Saturday, November 19, 2016

Allotment hens

Allotment hens

Here's a change, not a November painting of the allotments but one of my very favourite paintings from late spring. Quite a difference looking at those fresh spring greens now. I had a fantastic session painting this one, I was so happy there with the hens in the sunshine listening to the radio and summer stretching out before us.

Rather a special one this, and so I saved it for the Royal Institute of Oil painters exhibition. It's one of three that I'll have on show with the ROI at the Mall Galleries. The exhibition is open from the 30th November to the 11th December and I will be painting in the gallery on the 2nd December. I'd love to see you there :-)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shepherds hut and geese

Shepherds hut and geese
6" x 10"

A different location today and an extremely difficult day for plein air painting - barely tolerating the cold wind and drizzle I had to retreat to the car when the rain poured down. Luckily the car was very near. Although I had a warm hat and gloves I got very, very cold painting this one. I was so happy to get home and warm up and not leave the house again for the rest of the day!

And I must say, a few cups of coffee and the favourable reaction to this painting from my Instagram followers cheered me up no end :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Path to the greenhouse

Path to the greenhouse
8" x 10"

Still loving this series of autumn paintings at the allotments, on this day I made a new friend, and this is Don's greenhouse. Again with the low sun I was looking at a dazzling effect through the glass against the rich darks of the fences, sheds and houses behind.

I really enjoy a lot of the marks I've made in this painting, as well as the colour palette which feels suitably rich and autumnal.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Pumpkins aglow

Pumpkins aglow
8" x 10"

You never know when you head out with your paints if you're going to find something really special. Any day could be the day when you find the proverbial pot of gold. It doesn't happen too often, and you know it when you see it.

Well, picture my face when I reported for duty at the allotments the next day not knowing what I would paint there, and then saw the way the low sun lit up this greenhouse. Not just the blinding light effect through the glass which was accentuated by the fabulous dark silhouette of the terraced houses behind but lo! The fabulous orange pumpkins and yellow squashes sheltering from the frost inside and visible through the glass. Yes, a 'red sail' day :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Seeds for the birds

Seeds for the birds
11" x 14"

On the cold crisp and bright morning which followed the bonfire I painted these towering sunflowers. It's funny that when the glorious yellow petals have died away the leaves themselves take on the golden hues, lighting up the soggy autumnal landscape. I loved the contrast with the purple greys of the white house in shadow, and the silhouetted shapes of the seed heads against the sky.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Bonfire and drizzle

Bonfire and drizzle
Oils 8" x 10"

The next day couldn't have been more different, as we entered November. Dark, drizzly, grey and cold, but I headed out to the allotments to see what I could find.

The light was flat and uninspiring but the smoke from a bonfire caught my eye. I knew it would be a good challenge for me because the values were all very close and the colours desaturated. So I decided to embrace the greys and knuckle down to work, and was cheered to see a couple of chickens move into view. 

Making the most of a gloomy day!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Dahlias at the allotments

Dahlias and green shed
Oils 10" x 20"

The last day in October was unseasonably warm, like a mini heatwave. I went out to paint hoping to find either a pumpkin patch or some dahlias, aware that autumn was passing me by and I hadn't been outside to paint for a couple of weeks. 

I didn't find pumpkins but I was rather pleased to see this colourful display of dahlias. The arrangement of the flower bed and the long shed behind did seem to suit a longer format and luckily I had this 10" x 20" board with me, not a size I usually carry around.

I've attached a few photos of the work in progress below -

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hot day at the beach

Hot day at the beach
10" x 8"

November seems to have brought with it a definite chill, it's so much colder today than yesterday! I've been thinking about those long summer days wistfully. Here's one I painted on the island of Bréhat in August. I was totally immersed in the blinding light and heat of the day. I've so many paintings from this summer that I haven't shown you yet on the blog. If you're on Instagram do look me up there, I am really much better at posting images there and they are often online straight away while they're still wet on the easel.

If something particularly catches your eye I'm always happy to answer price enquiries, and a changing selection of paintings are always available to buy on my website here :-)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Art muse contest

The fountain, Villa Torlonia
John Singer Sargent

Well here's one of John Singer Sargents masterpieces, now how about entering one of yours in a painting contest?
Art muse contest is easy to enter online, and has been created with different categories of skill level so that you can choose where your art might be a best fit - the master class,  emerging artists and budding/apprentice artist. These are clearly explained on the website. You can enter as many paintings as you wish and there are cash prizes as well as gallery exhibits and various surprise awards (one of which may be a certain DVD).
All the information you need and the winners of previous Art Muse Contest awards can be found here -
I'm the judge for October so I'm looking forward to having a good peruse of the entries at the end of the month - good luck!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hunters yard

Hunters yard
14" x 18"

One of my favourite paintings from this year, actually one of my very best yet I think! You probably know that I like to bite off a bit more than I can chew when choosing a subject, I think it's how to keep growing my painting skills. Always strive towards something that you think is a little beyond you, that's my advice.

A subject like this is fraught with difficulties. What are the focal points? How to deal with the background (exterior scene) without it coming forward? How best to describe the value relationships between the dark interior and sunlit goings on outside? How to simplify all the busy objects and shapes within the boat yard? How to capture some of the figures that pass through and even.... can I get the dog in? What about the shine on the floor? The electric strip lights? And all these decisions to make while answering questions from onlookers.

But I was truly gripped! As soon as I saw it I knew it was my subject. Wild horses wouldn't have dragged me away from Hunters yard that afternoon.

Detail from Hunters yard

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Donkeys on the beach

Donkey rides
10" x 14"

During the two hour 'quick draw' event in Great Yarmouth I found out there were donkeys a short walk away and just had to give them a go. It's such a nostalgic subject isn't it? But more so the shapes and the way they connect just fascinate me, away from the storytelling or human element.

The sun didn't come out at all during the two hours - it was there beforehand and then again as soon as we finished! I suppose it was for the best in my case, I had enough to be going on with as the main parts of the subject were constantly moving. At least I didn't have to worry about shadows as well!

It was a really interesting challenge and I loved it. I actually was really pleased with the resulting painting and I didn't expect it would work out so well. 

Probably the hardest thing was that the pier bounced as people went by me, so that was a little disconcerting! 

Painting from the pier

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hunters boatyard demo

Hunters boatyard
9" x 12"

On a busy Saturday at the boatyard I painted a demo for a lovely group of artists in the sunshine. A very nice chap positioned this boat for me as all the others were to be taken out that day, and a lovely lady called Joan stood for a few minutes so that I could have a figure in the painting. Her jacket tied around her waist made for a lovely bright colour accent. 
The main focal point for me was the sail against the dark interior of the boatyard.

In the afternoon, I went inside the boatyard and painted from the inside looking out.

For more information on Hunters heritage fleet of beautiful wooden sailing boats see here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ken's fruit and veg

Kens veg, Ludham
11" x 14"

I was on my way to a different painting spot with my friend Mo  when I saw this beautiful sight and came to a screeching halt. Coup de coeur! This kind of subject is just my cup of tea. So many interesting shapes to get stuck into, some terrific shadows, an interesting colour palette and even lettering - tralala! Not to mention the warm feel good factor of homegrown fruit and veg for sale in a humble shed in a village, everything rustic and home made and just right.

I didn't even go into the shed as I was so busy painting but I did sample some very nice produce as I worked with the sun on the back of my neck. Yes it was a great experience for me.

Ken came back in his van and seemed delighted that I was painting his fruit and veg shop. He wandered across the road a few times to check on progress, and I had chats with walkers who were passing by.

Started with marking out the major shapes

Quickly moved onto colour and value, trying to 'nail it' in the first hit

Fun with all the little signs!

Work in situ, beautiful day and great fun!

Apparently Ken would have liked to buy the painting when he saw it in the evening exhibition, but the price was rather out of his league. I asked my lovely friend Kate if she might be able to produce a print of a photo of the painting for him and look what she did - a lovely print and framed as well. He looks over the moon with it! Well done Kate x

Happy Ken with his colour print :-)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Water gardens

Dappled light at the water gardens
8" x 10"

I was in Norfolk last week painting with friends and taking part in the 'Brush with the Broads' painting festival. It's the third year of the festival and we had as glorious weather as we have enjoyed the previous years. Norfolk seems to be the place to be at the end of September! 

This little painting took place at Fairhaven water gardens. I didn't have very much time there but it was a magical place, a beautiful wooded glade with a network of little rivers and larger lakes. 
I would like to come back here and paint another time, I really like the challenge of the little glimpses of light here and there amongst all the dense foliage.

Painting in situ

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition 2016

Top two works by Peter Wileman
Mine are underneath

I had a great day in London yesterday at the preview of the Royal Society of Marine Artists annual exhibition. It's always a show that I enjoy and this year is the society's 50th anniversary of royal status so the RSMA have taken all three gallery spaces at the Mall Galleries.

Although there is a wide variety of painting styles and mediums to be seen here all the works are unified by a marine theme. I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to exhibit work with the RSMA for the last four years and I love to come to the preview day and catch up with many painting friends. 

This year the Mall Galleries have chosen my painting of the fishermens shelter in Portscatho to produce as a greetings card which is now available from the Mall Galleries bookshop. It makes a very sweet little square card!

I also couldn't resist buying this oil painting of children crabbing at Walberswick by Raymond Leech. I'm really looking forward to being able to enjoy it every day at home.

If you can get to London before the exhibition closes on the 8th October I would urge you to go and see the show for yourself. There are various artists demonstrating in the galleries throughout the exhibition.

If you can't get to London you can see (and indeed purchase) many of the paintings in the exhibition here.

Fishermens shelter

Redwings at Looe

Front of card

Back of card

Crabbers at work, Walberswick
by Raymond Leech

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Leaning sheds and allotment hens

 Leaning sheds and allotment hens
Leaning sheds and allotment hens
Oils 8" x 12"

Do you see what the hens were doing when I painted this one? They were queuing up to take turns in that lovely dust bath, so funny.

I really loved the strong lean on these characterful sheds and yes, I may have over emphasised the extent to which they leant ever so slightly ;-)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sunny afternoon with the hens

Sunny afternoon with the hens

I had a gorgeous few days with these hens earlier in the summer. This is one of four or five paintings I did there - I can't be happier than sunshine+sheds+hens... except possibly for snow+sheds+hens! I'll try to get back here in autumn and winter as it's not a subject I ever tire of. 

Yes it is tricky because they're moving all the time but if you hang around a while you can usually spot another hen in a similar position which helps. I love being around hens, their presence is so calming. 

You can find out how this painting might be yours on my website here :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Staithes rooftops

Staithes rooftops

This was worth walking up a hill and missing breakfast for... although I did have second thoughts once I was set up and began to draw in the complicated arrangement of shapes. When I say 'draw' I do mean with the brush and paint. With an architectural type subject I start with a linear sketch-in with a smallish brush, but I am always keen to move onto large value shapes as soon as I can. With a subject like this it's too easy to get lost in detail at the expense of the mood or get so worried about accuracy that you run out of time and lose the light. Luckily I had a strict time deadline which got me reaching for the big brushes and I got what I was after here.

This painting is now available to purchase at Staithes art gallery.

There is a brush set with ten of the brushes that I most commonly use available from Rosemary & Co. Click here for details :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Early morning glare

Early morning glare, Staithes

When I'm teaching in Staithes I tend to get up early so that I can get a painting (even two sometimes) under my belt before the teaching day starts at 9.00am. Well with views like this, it would be rude not to wouldn't it?  :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fishing boat at Staithes

Fishing boat at Staithes

I have had a fantastic summer, I hope you have too. I've got so much to show you from June through to the end of August that I thought it was high time I wrote a blog post or two... for those who are not avid Instagram users!

Here's one of my favourites from my teaching trip to Staithes in June. The attraction was the light coming through those buoys and even though it clouded over soon after I started I had sketched out the shape of the shadow cast by the boat and managed to stick to the effect of the sunlight. You wouldn't know that my group, who were watching me paint this were actually shivering with cold by the time I'd finished! I don't tend to notice the cold because I get so involved with solving the problems in the painting ;-)

Next year I'm going to be taking two courses for the Staithes art school, one in June and one in July. If you are interested in coming please contact Al straight away via the website because places are already booking up so quickly. The dates aren't on the website yet for next year but it's probably best to enquire now because it may be too late if you wait. It's a very special weekend and I'd love to see you there :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fishermens shelter and London workshop

Fishermens shelter
Oils 14" x 18"

I had the immense pleasure of spending a couple of days in the fishermens shelter in Portscatho last year, when I put on a little pop-up exhibition with The Harbour Gallery. I was really inspired by the large window overlooking the sea and the way the sunlight came into the room. I did paint this view while I was there but I always felt that I had another one in me. 
Now I've painted this larger version in the studio and I'm really happy with it. It's one of six paintings that I'm framing up at the moment to send for selection to the Mall Galleries for the annual Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition. 

This August I'm going to be running a day workshop at the Mall Galleries in London about 'Capturing the essence', talking about the ways I use simplification in my work. What is important to include and what can be left out?

Friday, July 8, 2016

East view interior

Red sail at East view

Well of course... it's the first thing I noticed when I walked in to this beautiful fishermens cottage in Staithes... a big red sail in the window. What a beautiful cottage and a beautiful subject. I painted this in situ with my small antique pochade box but I'm keen to also paint a version in the studio at a later date. I love love love coastal cottages :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Good morning heartbreak

Good morning heartbreak
Another painting of Dottys tearoom, this time I used my little antique pochade box and one of my students from the Staithes art school weekend workshop kindly offered to pose for me after another customer whom I'd started painting had left. 

I decided to name the painting after one of the songs that was playing at the time, and when we discovered that it was Billie Holiday's 'Good morning heartbreak' it seemed perfect!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Dottys tearoom

Dottys tearooms
10" x 8"

If I lived in the area, Dottys tearoom vintage shop and boutique in Staithes would definitely be my regular haunt. I do recommend a visit if you're exploring the North Yorkshire coast.

I painted this especially for a magazine article I was writing for The Artist magazine, called 'How finished is finished?'
In it I discuss ways that might help to avoid overworking a painting - firstly you need to know what you want to say in the painting and then it is easier to know when you have said it. 
And yes, that is all easier said than done!
The article will be published in the September issue of the magazine I think, which will be in UK stores in August.

‘A fine suggestion, a sketch with great feeling, can be as expressive as the most finished project’ Eugene Delacroix

International subscriptions to the Artist magazine are available here -

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lyme Regis harbour

Lyme Regis harbour
8" x 10"

While we're on a maritime theme here's a little plein air study from beautiful Lyme Regis a couple of weeks ago. I was in Somerset for a demo and I was in Lyme Regis just to have a lovely day with my good friend Jean Stevens. And fish and chips, of course. We got dive bombed by seagulls, boy are they big and scary when they swoop down on your head!

Managed one painting and I loved the view from up here. Although it was a really bright day it was very breezy. So much so that it was one of those sessions that you really can't place a brushwork exactly where you want it because the wind takes your arm.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Evening light, Harwich

Evening light, Harwich
24 x 30 cms

At the end of the first day of teaching in Harwich (a chilly day with a strong north-easterly wind) I took my paints back out to the Quayside. It wasn't weather conditions for the faint hearted, but once I'd seen this subject well... I couldn't care less about the practical difficulties. I just get so excited and carried away... I only noticed I was shivering with cold when I was packing up afterwards.

I LOVED the red flags and of course the dazzling light on the sea. It was a real challenge because the boat was silhouetted against the water but there was still colour to be seen within that silhouetted shape, but very very muted. Even the bright red flags had to actually be painted as dirty reddish greys. A great learning experience, and I was really happy with the end result and happy that I'd earned my hot dinner.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...