Friday, 31 May 2013

High Summer by the Welland

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

This one's a demo I did today at Brinsley Art Group, a lovely crowd of folks. This is how far I got after the allotted two hours - got the basics down, but needs a bit of refining back in the studio, but thought you'd like to see it 'in the raw' before it's titivated.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Rusty Barn in the Exe Valley

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

A pretty dull day in the Exe Valley this, but the inspiration for the painting was that beautiful orange rusty roof of the barn nestling amongst the farmstead, like a jewel in an otherwise green landscape.

Sometimes, painting a flatly-lit scene can be interesting, as was the case here, in capturing the close tones with little contrast, with, perhaps, the hint that the sun might just break through the clouds.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Kingfisher on the Teign

Pastel on Clairefontaine Pastelmat, 13 x 19 inches

Here's my Pastel painting from yesterday's demo at the Sock Gallery in Loughborough.  This was how far I got after 2.5 hours work in front of a massive crowd of 6 or 7.........people.  I shall probably refine it a bit back in the studio, but the basic groundwork's been done.

I don't find Pastel the ideal medium for this sort of scene, with so much green foliage, but painting the water was good fun, with broad downward strokes of Pastel and a few judicious horizontal swipes here and there.  Oil would be my preferred medium to describe such greens of the trees, having the facility to mix so many subtly different greens, rather than relying on the somewhat inadequate Pastel sticks available, but I like a challenge, masochistically!

N.B. I've added an updated pic having refined the painting here and there and added a Kingfisher as just a smudge of electric blue, which is usually what you see if you're lucky enough to see one flash past you.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Great artists in their own words

Well done BBC - yet another hour-long homage to modern 'art'.  It's been a while since I've had a rant about the garbage that the BBC's open door policy to the talentless takes great delight in thrusting down our throats.  The UK has a plethora of brilliant painters, never mind the rest of the world, yet virtually none is ever portrayed by our national broadcasting service.  

Unless I am very much mistaken, I believe that the VAST majority of the viewing public would much rather watch an hour of a great modern painter actually painting en plein air or in the studio, instead of watching some pillock piling up rocks, or tipping water down a rockface, or putting a cow's head in a glass case with a million flies, or embroidering the names of all their conquests on a tent, or wrapping the Reichtstag in silk sheets, or staging a happening, or making another 'installation'....need I go on?  

We do occasionally get a retrospective of Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir etc., if there happens to be an exhibition at the National Gallery, but why no modern great painters, like Curtis, Brown or Howard?  You would think, if you watched the BBC, that all art made these days is the sh-t that graces the walls of the Tate. Depressing, when there is SO much brilliant art out there that NEVER gets a look in on our TV screens.  Grrrrrrr!  Rant over.

Demo at Loughborough!

Just in case any of you are near the area, I shall be painting a Devon woodland river scene in Pastels 'live' in the Sock Gallery in Loughborough Town Hall, tomorrow, Thursday 23rd May, between 10am to 12.30pm-ish (knowing me I'll go over, like Ken Dodd!) as part of the Leicestershire Pastel Society exhibition.

Entry is FREE - now short of me paying you to come and watch (and that's not going to happen), you can't get much cheaper than that!

I have two paintings on show in the Gallery, along with all the other members' work - well worth a look.  The exhibition is on until July 2nd, but why not come along tomorrow and see me - I'm the same approachable chap I always was way back before I became a global megastar, ha ha.....

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

No Tobogganning

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

This is a glorious, panoramic view over Dartmoor that I've painted for my Devon exhibition in November.  I was immediately drawn to the wind-carved old tree with its dark under-canopy and vivid Spring foliage, set against the ever-receding blue tones of the vast distance below in the valley, spotted with little cottages in the Dartmoor villages.

I started painting the backdrop, using more blue and white in the mixes of my three primary colours for the distant hills, fields and trees, then added more red and yellow and less white as I painted the ones nearer the foreground, thus portraying the illusion of three dimensions to the painting, hopefully. If you pay close attention to the relative tones and colours, that illusion of depth will be created.

The title?  Well, that sign on the five-bar gate reads 'Please do not toboggan in these fields'! 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Summer Reflections

 Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches
I painted this one as a demo for the Crown Hills Art Society in Leicester last week.  You can see how far I got in just under two hours before finishing it off in the studio today.
It's one of my favourite painting spots near Duddington by the River Welland, where its course has a double bend in it and is wide and slow-moving.  To capture the effect of the gorgeous, slightly disturbed reflections by the gentle summer breeze, I employed the texture of the gessoed surface, by dragging a sparingly loaded brush of the light, sky colour across the darker tree reflection in the centre, giving that broken look, hopefully!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Incoming Tide, Mousehole

 Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches

Here's another one of Mousehole Harbour, this time down on the foreshore at boat level, with the tide lapping in. 

The morning light was gorgeous, lighting up the yellow tarpaulin on the left-hand boat, with some sparkly bits on the sandy mud which I dragged in using a palette knife over the tacky underpainting.  The right-leaning mast of the boat was at a perfect angle to push the eye out through the walls to the distant shore and gentle, scudding clouds.  I also loved the beautiful greeny reflections of the harbour walls, with the bottom weeds and ropes still visible.

Boats have a lot more fiddly bits on them than trees, quite labour-intensive actually, the way I paint anyway.  I'm yet to figure out how to paint all those bits more loosely!  All in all, it's a very colourful painting and perhaps would have made a good larger one. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Wildlife Abounds!

 Up at 6 this morning, I trolled down to Barnsdale Wood by the shores of Rutland Water, arriving at 6.30 to catch the early morning light. I heard the barking of a Muntjac straight away, then within a few minutes heard some cracking of twigs and realised I was being watched by a small herd of Fallow Deer, above.  
About a hundred yards further on, I heard more movement and spotted a Muntjac Deer scampering away, the large, white tuft on his rump flashing as he bounded off.

A few minutes later I stopped, scanned around looking for a good composition for a painting, then spotted a face looking at's dead centre, above.  Yes, it's a Fox!  He had spied me before I him.  I moved two steps towards him and he about turned and was off up the hill, giving me a flashing glimpse of his rufus back.  I've cropped the photo to give a better look, below:
Then, on getting back to the studio, I fed the birds, had some breakfast, then watched a very healthy-looking Hedgehog come out of the undergrowth on to the lawn before scuttling back into his daytime hideout.  So, what did you see before 7 this morning?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Traffic Lights, Mousehole Harbour

Oil on Board, 9 x 12 inches

Here's another one of Mousehole, from almost the same spot as the last one.  It was 6am and with the sun very low in the sky, I loved the effect it had on different coloured buoys, lighting them up like traffic lights, hence the title.  It was a bit fiddly putting so much into a small panel, but I enjoyed it just the same.  I do love the juxtaposition of the intensely lit reflections and edges of the boats, set against the dark of the harbour walls and hulls of the boats in shadow - makes for a dynamic painting, hopefully!

Through the Gap, Mousehole

Oil on Board, 7 x 10 inches

I know you've all been waiting, but I've given up on the watercolours for now.  Having been selling very well lately, I'm very pleased to say my oils and pastels are in demand, so I can't afford to spend any more time trying stuff outside my comfort zone (sorry Colin!).  I really want to have some time off and have a full-blown, concerted effort at watercolours to try and get them up to exhibition standard.
Anyway, here's an oil of glorious Mousehole in deepest Cornwall.  I painted this one 'en plein air' about four years ago, stored it away and dug it out yesterday to finish off, so here it is.  I'm doing a few Mousehole paintings for the Little Picture Gallery,,  a wonderful gallery run by Paul and Judy Joel in Mousehole, so stand by for more.....