflecting off the tops of the narrowboats.