Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wet sand at Mousehole

Wet sand at Mousehole
Oils 24 x 30cms
Another plein air piece from my October trip to Cornwall. The addition of a couple of figures really helps to inform us about the scale of the subject. Again a complicated scene that needed simplifying down to the bare essentials. With the benefit of a couple of photos I could tackle this again as a slightly more refined studio piece but unfortunately I haven't worked out how to successfully take photos looking towards the light yet. Yes that's right, had new posh camera more than four months now and still haven't learnt anything outside of the 'auto' setting!

Here's some news that may be of interest to any of you living in the south of England. I'm going to be teaching a day workshop on 'painting seascapes in acrylics' at the Old Bank Studios in Harwich Essex on Saturday 26th April 2014. I would love to see you there if you can make it :-)
Click here for the website and booking information.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Razzle dazzle

Razzle dazzle at Mousehole harbour
Oils 24 x 30 cms
SOLD

They say no news is good news and the reason I haven't been in touch for a few days is that I've been so busy planning great events for 2014 which I will look forward very much to sharing with you. I've also been painting away in the studio and although I haven't got anything finished to show you yet I will be able to share step by step photos when I do. Plus I'm working on two articles currently for The Artist magazine and reading a couple of my latest Amazon purchases - one is a David Curtis book from 1994 and the other is 'Catching the light, the art and life of Henry Scott Tuke'. I've finally got around to watching the film 'Summer in February' about Alfred Munnings' time in Cornwall with Laura and Harold Knight, and I've eaten through most of my large supply of birthday chocolate. I have no more day workshops in 2013 but I'm looking forward to visiting Horncastle art club and York art society for demos this side of Christmas.

This is a painting from last month's trip to Cornwall. It was quite a challenge to simplify all that but so thrilling to try. This subject would definitely be worth revisiting in the studio. I have pushed the sky completely out of the composition to focus on that intense area of light on the water and the lead-in lines of the ropes in the foreground.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Thames at Teddington

Teddington Lock

This is a painting from a few months ago that I haven't shown you yet. It's the river Thames at Teddington Lock.

Here's a bit of historical interest for you - in May 1940 Teddington Lock was the assembly point for an enormous flotilla of small ships from the length of the River Thames to be used in the evacuation of Dunkirk. Hundreds of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft and lifeboats were called into service to rescue the stranded British and French troops from the beach at Dunkirk. More than 300,000 were brought back across the channel in this curious collection of crafts. Churchill described it as a 'miracle of deliverance' in his famous "We shall fight them on the beaches" speech.

Back to the present day I'm able to enjoy some restful studio time this week, working on developing ideas from plein air studies to new studio pieces. It's getting very chilly and I'm keeping an eye out for snow... any snowfall and me and my paints will be out like a shot!

Advance notice that I'm having a large solo exhibition in Nottingham from January 8th to 13th 2014. I will be there every day from 10.00am to 3.30pm so if you think you might possibly be able to make it pop it in your diary now and I shall be very happy to see you there!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mud and wind in Norfolk

Reflections at low tide, Brancaster Staithe
SOLD
At low tide at Brancaster Staithe in Norfolk the colours and reflections in the wet mud are stunning. We were blessed again with a bright but cold day, it was extremely windy though! To counteract the effects of the wind I positioned myself in front of a wall, had my tripod legs spread wide and my bag of paints hanging from the tripod as a weight. Still, it was very tricky to attempt straight lines!
I deliberately pushed the boat up and out of the top of the painting because I wanted to focus attention on the reflections beneath and the weight and bulk of the boat. The buoys provided a nice couple of bright spots amongst all the gorgeous greys.
Work in progress at Brancaster Staithe




Monday, November 11, 2013

Girl holding parasol with lamplight





Girl holding parasol
Buy this now! (if you like)

I am still pootling around on cloud nine after my ROI success. I also have a fun and busy week lined up. Tomorrow is my last full day workshop of this year, on finding and using more colour. On Wednesday I will be painting in London and dropping work off at the Russell gallery for the winter show, and on Thursday I will be painting in Norfolk again with friends. There'll be coffee and cake on Friday. Plus it's my birthday on Saturday!

This is a recent demonstration painting for a forthcoming article in The Artist magazine on painting in gouache. It is based on this unfinished oil sketch that I painted in October in Cornwall when Daisy kindly sat for me. It was the wrong end of a dark day so I didn't have very much time before I couldn't see at all what I was doing! 

Oil sketch painted from life
Somehow in translation the gouache version has lost any likeness of Daisy! But likeness aside the lighting was pretty challenging with some daylight still coming through the window albeit dull, and some warm light coming from the lamp to her left.
Here are some progress shots, I started with thin washes and built up to using thicker and more opaque paint -







This is a gouache painting on sturdy Colourfix paper, measuring 33 x 40 cms.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Excellent news!

Galley hill allotments in the snow

Sails up in harbour, Paimpol


Fresh fried fish, Essaouira

Enormous good news to share with you today! The nervous wait of the year is over and I am absolutely over the moon to have had these three paintings all selected for the Royal Institute of Oil painters exhibition! I was thinking when I sent my six down to London that the results would feel like an appraisal of my year's work, rightly or wrongly. Maybe that sounds a bit dramatic to you and probably isn't the best thought to carry when entering a selected exhibition but I do take this society very seriously. It's been a sort of spiritual home to me since 1997 when the ROI first awarded me a 'Young artists award'. 
Anyway, the results do feel like a sign that I am travelling in the right direction! I'm especially pleased that two of the selected paintings and the big one that was chosen for the Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition are studio works. This gives me great courage to pursue my current path of taking my favourite plein air themes into the studio for further development. 

The 'Fresh fried fish' one was the first studio produced painting that I have ever been pleased with! It marked a turning point!
The 'Sails up' one is my most recent completed studio painting, as you know it was finished just a few weeks ago.
The allotments painting in the snow was completed entirely in one session en plein air. I was thrilled with it at the time, back in January, and I've saved it all year with this exhibition in mind. I'm thrilled and proud now!

The exhibition will take place at the Mall Galleries London from 11th to the 21st December.


Getting out there and finding inspiration!

And here's another thing... for a trial period I'm adding easy 'buy it now' buttons to some of my current paintings in my Daily Paintworks gallery. I get lots of emails from people asking 'how much is...?' and I know there are lots of others who don't like to ask! So here's the thing, now you can take a peek at the price and availability of a painting without asking me directly. Easy! And there's a currency converter button there so UK friends please don't be panicking if you see the price in dollars... 

At the moment I'm trying this with about half a dozen paintings just to test the water, including these two...

Click here to view!

Click here to view!



 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Backlighting at Brancaster Staithe

Boat sheds at Brancaster Staithe
SOLD


Here's a better look at the two paintings from my day in Norfolk last week. I could have done with a little bit more time on the oil sketch above, but I spent long enough absorbed in it and have a pretty good memory of the scene. This is my new 'red sail', meaning that this subject got me hugely excited and gave me goose bumps just like the moment in Paimpol harbour in August when the red sail went up on the boat.

These days I take that as a sure sign that I can develop the motif further with a studio painting.
It's amazing how our art practice evolves and develops. A year ago I would have told you I had no interest in studio painting whatsoever. That in my eyes all of the excitement and vitality was to be found outdoors. Now I realise what I was missing then. I can get that excitement in the studio but here's the secret - I have to have been immersed in the subject first. I have to have been there, experienced the sights and sounds, and painted there on location. I have to absorb, study, capture the subject from life first.

As I've always said to my students I'm not big on imagination. Working directly from the subject feeds my ideas.

The bonus of my new method of working is that I have the plein air study with me to work from in the studio as an aide-memoire.

This is definitely my new 'red sail' so watch this space, as they say.

My afternoon painting from the day was this quiet one, painted on watercolour paper with a limited palette of gouache colours - burnt sienna, ultramarine, cerulean blue, yellow ochre and white.


Reflections at Brancaster Staithe
Gouache

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