Friday, 27 April 2012


Pastel 16 x 13 inches 

I painted this portrait of this very distinguished, regal lady last week in the middle of completing the final few Oils for my Devon exhibition.  Normally, painting commissions during exhibition work is impossible, but when I visited Maisie in her home, I was blown away by seeing my paintings on virtually every wall in every room!  It was like an entire Peter Barker Retrospective exhibition in one house!  I was so humbled that her owners were such avid fans and collectors of some 40-45 of my efforts over the years, that I just had to fit Maisie in to my schedule somehow for her master's 50th birthday.

Her mistress kindly granted permission for her inclusion on my Blog, saying that Maisie is a real tart and craves attention and would love to 'go viral', so here she is, launched on to the internet!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Fresh Snowfall

 Oil on board, 6 x 8 inches  SOLD

I had a special request to paint a snowy subject in this size, so here it is. I do love wintry scenes; the almost monochromatic colours, but with subtle shifts of tones. We don't get many opportunities to paint snow in this country, but when it comes, it has a special allure for me.  This is my local river, the Welland, by the shallower rapids where I frequently wade across when it isn't in spate as it is here. I particularly loved the mauve far bank, thrown into shadow by the bright sunlight, especially the triangle-shaped old fencepost and vegetation.

This is the last painting for my exhibition at Marine House Gallery in Beer, Devon next month - 36 in total - I'm like Ken Dodd - I never know when to stop.  My hand has been a blur these last few months, and now I can sit back and relax for a day and do my VAT Return, lucky me, before starting on the next exhibition later this year.

You can see all the paintings in the Marine House exhibition, starting Saturday 5th May, by clicking this link to the Gallery's website:

Friday, 20 April 2012

Autumn Oak

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches

This magnificent English Oak in its glorious Autumn garb made a lovely little cameo, set against the backdrop of the bluey-grey distant trees. I dotted in a few sheep to add a little interest, but the simplicity attracted my eye.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Field of Scarlet

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches

I know, it's a bit twee, but this was one of those "have you seen that poppy field" fields near my studio - one that everyone talks about and you can see for miles around.  I just had to paint it.  

Not much to say about it really - it is what it says on the tin. I made use of the cloud shadows throwing transitory darker bands across the distant fields and just over the horizon of scarlet blooms on the right hand side, just to break up the monotony.  In fact, I nearly called it Cloud Shadows, but that would have been a bit too deliberately obtuse I think.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Quiet Spring Day

Oil on board, 6 x 8 inches

The gentle Spring sunlight pervaded the wood, providing soft shadows.  This is the sort of light I love, rather than strong sunlight that gives harsh shadows and strong contast.

I changed the actual scene a little, moving the woodland path so that it didn't go straight out of the picture plane, and also put in the Silver Birch (which are great fun to paint) that wasn't actually there.  

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Marine House Exhibition

There are still four more 6x8 paintings to complete for my exhibition next month at Marine House Gallery in Beer, but all the paintings you have seen on my Blog recently, are now for sale and can be seen on the gallery's website (2 pages) by clicking on this link: 
If you are intending buying one of my masterpieces, and I'm pleased to say that they are already selling well on the day the Invitations will have been received by those of you who wanted one, please don't delay if you have a favourite and thank you very much from the bottom of my ISA!

Grazers by the River Coly

Oil on board, 6 x 8 inches

It was a rather dull, overcast day when I found this view of the River Coly in Devon, so, using a bit of artistic licence, I brightened the scene up a bit with some blue sky and cumulus clouds and a little more light on the fields and trees.  You can probably do that with Photoshop, but I prefer paint!


Evening Light, Beer Beach

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches  SOLD

This little painting was painted en plein air last month towards the end of the day, from a steep walkway looking down on the shingle beach, as the late evening sun dipped behind the instantly recognisable chalk cliffs.  I worked at a frantic pace, without any preliminary drawing, straight in with the paint to get down the shape of the cliff and the sweep of the beach and boats.  I largely finished it on site, apart from the boats and other bits and bobs, which I completed back in the studio.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Waders on the Strand, Towards Seaton

Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches  SOLD

This was in the early afternoon, with an amazing light effect looking towards Seaton from Axmouth.  A dark, cloudy sky with a few holes where the sun was bursting through and for a moment the Axe estuary was lit and the mud glowed brightly in the subdued atmosphere.  It was one of those fleeting light effects which I snapped quickly with my trusty digital camera and from which I had to make a painting.
Hundreds of waders and gulls were feeding on the strand restaurant, lined up all along the water line, taking their fill of the bounty beneath the mud - a bit like the fish and chip shop on a Friday night.  I particularly liked the greenish sunbeam in the left third of the painting, which I put in with a touch of Viridian. 

Cattle by the River Axe

Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches 

The house on the hill provided a nice little foil and alternative focal point to the lazy grazers here in Devon above the River Axe again. I haven't got the time to give you all an entertaining commentary I'm afraid, so you'll just have to read the paper or watch Jeremy Kyle with your cup of coffee, whilst I get on with the next one.......

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Balsam by the Axe

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

The River Axe winds its way down to the sea at Axmouth and Seaton in Devon, but meanwhile, back a couple of miles, here's a beautiful spot where freshwater vegetation adorns the banks.  The non-native Himalayan Balsam, very showy with its pink blooms, has taken over much of our waterways, but is nonetheless very colourful.  Up in my part of the world it is a little less brash with its pale pink coloured flowers, but here in Devon, it is very loud, a much more lurid pink.

This was a quiet, rather murky day, but the cloud was beginning to lift and the atmosphere was soft and hazy, so no contrasty darks and singing lights like the last painting below, Bluebells by the Teign. But this sort of atmosphere makes the distant woodland appear very blue.  You can go back to the same place in our great land and it never looks the same - how lucky am I being a painter?

Monday, 9 April 2012

Bluebells by the Teign

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

Throughout the Midlands, Bluebells grow in profusion in ancient woodland, and Where I live in Rutland, we have some fabulous Bluebell Woods.  However, in Devon and Cornwall, Bluebells seem to grow everywhere, and here they were growing right along the banks of the River Teign - absolutely unheard of where I live. 
This little painting was more about the water than the Bluebells mind you, with that gorgeous, glassy effect that the surface takes on when looking almost straight into the sunlight.  Quite a contrasty painting, with pretty dark darks next to the intense brightness of the pure reflected sunlight high in the composition.  This sort of fairly fast moving water is much more challenging to paint, and being very clear, the stones on the river bed can be clearly seen, adding yet another dimension to capturing just the reflections. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

September River

Oil on Belgian Linen Canvas, 20 x 28 inches

Another bright, summery painting for the show!  I liked the feel of this one, the colourful vegetation of high summer just 'going over' with the bright pink of Greater Willowherb and the more muted pinky-purple of Marsh, Spear and Creeping Thistle now finished flowering, replaced by their fluffy seed-heads forming beautiful blankets of cotton wool gossamer in the foreground.  The bright green of the reeds were also taking on some of their more rusty, Autumnal garb. 
The reflections were fun to paint and slow-moving, unruffled water, presents a very attractive scene to depict in Oil paint.  I also liked the way the backlight threw lovely shadows of the foreground reeds over the water, and how some of the sheep on the far bank were sunlit and others were in the shade of the hedge.  All these subtle little details add interest to the picture and make the whole more appealing, hopefully!  A red dot next month will confirm that!
If any of you who would like to attend the exhibition at the Marine House Gallery in Beer, Devon, opening day Saturday 5th May, and would like to receive an invitation, please email me at with your address, thank you!

Late Summer Grazers

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

This one was a demonstration piece I did last week to the Leicester Sketch Club.  In many ways I prefer painting the muted tones of winter, but the Gallery want summer paintings for my exhibition next month.  It won't be long now before we have the glorious hazy days of summer, so here's a reminder.
The demonstration was largely about noting tones - how the more distant trees appear increasingly bluer and paler the further into the distance they are, compared to the darker, greener, mid-distant ones.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Morning Light, Beer Beach

Oil on Belgian Linen Canvas, 20 x 30 inches

This leviathan has taken me ages to complete - there being so much in it, so many nuances of tone and colour and detail, phew!

I loved the glare of the morning sun on the water, and with a bit of artistic licence, I put the silhouetted figure looking down the steep shingle beach, in between the boats, almost obliterated by the intense light effect. I liked the way the rubber mat, crumpled up into interesting folds, and the rope and red foreground boat and other pots and paraphernalia, formed perspective lines towards the little boy with his dad.

One interesting effect here is the tone of the sky just above the horizon - it appears lighter on the left third of the picture, and darker above the sunlit water on the right two-thirds of the picture, but that is an optical illusion...if you click on the photo to enlarge and hold a piece of paper, or any straight edge up to obscure the sea, you will see that the tone and colur just above the sea is the same all along.  I love things like that - is it me?