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!

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.