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!

Friday, 22 January 2021

Tate Birches - stage 2


 I'm working over the whole painting at the same time on this one, there is no area finished yet as the values are really important on this one so I have to make sure I don't go too light or too dark on any area. In fact to work as a kind of pattern I have to keep most of it in the middle values so it's a question of going quite carefully and not get tempted to go in my usual direction of giving it much depth.

Strong Southerly


 It looks like I'm going back to painting on board again for this series of pictures trying things out, a gap of about eight years or so since I last worked on board.

This one is a Tonalist painting of Brighton seafront where I live which is based around three current interests: colour, design and atmosphere. A strong southerly wind has blown the sea spray across the promenade which gave me some interesting design possibilities so I decided to keep things simple and let the basic design take centre stage by keeping the colours (a violet/yellow complementary) desaturated and simplifying the shapes of the buildings so that in the end it is literally about colour, design and atmosphere.

The colours I used are mentioned in a previous post on this blog.

Oil on mdf 12" x  12".

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Tate Birches - stage 1


 While waiting for "Strong Southerly" to dry so that I can scan and post I have been getting on with another trial painting quite different to the previous of the Silver Birch trees outside the Tate Modern in London at dusk. This one is about ending up with a painting that is more about pattern and texture and I am planning this to be about the design and am not going to try and give it a lot of depth as it will kill the pattern idea.

Colours used so far are: Ultramarine Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Kings Blue Light, Permanent Orange, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, Bright Green Lake and Zinc White. 

Oil on mdf 12" x 12".

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Infected By Art


 A big thank you to Infected By Art for including my IX Commission in IBA 9. I have managed so far to get at least one accepted every year for the past six years, unfortunately I didn't get in the Art Renewal Center's International Salon this year, first time in five years that I have missed out. There's always next year....

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Strong Southerly - stage 1


 So I'm going to go back to painting on board for these following trial paintings. This one is a Tonalist one of the seafront in Brighton where I live after a strong Southerly wind has blown the sea spray onto the promenade, these stripes of wet ground offer some interesting possibilities for the design of the picture and I am going to keep the shapes relatively simple  of the buildings so the whole picture will focus on light, design and atmosphere. I was going to try to paint the whole picture in one session but that was silly so I will let the paint dry overnight and work on it tomorrow.

Colours used were: Ultramarine Violet, Winsor Violet, Manganese Violet, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Orange, Bright Green Lake, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Zinc White and Warm White.

Oil on mdf  12" x 12".

Monday, 18 January 2021

Madurai

 

As part of this period of trying things out I decided for this one to go back to painting in a way that I used to do ten years ago when I used thicker paint on board. I thought that thicker paint would suit an image of detail and complexity first and chose to try and get across the chaos of a city street in India. This is a kind of an imagined memory of my visit to Madurai about eight years ago and shows one of the streets leading up to the Meenakshi Temple on a hot dusty afternoon with the gopuram shimmering in the light. I wanted to try and get across the wonderful chaos of an Indian street but by choosing a centered composition I shot myself in the foot a bit, I should have chosen an off-centre composition but never mind this was mainly a technical exercise so I guess it suits the purpose. 

Most of this picture is painted in quite a spontaneous way and the detail was often determined by individual brush marks that coalesced to look like architectural detail etc. The basic building shapes are from basic reference photos I took there but everything else is made up... apart from the gopuram and the tuc tucs.

Oil on mdf board 18 1/2" x 18 1/2".

There is a short step-by-step progress through this painting including the colours I used in previous posts on this blog.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Madurai - stage 4


 Yes I decided over my breakfast coffee to change the sky for two reasons: first the colour was wrong and secondly I needed to break up the symmetrical composition by having the blue on one side only (mainly). I also reinstated some of the power lines which helped too. Hoping to finish the first pass of colour tomorrow.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Madurai - stage 3

 


This is as far as I got on the first colour pass over the underpainting. I will have another look at it over tomorrow morning's breakfast coffee and see how it's going... I'm thinking of changing the sky for instance.

Colours used were: Winsor Violet, Manganese Violet, Manganese Blue Hue, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Orange, Naples Yellow, Yellow Lake Deep, Lemon Yellow, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Emerald Green, Warm White and Zinc White.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Sky Landscape Artist Of The Year


 I can now reveal that I was a competitor on the Sky Landscape Artist Of The Year competition taking part in the first heat at Chartwell in Kent. I was originally a Reserve for any of the main competitors that didn't show up but unfortunately they all did so I was shunted into the Wild Card competitors! The main competitors had a much better vantage point than us Wild Cards so I had to make the best of what I had to work with. I was disappointed with what I came up with in that I should not have used my usual studio method of painting and should have adapted it to the plein air situation as it really needed an extra pass of colour to start looking as to how I intended.

The programme starts at 8.00 on Sky Arts channel on 13 January, I should be in in the first episode... if I'm in it! Blink and you might miss me!

It was however a great day out in the middle of miserable 2020 as it was a glorious Summer day and myself and Rich Newman who kindly drove me over to Chartwell really enjoyed watching the filming and stayed until quite late to watch who finally won the heat. We were very impressed with the organisation and professionalism of the the crew so all in all a grand day out!

I will enter this year and hope to do better if I get in...


 

 

 

Madurai - stages 1 & 2

Stage 2

 Continuing with this period of trying things out I have decided to try painting on mdf board again after a gap of at least ten years. I fancy doing something looser with thicker dabs of paint in a manner that I used to paint up to about ten years ago and thought a busy scene would be the ideal subject. I don't like the way that some of my work is getting too pretty and chocolate box, a look that no "fine art" gallery etc would be interested in so I'm going back to how I painted a while ago when I was involved with the "fine art" business a lot more. 

This is the view you get as you approach the impressive Meenakshi Temple in central Madurai, the shimmering stupas rising out of the wonderfully chaotic streets the nearer you get. I'm hoping to paint this in a precise but loose (!) way like I used to and am looking forward to pushing some paint around. I have not finally decided yet as to what the lighting is going to be but it looks like the sun will be behind us, maybe late afternoon. Final decisions will be made over my breakfast coffee tomorrow morning.

Both these stages have used my usual mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin for the first "drawing" up stage and the second tonal underpainting stage.

Oil on board 18 1/2" x 18 1/2".

Stage 1


Monday, 11 January 2021

Meander


 The first painting in what seems to be an annual event of me trying things out, this time round including going back to painting on board (coming up next). I have felt that my work is getting a bit chocolate box, too pretty and picturesque and seeing as I want to get back to selling in the "fine art" market I need to give my work a more contemporary look without leaving behind things I have learnt over the past few years. I am still going to have at the core of all these trials my interest in colour, design (composition) and atmosphere.... and still develop my painting of skies without as I say, going too chocolate box.

I have returned to a favourite local landscape, Cuckmere Haven for this one as I wanted a landscape with strong shapes in it but this time instead of having the strong abstract curve of the river meander dominating the composition I have made the thin strip of light on the horizon the focus of the picture and knocked back the meander. I am trying to replicate what it would look like if you were looking towards the light in the sky and everything else goes back tonally to compensate for the brightness. To try and give it a more contemporary look I have kept the composition simple and strong with a kind of false colour to take it away from being too representational.

Oil on linen 20" x 16".

There are details of what colours I used in the previous post on this blog.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Meander - stage 1


 Actually I am behind on posting this painting, there are earlier stages but I never got round to putting them up...

So, this is the first of what seems to be an annual event, a series of painting trying things out including at some stage painting on board again. I kind of feel that some of my work is going a bit chocolate box and seeing as I want to get my work seen (and hopefully sold) in "fine art" galleries etc I need to give them a more contemporary feel but still incorporating my strengths and interests, colour, design and atmosphere.

I have gone back to a favourite Sussex landscape relatively near to where I live, Cuckmere Haven except that I am trying to curb my penchant for the picturesque and concentrate instead on the design (composition) by simplifying the landscape to just the meanders of the river and a strip of bright sky. I think it's important to still use what I have learnt about painting skies as that is an aspect of my work that people seem to like so I intend to utilise skies wherever possible.

It is based on a yellow/violet colour complementary, the colours I used were: Ultramarine Violet, Manganese Violet, Winsor Violet, Permanent Orange, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow Light, Zinc White and Warm White.

The curve of the river will not be as prominent as it appears here. Oil on linen 20" x 16".

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Isola di Tessera


 Anyone that has caught the Alilaguna water bus from Marco Polo airport to Venice will pass this island along the way in fact it is the first one you pass. I suspect that it is called Isola di Tessera because of it's small size being likened to a tiny tessera tile that makes up a mosaic. I went for a moonlit look based on a blue/orange complementary, the lights of Marco Polo airport can be seen in the background.

Although in one way I am happy with this picture I am also concerned that it is too "pretty", a bit chocolate box. Originally I had much brighter reflections of the moon in the foreground water but took them right back as to me it was looking too corny. I know that some people will like it but this hasn't a hope of getting into a "fine art" gallery which is what I am aiming for. I need to do work that is more contemporary and a bit less specific to the location so with that in mind I am going on what seems like my annual Period Of Trying Things Out again.

I think I know what to to try out, the basic things that I try to combine can remain the same, colour, design and atmosphere because I need to keep these things that can make my work stand out and whatever I come up with it must remain true to me and not emulating other artist's work, I need to combine aspects of what I was doing ten/fifteen years ago with what I have learnt about oil painting on canvas since.

So prepare for a possible flurry of new stuff that will hopefully be more interesting and indeed interesting to some galleries again. Seeing as we are locked down again for at least six weeks this seems like the ideal time to go for it!

Oil on canvas 23 1/2" x 23 1/2".

There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including the colours I used in previous posts on this blog.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

"Isola di Tessera" - stage 6


 The sky is pretty much finished now and the glow of the lights of Marco Polo airport are now clearly seen. I gave the island another pass of the dark mix of Prussian Blue, Permanent Orange and Zinc White and put a little bit of orange into the window ready for tomorrow to finish off. I then washed in some more of the dark paint mix with a rag over the water and made a start on the ripples in the water. Taking this a bit tentatively at the moment and not rushing into it.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Isola di Tessera - stage 5


 The sky is pretty much finished bar a few tweaks later on perhaps. The lights of Marco Polo airport can now be seen in the distance. I washed a mix of Prussian Blue. Permanent Orange and Zinc White thinned with Liquin over the rest of the painting with a rag and then blocked in some darker tone with the same paint mix over the island.

The Meathouse Man


 For most of December I have been working on a private commission which is now finished and has been seen by the buyer who I am glad to say is very happy with it. It is based around a short story by George RR Martin called "The Meathouse Man", a quite sleazy story I might add about a time in the future when huge mines and factories litter the landscape belching out unhealthy sulfurous smoke into an atmosphere so polluted that the sky is yellow. The workers have the ability to direct possibly brain dead workers as kind of drones to dig up the earth with huge machines that then is taken to factories for ... whatever they do with it. The sleazy aspect to the story is that in their recreation time the workers visit what are called Meathouses where brain dead women are there to cater for their every whim and desire that may occur to them... so it ain't exactly a story with a lot of political correctness! Hey don't blame me, I didn't write it!

After much deliberation on coming up with a decent composition I decided to go back to the buildings I used in "Main Street Apocalypse" as the basis for the Meathouses and have them dominated by the huge factories belching out the poisonous smoke. I wanted the factory to look like the hellish landscape of the Victorian Industrial Revolution and indeed as you follow the factory back on the right hand side it does indeed turn into the hell of a Bosch painting (hopefully!). I liked the idea of a traditional American Main Street turned into a sleazy line of Meathouses.

I decided to base the whole painting around a yellow/violet colour complementary with the warm yellows of the sky contrasted against the tawdry violets of the Meathouses. The buyer asked for a couple of figures in it including a guy having a cigarette somewhere (right hand side under the pink lighting) and some signage saying "Fresh Girls" which I duly obliged by having it painted on the side of the nearest Meathouse.

Oil on linen 30" x 20". Below is "Main Street Apocalypse" for comparison: