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!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Full Moon High and Over - First day

As a companion picture to "Cuckmere Meanders to Seaford Head" I have chosen a view of the same valley but a mile inland at another favourite location, "High and Over", a National Trust site midway between Cuckmere Haven and Alfriston in East Sussex. I intend this one to be under the light of a full moon and want a magical feel to it without being a Fantasy painting as such. Atkinson Grimshaw is my starting point on this one, my main concern being that I don't want the painting to be too dark and I am looking at a blue/orange complementary axis again but this time much less saturated colour using Yellow Ochre, Prussian Blue and Permanent Orange as the root colours.

Cuckmere Meanders to Seaford Head - Finished

I tried as near as I could to get across how it looks like when the low Autumn sun is shining into your eyes reflecting off the water as opposed to how a photograph taken in the same situation would expose for the reflection and everything else would be dark and underexposed. I have subtly distorted the shapes and perspective to give it more of a birds-eye-view of the landscape than you would see if you actually stood on this spot; it is very near to the the same spot where the famous painting by Eric Ravilious must have been located. On to it's companion picture now.....

Monday, 23 January 2012

Brown Trousers Day - My first painting demonstration

I had a message arrive last night on my answerphone reminding me of my forthcoming art demonstration at the Fair Oak Art Society on the first of February. Needless to say that I had completely forgotten about this, so after a panic-stricken five minutes of feverish, sphincter-tightening confusion I rang the person who was the organiser desperately hoping I could wing it to sound like a professional artist enquiring about a few last minute details that I was'nt sure about. Fortunately it turned out that it was being held near Eastleigh not far from Southampton which I reckoned I could get to by train as I have no car and indeed can't drive.  I had agreed to do it when I was demonstrating at Art in Action last year in a moment of possible hubris on my part as I have never done this before as a solo performer as it were. 
   So I have agreed to do an oil painting demonstration in front of about 35 people; they have an easel, all I need is paints, brushes etc.....and to bring some paintings to show what I do. Luckily I have arranged instead to go there in Cliff Wright's van who has kindly offered to drive over so I will be able to take everything I need and then some. We have decided to make it (weather permitting) a Grand Day Out, taking in a bit of The New Forest and a hopefully luxurious cream tea in a cottage tea house of choice - I will pay for the petrol....and the cream tea of course!
    Now I have had a chance to think about it for the demonstration I have decided to take over another landscape painting of Cuckmere Haven that I have pre-painted in acrylic as far as the underpainting in Van Dyke Red stage. This means that I can start straight away in oils and get as much done as I can in the two hours and have a print to show (like cookery programmes that show "something I did earlier") of the finished painting of the earlier Cuckmere Haven picture which it should closely resemble. By painting a scene that I have done several times before I can hopefully give myself a chance of being able to paint in front of all those people without making a complete fool of myself as at least it should be familiar to me, including what colours to use etc.
I'm still going to wear brown trousers though........

Cuckmere Meanders to Seaford Head - Third day

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Cuckmere Meanders to Seaford Head - First day

After the disappointment of not getting any of the pre-selected paintings into the Royal Society of British Artists exhibition I decided to get on with a new painting. I wanted a change from the previous two pictures and fancied some nice flowing shapes after the rigidity of the verticals and horizontals of the seafront paintings and chose to revisit a favourite Sussex landscape, the Cuckmere Valley as it approaches Cuckmere Haven. I intend to have the lighting like my previous Cuckmere Haven painting with the low afternoon sun (not quite in the picture) reflecting on the river meanders in a vertical line but with more of a dazzle than the earlier painting. The picture below shows it with the initial layer of acrylic colour on top of my usual tonal underpainting in Liquitex Van Dyke Red.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I Win a Prize! - The Venice in Peril Exhibition

I went to the private view last night of the Venice in Peril exhibition at the W.H. Patterson gallery in Albemarle Street, London and was delighted to find out that I had won a prize for one of my paintings "Fondamenta de la Preson".
Fondamenta de la Preson
The prize was The John White Memorial Prize for the best picture in the show and took the form of a silver plate which is having my name engraved on it before I pick it up in a couple of weeks time - I have to give it back next January though for the next winner! While I was there I met Elly Evans, the lady that had bought one of my paintings at the previous year's show.  After talking with her for a while I was called away to receive the prize during which time she made a snap decision on the spot and promptly bought this one too - good for her!
Elly Evans and the painting

Receiving the prize

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Painter in Paradise - Walter Spies

Die Landschaft und Ihre Kinder
Walter Spies was born in Moscow in 1895, the son of a diplomatic family. His colourful life would make a great film but until then a very good fictionalised book about his life in Bali, Indonesia called "Island of Demons" by Nigel Barley will have to suffice. Although a work of fiction it has been very well researched and as there has been no proper artist biography yet published (that I know of) this book gives you an insight into his life and indeed how life was for the small group of Western artists that settled on the island in the 1930's. If one has past lives I can only hope that I was there at this time, certainly my Paradise!
Island of Demons
After an association with F.W. Murnau in Berlin when he helped the film director on "Nosferatu" he left for the Dutch East Indies in 1923 going first to Java and then settling in Bali in 1927. Spies immediately immersed himself in the fabulous culture of the island every aspect of which fascinated him. He learnt to speak Balinese and became an expert (and innovator) on Balinese culture, so much so that during the 1930's when the island was visited by the rich and famous such as Noel Coward, Charlie Chaplin and the heiress Barbara Hutton, it was he that was called upon to be their guide to all that the island had to offer.

Iseh in Morgenlicht
In addition to composing music, studying the flora and fauna, photographing and filming ceremonies and adapting ancient dances into new forms, he was a painter. Due to the constant distraction he did not produce a huge body of work, most of the paintings being sold to Western visitors which means that they are spread all over the world and is difficult to mount a proper exhibition.
I came across his work on my first visit to Bali in 1986 when I was an illustrator specialising in fantasy and Science Fiction and was immediately struck by it's strong use of design and contrast whilst still retaining a soft fantasy element. I started to adopt the way he used a layering of planes of distance in my own illustration work and in 1994 I went there with the specific intent of setting up a model in full dance costume for a picture painted purely for myself, the above "Leyak-Legong".
Jungle Scene

River Landscape
After what must have been an idyllic life from 1927 to 1939 life began to get difficult. As he was German and Germany had invaded Holland of which Bali was a colony, the Dutch authorities arrested him as a potential spy (like any other German national in the Indies) and he was sent to an internment camp in Sumatra. Although it was difficult he managed to keep on painting and composing music while he was there ("Sumatran Landschaft" below was painted there in 1941) but eventually due to the threat of the Japanese invading the Dutch East Indies all the inmates including Spies were put on board a ship bound for Ceylon in 1942. Tragically the ship was bombed one day out of port by a Japanese plane and started to sink. The Dutch crew abandoned the ship but failed to allow the prisoners out of their cabins so most of them  including Spies died drowning in a slowly sinking ship. Can you see now why his life would make a great movie?!
Sumatran Landschaft

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Nice Review!

I have had a very nice review of my work currently on exhibition at the Medici gallery in London on a blog called Inscape. It is a review of art that can be seen for free in London that has to be in walking distance of the flat where the blogger lives who obviously has a wide-ranging breadth of taste in the art that they appreciate as can be seen from the esteemed company that I am keeping! You should be able to view the blog by clicking on the image, otherwise it is:

Monday, 9 January 2012

Give Me Shelter - Sixth Day

I've painted a few layers of blue glaze on the sky but it still has a lot more needed before I get to the depth of colour I am looking for. The sky is actually already darker than it appears in this photo but the digital camera keeps trying to put more contrast in!  The roof of the shelter is meant to be a similar tone to the sky above so as you can see there is a way to go yet. The emphasis of the painting will be the looming shape of the shelter in front of an horizon of warm, glowing artificial lights.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Artists & Illustrators magazine - February 2012 issue

Current issue
I was delighted to see that "San Marco Snow" has been chosen as the "Picture of the Month" in the "Portfolio" feature in the current issue. It is great that they have given it a whole page and also that it has reproduced well as I often find that the files that I supply to magazines etc come out on the dark side and despite my screen being calibrated I have to darken it further to attain a more accurate reproduction - the iMac's screen is set way too bright for professional use! .....and I have just noted in the small print that I've won a Da Vinci watercolour brush box set and a Winsor & Newton half-pan metal sketchers box!              

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Give Me Shelter - Second day

Painted in the first layer of colours and made a start on the clouds today. The sky will be much darker when it's finished and hopefully the lights will have a strong glow emanating from them. I plan to have the horizon areas dominating the painting with the shelter quite dark and not too silhouetted against the sky - it's all about the glow from the artificial lights against the natural light of the sky.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Give Me Shelter - First Day

This is the start of a companion painting to "Here Comes The Night" the location being on virtually the same spot on Hove seafront. Incidentally I must mention here that a gallery owner said that it is always a good idea to think of paintings in pairs as in his experience a potential buyer will often buy both paintings if they have sufficiently fell in love with one of them and have seen them hanging together. Also it means, as has happened to me, that when one sells a painting it is typical that somebody else comes along who also wanted to buy it; well this time you already have a similar painting that may well suit them available for sale.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Cuckmere Haven Giclée Prints For Sale

Cuckmere Haven
I now have available a signed limited edition (75) giclée print of "Cuckmere Haven" for sale at £75.00 plus postage. The image area is 14" x 14" (36 cm x 36 cm) and is a high quality print using archival inks on archival paper, the printer having had access to the original oil painting to ensure colour accuracy.
There are also mounted prints available at £85.00 measuring 21" x 22" (53 cm x 56 cm) available for sending only to the UK or EU otherwise they will be rolled up in a tube unmounted. Postage and packing will cost £3.00 for unmounted and £10.00 for mounted prints.
"Cuckmere Haven" was painted on location in acrylic and finished in the studio in oil and was selected for exhibition at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London in 2010. The original painting has now been sold.