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 January 2019

IX 2019 Commission

I am delighted to have received an IX 2019 commission for a large painting to be shown at Goggleworks in Reading PA in October. This is a chance to really go for it in terms of expressing something personal with gusto and putting my work in front of a wider audience within IX and beyond. Patrick and Jeannie Wiltshire are gradually amassing a collection of large commissioned pieces that will be exhibited (I think they have already started) around the USA and beyond to promote Imaginative Realism to the wider public and art collectors who may not be aware of this kind of art. 
I felt that I needed to up my game a bit in terms of how I paint before undertaking the commission to which end I have produced eighteen paintings over the last tree months since IX 2018 trying things out, kind of tweaking the way I do things. Some have worked, some haven't, such is the way when experimenting but I have learned some new approaches and technical ways of doing things too like I have discovered some great brushes for painting clouds and changed the way I do the underpainting for instance.
I have now stacked them all up together in my studio in chronological order bottom to top and I am going to absorb what I've learned from them and start thinking about what I'm going to do for the commission itself.


Sunday, 20 January 2019

Taking Stock

Not counting the demise of "Pulborough", I have painted eighteen small pictures trying things out with varying degrees of success over the last three months. I am only seeking to tweak the way I do things and haven't been trying things in a scattershot manner producing wildly differing paintings that have no relevance to what I'm looking for...maybe I should have...
I have arranged them in my studio chronologically from left to right, bottom to top and will consider  what I've learned and what I'm going to do with what I've learned in the next few days. Initial thoughts are that I like the overall effect of the blue/green tree painting "Elies Dendro", something quite different about it, wether it's worth developing ...we'll have a think on it.

Pulborough No More

Oh dear, sometimes a painting just doesn't have a happy momentum to it and every so often I abandon one because I just feel it can't be rescued. This is one of them, whatever colours I seemed to try I just simply hated it and coupled with the ordinary subject matter I just lost my temper and put my fist through it...which considering it's supposed to be linen went through surprisingly easily...maybe it was the sheer frustrated force of my fist that did for it.
I feel better now.
It's now time to take stock of what I've been trying out these past three months which is the subject of my next post...or the one after that.
16" x 12" Oil on linen with hole in it.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Pulborough - stage 2

First Version
I painted in the sky yesterday in green/blues and oranges and didn't like it so I rubbed it off and left it until today to look at it with fresh eyes and decide what colours to use. I chose a blue/violet sky with yellow/white clouds and tried to emphasise the diagonals which were getting lost in the first version. I'm thinking of going for reds/violets mixed into the browns and greens to try and keep the palette fairly limited based around violets...

Current Version

Full Moon Over Cuckmere Haven

Finally dry after three days I have been able to scan it and post up the finished painting. I have returned to a favourite landscape, the iconic Cuckmere Haven in East Sussex on the South Coast of the UK. Based on a blue/orange colour complementary there is a single tiny spot of orange light where the Coastguard Cottages are at the mouth of the river although orange was used throughout the painting to moderate the colour and saturation of the blues. The light of the unseen moon is reflected in the nearest curve of the river meander. I painted all the colour in two sessions over one day as a way of preventing myself overworking and putting too much detail into the picture, a trait I'm trying to subdue!
When I've finished "Pulborough", the painting I'm struggling with at the moment, I will call a halt to these small paintings and get going on a large commission. If I have the time I might post up an overview of all what I've learned from this series...
Oil on linen 16" x 12".

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Pulborough - stage 1

Still waiting for "Full Moon Over Cuckmere Haven" to dry before I can scan and post it so I am getting on with the next one, "Pulborough". It's time to come into the daylight now after these recent nocturnes although it will be a moody daylight...This is probably the last of this series of small paintings trying things out and feel I need to do a daylight painting bearing in mind what I've learnt and to make sure I keep to the mantras (see previous posts about them!).
The location is a house near the village of Pulborough in West Sussex.
This the first stage of the tonal underpainting, I will put in the sky and go over the rest with another layer of the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin mix tomorrow morning and then hope to paint the whole picture on Friday.
Oil on linen 16" x 12".

Monday, 14 January 2019

Full Moon Over Cuckmere Haven - stage 1

I am returning to a favourite landscape as possibly the last in this series as I try and consolidate what I've learned (if I have the time I might do a post about the whole series and what I've learned from them). The location is the iconic Cuckmere Haven on the South Coast of the UK about three quarters of an hour away from where I live. There will be a single light on at The Coastguard's Cottage and everything else will be moonlit sky and landscape, the moon unseen just out the top of the picture although you do see it reflected in the nearest curve of the river. With a bit of luck I hope to have the whole thing painted in one day, tomorrow.
This stage was "drawn" up first with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Manganese Violet thinned with Liquin which I allowed to semi-dry over a few hours and then later this afternoon I finished off the sky and the rest of the tonal underpainting with a rag using the same paint mix.

While The City Sleeps

This is a follow-on picture from the last and have used much the same colours but made it more like it is lit by the light of a full moon. It's Venice of course, an old favourite that I have painted many nocturnes of over the years. I'm getting happier with the look of what I'm painting now, I want them to look like a painting not a photograph and have been trying to follow the mantras stuck to my easel as I have gone along (see previous posts about the mantras!).
I painted in all the colour and finished it in one day, yesterday, as I didn't want to overwork it.
The title actually refers to a short movie I shot in Venice a few years ago, a bit Don't Look Now using the dimly lit alleys and bridges as the settings. Venice at night actually looks like a stage set anyway and highly recommend a walk around Venice at night particularly away from the San Marco areas.
I have one more painting to do following on from this one and then I guess it's time to think about the big commission!
Oil on linen 16" x 12".

Saturday, 12 January 2019

While The City Sleeps - stage 1

This is a follow-on from the previous painting and will use much the same colours as it's another moonlit cloud picture this time of Venice but will have more lights on in the buildings (I actually added a few lights on the river bank in the last painting and will post the revised version tomorrow).
Venice is not really the subject of the picture as such as it's all about the sky and the way it's painted (in line with the mantras stuck to my easel, see previous posts). 
This stage was first "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Manganese Violet thinned with Liquin and then with a rag using the same paint mix I put in all the tone, rubbing out the clouds with a clean rag. 

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Oliver's Island

Once the tonal underpainting was done the day before I painted the whole picture in two sessions yesterday to avoid overworking. This is the second time I have painted this location on the Thames near Strand On The Green in West London although I was more concerned about the colour, design and atmosphere than a topographical painting. I was going to have a few small lights on the river shore at left with reflections on the water but I decided against it as that is what is normally expected in this kind of Whistler-influenced painting. This series of small paintings trying things out is nearing the end now as I think I have worked out how I can tweak the way I paint things to be nearer what I'm looking for. I will need to do another one or two more as I need them to enter some UK competitions in the so called world of "Fine Art". There are not enough buyers in the IX bubble to sustain the number of artists working in this area and I need to make sure I maintain contact with the "Fine Art" market as I had been just about making a living in this area for fourteen years before I got involved with IX and have kind of neglected it over the past few years. I will bring over what I have learned from this series into the IX work as well and need to get on with my IX commission very soon but I needed to get this out my system first.
Colours used were Prussian Blue, Phthalocyanine Blue, Kings Blue Light, Ultramarine Violet, Permanent Orange, Unbleached Titanium and Zinc White - all Michael Harding paints.
Oil on linen 16" x 12".
The earlier stages of this painting can be found in previous posts on this blog.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Oliver's Island - stage 2

The tonal underpainting for "Oliver's Island" is now finished. Actually this is the second time I've painted this location, an island on the Thames near Strand On The Green. This time though I intend it to be much more vague and mysterious as I am only using the basic shapes of the landscape under a night sky with just a touch of moonlight hitting the tops of the clouds. There will be a few lights on the shore to the left picked out from the blue dimness `a la Whistler and his Nocturnes. 
I used the same mix of Burnt Sienna and Manganese Violet thinned with Liquin as Stage 1 to finish off the underpainting.

Unleaded

Gradually narrowing it down to what I'm looking for in terms of tweaking what I do and how I do it, "Unleaded" is now finished after a last minute darker glaze on the sky. I'm trying to give my paintings a Look that has the identity of a painting by Mark Harrison. There are zillions of artists out there all trying to sell to a limited number of buyers and as I make my living from this I need to produce work that sticks out from the crowd and says "buy me!" I have just about worked out the things I like to paint and how I can incorporate my interests in colour, design and atmosphere into a better version of my style so far. This one is trying out some bold colour shapes particularly with red a colour that I love to see in paintings and pushing the atmosphere with the subdued lighting. I have tried to give it the light of early dusk, an abandoned petrol station somewhere in the South West of the USA with three/four areas of red linking to the pink clouds, the colours of the painting based on a red/green near complementary. I'm not quite producing what I'm looking for bearing in mind the mantras stuck to my easel (see previous posts) but I'm getting there.
Oil on linen 16" x 12".
There is a short step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Oliver's Island - stage 1

I added a glaze this morning to "Unleaded" which means that I can't scan and post it until tomorrow so I thought that I would make a start on the next one, "Oliver's Island". This is actually the second time that I have painted this location near Strand-On-The-Green in West London although I am only interested in the shapes this time and not interested in the location itself very much. I am now narrowing it down to what I'm trying to achieve, a painting that people will want to buy, not for the location as such but for the painting itself; if you like I'm looking for a "wow" factor, something that will draw people to buy this as opposed to the plethora of art that is out there. It is going to be a nocturne with strong saturated colours with delicate moonlit clouds hanging over the water.
This is the first stage of the tonal underpainting and need this to dry overnight before I put in the clouds tomorrow morning. It was loosely "drawn" up first with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Manganese Violet thinned with Liquin and then blocked in with a 1/2" flat brush. 

Friday, 4 January 2019

Unleaded - stage 5

Painted in the first colour pass on the buildings and foreground, realising I can put some red into the petrol pumps, it is good to have about three areas of red in a painting, the other will be the pink in the clouds or maybe in the sign come to think of it. Yes that would be good, three areas of red converging on the pink cloud, sorted.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Unleaded - stage 4

Managed to paint in the sky this morning before I had to go out. I decided to go with a green/blue - red colour complementary using this mix: Emerald Green, Magenta, Brilliant Pink and Zinc White, all Michael Harding plus Naples Yellow Reddish Extra by Old Holland.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Unleaded - stage 3

I finished the tonal underpainting today using the same paint mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin. I felt that I needed the underpainting to be nearer in tone to how I intend to paint it as it will be a good guide for the composition and how I am planning it. It will make more sense once I have painted in the reds into the side of the foreground roof. Hopefully I can get the sky in tomorrow morning before I go away for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Unleaded - stages 1 & 2

Stage 1
Getting towards the end of these small paintings trying things out. Once I have fixed in my mind how I'm going to use what I've learned from the past couple of months I will get back to larger paintings again, indeed I have a $4000 commission to start very soon! I've hopefully been able to tweak how I go about doing things to produce work for the IX Imaginative Realism market as well as the so-called "Fine Art" market as I need to be selling in both in order to make a living.
This one is of an old abandoned petrol station somewhere in the Midwest. The first stage was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin. 
The second stage was painted in the afternoon session just to block in some tone and used the same paint mix with a 1/2" flat brush.

Stage 2