Monday, August 25, 2014

Exhibition news RSMA!

Early morning, penny nab £650
Oils 8" x 16"

The long stretch of summer £850
Oils 12" x 16"

I've just had the happy news that two of my paintings have been accepted into this year's Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition. The exhibition will take place at the Mall galleries London from October 15th to 26th. This year the RSMA are celebrating 75 years of exhibiting so it should be a fantastic event if you can make it along. Have a look at their website for more details, and when the show is online with the Mall galleries I will let you know. I hope I will see you there!

Meanwhile if you visit London this summer you can see six of my paintings in the summer exhibition at the Russell gallery in Putney. The exhibition closes on September 12th.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A summer stroll



A summer stroll
Oils 12" x 16"

Previously on the island I hadn't turned my attention (painting wise) to the mellow stone walls that meander all across the island surrounding the gardens and of course making up the majority of the houses. Much of the stonework is very old, and consists of huge granite blocks. This year I see for the first time what I've been missing, this mellow pink and golden stone makes for a fantastic subject particularly in the sunshine.
What caught my eye on this little lane was the profusion of daisies which shone in the sunlight, and those rustic terracotta tiles on the little scruffy roof. It was one of those gorgeous blue sky and fluffy clouds days, and the horse and rider a lucky addition. This painting really describes quite aptly what it's like to stroll around this island that they call 'the flowering rock', a peaceful haven free of traffic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More summer sketches

Guerzido beach

People on the beach

Milly on her iPhone 

Fancy another peek inside my sketchbook? I've been so relaxed here and enjoying splitting my time between painting, sketching, family time and doing not very much at all. I can't believe we only have a few more days on the island.
Could August be six weeks long in future? Is that too much to ask?
When I get back to England I have a few days painting in Cornwall to look forward to, so let's hope we can eek that sunshine out a little bit longer...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tous ce qui flotte

Tous ce qui flotte
Oils 8" x 16"

It was the annual Bréhat regatta and the poster proclaimed that the gathering was for all that can float - tous ce qui flotte. I am so delighted to have been there to paint and I wish every day in summer was a regatta day. The sails provide colour even when the sky is overcast.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waiting for the tide

Waiting for the tide
Oils 10" x 12"

A plein air painting from a few days ago. I was standing on a high rock looking towards the sailing club while these dinghies were being prepared to go to sea as the tide was coming in. There was a lot of activity and movement so what I've ended up with is an amalgamation of various sails, which weren't all in those places at the same time. I had to keep an eye on the tide too, as my rock would have become surrounded by water at some point. Luckily I was gone by then, having a cold drink at the cafe overlooking the beach.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer sketchbook

French cows in a field

I thought I'd show you today some of the sketches I've been doing in the last week. I've bought some of the new Winsor & Newton watercolour markers and am really enjoying learning what you can do with them. They seem like an ideal sketching medium for me. Time will tell how long they will last and that will be the deciding factor as to whether they become a regular medium for me (value for money).
In the sketch of the cows and the flowers in our French garden (the flowers were in our garden, the cows were not) I used the markers on dry paper and then added water with a brush. This creates lovely soft colours and you can pick the paint up on the brush and use it elsewhere, as you can see with the pale stem of lavender. The harbour sketch is mostly watercolours with some pen, watercolour marker pens and gouache. For the fish drawings I used a permanent black pen first, then little spots of colour here and there with the watercolour markers and then plenty of water on the brush. I really enjoyed that and will be definitely using that method again.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mogador boys bathing

                                                                   Mogador boys bathing
                                                                          Oils on canvas
                                                                              36" x 38"

Here it is finished, after all the pipe smoking/coffee drinking/head scratching. It's a strange thing working on a big painting in the studio. I go through phases when I think it's nearly come to it's natural end and then there turns out to be many more head scratching moments to come. Then when the time comes that I proclaim it is finished (usually because there's a framing deadline) instead of a celebratory choir of angels singing it can all feel a bit... well, deflated. Parting is not such sweet sorrow after a plein air painting, as the experience there has been more like a fast jog with the odd sprint thrown in rather than a slow amble around a maze with interesting diversions en route.
I'm hopeful I did the subject justice after all, and without the loss of freshness from the original plein air study.


              One of the several checks I did in black and white to see how the values were working


                                            It looks pretty big in my studio! I hope it sells soon!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cover girl!

The Artist
September issue

I was excited to learn that my painting 'Sails up' is going to star on the front cover of The Artist magazine. It will be on the front of the September issue which will be out in UK shops very soon.
Also inside the issue will be an article I've written about staying motivated in this art world of ours!
You can buy a copy of the magazine and have it delivered from just about anywhere in the world from the Painters Online website, where you can also read lots of interesting features and enter competitions so that's always worth a look :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Big baby part one

Big canvas with plein air study

Do you remember when I went to Morocco in March and I had the best, most exciting, afternoon painting when I saw the boys diving into the harbour?
Well one of my ambitions this year was to paint some much larger paintings, and when I got back from Morocco I was so full of fresh inspiration that I immediately started on stretching a huge canvas - I mean, it seemed pretty huge at 36" x 38"!

I started in April then but I've only just finished the enormous beast a couple of weeks ago. During that time I've been to Cornwall, taught in Staithes, been to France, had the Patchings festival, heck I've even moved studio! So that all might partly explain why it's taken me so long actually...

Anyway I did take some photos as I went along but I suppose these are just key points or highlights. If this was a video it would be feature length and you'd see lots of shots of me scratching my chin, tugging at my forelock and smoking my pipe while trying to work out what I was going to do next.

No I don't smoke really, but lots of coffee was consumed during the making of this painting ... lots!!

Anyway, here are some work in progress shots and I'll dig out some more to show you next time...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

All the colours of white

'White' still life
Watercolours 16" x 23"
Here's a watercolour from my sketchbook last week. I was playing around in the studio with objects that were mostly white or very light colours, to take photos for a workshop exercise that I was doing. The photos looked great, and then I introduced this vintage green bottle that I have and got the watercolours out for a frolic.

Although this example here has strayed away from the principle, a still life composed of various white objects is actually a brilliant exercise for helping you to see and find subtle colour nuances, and get past the simplified notion of local colours.


It started like this

Bit further on

 A great big hello to the lovely folks at the Retford Art Society, who did all this smashing work and more on our one day workshop together last week, called 'Finding and using more colour'. We had a great day :-)

Student work

Student work

Friday, August 1, 2014

The long stretch of summer

The long stretch of summer
Oils 12" x 16"

Rather appropriate this as I've just been packing up for our summer holiday in France, can't wait to get there and relax! 

This painting's subject is some children enjoying rock pooling at beautiful St Mawes in Cornwall. It reminds me of that wonderful feeling when you're a child and you break up from school for summer. The holidays stretch out ahead of you, seemingly forever.
I asked my lovely Facebook friends for help with naming this painting and had loads of fabulous suggestions, I am sure to use some of them on future paintings. It's so nice to rope the Facebook and twitter communities in for fresh ideas. It's like inviting a bunch of friends round to the studio for a drink at the end of the working day. :-)

Speaking of twitter it's time for #drawingaugust to start again. I loved it SO much last year that I'm going to try again to draw and post a new drawing each day on twitter with the hashtag drawingaugust. If you are on twitter, why not look us up and join in?

I took a few photos of this one as it was going along...

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