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, 7 December 2019

Navajo

Another one where I'm working up the underpainting to finish instead of painting opaque colour over it. This is the first one where I have used no opaque colour at all, the whole painting being layers of glazes of transparent colour, my usual mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and applied with a rag and brush. Although my original intention for these monochromes was soft but textured with thicker brushwork I discovered that the best way to get the most out of this colour was to paint in thin glazes which has resulted in something much more photographic. I like the quality of light which I presume comes from the white of the canvas showing through the transparent layers giving it a slight glow so I will do a few more of these to see where they can go before getting back to my original intention of thicker paint etc!
Because you have to wait for each layer to dry before applying the next and consequently each painting taking longer to finish than normal I have decided to paint two at the same time so I can use my time more efficiently.
Monument Valley lies within the Navajo Nation Reservation, "Navajo" is another Roadside Apocalypse painting... sort of, I might expand this series into more of a Roadside America kind of thing but hoping to avoid going too Americana.
20" x 16" Oil on linen.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Navajo - stage 3

I can't see much point in showing the first couple of stages so we'll start here! There are a few things that I still haven't sorted out in the other two urban monochromes so I thought that I would try this look with a few landscapes to be going on with. I have ended up doing quite a "picturesque" painting which I've gone along with even though I wanted something less specific as this one is just trying out the look, which is dark, soft and moody. As with the other two the whole thing is painted in glazes of a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin.
The location is Monument Valley in Arizona/Utah.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Clovis

I didn't have time to post updates for this painting here as I was writing a last minute article for Artists & Illustrators magazine so here are a few stages plus the finished painting above.
This was another picture where I was taking the normal underpainting to finish without going to colour as I normally do. I think they have a nice quality but maybe look too photographic and haven't quite worked out how I need to apply the thicker paint that will still harmonise with the thinner more transparent underpainting layers which are essentially glazes. I will do a few more until I get it right.
"Clovis" (a town in New Mexico) was painted with glazes of my usual mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and then the more opaque paint was mixes of Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Warm White and Genuine Chinese Vermillion. 
This is another in my Roadside Apocalypse series of paintings. Oil on linen 20" x 16".

Stage 1


Stage 2

Stage 3

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Mustang Cafe

My first painting since returning from IX in the USA. I have decided to put some time into work aimed at the US gallery market so this is another in my Roadside Apocalypse series. I have often liked the tonal underpainting stage of what I do and instead of painting over it in colour and obscuring it I have decided to work this look up in the same monochrome. The majority of the painting is made up of a transparent mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet (Dioxazine) initially applied with a small brush and rag. After some trial and error the opaque colour is a mix of the above along with Lead Tin Yellow Lemon and Genuine Chinese Vermillion. I was surprised by this as what looks like a monochrome painting actually has quite a lot of saturated colour in it and earlier paint mixes of adding Zinc White to the transparent purple/brown mix and then trying Burnt Sienna and White all looked awful and were scrubbed out forthwith.
Oil on linen 20" x 16".
There is a very short step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Mustang Cafe - stages 1, 2 and 3

Stage 1
Getting back into painting after a few weeks away going to IX in America and and having a bit of a think about things when I got back.
I'm going to put some time into work aimed at the the US gallery market i.e. my Roadside Apocalypse series. I have often liked the tonal underpainting stage of what I do and have decided to work this look up instead of painting colour over it as usual. I will either keep it completely monochrome as it is so far or introduce a tiny amount of colour when it comes to the thicker paint on the buildings. The main thing is to keep it moody! The location is a small town in Texas.
Everything so far is a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and applied with a small flat brush and a rag.
Stage 2

Stage 3

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Mehtap sold

Very soon after I got back from IX I sold "Mehtap" via Facebook to a buyer in Colorado. He was incidentally very happy with how I had packed and shipped it! Luckily I had brought it back in my luggage as it was relatively small and was able to send it off before the rest of my boxes came back from the USA.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Piccadilly Circus 6.00 pm sold

Just before going to IX this month I heard from the Abend Gallery in Denver CO that "Piccadilly Circus 6.00 pm" had sold. This was painted a number of years ago in my looser style that I employ for plein air paintings although this one was painted in the studio. 
Oil on board 12" x 12".

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Mehtap

Mehtap is Turkish for Moonlight although I think it has other connotations as well. This is the last painting finished that I am taking to IX although at the rate things are going this and another small one that I am bringing over in my hand luggage could be my whole show. The three boxes of paintings that I sent ahead by FedEx on Tuesday are still stuck in Customs as I write this on Saturday and as it's the weekend nothing will be done about it until Monday when I am already in the USA. Fedex have all the paperwork now I think so desperately hoping they get cleared on Monday...
I wanted to keep this all blues pretty much but mixed the colours out of a blue/green - red/orange complementary so there some variations of colour. It's nice to go back to an Orientalist picture every so often but when I get back from the USA I will probably start again on my Roadside Apocalypse paintings including starting to approach some US galleries with them...
Oil on linen 16" x 12".
There is a short step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Mehtap - stage 4

Have had a few distractions recently (getting all my paintings ready, boxed and shipped to IX) so have only been able to return to working on "Mehtap" today. Basically I have been doing the fiddly work on the mosque which I will finish tomorrow along with hopefully a lot of the rock outcrop and palm trees as well.
If the painting works out I will be bringing it along to IX in my luggage as it's quite small....as long as it's dry of course!

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Mehtap - stage 3

Finished off the sky, put in the distant riverbank and buildings and gave the rest of the painting a wash of tonal colour which immediately made apparent that I needed to sort out the dark areas. I have put in some more bushes but still see that I need to paint in some palm trees to the left of the mosque and also need to join some of the dark palm trees to form some larger shapes, looking a bit bitty at the moment.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Mehtap - stage 2

First colour pass on the moonlit sky using a mix of the following colours: Phthalocyanine Blue, Emerald Green, Permanent Orange, Zinc White, Warm White and Lead Tin Yellow Lemon - all Michael Harding paints.
I then added another layer of tonal underpainting including redrawing it so that the mosque now sits on a rock outcrop as the walls were too tall and the building out of scale with the setting; the downside of painting from the imagination, things like this can happen so you have to make it look believable.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Mehtap - stage 1

Mehtap is Turkish for Moonlight. This is a small moonlit Orientalist nocturne that I intend to paint in mainly green/blues with some orange/browns as the complementary. I like to return every so often to a moonlit Orientalist picture but I will on my return from IX later this month get back to my Roadside Apocalypse series - it's good to leave it for a while as you often bring something new and different along to add to the mix.
This tonal underpainting stage was first "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin in the morning and then when the paint had dried enough by later afternoon I put in the tone with a rag using the same paint mix.
Oil on linen 16" x 12".

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The Girl With Her Head In The Clouds

...it should be Woman really but the convention is "Girl" in this phrase.
Still keeping with my general thread of clouds and skies I wanted to do another small figurative painting and this idea has been half-formed in my head for a while so I decided to try it out. I wanted it very limited palette and desaturated with a fairly limited tonal range too so that the figure loses itself a bit into the sky with the hair breaking away to merge into the clouds. I actually made a mistake and used the wrong mixed colour for the sky behind the clouds, I had mixed a desaturated blue but for some reason I steamed ahead with the colour that was supposed to be for the skin tones on the figure. As it happens it may be for the best because the figure would have stood out too much from the background so I guess it worked out for the best!
The title btw is in no way a reference to the mental state of the lovely Ruth that modelled for it!
I might bring this with me to IX later in the month, I will see what I have to choose from of the recent pictures and make a decision then.
16" x 12" oil on linen.
There is s very short progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

The Girl With Her Head In The Clouds - stage 2

The first colour pass over the whole painting using a basic blue - orange complementary but keeping it quite subtle and desaturated. Colours used were: Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Orange, Winsor Violet, Zinc White, Permanent White, Warm White and Lead Tin Yellow Lemon.

Luna


This was going to be mainly a sky painting then I introduced a figure and decided to do it as a nocturne with the Moon and then realised the tondo format suggested the shape of the Moon itself so I eventually changed the idea to having the clouds echo the shapes of the dark areas on the Moon to give it an extra dimension. I have painted it in such a way that the way the tones work to suggest the spherical shape, indeed it kind of looks like a glass marble!
I kept the colours very subtle based on a red/orange - blue/green complementary but quite desaturated and didn't want the figure to be too distinct from the sky background.
The lovely Naomi Wood was my model, the reference photo coming from a previous session for a vampire painting.
I will probably be bringing this along to IX in a few weeks time as part of a number of small paintings to hang alongside some quite large ones.
12" diameter oil on canvas.
There is a short step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

The Girl With Her Head In The Clouds - stage 1

While "Luna" is drying I have got on with another small figurative painting, "The Girl With Her Head In The Clouds". This will be a very limited palette, virtually monochromatic tonal picture and am hoping it turns out well enough to take to IX in a few weeks' time.
The title btw is no reflection to the mental state of the lovely Ruth that modelled for it!
This is the first tonal underpainting stage for which I used a small bristle brush and a rag with a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin.
Oil on linen 16" x 12".

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Luna - stage 3

Worked on the sky some more and painted in the first colour pass on the figure. Trying to get the right tonal balance between the sky and the figure, getting there...
So far the colours I have used are: Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, Permanent Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Yellow Lake Deep, Zinc White, Warm White and Prussian Blue - all Michael Harding paints.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Luna - stage 2

This is the first colour pass on the sky although since I got back from being out this afternoon I decided that the darks were too strong and rubbed some of the darker paint off the clouds, so at the moment it looks slightly different to this!
I am painting it in a very limited palette centred on quite desaturated yellows, oranges and blues.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Luna - stage 1

Tonal underpainting for "Luna", a small painting probably going to IX in October. This was going to be mainly a sky painting, then I introduced a figure and decided to do it as a nocturne with the Moon and then realised the tondo format suggested the Moon so decided this morning over breakfast to paint the clouds in the shapes of the dark areas of the Moon itself to give it an extra dimension. The figure will be more indistinct than it appears here and at the moment I am planning to paint it in Atkinson Grimshaw colours, kinds of greens and oranges... although I can always change my mind and go for blues.
This stage was first "drawn" up with a small synthetic brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and then the tones were put in with a rag using the same paint mix.
Oil on canvas 12" diameter.

Draco Niger Grandis prints

I will be bringing a small number (7) of prints of Draco Niger Grandis that I recently found in my studio to IX in October. I painted it in 1998 during my "Gold" period when I was using acrylics with gold leaf, gold paint and bronze powders. The artwork was sold long ago but I have these prints for sale at the show, the image area is 16" x 11 1/2".

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse

This started out as a commission wherein the buyer asked me to push the Apocalypse aspect of my current series of Roadside Apocalypse pictures to something more dystopian.
I was thinking of a classic American Main Street location for my next painting anyway so I decided to incorporate that in this commission. The setting is a kind of Mad Max post apocalypse America where the survivors of whatever has happened are eking out an existence in the ruins of their town using whatever technology that still works but kind of doomed really as once the tech stops working and/or the feeble power available cuts out they are left with nothing. They have some feeble power for some rudimentary lighting, even a few neon signs are still sputtering away in the late afternoon light. A lead runs from the car to the lamp post with it's chaotic jumble of cables and wires, maybe they have managed to use the car engine as a generator...what happens when there is no more petrol?
For this picture I remembered the amazing chaotic electric cabling that I saw in Indian cities and thought it would be ideal to use here as an example of adaption to circumstance. 
It is based around a red/orange - green blue colour complementary and have managed to paint the whole picture just using those colours apart from a few dashes of pink for the neon.
I will be showing this painting at the forthcoming IX in Reading PA next month.
30" x 20" oil on linen.
There is a step-by-step progress through this paint in previous posts on this blog.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse - stage 8

OK sorry about lack of progress on this but I was in Sicily for five days and must admit when I got back it took me a whole day to to get my brain working again and make a fitful start on finishing this painting! 
To ease my way back I decided to work on the road which has actually helped as I had lost focus on this picture as originally I really wanted to finish it before I went away but realised that I would mess it up if I hurried it.
I will need tomorrow to finish this area before making a start on the lamp post and cables but at least I'm back in work mode!

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse - stage 7

Right, that's as much as I can get done before going to Sicily tomorrow for five days. I have about two day's worth of work left on it for when I get back. Didn't get as much done today as I hoped due to being distracted by preparations for the trip.
Hoping to walk along the crater rim of Etna...

Friday, 13 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse - stage 6

I don't post an update every day now as although I work on it every day there doesn't seem to be a lot of difference between them when you look at them on the blog. In fact it could be argued that it is often the case that the first colour pass really establishes at an early stage how the final painting will look.
I have toned down the foreground car a bit now in preparation for tomorrow's session when I hope to finish it - it's been toned down a bit as I want the background storm cloud to be the lightest part of the picture and don't want two areas vying for attention on first glance.
I needed the fascias of the buildings to be in shadow as it helps to show the feeble lights and the occasional working neon against the relative darkness.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse - stage 5

I spent today working on the main building on the right using the same colours  as the sky mixes pretty much apart from a bit of Cadmium Yellow Light in the windows where there are lights on. Hoping to finish the painting before I go to Sicily for five days on Monday.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse - stage 4

I managed to finish the sky yesterday bar a few tweaks possibly later on and today painted in a very rough first colour pass on the rest of the painting. I am trying to just use the colours I have in the sky for all the buildings etc so that a colour harmony based on the green/blue - red/orange complementary is maintained.
Although it is all pretty rough at the moment it gives me a very good idea on how to proceed with the buildings and the lighting I want. The road will be a lot more of a mess in the final painting and there will be a lot of Indian-style electric cabling too. 

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse - stage 3

Managed to paint the the first colour pass on the sky today, sticking to the blue/green - red/orange colour complementary originally planned. Colours used were: Prussian Blue, Phthalocyanine Turquoise, Emerald Green, Permanent Orange, Naples Yellow, Yellow Lake Deep, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Lemon Yellow, Zinc White and Warm White - all Michael Harding colours.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse - stage 2

Managed to get the tonal underpainting done this morning using a rag and a Flat brush with a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with plenty of Liquin.
Looks like I'm going to set it late afternoon/early evening so that I can show that there are people living in some of the buildings by having lights on in some of the windows. Will also have a few streetlights working and a bit of flickering neon. 
Probably going to be based around a green/blue - red/orange colour complementary, I will decide over tomorrow morning's coffee!

Friday, 6 September 2019

Main Street Apocalypse - stage 1

This is a commission that came in from posting the previous painting "Whiteface" on the IX Facebook page. They have asked for me to push the Apocalypse aspect of my current Roadside Apocalypse series towards something much more dystopian and as such this will be painted outside of that series so as to keep continuity.
I was thinking of a classic American Main Street location for my next painting anyway so I decided to go with that for this commission. The setting is a kind of Mad Max post apocalypse America wherein the survivors of whatever has happened are eking out an existence in the ruins of their town using whatever technology still works but kind of doomed really as once this tech stops working they are left with nothing. Yes all a bit downbeat I know but this is what they want!
For this picture I remembered the amazing chaotic electric cabling that I saw in Indian cities and thought this would be ideal to put into this, kind of a Fourth World country reduced to a Third World (mind you India is developing fast and although that cabling looks mad, it still works!)
I think I am going to set the time of day as early evening because I would like to have a bit of neon still working and a few lights in windows to show that people are living there.
This was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet mixed with Liquin.

Artists & Illustrators magazine

I have a four page "Masterclass" article published in the September (no. 408) issue of Artists & Illustrators magazine.  It is a 12 step progress through a painting called "Ponte San Agostin" that I painted especially for the article based on thoughts of those two mantras that I have stuck to my easel. For more information on them please go to posts on this blog earlier in the year. Although the title is "Lose Edges, Join Shapes" I always felt it should have been called "Design in Painting" but they stuck to the original title. It's all about simplifying shapes by losing edges and combining the shapes so that the painting has a stronger design. This is the last of the three articles they commissioned from me for this year so far, I did suggest a couple of ideas for others but I haven't heard back from them on that.



Thursday, 5 September 2019

Fine Art Connoisseur magazine

As I was able to get three paintings accepted for this year's Art Renewal Center's 14th International Salon book I was offered a discount on having my work featured in an article about the Salon in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine published in the USA. Although not exactly cheap I thought that it was worth a try as I need to get my work in front of US buyers outside of the IX Imaginative Realism arena.
I now realise that it has a link to my website that I haven't updated for a couple of years...and I'm not sure if I can remember how the program works...
I chose a landscape painting that was not Imaginative Realism even though the three paintings that were chosen were in that category in the book. I just felt that this was a chance to reach a wider market and hope I haven't wasted five hundred pounds!

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Roadside Apocalypse

These paintings are an extension of an earlier series called Roadside America which in the end were somewhat unfocused as to what I was trying to get across.
In 2016 I wrote in the Roadside America section of my book Dreamland  "It is not the modern bustling city that I'm interested in but the places where time has not marched on and has rather left them behind, the look of the America that I saw on television growing up in the 60s when there were many hit American shows broadcast in the UK. The urban architecture, the billboards, the cars, the colours looked so iconic of America in that era although tempered with the threat of the Cold War always there in the background".

"This feeling is very much reflected in "Main Street" above, where I have a lone vapour trail streaking over the landscape... is it a Soviet bomber? Where has everybody gone, are they hunkered down in their fallout shelters waiting for the end of the world?"
It is this theme that I am now developing in Roadside Apocalypse, the American urban landscape overlaid with the threat of the Cold War which somehow seems to have returned with the reemergence of Russia as a Superpower now vying again for power on the global stage.
When I was a kid in the 50s and early 60s in the UK I have memory of my parents going out one night leaving me alone in the house. I heard a lone jet aircraft passing over high in the sky and wondered could that be a Soviet bomber on it's way to drop the H Bomb. It must have affected me because I still remember it frightening me. This was the height of the Cold War period and that threat was always there in the background even for a twelve year old kid. The world of Dr Strangelove was real, 24 hours a day.
Many American TV shows were shown in the UK back then and the American urban landscape became very familiar to us. When I finally got to the USA in 1979 it was at the tail end of the big gas-guzzling cars era and many older buildings were being knocked down and replaced by more modern architecture. In more recent years as the world becomes more homogenised (Americanised?) a lot of the USA looks like anywhere else and the older America of my childhood TV days is harder to find... but it's still out there, you just have to go and look for it.
All the locations I paint are in the present day American landscape. My subject matter is not Americana per se, I might well have a motel sign or diner in a picture but I'm much more interested in a relatively ordinary street scene in a small nondescript town with that older architecture of the earlier half of the last century preferably somewhat run down.
These paintings enable me to incorporate a subject that I am becoming increasingly interested in painting - clouds and skies. I have always felt that the sky can set the mood for a painting and with these pictures they not only do that but are also very much part of the underlying theme that I am interested in. I have finally also been able to include a penchant of mine for huge single storm clouds that previously didn't go with the subject matter of the painting as it always looked too apocalyptic - now it fits! The clouds will never be atomic explosions as such, they will always be storm clouds, it's just about suggestion. I like to keep the scenes empty and deserted which gives them a surreal and nightmarish quality although an abandoned car here and there adds to the possible narrative... what has happened? Somebody has suddenly stopped their car in the middle of the road and ran for it... what is that looming shadow in the foreground all about? Is it an invasion of alien machines like War Of The Worlds?
There is a feeling of nostalgia in these pictures which I have been amplifying by using colours that have a quality of those old colour photographs shot on Kodachrome that people of my generation still have from those days.
The cloud from a nuclear explosion like the cloud of ash from a volcano or an approaching storm have been described as having a terrible beauty and that is what I'm aiming for with these paintings - maybe beautiful in terms of colour etc but mixed in is the dread of Cold War extinction. That's the kind of picture that I like to paint. beauty tinged with darkness and mystery...
Whiteface

Ice

Adult Books

The Last Stop sold

An older small painting of mine has just sold through Artfinder to a buyer in the USA. I seem to remember that I was really into red when I painted this and was looking for any excuse to use it in a painting. I still am into red, it's quite a tricky colour to use because it's actually quite dark and if you want it to stand out you often have to darken the colours around it and/or use a complementary next to it like green.
Oil on board 12" x 12".

Monday, 2 September 2019

Whiteface

Another painting in my Roadside Apocalypse series this one is located in a small town called Whiteface in Texas near Route 66. I am close to finishing a write up on the underlying themes to this series which I will post separately. 
I wanted a more contrasty look to this one and decided to base it around a blue/green - red/orange complementary the only other colour used being a small amount of violet. 
These paintings are all about a number of visual clues that hopefully together add up to an implication of something apocalyptic has happened or about to. I am looking for a bittersweet kind of image that in one one way is a painting with beautiful colours and lighting yet is of something cataclysmic. The terrible beauty of a nuclear explosion. I have always liked paintings that are beautiful but within them is a darkness, kind of yin and yang, darkness and light.
Anyway I will explain all this better in a separate post.
On the surface this is just a deserted small town in America with a storm cloud in the distance...
30" x 20" oil on linen.
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Whiteface - stage 5

This will be the last post before the finished scan that I will post in a couple of days. I have worked over all of the painting now and hope to finish it tomorrow. I have kept the colours within the blue/green - red/orange complementary apart from some yellows and a tiny bit of violet. Also trying to make this one have more contrast than usual. Really need to finish off writing the background to all these paintings in the Roadside Apocalypse series and post, hopefully at the weekend.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Whiteface - stage 4

Haven't done much on this until today as the combination of a wedding I went to on Sunday and the glorious weather has disrupted my normally habitual work pattern. I have at last however managed to paint in the rough colour into the buildings and landscape today. I intend this one to have quite a high contrast to it for maximum drama and trying to keep all the colours used within the complementary palette of blue/green - red/orange.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Whiteface - stage 3

I was hoping to do a lot more today than finish the sky but it was such a nice day I took most of the afternoon off so it will have to be tomorrow morning when I get to paint some rough colour into the buildings etc.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Whiteface - stage 2

I was hoping to get the whole sky painted in one day but it's too large an area so I will finish it hopefully tomorrow. As the picture is based around a blue/green - red/orange complementary the colours I used are: Prussian Blue, Phthalocyanine Turquoise, Emerald Green, Permanent Orange, Zinc White, Warm White, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Lemon Yellow and Yellow Lake Deep - all Michael Harding colours.
I intend to make this one more contrasty and dramatic at least in terms of lighting.