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!

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...

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.