Thursday, July 31, 2014

Storm before the calm

Early morning, penny nab
Oils 8" x 16"

You know that saying 'calm before the storm'? Well, it's the other way round for me at the moment. I'm enjoying (enduring?) a week or two of heavy work in the studio getting odds and ends tied up before going to France in a few days time for three weeks of calm. So I've been finishing paintings, painting frames galore, waxing frames, varnishing and signing paintings, fitting paintings into frames, wrapping framed paintings, delivering paintings... the list goes on, but I've probably bored you enough!

I'll just show you this newly framed plein air painting then from my trip to Staithes last month. Oh and also, my £250 Pro Arte award arrived - feeling rather self indulgent I chose these absolutely gorgeous four watercolour brushes. Now I am rather afraid to use them, they're so special! Think I will take two of them to France with me to dabble in my sketchbook and see how I get on...

The latest round of seemingly never-ending framing has almost come to an end! Hurrah!

Ha ha! Someone on Facebook said the large brush in the middle looks ready to stand guard at Buckingham Palace! So funny, and true. It's now been named Buckingham.

Have you seen my Facebook page yet? Feel free to like it if you, erm, like it!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Spotted dog at the allotments

Demo at the allotments
12" x 16" Oils

I've enjoyed some great workshops in the last month, here are some photos from one I did in Nottingham with the Spotted Dog art group. Hello to you and the guest artists who came! We had a great day with gorgeous weather and were based in Inham Nook allotments. The allotment association were very good to us, and we also had use of the village hall so all in all a perfect set up.

Here's the demo I did before lunch, I probably could have gone for a simpler subject but well! It was all about that light hitting the glass greenhouse roof. A few of the members said to me that they weren't sure they would even find a subject of interest to paint at an allotments... but I think they'd seen the light by the end of the day. :-)

"How does it all fit together then?"
"Well it's like this...."

Better crack on with this so folks can have lunch
Thanks very much to Dave Singleton for these two photographs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Duke of York square

Saturday market, Duke of York square
Oils 22" x 24" SOLD

It was a fun and exhausting (and at times a little crazy!) weekend at the Pintar Rapido event in London. 501 artists were registered to take part in the painting event, although I think around 400 turned up on the day. Many may have been put off by the weather reports.. we were expecting constant rain and thunderstorms on Saturday! In the event we didn't have a single drop of rain and it was a gorgeous day. Many of my friends did what  I did and carried a large umbrella around all day, which wasn't needed after all.
So on the Saturday you registered in the morning and had your blank canvas stamped, and then you were able to paint outside anywhere you wanted within the borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I wanted to capture the life and action of the city on a hot summer weekend, and so I headed to the market in Duke of York square.

There certainly was plenty of life there! I chose a challenging subject and worked on a really large scale at 22" x 24". It was a lot to tackle in a day, with constant interruptions when I explained to spectators what Pintar Rapido was and why they were seeing artists with easels everywhere they went!
I was really drawn to the light coming through the orange sheeting at the back of the Sushi stall, and the light glancing along the tops of the market stall canopies.
The figures had to be placed very quickly, and painted mostly from memory. I'm really pleased that I managed to get a Chelsea pensioner in, walking towards me with his blue peaked cap.
It was such a special moment in the day when I met a couple who had come down from Lincoln especially to see the Sunday exhibition because they follow my blog and had read about the event. If you are reading this I'm so sorry I didn't get to see you on Sunday, but I really am touched that you came. 

I ended up packing away my kit in a rush at 7.00 pm, and had to get back to the Old Town Hall to get my painting framed and handed in before 8.00pm. It was a crazy scene when I got there, artists everywhere rushing to get their paintings framed, with tools, frames, glass etc covering every surface and most of the floor. It was hard to find a clear patch of floor to get mine framed and at the end of all that I was completely shattered and made my way gradually back to the hotel.

This is my painting hanging in the exhibition the next day, and I'm pleased that it sold. It was lovely to see all the different paintings and all the artists assembled together. Unfortunately it was exceedingly hot inside the exhibition and there were no refreshments, so I had to keep going out for a drink and fresh air. 
Apart from that it was a great event, well organised and a chance to catch up with lots of painting friends and I hope I can do it again one day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pintar Rapido in London

Painting in London on Saturday

I've been in London since Friday to take part in Pintar Rapido, what a great event it was. I'm still recovering so I thought I'd send you this photo for now which was taken on Saturday by the incredibly talented artist Tom Hughes, thanks Tom.
Tomorrow I'll tell you more about the weekend I promise... bye for now!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

View from the top

View from the top
Oils 24 x 30 cms (unframed size)

Here's another from my Staithes weekend, started as a demo painting and finished off in the studio this week. For this view you need to walk up to the top of Cowbar rise, and then you get this wonderful scene whereby the horizon line rises so high up against the cliff side. When the sun was shining the sea became that beautiful deep rich blue against the warm sunlit rock. When the sky was grey and full of rain the sea became a light grey too.
My main point of interest in this painting was the sunlit side of the nearest white house, and the dark of the shadowy green foliage adjacent to it. As a secondary point of interest the boat in the beck, with a rope leading your eye down to it in a pleasing arc. The grassy foreground provides a useful rest area within the painting. 

This is one of the paintings I'll be taking to the Studio Eleven gallery in Hull at the weekend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Oils on canvas 12" x 16" £795

I painted this at Hook Head in Ireland a couple of years ago, and although I was always happy with it I've really enjoyed making a few minor changes to it in the studio this week and now I love it. The 'idea' or story behind the painting is really that fleeting light effect on top of the headland there, in the midst of an oncoming storm. By the time I'd packed up big fat spots of rain were starting to fall, and as I reached the car it started to hammer down!
The photo above doesn't show the subtle colour shifts so I've added a few close-ups to give you a better look.
This painting breaks one of the rules of atmospheric perspective, by placing the more saturated high chroma colours in the distance. To balance this unsettling effect somewhat I made sure to place the strongest tonal contrasts in the foreground, see the light valued sea spray against the dark crevices in the rocks in the section illustrated below -

Detail of waves and rocks

The distant glimmer, fleeting light

I am taking this painting up to Hull this weekend with four others, where it will be part of a mixed group show called 'Water runs deep' at the Studio Eleven gallery.
The exhibition opening takes place on the 19th July from 2-4pm, and the show is then open until the 7th September. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Oils 28" x 20"

A recently finished larger studio painting, finding inspiration in the Gunby Hall pond again. I was mesmerised by the deep dark reflection of the large tree, so I decided to call this painting 
reverie  noun  a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream.

Sometimes when I worked on this one I turned it the other way round as though I was painting a landscape and sky instead of a reflection in water. I really really love painting still water and reflections, mind you it's the ever changing sea that keeps me on my toes.
At the start, all splish splash

A section of the work in progress,
a pleasing piece of abstract design

Friday, July 4, 2014

Back from Staithes and London

Sketchbook watercolour Staithes
How is it possible that it's July already? Yes I know it's been a couple of days now but it's taking a while to sink in...
Sorry I didn't get a chance to blog from Staithes, I really was too busy teaching and chatting and eating and painting and dodging the rain showers. We had a really lovely few days with variable weather. I will show you a couple of paintings I was able to do up there. It was fascinating watching the way the colour of the sea changed according to what the sky was doing.
This is a watercolour from my sketchbook that I did on the afternoon before the painters arrived, while eating a nice lunch outside the Cod and Lobster.

Have been very busy framing in the studio since getting back, and yesterday I drove down to London to drop off six paintings for the Russell Gallery's summer show. I also visited the Society of Women Artists exhibition at the Mall Galleries where I have two plein air paintings hanging - one from Morocco and one from Cornwall. The show finishes on Saturday at lunchtime, and disappointingly I couldn't get a catalogue as they'd run out. It's a real shame as I like to keep all the Mall Galleries catalogues from shows that I've had work in, so if you know of anybody that might have one spare I'd be really grateful.
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