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, 19 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 6

Pretty much finished the sky, just need to sort out the horizon clouds and tweak the rest before putting in the evening star. The sky has to be on the dark side nearer the horizon so that the evening star is visible.
The sky hasn't quite come out as I saw in my mind, but then they rarely do...

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 5

Still working on the sky, mainly on the left side. There is a design to the sky that I have in mind with some of the setting sun hitting the nearest clouds and then the rest are mainly in shadow until you get near to the horizon where there is a strip of cloud picking up the sunlight again but with warmer colours. Hoping to be near to finishing the sky tomorrow as long as I have enough time to work in.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 4

Working on more clouds now but need to have more of the darker clouds to contrast against the line of yellow/orange/pink clouds near the horizon when I put them in.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 3

Started working on the clouds at the top, the nearest ones, trying to keep lots of soft edges and not make each cloud too distinct from the background sky. It is a certain time of the late afternoon/evening that I am trying get with soft pink clouds and a line more orange/yellow ones near the horizon. I am using a very useful colour made by Old Holland called Naples Yellow - Reddish Extra in the clouds.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 2

First colour pass on the sky using mixes of King's Blue Light, Indanthrene Blue and  Zinc White knocking back the saturation with Permanent Orange for the sky. The clouds were given a wash of Permanent Orange and Brilliant Pink thinned with lots of Liquin and applied with a rag. I want lots of lost edges in the clouds for a soft look to the sky to get across the atmosphere I want. 

Butte States sold

"Butte States" has just sold to a buyer in the USA but the painting will still be exhibited at IX in October as they will pick it up from there at the end of the show on Sunday. It's just as well as I need paintings to exhibit there and two others that were intended for the show are already sold so won't be going! 
I slightly repainted it after posting it up recently by bulking up the foreground butte as it looked a bit thin and weedy...
Oil on linen 30" x 20".

Friday, 13 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 1

Another painting about skies, this one is going to be kept pretty simple after the recent more complicated ones and will be completely about the sky. There is a small figure of a mermaid lying in the shallow water looking out to the distance where there will be a sailing ship on the horizon, very small, positioned a third of the way along the horizon from the left. The mermaid is positioned roughly a third of the way from the right so The Rule Of Thirds is being applied to the composition with the sailing ship just breaking the line of the horizon. The Evening Star (Venus) will be centrally placed about halfway down the picture. The colours will be kept fairly subtle and real but still with plenty of atmosphere and Romance, the mood being quiet with the shallow waves gently lapping the shore reflecting the clouds above.
This stage was "drawn" up first with a small brush using a mix of Burnt Umber and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine and then in the afternoon the sky was washed in with a rag using the same paint mix but with more turpentine.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Butte States

"Butte States" is conceived as a companion piece to "City of the Sky People" in that it's another fantasy landscape painted in relatively real colours although the initial impetus to these paintings is really about the sky. This one is an imagination of a South West American desert landscape such as New Mexico whereby each mesa and butte is an individual city state kind of like there were in Italy in the Middle Ages, each one fortified with towers etc - sort of a futuristic Medieval fantasy landscape/cityscape!
As the painting developed the foreground butte and arch started to look deserted and abandoned which I liked the idea of and kind of gives it a bit more narrative. Maybe this one was abandoned due to water issues and the distant ones that are more modern looking have survived...
I have tried to vary the colour as much as I can to avoid two blocks of colour, blue sky and red landscape although the painting is based on the blue green/ red orange complementary colour axis.
This is a painting I hope to take to IX in October.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Butte States - stage 16

Pretty much finished the foreground bar another suspension bridge and have also finished the mesa/butte at right. I am now working on the distant butte cities starting with the one on the left.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Butte States - stage 15

Working on the background landscape at right and the foreground landscape at left, with another suspension bridge to go in. Trying to get a sense of huge distance using subtle converging rock strata on the plateau at left and right.

The Golden Temple sold

My painting "The Golden Temple" has just sold through Asgard Arts. It was painted after a wonderful trip across India from Kolkata to Amritsar via Bodh Gaya, Varanasi, Agra, Delhi and Shimla by train a couple of years ago. I wanted to position the sun in such a way that what you could call lens flare would illuminate the central temple to make it look like it was made of gold. Of course the building itself is sheathed in gold leaf...
Oil on linen. 20" x 20". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in earlier posts on this blog.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Butte States - stage 14

Have been working on the right hand side landscape today. I wasn't happy with all the cloud shadows and painted most of them out.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Butte States - stage 13

Slow progress at the moment due to distractions with moving my elderly parents near to where I live. The foreground butte is finished bar putting in the suspension bridges and have pretty much painted in the right hand foreground landscape.
To me the whole place looks deserted which I like even though unintentional and adds the extra subtext that all these city states could be abandoned due to maybe water issues...

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Butte States - stage 12

Just have the bridges and buildings on the arch to put in and the foreground butte is finished. I can then start on the canyon and landscape as I work my way towards the horizon.


Monday, 25 June 2018

Butte States - stage 11

I am still working on the foreground arch and butte city so I thought that I would show the relevant detail of this area

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Butte States - stage 10

Worked again on the foreground arch and butte, finally working out how to do the city in the butte to which end I have started to put vertically ascending windows in the rock face.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Butte States - stage 9

Spent more time today on working out the shapes of the rocks etc of the nearest arch and butte, so not really a stage just progress on day 7 of the painting.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Butte States - stage 8

Pretty much finished the sky and have made a start on the landscape. Unusually for me I have started on the foreground as I need to work out in my own mind the way I'm going to paint the rocks and buildings so I will work this out first here and then work my way towards the horizon, completely opposite to how I normally go about things. I will need to introduce some other colours into the landscape too as I don't just want it to be all reds and oranges.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Butte States - stage 7

OK I think I've pretty much finished the sky barring a few tweaks later on. I wanted a Big Sky with clouds typical of the South Western deserts of the USA, the colour scheme of the painting based on the red orange/ green blue complementary axis.
I have also made a start on working out the lighting design of the landscape, which areas are in shadow, which ones are in the light using a transparent Violet/Burnt Sienna mix. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Butte States - stage 6

Worked on the sky again today but I think I will need tomorrow to finish it to my satisfaction - it's a matter of the right distribution of clouds and placement in the sky as well as getting the colours right, I think I need more lemon in the clouds for instance...
Below is a photo of the colours I have used so far.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Butte States - stage 5

I gave the sky a second pass of colour and hope to finish it tomorrow. Later in the day I put in some tonal underpainting detail into the landscape itself - I can see already that there needs to be good variety of colour within the sandstone landscape and will plan accordingly.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Butte States - stage 4

Today I painted the first colour pass on the sky. In the old days as an illustrator if there was a blue sky I just airbrushed a gradation of something like layers of acrylic Phthalocyanine Blue from dark at the top to light at the bottom. Now I work in oils I like to have more variety of colour in the sky so there are greens and purples there too, all modified by dashes of Permanent Orange to take the saturation down a bit as well as to have some of the land colour in the sky for harmony of colour across the painting. "As above so below" being the motto for this way of using colour.
The paint mixes are made up of Zinc White, Manganese Blue, Phthalocyanine Blue, Kings Blue Light, Emerald Green, Manganese Violet, Permanent Orange and Lemon Yellow - mostly Michael Harding paints with a couple by Winsor and Newton.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Butte States - stages 1 to 3

Stage 1
I am happy to report that I am now based permanently at home after two years of living between here and my elderly parent's house in Leicester. I have moved them to within five minutes walk of where I live and can consequently get on better with my work, mainly in the mornings. This means that I can get back to posting pretty much daily updates on paintings in progress etc.
"Butte States" is conceived as a companion piece to "City of the Sky People" in that it's another fantasy landscape painted in relatively real colours. This one is an imagination of a South West American desert landscape such as New Mexico whereby each mesa and butte is an individual city state kind of like there were in Italy in the 1500s, each one fortified with towers etc - sort of a futuristic Medieval fantasy landscape/cityscape!
Stage 1 was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine.
Stage 2 has a layer of the same paint mix applied to the landscape with a flat brush and rag as the beginning of the tonal underpainting.
Stage 3 has the sky painted in by giving the whole area a wash of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with a lot of turpentine and then areas for the white clouds erased by a rag dipped in turpentine. A second layer of the paint mix has also been added to the the landscape.

Stage 2


Stage 3

Saturday, 26 May 2018

City of the Sky People

The third in a series of sky-based paintings, in this one I intended to paint a more naturalistic sky and landscape but with much more of a Fantasy content so I came up with this: an imaginary city set in a cold and desolate landscape against a big sky, this time painted in more naturalistic colours than the previous one. The river meanders are influenced by Cuckmere Haven, an iconic landscape half an hour away from where I live in East Sussex UK. I think I've channeled  a battleship's conning tower for the city!
The lighting developed as I went along with the decision to have the distance in sunlight only happening near the end of the painting. It's quite a busy painting but composed with the Rule of Thirds used in the placement of the different elements. The composition is a series of checks and balances of light and dark areas against each other, trying to get as much movement as I can into the painting particularly helped by the sweeping river meanders.
I try to make my landscapes as dramatic/dynamic as I can unless I want an atmosphere of stillness. One of the reasons that I am doing sky-based paintings is that I feel I need to improve in this area and am already thinking about ideas for the next one, cloud-based again as I enjoy doing them.
I hope to take this to IX in Reading PA later this year.
30" x 20" oil on linen.
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in earlier posts on this blog.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 11

This is just what I have managed to do this morning before being away from the studio back on Thursday. Progress has been slow due to more of my time being spent on moving my elderly parents to a flat near where I live. 
I like the effect of sunlight on the more distant landscape where I haven't worked on much yet and have decided to keep it like that and make most of the foreground in shadow to provide contrast and a better sense of distance. I had originally seen it as a more sombre cold landscape but I like that sunlight in the distance which I think gives the painting a more optimistic feel than originally intended! Still not happy with the water...

Monday, 21 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 10

As I am in the middle of trying to move my elderly parents near to where I live this is taking time away from painting so there is limited progress from the last stage. I am still painting the meander landscape and must admit to struggling with the reflections in the river. I have at least reestablished the focus of the painting being the city against the sky by knocking back the contrast between the river meanders and the land, the meanders were very strong shapes that were dominating the picture.

Friday, 18 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 9

I didn't get as much work done this time as I hoped but have made a start on the meanders as they are dominating the picture at the moment and are proving somewhat distracting. I am painting them in with less contrast against the land so that they recede a bit and not overpower the painting. Once I have the meanders and distant landscape sorted out I can finish the right side of the painting although I will leave the meander on that side until the end as it it has to reflect whatever I work out for the approaching ridge.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 8

Probably finished the city barring a few later tweaks and have now put in some colour underpainting on the river meander landscape. I misted over the top of the city to make it look like it was virtually in the clouds and blurred the edges of the left side of the city to make it recede. I have chosen a few areas where the sun has broken through the clouds on the foreground landscape.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 7

Not really a stage, just the result of an hour's work this morning before being away from the studio back on Saturday/Sunday. Just worked a bit more on the city including a start on the very top which will get knocked back a bit and slightly mistier on my return.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 6

Working on the city itself now. While I was away from the studio I decided to have one area of the city illuminated by the sun through a gap in the clouds and chose the area near the approach. There might just be some sunlight on the top too, I will decide overnight for tomorrow morning's painting session.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 5

Worked on finishing the sky this morning (subtle changes) including adding definition and tones to the thunder cloud anvil at left. I then blocked in some architecture and land definition to the city and the approaching ridge. I will be away from the studio today, back on Tuesday which will give me time to think about the way I'm going to paint the city and the colours that I am going to use when I get back.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 4

Sorted out the sky today including a bit of a redesign of the clouds and the basic shape of the city. I will have a final tweak of the sky tomorrow morning before I am away for a couple of days.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stage 3

In the couple of hours I had this morning before being away from the studio back Friday, I have roughly painted in the colour underpainting for the sky and distant cliffs. I want a cold somewhat desolate sky and landscape so I'm using cool blue mixes with Zinc White, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Violet and Ultramarine Blue.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

City of the Sky People - stages 1 & 2

Stage 1
As mentioned in my previous post I intended to paint a more naturalistic sky and landscape but with much more of a Fantasy content so I came up with this: an imaginary city set in a cold and desolate landscape against a big sky, this time painted in more cold, naturalistic colours.
The river meanders are influenced by Cuckmere Haven, an iconic landscape half an hour away from where I live in East Sussex UK. I think I'm channeling a battleship's conning tower for the city!
The first stage was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin, Lukas Number 5 medium and turpentine. The Lukas Medium was used to speed the drying time so that the morning session for stage 1 was dry enough for the application of a tonal underpainting in the afternoon. This used the same paint mix but with more turpentine so that it could be applied with a rag.

Stage 2


 

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Rajah's Pleasuredome

Another sky painting following on from "Low Tide", the painting is less about the island Pleasuredome and more about the the sky and the reflections of the clouds on the lake surface. It is a fantasy of Udaipur in India that I visited many years ago - please don't go looking for the island, it doesn't exist.
Something bothers me in the end with this picture, I think it looks too "Fantasy" so I think the third and final Sky painting will be more naturalistic but with maybe more of a "Fantasy" content instead....and I might have another go at clouds reflected in water too...
I wanted a close, humid kind of atmosphere of a late afternoon on a hot day in India which is why I went for the warm almost oppressive feel...but something bothers me with it!
Oil on canvas 23 1/2" x 23 1/2". 
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Rajah's Pleasuredome - stage 5

I have painted in the background hills and palace and the Pleasuredome island and then made a start on the water reflections. Hoping to get a lot of the water painted in tomorrow morning.

Low Tide sold

My recent painting "Low Tide" has just sold to a collector in the USA.  Oil on canvas 23 1/2" x 23 1/2".

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Rajah's Pleasuredome - stage 4

In the couple of hours I had this morning I think I have pretty well finished the sky apart from  some tweaks later on. When I return to the studio on Sunday I hope to get in the distant hills and palace as well as making a start on the reflections in the water.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Rajah's Pleasuredome - stage 3

I have been working on the sky today and have continued with the warm palette for the painting. I didn't want to paint it in realistic colours as I want it to have a certain atmosphere, warm and muggy. Not sure yet about the darker clouds, I will leave it now and look at it again in the morning.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Rajah's Pleasuredome - stage 2

In the couple of hours I had this morning before leaving the studio back on Wednesday, I painted in a rough colour underpainting for the sky. I will consider it for the next couple of days and then return with a clearer idea of the colours I want to use. I kind of know the mood I'm aiming for, just not sure yet of the colours. I guess that's one advantage of these times away from the studio, I can consider more carefully each painting as it progresses instead of rushing in at it which is my usual approach.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Rajah's Pleasuredome - stage 1

Another sky painting following on from "Low Tide", the painting is less about the island Pleasuredome and more about the the sky and the reflections of the clouds on the lake surface. It is a fantasy of Udaipur in India that I visited many years ago - please don't go looking for the island, it doesn't exist.
This stage was "drawn" up loosely with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine. I then used the same mix of paint but with more turpentine with a rag to rough in the tones and basic cloud shapes which I invented for compositional reasons as I went along.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Low Tide

As a change from the last few paintings that had a very narrow tonal range I fancied painting something with some dramatic contrast and I already had in the back of my mind to do a few sky paintings. I have always liked paintings with a large cloud dominating the sky as a composition so I have combined it with an homage (again) to Bocklin's Isle of the Dead as I wanted something dark breaking up the horizon.
This might be the first in a series of three sky paintings, not sure yet!
Oil on canvas 23 1/2" x 23 1/2".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Low Tide - stage 5

Just an update on the progress of the painting in the couple of hours I had this morning before I am away from the studio until Monday. I have done some preliminary work on the water on the beach mainly on the left side of the painting. It is now becoming apparent the amount of contrast I intend for this painting to have.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Low Tide - stage 4

I have now pretty much finished the sky barring a few tweaks after lowering the cloud base of the background clouds which has given the sky more depth and made the main cloud look more imposing. I have also roughed in the foreground beach and distant sea as well as roughing in the island.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Low Tide - stages 2 & 3

Stage 2
Stage 2 was the first pass of colour on the clouds which I did a couple of days ago and Stage 3 is how far I have got at the end of today's painting session. Unfortunately I won't be able to work on this again until Friday...
Colours used are Warm White, Zinc White, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Orange, Unbleached Titanium, Ultramarine Blue, Ultramarine Violet and Lead Tin Yellow Lemon - all Michael Harding paints.

Stage 3