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!

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar

The fortress city of Al Kazaar has sat on the rock outcrop in the burning desert of Khalifa for centuries. Once within a fertile land on the edge of the desert the inhabitants have watched the encroaching dunes move nearer and nearer over time until now they push against the very foundations of the city, forcing them to abandon the access through the gate at the base of the city. A passing storm has cleared the sultry air for a while in the late afternoon leaving pools of water between the dunes that will soon disappear into the arid sands of the Khalifa. They will endure.
Another of my fantasy landscapes/cityscapes with the emphasis on the sky, this one is set in the desert which is a nice change from the last painting "Agharta" which was set in the frigid mountains of Tibet.
The painting is based around a red/orange - blue/green complementary axis, the pools of water reflecting some of the sky colours into the bottom of the painting so that it links the sky to the land. In my landscapes I always try to avoid verticals and horizontals in favour of diagonals which impart more movement into the composition. This composition is unusual in that the lightest part of the picture sits dead in the middle so I have offset that by making sure that the rest of the painting is made up of uneven areas and uneven placings of the land and clouds etc.
This will probably be the last of the large-ish paintings that I am taking to IX next month, I might have time for another but may well try and paint a couple of small ones in the time that I have left.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 17 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 14

Probably the last post before I finish it, I have been working on the sand dunes going right to the horizon. All I need to do tomorrow is finish off the dunes, put in the reflections in the puddles of water in the dunes and paint in the distant mountains. I will wait until it dries and then scan it in and post the finished painting from that.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 13

I have now roughed in a large swathe of the foreground sand dunes, hoping that I might be able to finish them tomorrow...maybe.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 12

I joined the rocks to the city walls today as well as tweaking the cloud behind the far end of the city and then I put some more colour into the foreground in readiness for tomorrow's painting session. I broke up the pools of water lying in the sand dunes after the storm has passed through as they were too evenly spaced and similar in size to each other.

Friday, 14 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 11

Progress slow again at the moment due to yet more family commitments. I have pretty much finished the walls and city and hope to join up the walls with the rock outcrop tomorrow. I think I need to slightly change the lower cloud as it kind of looks like it's all emanating from the city like from a huge hidden chimney!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Michael Harding Paints

I just won a tube of paint in an Instagram competition ran by Michael Harding paints. You had to post up on their page your favourite Michael Harding colour which in my case was Permanent Orange and say why it was...I find it a very versatile and useful colour and said so! Wonder what the tube will be?

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 10

Fiddly work carried out on the ramparts and buildings on the right side of the rock outcrop. Once the buildings etc are finished the sand dunes foreground should go in relatively quickly...

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 9

Something has been bothering me about the composition, the horizontal line of sunlit sand in the distance. I felt I needed to break it up with maybe a few small rock outcrops but I realised this morning that what it needs is that the shadow of the city on the rock outcrop should only go partway across to the left so there are now more sand dunes in the sunlight coming around the left side of the picture thus getting rid of the original thin horizontal strip. I try to avoid verticals and horizontals in paintings and try to give landscapes more movement by using lots of diagonals.
I also have made a start on the ramparts and buildings.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 8

I have got the basic rocks in and have started to work on the ramparts and buildings. I need to make sure that the line of sunlit buildings is more uneven than here as it will be visually more interesting as well as being a better composition. 

Saturday, 8 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 7

I have made a start on the rock outcrop as I once I have that in I can tell if I have the correct values for the sky. I'm breaking up the line of sunlight hitting the top of the city so that it is more uneven and interesting.

Friday, 7 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 6

Maybe finished the sky, it might need a warm glaze once I have painted the foreground but not sure yet. I have kind of changed my design for the lighting and colour, I am now going to have the sky background relatively subdued in colour and have the foreground landscape in richer, darker colours which I think will help with the sense of distance that I always like to get.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 5

Worked on the sky today although it will have to wait a day to be finished as I will be unable to get much done tomorrow due to family commitments. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 4

Didn't get a lot of time today for work but have made a start on the thunderclouds using mixes of the sky colour and Warm White, Lemon Yellow, Permanent Orange and Naples Yellow Reddish Extra (by Old Holland).

Monday, 3 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stage 3

I have just scrubbed in some rough semi-transparent colour as the second stage of the underpainting. It will start to look better when I have got the sky painted in. A very thin wash of Permanent Orange was used for the clouds and a wash of Ultramarine Violet was used for the landscape. The sky is a very subdued blue/green made up of Phthalocyanine Turquoise, Zinc White, Lemon Yellow, Permanent Orange and Brilliant Pink.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

The Ramparts of Al Kazaar - stages 1 & 2


Stage 1
Another of my fantasy landscapes/cityscapes with the emphasis on the sky, this one is set in the desert which is a nice change from the last one, "Agharta", which was set in the frigid mountains of Tibet. There are connections too to another earlier painting called "City of the Sky People" in that the lower landscape was centred around the flowing curves of river meanders, in this one it will be the curves of sand dunes. The lighting design for this one is everything in the bottom half will be in shadow with the late afternoon sun hitting the very tops of the ramparts and buildings and the distant thunderclouds only. I will base the colours around an orange/blue complementary axis with the colours kept subdued apart from the distant thunderclouds.
Al Kazaar does not exist of course and is a nod towards my love of Orientalist paintings including the slightly overblown title reminiscent of a title to an Edwin Weeks painting from the Victorian era.
Stage 1 was "drawn" with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin .
Stage 2 was painted mostly with a rag using the same paint mix but thinned with turpentine and an old synthetic 3/8" flat brush.

Stage 2

Friday, 24 August 2018

Agharta

Agharta is a Buddhist concept of the Subterranean World and is believed to be secretly located somewhere in Tibet, the gateway being guarded by Lamas. There are also connections to the Hollow Earth theory of advanced Atlanteans living under the Earth's crust in Antarctica with Nazi connections to this theory through some expeditions sent by them to Tibet and Antarctica and a mysterious voyage by a U Boat to Antarctica at the very end of the Second World War.
This is a companion picture to some recent ones like "City Of The Sky People" and "Butte States" in that it has a fantasy city in it with an emphasis on the sky. This picture was originally going to be of Antarctica but when I came across the Tibetan connections I decided it would be more visually interesting to set it there.
It was originally conceived as being painted in desaturated colours in quite a limited palette but once I had painted in the underpainting I changed my mind and went for a warm top half and a freezing cold bottom half with the cave glow breaking up the otherwise fairly monochromatic bottom part of the picture. Compositionally I have placed the cave with Tibetan buildings above and the foreground tower building at a third in from the sides forming a central diamond with the background mountain. The mountain is loosely based on Mount Kailash (Meru), the most sacred mountain in Tibet and important to Buddhists.
I hope to be bringing this to show at 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.

Agharta is also the title of a favourite Miles Davis album...

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Agharta - stage 15

I gave a bit more definition to the Tibetan-style buildings above the cave mouth and made a start on the rock face at left. Maybe finish this tomorrow if I can get long enough to work on it and will post the finish from a scan the next day as my digital camera is not capable of getting across the tonal variations or the true colour...

Monday, 20 August 2018

Agharta - stage 14

I have pretty much finished the right side of the foreground and have made a start on the rock face on the left side. Leaving the cave entrance till last. These digital camera photos are making the painting look more contrasty than it is so I will post the finished painting from a scan.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Agharta - stage 13

Today I painted in the foreground building along with the rocks it sits on and the foreground snowy slope at right. I am trying to keep the snow within a narrow fairly dark tonal range as I don't want it to interfere with the composition. Although a complex looking image the composition is based around two areas of colour, the snowy foreground and landscape in cold subdued blues and the warm sunlit background in warm blues and pink/oranges.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Agharta - stage 12

Again didn't get a lot done today but managed to pretty much finish the Tibetan-style buildings above the cave and made a start on the foreground building at right centre. As can now be seen it is going to be a landscape covered in snow and very cold and remote.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Agharta - stage 11

Didn't get a lot of time to work on this today (as usual these days) but managed to get most of the Tibetan-style buildings in and worked a bit on the rocks and snow around them ready for tomorrow when I intend to paint some freezing mist over the buildings and nearby landscape ridges.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Agharta - stage 10

Working on the mid-ground snowy ridges and Tibetan-style buildings over the cave entrance. Using mixes of Indanthrene Blue (Winsor & Newton), Kings Blue Light, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Orange and Ultramarine Violet for the snow and rocks.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Agharta - stage 9

Now starting to work on the snowy slopes in the mid-ground having decided to keep the colour cast to the area below the mountain in desaturated blues to contrast with the warm colours of the background mountain.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Agharta - stage 8

Working on the mid-ground snowy ridges today, slowly working from the background to the foreground which is my usual method of working. I decided to go with my original colour design of all the foreground landscape in desaturated blues with the warmer sky and mountain occupying the top third/half of the picture.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Agharta - stage 7

I am continuing with working on the mid-ground foothills and have washed in a tonal colour over the foreground landscape. Although the landscape below the mountain is planned as being in desaturated blues I quite like the warm violet cast that it currently has. I will decide which way to go over my breakfast coffee tomorrow morning...

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Agharta - stage 6

I knocked back the clouds a bit by putting more pink into them...in fact I still may make them even pinker/darker, I'll have another look at them over my breakfast coffee tomorrow. The mountain which is only loosely based on Mount Kailash is pretty much finished, I'll just paint a few misty clouds around it's base and then I hope to start on the mid-ground mountains and foothills. I want to try and keep all the foreground in fairly desaturated colour so that the mountain glows in the late afternoon light to which end I want to keep the violets in the snow to be kept well back and desaturated.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Agharta - stage 5

I decided to keep the orange/pink late afternoon light that came through on the colour underpainting and go with that as it looked more interesting than how I was originally seeing it in my head. Something about the clouds still bugs me so hopefully I will spot it tomorrow morning over my breakfast coffee and sort them out! Then it's time to finish off the central mountain.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Agharta - stage 4

Worked on the sky and mountain today, the sky will do as it is for the moment as I can always adjust it later on when I start working on the landscape. I hadn't originally planned to have much warm colour in the picture as this but I quite like the Sienna/Orange around in the sky and mountain and will probably go along with this for the moment. It is meant to be a very cold picture and was going to keep the colours fairly monochromatic but I quite like how the mountain glows so we'll see how this painting pans out as I go along.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Agharta - stage 3

The first pass of rough colour over the painting. The lighting design of the picture can now begin to be seen, the mountain (Kailash) picking up the last light of the afternoon sun and everything else in shadow which will enable the lights to be seen in the buildings and cave entrance. 
This painting was originally planned to be an Antarctic landscape, freezing cold with snow and ice but I decided a Tibetan one would be more interesting. What is not apparent at this stage is how cold this painting is meant to look with snow everywhere and plumes of steam coming from the buildings as the warm air meets the cold.
A relatively limited palette is envisaged.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Agharta - stage 2

With a rag and later a half inch flat brush I washed in a tonal underpainting made up of a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine. I will probably change the shapes of the rocky landscape but this stage does help me to keep the lighting concept fixed in my mind as to how I initially designed it.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Agharta - stage 1

Agharta is a Buddhist concept of the Subterranean World and is believed to be secretly located somewhere in Tibet, the gateway being guarded by Llamas. There are also connections to The Hollow Earth theory of advanced Atlanteans living under the Earth's crust in Antarctica with Nazi connections to this story through some expeditions sent by them to Tibet and Antarctica and a mysterious voyage by a U Boat to Antarctica at the very end of the Second World War.
This is a companion picture to some recent ones like "City of the Sky People" and "Butte States" in that it has a fantasy city in it with an emphasis on the sky. The lighting idea for this one is everything is in the shade apart from a low sunlight hitting the the top of the background mountain (Mt Kailash to continue the Tibetan theme) and the surrounding clouds. Lights will be on in the building windows and into the cave. It has been roughly "drawn" in with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine with some of the placements only approximate as I will adjust these as I go along.

There is also a favourite Miles Davis album of the same name...

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Siren of the Evening Star

The latest in this series of "Sky" paintings, "Siren of the Evening Star" is very much just about the sky. I had a certain time of day that I wanted to set it in which made the mood more important to me than the content in a way. In fact the narrative contents of the painting are kept very small making the placement of them very important by using the Rule of Thirds in that the figure and ship are a third of the way in from each side forming a triangle with the centrally placed star (Venus). I always envisioned the distant large cloud on the horizon as the brightest part of the painting in terms of the actual design of the picture, being approximately a third in from the bottom and left sides. This placement also helps to draw the eye towards the ship on the horizon.
The model for the mermaid is as usual, the lovely Naomi Wood.
This is another painting that I hope to take to IX in October. There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.
30" x 20" Oil on linen.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 11

I only had barely an hour and a half to get any painting done today, but continued to work on the beach, put in the star and rough in the mermaid.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 10

God, progress is so slow! So much of my time is being taken up helping out my elderly parents and am only really getting in about an hour and a half's worth of work a day at the moment.
I have been sorting out the foreground beach area today including the design and placement of the dryer darker sand which compositionally leads the eye towards the figure and then on towards the boat on the horizon and the Evening Star (not put in yet).

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 9

Very slow progress as a lot of my time is being spent on looking after my elderly parents. Have made a start on the water lapping onto the beach and have roughly painted in the foreground dryer sand shapes that lead the eye towards the figure.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 8

Not really a stage but just to show the progress, or lack of it, on the beach and shore which is due to my Father going into hospital etc etc and my time being taken up dealing with the consequences.
Had a bit of a problem at first deciding on how I would paint the beach and after a few trial runs that got scrubbed off I am going to do it in a more painterly way by using thicker paint dabs and dragging a brush across them, this should make the water nice and wet-looking...

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Siren of the Evening Star - stage 7

Progress is slow again due to family obligations but I have now washed in some colour on the beach and sea for reflections placement and it finally shows how I intend the painting to look as imagined in my mind's eye. The wash was a mix of Indanthrene Blue and a dash of Phthalocyanine Green thinned with Liquin and turpentine applied with a rag and then some areas removed with a clean rag where the bright cloud reflections are to go.

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.