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!

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...

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Midnight Mahal - stage 5

God this painting is hard to photograph! Had a couple of hours this afternoon after getting back to the studio to put in some contrasty underpainting on the Taj ready for the glazes to go on later. It needs contrast as many of the middle tones will disappear when the blue/green glazes go over it - this painting is meant to be dark but quite saturated in colour  and will not look like this when it is finished. I hope to finish the underpainting on the Taj tomorrow morning so that it will be dry for the first glaze the next day. The painting itself is more blue/green than it appears here.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Midnight Mahal - stage 4

Just a chance of a couple of hours work this morning before I leave the studio, back on Wednesday. I just worked on the dark areas, starting to work out the shape and design of them as they will become important later on as the painting develops. They are more solid than they appear here as they are difficult to photograph.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Midnight Mahal - stages 2 & 3

Stage 2
After posting yesterday I did indeed put some more foliage in front of the building before this morning with a rag, washing over the whole painting a mix of Phthalocyanine Green, Indranthene Blue, Ultramarine Violet and a touch of Permanent Orange to knock back the saturation, the whole mix thinned with Liquin, turpentine and Lukas Number 5 Medium so that it would be dry enough for the afternoon session. I also blocked in some of the dark shapes with this mixture.
Then in the afternoon I blocked in the sky with a mix of Emerald Green, Kings Blue Light, Phthalocyanine Turquoise, Indranthene Blue and Permanent Orange to moderate the saturation before going  over the dark shapes with another layer of the dark mix from this morning. I also added some Phthalocyanine Green to that dark mix and painted it over the grassy areas. I need to remember as I go through this painting that it is all about the lighting and intend it to be dark and dramatic with not too much light on the white marble, as if it was a moonless night, the whole picture in saturated blue/greens.

Stage 3
 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Midnight Mahal - stage 1

I couldn't quite fix in my mind how the next Atkinson Grimshaw-inspired painting was going to look so I have got on with my other nocturne idea of a pretty dark painting with no light source showing, the brightest parts of the picture only in mid-tones and lots of dark dramatic shapes. I settled on a moonlit Taj Mahal using reference that I had shot on location last year with this kind of view in mind although now I am looking at it as I write this post I think that I am showing too much of the Taj. I want it more about the shapes and lighting and less about the subject matter so I may well put some more foliage and trees in front of it before proceeding.
This stage was painted with a small bristle brush and rag using a mix of Ultramarine Violet and Indranthene Blue thinned with Liquin and turpentine.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Midnight Queen

The third nocturne painting all titled with the word "Midnight", this one is all about the lighting with just a small but fairly bright moon within a relatively dark setting of moonlit woods with a subtly lit figure in the foreground. The model was the lovely Naomi Wood and is based on reference taken for a failed painting called "Naomi Gold". The picture is based around a blue/orange complementary colour axis using mixes of Kings Blue Light, Emerald Green, Indranthene Blue, Phthalocyanine Blue, Phthalocyanine Green, Ultramarine Violet, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon and Warm White (mostly Michael Harding paints) with Permanent Orange to modify the saturation. I painted the figure using warm shadows and cool highlights with modelling kept subtle to try and convey a moonlit figure. Compositionally it has a centrally placed figure and moon offset by asymmetrically placed trunks and branches and doesn't conform to my usual Rule Of Thirds way of composing a painting.
Oil on linen 20" x 16".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 9

Just a couple of hours this afternoon on my return to the studio to work some more on the figure. The values are critical in this painting and it is impossible to photograph it accurately even after tweaking in Photoshop. I'm trying to get the figure painted quite subtly and am realising that in such moonlight that the modelling of the mid and highlights will be quite limited so it is trial and error as I go along. I need also to remember that some of the jewelry will be glinting in the moonlight. The whole painting is in many ways lighter than I intended so I will have to do another one that is nearer to what I imagine in my head, probably the fifth "Midnight" picture as the next one will be very Atkinson Grimshaw.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 8

I just had a couple of hours this morning to work a bit more on the face before packing up to leave the studio, back on Tuesday. Very hard to photograph this painting, it's actually darker but with less contrast than how it appears here.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 7

Pretty much finished the background bar a slight tweak on the moon tomorrow. I decided to reduce the orange on the rim of the moon and paint in a little bit of detail although not as much as it appears in this photograph. I then put in the underpainting for the figure settling on warm shadows and cool highlights achieved by mixes of Permanent Orange, Indranthene Blue, Ultramarine Violet, Kings Blue Light, Emerald Green and Phthalocyanine Blue and Green all mixed with Liquin and Lukas Medium Number 5.

Artists & Illustrators magazine

I have a four page painting demonstration feature in the new (July 2017) issue of Artists & Illustrators magazine. Titled "Going For Gold" it follows the progress through my painting of the Golden Temple in Amritsar which I visited last year called not too surprisingly,  "The Golden Temple". I have written it in nine stages with a list of materials I used, thankfully the photos that I took of it on my old camera as I went along were just about up to publication quality...






 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 6

After a few days away from the studio during which time I had time to think about it I came back this afternoon and painted in some branches mainly on the left leaving it non-symmetrical to counter balance the symmetry of the figure and moon. I have decided to get rid of most of the orange tinge around the edge of the moon and after much thought in the previous couple of days darkened the underpainting of the figure as for this painting to look interesting I need to move it a way from the obvious and keep to my original intention of a pretty dark picture apart from the bright moon - in other words it's all about the lighting.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 5

I made a start this morning on the darker trees in the foreground as well as putting some of the dark colour into the hair to unify the colours and tones a bit between figure and background. The glow around the moon is still not how I want it but I have to leave the studio now and will have to wait until Thursday before I return to carry on.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 4

Painted another wash of colour over the figure with a rag, darkened the hair and made a start on the background trees and moon. I will probably put some thicker trunks and branches in behind the figure as well as having some much darker foreground branches. The glow around the moon is not finished.
Colours used were Kings Blue Light, Indanthrene Blue, Ultramarine Violet, Emerald Green, Phthalocyanine Green, Permanent Orange, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon and Warm White, most of these are Michael Harding paints with a couple by Winsor & Newton.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 3

Got back this afternoon and managed to strengthen the lines on the figure ready for a darker wash to go over it tomorrow as well as painting a glaze over the background with a mix of Indanthrene Blue, Ultramarine Violet and a dash of Permanent Orange (to knock back the saturation) thinned with Liquin.
As can be seen I want this picture to be pretty dark apart from the luminous yellow/orange moon.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 2

It is now apparent as to where this picture is going now that I have gave it a wash with a rag using a mix of Phthalocyanine Blue, Pthhaolcyanine Green and Ultramarine Violet mixed with Liquin and turpentine. Everything will be relatively dark and subdued apart from the bright moon above her head - there will be some glinting highlights from her jewelry but kept unobtrusive so as not to confuse the lighting design. It's a bit frustrating this morning as this has to dry before I can continue  and won't be able to paint any more until I return to the studio on Saturday.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Midnight Queen - stage 1

The third nocturne in the "Midnight" series, this will be all in subdued blue/greens and quite dark apart from a slightly orange- tinged moon above her head. The model is the lovely Naomi Wood again, based on reference taken for an earlier, failed painting called "Naomi Gold".
This stage was "drawn" up with a small bristle and a 3/8" Acrylix brush using a mix of Kings Blue Light, Phthalocyanine Blue, Phthalocyanine Green, Ultramarine Violet and Permanent Orange thinned with Liquin, Lukas Number 5 Medium and turpentine.

Midnight Rain

This has been renamed from the working title "Here Comes The Rain" and is the second in this short series of nocturnes, the "Midnight" series.
Originally conceived as a sky piece there was a larger figure on the right hand side of the picture which I replaced with a much smaller one when I noticed that it was looking like a Romance book jacket illustration so that it now returns to being mainly about the sky. I also painted in on the last day a distant coastline on the extreme left of the picture as I felt the picture needed "grounding" in some way.
The colours are all mixed from Kings Blue Light, Emerald Green, Phthalocyanine Blue, Phthalocyanine Green, Ultramarine Violet, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Warm White and Permanent Orange to knock back the saturation.
Oil on linen 24" x 18". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Here Comes The Rain - stage 6

Change of plan. I decided that the inclusion of the figure took the picture too close to looking like a Romance book jacket illustration so I have painted her out (sorry Ruth) and am leaving it nearer to my original intention, a sky piece. While I'm a way from the studio until Monday I will consider various options as to what I may want to put on the horizon, at the moment I am thinking of either a tiny figure or maybe a farm building silhouetted against the sky (quite small) or of course just to leave it as a sky piece. I was always thinking of a largely dark painting with just one area of light so I guess this is back on course.
I seem to be painting it like a stormy Atkinson Grimshaw...

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Here Comes The Rain - stage 5

I had a couple of hours this afternoon on my return to the studio to work more on the sky as well as darkening the flesh tone underpainting to get nearer to how the tonal lighting is going to work.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Here Comes The Rain - stage 4

In the few hours this morning before I am away from the studio until Wednesday I have put more work into the sky. After painting in the darks of the foreground I have realised that I have to harmonise some of the tones in the sky to these darks so I won't be finishing this until the end of my next visit to the studio.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Here Comes The Rain - stages 1 to 3

This is the second nocturne in the short series, this one concentrating mainly on the sky. The colours are based around mixes of Kings Blue Light, Phthalocyanine Turquoise, Phthalocyanine Blue, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Warm White and Permanent Orange to knock back the saturation. The model is the lovely Ruth Netania from some photos I had taken of her a couple of years ago. I have approached this picture with a mind to finishing it in just a couple of sessions although I suspect that it won't be finished until I return to the studio on Wednesday after I leave tomorrow morning.
The first stage was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush and a rag using a mix of Ultramarine Violet and Permanent Orange thinned with Liquin and turpentine.
The second stage was a basic layer of paint to establish the shapes in the clouds to be a general tonal underpainting using Lukas Number 5 Medium in the clouds in the morning session so that it was dry for the afternoon session of stage three when I started to define the tones and shapes more in the sky.







Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Midnight Bay

This is the first of a series of three nocturne paintings that I am now doing which are a nice counterpoint to the more complex pictures that I have recently been painting. I wanted to keep it within a narrow range of colours between blue and green greys which are based around a green/blue - red/orange colour complementary axis, the orange in this case being mixed into the blue/greens to tone down the saturation. Originally in my mind's eye the foreground figure and rocks were going to be silhouetted but I later realised that it was too big an area to get away with it so I made it semi-silhouette. The model for the figure was as usual, the lovely Naomi Wood. I really enjoyed painting the sky so the next picture will be much more of a sky piece. This will be a painting for possible inclusion in what I take to Illuxcon in October. 
Oil on linen 18" x 24". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Artists & Illustrators magazine

A friend has notified me that I am a featured artist for April 2017 on the Portfolio Plus page of the website for Artists & Illustrators magazine although I notice that I need to update my pages in Portfolio Plus as a number of the paintings marked available are actually sold.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Midnight Bay - stage 4

I managed to get a couple of hours work done on my return to the studio this afternoon and decided to get the foreground underpainting in. Originally in my mind's eye I saw the foreground as all silhouette but realised that it was too big an area to get away with that so I will have the figure and rocks in semi-silhouette in the final painting.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Midnight Bay - stage 3

Before I go away from the studio (back on Sunday) I have managed to get the sky pretty much how I want it and have painted in the distant rocky coastline. I am trying to keep the colours within a narrow range of green greys and blue greys which is now coming across at this point. It is a deliberately simple painting which I could finish the next time I am in the studio as a nice change from the previous more detailed pictures I have been doing recently.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Midnight Bay - stages 1 & 2

After the relative complexity of recent work I have resolved to paint three simple nocturnes as a change of pace. I am working larger than I normally would paint a picture like this as I am now more used to it and not so intimidated by a larger size like I used to be. It will be a relatively monochromatic picture, the colours and tones being mixes of variations of blue/green and red/oranges.
The first stage was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush and rag using a mix of Ultramarine Violet and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine.
The second stage was blocked in with varying mixes of Kings Blue Light, Ultramarine Blue, Winsor Green, Emerald Green, Permanent Orange, Lemon Yellow and Warm White.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Exit To San Breta

This is a private commission from a buyer that wanted a painting based around the short story by George R R Martin called "The Exit To San Breta" and is the nearest picture to illustration I have done for a good number of years. Like when I used to paint book jacket illustrations I have chosen to create a feeling of the setting of the story as opposed to any actual incident and was trying envisage a lonely gas station dwarfed by the vast Arizona landscape. It was important that I got a particular time of dusk for the sky, the story happens at night but I thought it would be spookier if I chose that time when the last of the daylight is in the sky, this makes the loneliness of the gas station more apparent and I didn't want it to be too dark either. The composition is based on the Rule Of Thirds with the positioning of the horizon, gas station and main sign all at third/two third intervals on the vertical and horizontal edges of the picture frame, and is based on a blue/orange complementary colour axis with some guest colours for variety.
I chose a panoramic format so that I had enough room on the horizontal plane to get across how in the story the road changes from potholed and overgrown to pristine condition when the Edsel car shown parked in the station forecourt comes into the story as a ghost that causes the narrator of the story to crash his car...except it never happens and the whole incident is an apparition.
Oil on canvas 39" x 16". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting on previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 12

Well not really a stage as such just what I have done this morning before I go away for a few days, back on Thursday. I have distressed the lettering a bit on the signs, put in where the lights are going and did a bit of work on the gas station building. 
For some reason I am reminded of the scene in the movie "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World" when the irate guy trying to to get to Los Angeles first before the rest get there to claim the buried money loses it completely at a lonely gas station in the middle of nowhere and completely destroys it. One of my favourite scenes since childhood...

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 11

I have painted in the basic lettering on the signs and will work over them tomorrow morning to slightly distress the sign surfaces to make them look more real. I have also made a start on the gas station and Edsel car parked in the light as well as painting the desert up to the edges of the lit areas.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 10

Just managed to get a couple of hours work this morning before I am away from the studio until Saturday. Basically have been working on the desert, the road sign and made the white wooden cross larger. I think the sky is now finished.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 9

Just darkened the overhead clouds a bit with a semi-opaque mix of Indanthrene Blue, Kings Blue Light and Permanent Orange, made the sky slightly darker at left and I reckon the sky is now about finished. I wanted this certain stage of late dusk just before night properly descends when there is still some light in the sky. I then started to work on the transition of the road from the pockmarked foreground to the more pristine surface nearer the gas station, my idea for the lighting is now becoming apparent with the artificially lit gas station at left contrasting with the dusk landscape, blue and orange - a favourite complementary combination.
I then made a start on the nearest road sign using a mix of manganese Violet and Genuine Chinese Vermilion making sure that it looks a bit distressed.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 8

Another glaze of Indanthrene Blue on the sky and darkening the more overhead clouds as well as darkening the line of distant mountains on the horizon. After some darker underpainting on the road I have started to refine the desert and scrub on the right of the picture. getting more of an idea now as to how the lighting is going to work with the artificial lights on the left contrasting with the dusk-lit landscape.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 7

I have painted the first glaze over the sky although you won't notice a lot of difference at this stage but this is all I have time for before I have to leave Brighton to look after my elderly parents 150 miles away. The next chance I will have to work on it will be Wednesday afternoon when I hope to paint the second glaze. I wanted to glaze it with a certain kind of transparent blue and noticed in Cass Arts a Winsor & Newton colour called Indanthrene Blue which looks like a good call, there was no Michael Harding colour that seemed to fit the bill.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 6

I decided that the sky wasn't ready for glazing so I refined the clouds ready for the first glaze tomorrow instead. I then put in the distant mountains and made a start on the desert.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 5

In the couple of hours I had this morning before going away again I managed to get the sky ready for glazing when I return on Friday. It's a particular time of dusk that I am trying to depict and glazing it from now on should give me enough control over how dark I want it to go (not too dark).
Incidentally I normally work on linen but there is no pre-stretched linen available in this size and format so I tried painting two extra coats of oil primer over the Winsor and Newton canvas, fine sanding between coats. This has given me a surface that is nearer to linen and and seems to take the paint pretty much how I want it. I will do this for other paintings from now on as now I know how to change the surface of the canvas.

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 4

I have painted in the first stage of the sky to get an idea of placement of clouds etc. I will paint in darker clouds tomorrow when it should be ready for the first glaze. I have also added more darks to the tonal underpainting for the landscape and road so we are now getting an idea as to how the finished painting will look. The tonal underpainting used a mix of Burnt Sienna and Manganese Violet thinned with Liquin. The sky has mixes of Lemon Yellow and Kings Blue Light with touches of Prussian Blue and Permanent Orange, the Orange being used to temper the saturation.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Exit To San Breta - stage 3

I got back to the studio this afternoon and managed to put in some darker tone washes into the landscape and put some pale blue/yellow into the sky.
As far as I can ascertain there is nowhere called San Breta in Arizona...