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!

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

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Low Tide - stage 1

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. I hope it has a dramatic but melancholy feel to the picture with some people tempted to think that this has a lot of autobiographical undertones to it but as far as I am concerned it's about lighting and atmosphere!
This stage was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine, the same paint mix then applied to the sky with a rag.
This warm underpainting will be sitting under a lot of cold blues, greys and browns as you will see in later stages.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Vampyr finished

Although it was nominally finished last week, there was something bugging me and on my return to the studio I knocked her back a bit more with a few semi transparent glazes of a muted Zinc White, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber mix. I never wanted the figure to be too distinct and wanted her to look ethereal and merging with the background. I have also taken some more shadows out of the face to give it a softer light. It was also difficult to photograph as the camera was giving it too much contrast so I have waited until it was dry and scanned it as you see here.
Oil on linen 16" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Friday, 23 March 2018

The Longest Day sold

"The Longest Day', a painting from 2013 has just sold through Asgard Arts. A lone lifeguard watches a storm approach from the sea; there is a lateral connection here to the film of the same name...
Based on the beach at Hove where I live in the UK.
Oil on board 18" x 36".

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Vampyr

I decided to stick with this title even though there is a video game coming out soon with the same name. I wanted to paint something less complicated than the previous picture and decided to use a similar colour palette but use it on a portrait of a vampire to keep going the current gothic theme of my work. I wanted her quite pale and desaturated against a textured background and although I am posting this as though finished I might paint a scumble glaze over the whole picture to knock it back a bit more tomorrow morning.. I will decide over my morning coffee! Naomi Wood was the model.
16" x 20" oil on linen.
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Vampyr - stage 6

In the couple of hours painting I was able to get in today before being away from the studio, back on Saturday, I have worked on the face and some of the hair. Still trying to hold back from putting in too much contrast and may well paint a semi-transparent glaze over it to knock it back if needed at the end, I want this to be subtle...

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Vampyr - stage 5

I have painted the second glaze/scumble over the background and painted the first layer of a desaturated blue made up of a mix of Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue and Zinc White over the figure as well as a first pass on the hair. I want the figure to be soft and ethereal, the focus being the black eyes so even the red hair has to be knocked back later on when the figure is established. Looking at it now I realise that the shadows in the figure should be kept light -  something to remember for tomorrow morning's session before I leave the studio for a few days.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Vampyr - stage 4

In the couple of hours I had this morning before being away from the studio back on Monday, I have painted another glaze of Burnt Umber over the figure and mixed the Umber with Burnt Sienna and painted over the hair. I then had time to put in the first scumbled glaze on the background. As this had to be semi-opaque I used a mix of Zinc White, Burnt Umber and Manganese Violet. Still trying to remember that I want the whole painting in the tonal mid-range saving the brightest highlight for the reflection in the black eyes.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Vampyr - stages 1 to 3

Stage 1




Working title only at the moment as there is a video game coming out with the same name...I have just discovered. After the complexity of "A Secret Garden" I wanted to paint something with a darker mood like that but a simpler image. I decided on a portrait of a vampire using similar colours to the last painting - cold desaturated blues for the face and body, desaturated violets for the background and red hair (relatively desaturated) everything painted with semi opaque scumbles and glazes. It will be kept tonally in the dark to mid range with the brightest white just for the light reflections in the black eyes. The lovely Naomi Wood is the model.

I have used a relatively warm Burnt Umber for the underpainting as cold blues and violets will be on top. 
Stage 1 is the basic "drawing" with a thin bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Umber and Vandyke Brown thinned with Liquin and turpentine.
Stages 2 and 3 are wash-ins using thicker versions of the same paint mix but with some Burnt Sienna in the hair. Some Lukas Number 5 Medium and Liquin Impasto was used to quicken the drying time so I could apply two coats in the same day.

Stage 2





Stage 3

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

The Sultan's Favourite sold

"The Sultan's Favourite" has just sold through Asgard Arts.
Oil on canvas 39 1/2" x 15 3/4".

Saturday, 17 February 2018

A Secret Garden

The origins for this painting came from a photo I had taken of my parent's garden at night in the winter with a fresh fall of snow on the ground. The photo shown below had an atmosphere and lighting that I liked and from this grew an idea of an overgrown garden in the fuzzy moonlight with the moon being the only bright area in the picture, everything else being dark and desaturated. In my mind I saw the setting as a garden on a slope leading up to a ruined house on the top silhouetted against the moonlit sky. It was composed roughly around the Rule Of Thirds with the sky occupying the top third and the terrace the figure walks on as the bottom third. It was difficult to compose as apart from the moon there is no dominating feature so it relies on the central grouping of the pond, terrace and steps to hold the composition together. I roughed in these features first and then made the rest up as I went along offsetting one element against another asymmetrically for variety of shape and tone. It operates within a very limited tonal range, the colouring based around a kind of violet/brown base, cold bluish highlights from the moonlight against warmer brown violets of the garden, this colour scheme being alleviated by the introduction of some greens albeit quite desaturated. I wanted the garden to look jumbled and overgrown so the painting had to look like that with the eye wandering around the picture at different elements, the only compositional place to start being the moon in the sky, even the figure is kept back as I did not want her to be the first focus of the painting.
The model was the lovely Naomi Wood, the reference photo coming from an earlier session for another painting.
This is a painting that should be heading for IX in October this year.
Oil on linen 30" x 20". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.




Monday, 12 February 2018

A Secret Garden - stage 14

This is as much as I could get done in this morning's session before leaving the studio, back on Thursday. I have worked some more on the figure and then made a start on the bullrushes in the left corner. The figure will be knocked back a bit when I return to hopefully finish the painting on Friday...

Sunday, 11 February 2018

A Secret Garden - stage 13

Fortunately on my return to the studio the weather has been very bright so I have been able to get quite a lot done today and yesterday. I have now finished, barring a few tweaks, the right hand side of the foreground and have got the left hand side ready for painting in the bullrushes tomorrow morning. I have worked also on the figure but she is not finished yet. I am hoping to finish the painting on my next sessions in the studio on Thursday and Friday as I have to go away for a few days tomorrow, These photographs, however much I play around in Photoshop, still look too harsh and conrasty and when I have finished it I will post in Facebook etc from a scan and not from the camera.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A Secret garden - stage 12

In the couple of hours work I managed to do this morning I roughed in the figure (she will be darker than this) and put some more work into the stonework before I had to clear up, next painting session on Saturday.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

A Secret Garden - stage 11

While away from the studio I decided that I didn't want the figure to be glowing but instead semi-silhouetted in the moonlight and merging more into the garden. To this end I strengthened the lines on the figure yesterday and then ran a wash over it today to knock it back. I also decided to change the foreground bullrushes to a later part of the season when the spikes become cottony-like, this will be seen at the end of the painting.
The colours are arranged in a warm/cold axis with cold bluish moonlight and warmer desaturated brown/blue/violets for the garden and sky.
Most of today's session was spent painting the stonework of the steps and foreground terrace.

Friday, 2 February 2018

A Secret Garden - stage 10

This is as far as I have got with the painting as of this morning. I will now be away from the studio coming back on Monday when I intend to make a start on the foreground and steps.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

A Secret Garden - stage 9

This is another painting that is hard to photograph! I have painted in a large part of the overgrown trees and plants and have now started on the underpainting for the stonework but due to difficult photography conditions this afternoon I can't show the true progress on the painting until tomorrow, this was far I had got until lunchtime today.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

A Secret Garden - stage 8

This morning I was able to get some work done on the mid-ground trees and shrubs before I leave the studio for a few days back on Wednesday. Introducing much darker tones now.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

A Secret Garden - stage 7

Only managed to get in an hour yesterday and four this morning before bad light stopped me painting during which time I have worked on the kiosk and steps in the mid-ground as well as darkening the areas where the foliage is going to go. Hoping to get a decent painting session tomorrow before being away for a few days from the studio.

Nightmare On Kensington Street sold

"Nightmare On Kensington Street" has just sold through Asgard Arts. This was painted a few years ago for my series of paintings of Brighton where I live in the UK. The whole street  in the North Laine area of Brighton consists of the backs of buildings that have been covered in graffiti art with this one still in place today.
Oil on board 18 1/2" x 18 1/2".

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Secret Garden - stages 5 & 6

Stage 5
On my return to the studio I roughly painted in some trees in the nearer garden as I want it to look to have been abandoned long enough for good size trees to have grown there. I then finished off painting the background sky and trees before moving on in stage 6 when I have started to block in some glazes over the stonework of the steps and urns etc so that that I can work on the greenery next time I am here on Friday as I need to get a lot of dark tones in so that I can work out the specific lighting that I have in mind in the moonlight.

Stage 6

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Infected By Art

http://www.infectedbyart.com/iba6artist.asp?gid=9645
Pleased to see that I have a painting accepted for the annual publication Infected By Art Volume 6. The painting accepted is "Midnight Keep" painted for last year's IX in Reading PA.

Midnight Keep
 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

A Secret Garden - stages 3 & 4

Stage 3
Initial thoughts about the colour while I was away from the studio were to use mixes of red/browns and green with blues for the moon, moonlight and figure but after trying this out yesterday afternoon on my return (stage 3) I had second thoughts as I looked at it over my morning coffee. I really want to avoid painting it in variations of blues this time and anyway I want the whole picture to be pretty desaturated so I resolved to use mixes of Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Manganese Violet and Ultramarine Blue all mixed with varying amounts of Zinc and Warm White.

Stage 4