This is where my latest work can be seen including step-by-step progress reports, news and merchandising as well as features on artists, living and dead who I would like to draw people's attention to. Please note all my images are covered by International Copyright laws. Copyright to other artists images resides with the artist or their estate, their inclusion on this blog a result of my missionary zeal and to no profit for myself!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Siren's Dawn

The final painting that I have been just able to finish in time to take to Illuxcon.
A mermaid combs her hair as she lies on a rock on a deserted shore line in the soft early morning light. She has suddenly turned around as she notices a distant ship on the horizon, the next victims for the red-haired femme fatale?
This painting is really all about the sky. I always saw her in my mind's eye as semi-silhouetted against the sky looking towards the distant ship. The model as usual is the lovely Naomi Wood.
I wanted to avoid a corny sunrise/set painting so I set the time as dawn is breaking, the first rays of the morning sun yet to shine on the mermaid and the foreground landscape.
It was painted on a stretched Winsor & Newton "Maritime" canvas but I added two more layers of oil primer sanding between coats to fill in the weave a bit to get it nearer to my preferred surface, linen.
I used mainly transparent colours for the sky so as to help it recede into the background, painting it in layers so as to build them up until I had the right balance of transparency and opacity.
Oil on canvas 39 1/2" x 15 1/2".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog

Monday, 2 October 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 13

Over yesterday and this morning I am hoping that I have done enough so that on my return to the studio on Thursday it will just be a matter of a couple of hours work to finish the painting.
I really want to take this to Illuxcon but it will be tight if it is to be dry on Friday for me to scan it and then pack into a box to send to America.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 12

Put in some work into the figure and rock she is lying on in the couple of hours that I had this afternoon on returning to my studio. I have slimmed her hips down a little bit and am hoping that I have enough done on her to be able to pretty much finish her tomorrow, indeed it is still touch and go as to being finished in time to take to Illuxcon.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 11

I realised late yesterday that the sky still didn't make sense so I resolved this morning to break up the clouds at top into smaller shapes and knock them back a bit so that they don't occupy the same distance from the viewer as the small darker clouds at left.
This is all I can get done this morning as I now have to be away from the studio until Saturday.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 10

Kind of finished the sky barring a few tweaks later on perhaps and then I made a start on the sea as well as blocking in the land and mermaid.
It's touch and go as whether I finish this to take to Illuxcon but I will carry on and try to get it finished in the limited time I have available, if I find I am rushing it too much then I will leave it as I don't want to compromise quality and handicap a potential sale later on.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 9

Whilst away from the studio I realised that the sky was not getting across how I wanted it to look and consequently decided to make more use of the panoramic format by running the horizontal clouds right across the width of the canvas. I then resolved to separate the sky into three sections that each occupy a part of the sky that recede into the distance. I am now trying to have the nearer, darker clouds at the left in front of the lighter horizontal ones with the other clouds at top right and centre that are catching the dawn light separated also from the horizontal ones (haven't done these yet). The sky is also too saturated and too cool so I will have to put a few glazes over later.
I doubt if I will have this finished in time for sending to Illuxcon and don't want to f*** it up by trying to hurry it!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 8

Again, not really a stage, just the progress this morning made on refining the sky before leaving the studio back on Monday. The difference between stage 7 and 8 is quite subtle as I have just been changing some shapes and directions of clouds-the sky must hang together as a real sky, the nearer clouds darker against the further ones.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 7

I changed my mind about the sky after making a start on putting in the sunrise light onto the clouds when I realised it was heading towards a (to me) corny sunrise/sunset painting, something I try and avoid. So instead of the pink clouds spreading across the sky at right I am just going to have the light hitting the clouds in the centre of the sky with the rest of the clouds in shadow. I left it at this point as the light in the studio was getting bad and it was a good point to stop and look at getting the cloud shapes right in tomorrow morning's session.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 6

I had enough time this afternoon on returning to my studio to paint in the beginnings of the clouds, making sure to use transparent colours as I discovered recently that this gives the best approximation to how clouds look in the sky. All you need to do is paint them in transparent layers until you feel that you have the right balance of opacity to transparency. Consequently I used a mix of Zinc White, Ultramarine Blue, Ultramarine Violet and Permanent Orange, all Michael Harding colours.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 5

Not really a stage as such, just the result of an hour and a half's work this morning before I am away from the studio back on Wednesday.
I have just smoothed out the gradations in the sky and put a little bit of work into the clouds near the horizon.
Hoping to have some fun painting the clouds when I get back to the studio!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stages 3 & 4

Stage 3

I first put in some more undercolour into the sky after strengthening the lines on the figure and then blocked in some more tonal undercolour into the foreground, resolving the shape of the rock that the figure is lying on in the process. I mixed Liquin and Lukas Number 5 Medium into the sky colours hoping that they would dry quicker but alas they were still tacky in the afternoon.

In the afternoon session I still carried on making a start on the sky which I had to curtail as I needed the top of the painting dry before I could properly continue. I am trying to not make the sky too dark as I want it to look quite delicate and soft in the morning light.
I forgot to mention in the post for Stage 1 that I gave the Winsor & Newton canvas two extra coats of oil primer, sanding between coats to fill in the weave a bit to try and get the surface nearer to linen, my preferred working base.

Stage 4

A Sidestreet In Madurai sold

"A Sidestreet In Madurai" was sold last week direct to a buyer in the USA who has now bought at least four paintings over the past twelve months.
This was painted in 2013 after a visit to South India in which I wanted to get across the scruffy charm of a street that really could be anywhere in India with it's typical mix of worn colourfully painted surfaces, interesting street furniture and poor drainage!
A step-by-step process article about this painting featured in Artists & Illustrators magazine the following year.
Oil on board 36" x 18".

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 2

I just had time this morning to put down some undercolour before leaving the studio for a few days, back on Friday.
With a rag I washed in the beginnings of the sky using mixes of Lemon Yellow, Manganese Blue, Kings Blue Light, Indian Yellow, Permanent Orange and Brilliant Pink, all Michael Harding colours.
Although the foreground will be in cool blues I have washed in a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet over this area as red/browns sit very nicely under blues and violets.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 1

At long last I am getting on with another painting after nearly a month of tweaking earlier paintings and sorting out things on my new computer. I am hoping to have this ready to take to Illuxcon but it will be a close thing and probably will be shown unframed if I do take it along.
This painting is really all about the sky and lighting to set the mood and at this first stage it is impossible to see what I envisage. I am hoping to wash in some tone on the foreground as well as the background colours in the sky tomorrow morning, at this point it will hopefully become more apparent as to how it is going to look.
The mermaid/siren has suddenly seen the distant ship on the horizon in the early morning light as she combs her hair. I saw her in my mind viewed from below so that she is silhouetted against the sky. The model was the lovely Naomi Wood.
This stage has been "drawn" up with a thin bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Lack of activity...

Apologies for the current lack of posts, I am still only occasionally in my studio and have been prioritising my time on sorting out my computer. I am planning a mermaid painting as possibly the last painting to take to Illuxcon in October and am hoping to make a start on it next week! 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Midnight Mahal

As part of the current exercise in tweaking some recent pictures I have slightly changed "Midnight Mahal" by putting in an indication of the moon in the sky at near top right as well as putting in a few more moonlit highlights on the Taj itself. The colour is more blue than it appears here but again this is another hard painting to photograph.

Original painting

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

60,000 page hits

I am pleased to report that my blog has just exceeded 60,000 page hits...

Moonlight In The Seraglio...again

OK OK I've finished tweaking it now! I returned to the studio yesterday and finally realised what was bugging me about the top of the picture, I didn't like the shapes of the dark foreground against the moonlit background. To this end I darkened off the arches and merged them more into the curtains, this added some more contrast which makes it work better spatially and breaks up the awkward way the curtains met the top edge of the picture.

Due to my father having another fall I will be around less in the studio for a while so please understand the relative lack of activity on this blog!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Moonlight In The Seraglio

Although I thought that I had finished repainting "Moonlight In The Seraglio" yesterday I was looking at it this morning and I realised that I could improve it by darkening the interior. To this end I painted a Violet/Blue glaze over all of the mid-ground interior and over the shadows of the buildings on the background. This I think separates the interior from the outside and gives a bit more of an interesting tonal design to the picture by accentuating the shape of the area lit by moonlight in the  background.
This is a hard painting to photograph so you will have to wait until Illuxcon to see what it actually looks like!
I will be away from the studio now until Thursday although due to my father having another fall yesterday, things are more uncertain...

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Moonlight In The Seraglio repainted

Something has bugged me about this painting for some time and I decided that if it was to be of a good enough standard to take to Illuxcon I needed to do something about it. I finally realised that it was the perspective in the foreground and the awkward space of carpet between the figure and the immediate foreground. The area that she occupied in space was wrong and it looked as though the divan was at some crazy angle to the floor. I didn't want to repaint the whole figure so I resolved to try and sort it out so that although it wouldn't be perfect at least it would make more sense, to which end I positioned her on a different divan that was at a different angle to the floor. I then added some other details such as an incense burner and a cushion and slightly repainted the figure.
I hope that this has resolved the situation!
Oil on linen 18" x 24".

Original painting

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Moonlight In The Seraglio/Midnight Bay

Original painting
I have carried on with tweaking these two paintings to get them ready for Illuxcon with "Midnight Bay" now finished. I gave it two glazes of a green/blue (Winsor Green and Prussian Blue) to darken areas and strengthen the contrast.
Due to the extensive reworking of the foreground in "Moonlight In The Seraglio" I am still working on this one, hopefully finishing it tomorrow morning before I leave the studio for a few days, back on Saturday.

Reworked painting   

Monday, 24 July 2017

Moonlight In The Seraglio

New Version
In order to get some paintings to a state that I am happy with to take to Illuxcon I am repainting or adjusting a number of paintings including "Midnight Mahal", "Midnight Bay"and "Moonlight In The Seraglio".
With "Moonlight In The Seraglio" there has been something bugging me about it for some time and have finally realised what it was, the perspective in the foreground. With that in mind I have made a start on correcting it by placing the figure on a different divan and at a different angle. I have also repainted the foreground pillar perspective so that the different components of the foreground will make more sense in terms of the space they occupy.

Original painting

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Midnight Keep

This is the last of the five nocturnes all with the word "Midnight" in the title. I wanted to get away from the more monochromatic blues of the previous four and decided to go for a warmer and more varied palette based on a red/orange - green/blue complementary colour axis. I decided to do a painting mixing the influences of the Hudson River School in terms of scale and grandeur and Atkinson Grimshaw for it's moonlit lighting and colour.
The composition is loosely based on the Rule Of Thirds making sure that the landscape features were asymmetrical to offset the centrally placed figure although I wasn't sure whether to include a figure at the outset - the lovely Naomi Wood was the model as usual! This will be a painting that I intend to show at Illuxcon in October.
Oil on canvas 39" x 16". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 15

Not really a stage, it just shows the work I managed to get done this morning on the moonlit foreground sand and water before I packed up to leave the studio, back on Wednesday/Thursday to finish off the painting.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Spirit Of The Falls sold

"Spirit Of The Falls" has just sold through Asgard Arts. It was painted for exhibition at Illuxcon in 2014. Oil on canvas 39.5" x 16".

Midnight Keep - stage 14

I was hoping to finish it on this visit to the studio but I reckon even with the work I'll do on it tomorrow morning it will still have to wait until my next visit on Wednesday/Thursday this coming week. I don't want to hurry it and f*** it up as I am quite happy with how it's shaping up.
I have put in some underpainting on the figure and then worked on the sand and rocks in the foreground. All of the landscape is from my imagination which in one way makes it quick to paint but also entails painting out bits I'm not happy with which of course then adds to the time to get the picture finished. The moonlit area of the sand and rocks is still unresolved and hoping to sort most of that out tomorrow morning - I want to keep the warmth of colour but still make it look like moonlight.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 13

In the couple of hours I had this morning before leaving the studio (back Friday) I was able to rough in enough of the foreground water and sand to act as a good basis to work over when I return.
The tones are tricky here and have worked out that I need some sort of neutral mid-tone for the sand as the water reflections will have very dark and very light areas in the moonlight, although I want to keep the sand in warm colours nearest to the area directly under the moon.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 12

When I returned to the studio yesterday I made a start on the foreground water ripples in the sand but scrubbed them off later on as I didn't think they worked but I was glad that I had made a start as I now know how I want them to be. Today I decided to get on with finishing the cliffs, pillar and towers as this will help me with decisions on water/sand ripple shapes tomorrow morning.
Although this is a night painting I want the picture to be relatively flooded with moonlight so that it has a special atmosphere, influenced by Atkinson Grimshaw although you wouldn't necessarily know that from looking at the finished painting.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 11

In the few hours that I had this morning I decided to just paint a glaze over the cliffs at right before making a start on the central pillar of rock with the castle keep on top that gives the painting it's name. I have also decided to keep the figure so I have put a tone over it to give an idea what the final picture will look like. Back in the studio on Sunday...

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 10

This actually shows the progress that I have made yesterday and today - I have pretty much finished the background and have made great progress on the nearer cliffs at left and right. I have stopped now for the paint to dry as I will probably finish them off tomorrow morning before I go away from the studio, back on Sunday. I intend to finish them with some dark glazes.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Art Renewal Center

My copy of the 12th International ARC Salon Competition Catalogue arrived this week in which I have two paintings included in the Landscape category, "Cool Constantinople" and "The Gilded Prison" on page 160. It's nice to be in the company of a wide range of respected artists and am looking forward to entering this year as I have a number of figurative works to try in the Figurative or Portrait categories too.
The competition is organised by the Art Renewal Center in the USA which has been established to promote Realism in the visual arts. This is the second year running that I have had work included.


Thursday, 29 June 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 9

Again not really much of a stage, it's just the progress I made this morning before I leave the studio, back on Tuesday next week. I put a green/blue glaze over the sky and background mountains (apart from the light area around the moon) and then sorted a bit more out on the line of mountain with the waterfall - the whole of this painting apart from the figure is painted from imagination with all the shapes of clouds, rocks and mountains painted in as I go along.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 8

Since my return to the studio yesterday afternoon I have pretty much finished the sky bar a glaze or two (waiting until there is more landscape finished) and the mid-ground mountains bar the area around the waterfall; I am planning on some glazes to go over most of the landscape but need to get more painted in otherwise I will misjudge the values.
Something was bugging me about the area around the moon and fortunately while looking at a photo of the painting on my iPhone while I was away I realised that I had the perspective of the clouds wrong. The lower clouds were painted like they were near the horizon but of course in this picture it is much lower so once I had sorted that out I was able to get on with the rest of the painting.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 7

Not really a stage as such, just the work I was able to get done on the sky this morning before packing up to leave the studio, back on Tuesday. There will be a couple of glazes over the sky once I am happy with the area around the moon.

Firefox won't let me upload the photo so this is just a post to say I will be back on Tuesday to carry on with the painting!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Midnight Keep - stages 4 - 6

Stage 4
I wanted to block in a lot of colour today so that I can see where it's going. The first stage was to get some sky painted in with mixes of King's Blue Light, Phthalocyanine Blue and Green, Permanent Orange and Lemon Yellow. I decided that it would look more interesting if I put in some clouds after originally seeing it as a cloudless sky. In stage two I blocked in the distant mountains with the moonlight hitting the ice on the peaks and lower lying clouds. 
In stage three I blocked in most of the rest of the painting with transparent mixes of Phthalocyanine Blue and Burnt Sienna. This now gives me a good idea of the general look of the painting and want to leave it now and look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow morning.

Stage 5

Stage 6

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 3

When I returned to the studio this afternoon I decided to give the whole painting another wash with a rag of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine. It is a moonlight painting so it would be darker with less contrast and I want a warm cast to the whole picture which I hope to achieve by the brown underpainting showing through the top coats of paint. The distant mountains are to appear quite ghostly just being lit by the moonlight - planning to start the sky and mountains tomorrow.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 2

With a rag I washed in an initial tonal underpainting of a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine. This gives a very rough idea of the lighting design with the lightest areas being the moonlit sky and reflections in the beach at low tide although the shapes won't be so defined in the background as I intend to have banks of fog and cloud lit by the full moon, but generally speaking the area at right of centre will be the lightest. The painting will be based around a red/orange - green/blue complementary colour axis.
I will be away from the studio now until Thursday when I hope to make a start on the sky and block in some more tone in the dark areas.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Midnight Keep - stage 1

The last of the series of five nocturnes this one is going to be much more colourful than the previous ones as I am going to paint it as though it's a combination of Atkinson Grimshaw and Albert Bierstadt of the Hudson River School. This first stage was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine. The next stage, which I was hoping to do today but it took longer to draw up than I had planned for, is quite crucial in that I am going to block in some tone which will determine the lighting design for the painting, this will now be done tomorrow morning. There will be a full moon in the sky which will illuminate the landscape with much warmer colours than I have so far used in this series, these colours being very influenced by the Victorian painter Atkinson Grimshaw. I have put a small figure in the foreground which may or may not make it to the final painting.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Midnight Mahal

The fourth in a series of five nocturnes, this one was conceived to be very dark with no light source showing so the colours have to be pretty saturated to make it look interesting. It is based on reference photos I took at the Taj Mahal when I went to India last year. This is an imagination of how it would look on a barely moonlit night, although it is very hard to photograph and doesn't really show how the finished picture looks, it is darker and moodier than it appears here with much more of a blue/green cast to the colour. As the painting is pretty dark getting the values right was crucial and I can only hope that the scan will show it better (when it's dry).
18" x 24" oil on linen. There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Midnight Mahal - stage 9

I have painted over two glazes of Phthalocyanine Green and Blue thinned with Liquin and Lukas Number 5 Medium, once in the morning and another in the later afternoon. In tomorrow morning's session before I am away for a few days from the studio (back Saturday) I need to paint another glaze over certain areas to bring back some volume to the building as well as darkening the sky.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Midnight Mahal - stage 8

On my return to the studio this afternoon I managed to get it ready for the blue/green glazes tomorrow by finishing off the foreground trees and undergrowth. As ever the painting looks much more blue/green than it appears here, it may be that I will only get a good representation of this painting when I scan it but of course I have to wait until it's dry for that.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Midnight Mahal - stage 7

In the couple of hours I had this morning before leaving the studio for a few days (back on Monday) I have corrected the size of a few trees and put in some more distant ones to show the size of the building better and to break up the lines of the distant path. I was hoping to have it ready for the first blue/green glaze on my return but there was too much to do so will have to postpone finishing the trees etc until Monday and paint the glazes over the next two days of my stay.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Midnight Mahal - stage 6

Once again I have to state that the colours are not like how it looks here and are in fact all variations of blue/green -  hopefully the scan should be more accurate but that will have to wait until it's finished and dry!
Basically spent the whole day getting it ready for the blue/green glazes which I was hoping to make a start on tomorrow but instead I will finish off getting ready for the glazes tomorrow so they will go on next time I'm here (Monday 12 June).
As I say the painting will be a lot more saturated and darker than it appears here...