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, 30 December 2014

Talking Dolls - stage 2

Put down some colour today and yes it looks a bit of a mess at the moment! It is a very colourful building so by putting all this colour in it gives me a good idea about how to harmonise it together although the point of the picture is still the riot of colour and typography that attracted me to paint it in the first place. This will hopefully be a useful underpainting that I can work with.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Talking Dolls - stage 1

This amazing looking toy store was in the same area of Detroit as the previous picture, "Topless". This is just one end of quite a long building that runs along the road covered in brash colours and typography, I chose this end because I like the words "Talking Dolls"! I intend to paint it with a low afternoon sun projecting tree shadows onto the building with "Talking Dolls" being the only words fully in the light. This was a device to make the picture more interesting and I needed to break up the lines of the building in some way. I first "drew" it up with an old bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and Lukas Number 5 Medium so that it would be relatively dry in the afternoon to put down some tone using the same colours but thinned with turpentine and Liquin and applied with a rag and brush.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


This is a girlie bar on a run down road on the outskirts of Detroit. The road was lined with closed down businesses including probably this one but I liked the incongruity of the bright pink building amidst the washed out buildings that surrounded it. This is another of my high-contrast, high-saturation paintings of urban America, in this case I was trying to achieve a melancholy beauty with the distant sunset light barely illuminating the scene of urban decay. I was after a strong design by having a bright strip of orange dividing two areas of darker tones but still with fairly saturated colour. The painting is based on a blue/ orange complementary but all the colours were kept warm by using a lot of magenta and violet. Oil on canvas 39" x 15 3/4". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in earlier posts on this blog........Blogger is not letting me upload a decent photo of this today! It looks better than this!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Topless - stage 6

More of the same today, trying to get everything ready to finish off tomorrow so that it's finished before Christmas. The pink building isn't as bright as it looks in this photo!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Topless - stage 5

Still sorting out the tonal colour in the bottom half of the picture today hoping to get it finished before I go away for Christmas on Tuesday.

Feature in American Art Collector published

I have a two-page feature on me and my work published in the new issue of American Art Collector magazine. This came about due to my painting "Approaching Rain, Devil's Dyke" winning Second Prize in the Landscapes Challenge in International Artist magazine (also published this month by the same publisher), the prize being this feature which required me sending them images and text from which they could choose  for the final article. I am pleased to say that the text reads well and I like the images they have chosen to represent me. The magazine covers the part of the American art market that I would like to exhibit and sell in so I am hoping that this exposure will be able to break some new ground for me.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Topless - stage 4

I have started to paint in the bottom half of the picture trying to get the tonal values right for the design I have in mind. This picture is quite tricky as I want the lightest area to be the strip of orange sky with everything below it  kept to similar mid-to-dark values which means I am using colour in a tonal way; substituting a dark tone for instance with a rich purple instead of a grey or black. I want strong saturated colours with the pink building having a slight glow to it.....

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Blizzard On 59th Street Sold

I have just been notified by Imagine Gallery in Suffolk that "Blizzard On 59th Street" has sold. Just in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Topless - stage 3

Started to work on the sky where I want the lightest part of the painting to be, the bright orange strip running between the sky and trees. I also used some Manganese Violet and Viridian for the line of trees to establish more darks so that I can tonally hang from this for the rest of the painting particularly when I have the trees and orange sky finished for my lightest light and darkest dark worked out.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Topless - stage 2

I changed my mind about the colours I am going to use over my breakfast coffee in the kitchen where I always review the day's work ahead. I thought that an orange sky would be moodier than a yellow one and then the rest of the picture centred on violet so that the pink building could sit nicely within it. Getting my darks in now so that I can judge the tones better in the rest of the painting.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Topless - stage 1

This is a girlie bar on a run down road on the outskirts of Detroit. Pretty much every other business around it was closed down with this building standing out from the rest as it was painted bright pink with a red neon arrow on the wall. This will be another in my series of scenes of urban America painted in an atmospheric high-contrast, high-saturation way which I think will be based around a green/blue - red/yellow complementary..ish colour scheme. First stage was "drawn" with an old bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and Lukas Number 5 Medium in the morning session and then in the afternoon session a tonal underpainting using the same colours but mixed with Liquin and turpentine was put down using a rag and brushes.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Auto Trim

This is a building I came across in Knoxville, Tennessee although the title refers to the foreground sign for the building just shown on the far right. I'm interested these days in taking a relatively run down building or street and making it interesting, even beautiful by painting it in a moody atmospheric way using high contrast and high saturation colour although in the final instance they are really tonal paintings. It is based on a blue/orange complementary colour axis and have tried to keep all the colours as warm as possible with the tonal design keyed to the brightest area of the picture which is the cloud above the red building. Oil on linen 20" x 16". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in earlier posts on this blog.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Auto Trim - stage 4

The plan for the design of the painting is that the lightest part of the picture is the cloud above the red/orange building with everything else tonally hanging off that. I want a dramatically lit painting based on an orange/blue complementary with all colours kept warm, even hot. Should finish it tomorrow.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Approaching Rain, Devil's Dyke published in International Artist magazine

My painting "Approaching Rain, Devil's Dyke" which won Second Prize in the Landscapes Challenge is published in the December/January issue of International Artists magazine on page 6. Apart from being published in this magazine the main part of the prize is a two page feature in American Art Collector magazine that also comes out in the same month, I will post this when I get confirmation that the magazine has been published.
Image courtesy of International Artist magazine.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Auto Trim - stage 3

Darkened the sky to enhance the contrast with the clouds, the main one which I have now broken up a bit - the clouds will be yellower than this in the final painting. I want the colours to be dark and rich with a very warm light coming from the afternoon sun.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Auto Trim - stages 1 and 2

The title refers to the sign although the main focus of the painting is the red building...which is not Lonnie's Auto Trim. Anyway I came across this in Knoxville Tennessee and thought it might be a nice subject for a painting. I'm trying to make a fairly ordinary urban scene much more interesting by painting it in a very moody and atmospheric way which also seems to bring out a somewhat surreal aspect to the scene as well. I first "drew" it up with a mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple and then washed in a tonal underpainting using the same colour mix thinned with Liquin and turpentine using a rag. The next day I put down a basic colour underpainting which begins to show the lighting and colours that I am intending to use.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

"Adding Atmosphere", my latest article for Artists & Illustrators magazine

My latest article for Artists & Illustrators magazine has just been published in the January 2015 issue. It is called "Adding Atmosphere" and is a step-by-step progress through my painting "Chrysler Blues" showing how I completely changed the mood and atmosphere of a reference photograph I had taken in New York that was shot originally on a sunny day to a rain-sodden nocturne painting.

Monday, 8 December 2014


This is a roadside ice vending machine I came across in South Carolina, USA, something that may be common in the States but unusual and surreal to me! I am presently interested in pushing contrasts of tone and using higher saturations of colour so this is another picture looking into the sun to that end. I feel that I need to give my paintings more of a personal identity so I am capitalising on my predilection for tonal painting and my love of strong colour to see if I can produce a body of work that is more instantly recognisable as a "Mark Harrison", particularly in view of my upcoming exposure to the US Fine Art market through two US art magazine articles. This picture is based around a yellow/violet complementary colour axis keeping everything warm by using oranges, pinks and yellow-greens as well. Oil on canvas board 16" x 16". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Ice - stage 5

I had to cool down the colour on the vending machine as I need to try and indicate within this colour scheme that it is mainly white and figured that it needs to reflect more of the sky which is a yellowy blue hence putting more green into it. I have started to make the sunburst bigger and have got the "Ice" sign ready for the light burst to extend over tomorrow.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Ice - stage 4

I am trying to keep the overall colour warm so I am using mixes of orange and violets  as a foil to the cold title of the picture. I have now put down the basic underpainting of the sign, vending machine and surrounding ground, it is now a matter of getting the right values when I paint over this tomorrow - the main sign lettering will be less distinct in the final painting for instance.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Ice - stage 3

Got back to work today - started to work out the values by darkening everything to leave the brightest part of the picture the sunburst in the gap in the trees.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Ice - stages 1 and 2

This is an ice vending machine by the side of the road I found in South Carolina. I agonised over how near or far to place this within the picture as it does look quite surreal (to me anyway) in the context of it's roadside setting but in the end went with being relatively near. I used an old canvas panel that had been prepared for plein air painting that had an Ochre wash on it on which I first "Drew" up with a mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple. Later that day after it was fairly dry I painted in a tonal underpainting using the same mix together with some Zinc White and Permanent Orange for the sky. 
This morning I painted a second layer of underpainting to give me a better idea of where it's going before I go away for a few days.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Saharan Sunset

...As in the Saharan Motor Hotel on Sunset Boulevard LA. Another high-contrast, high-saturation painting making the most of the contrast by looking straight into the setting sun. I decided to make the road and pavement deserted of cars and people for a more surreal effect; I also chose an odd height for the observer to be. We are about ten feet in the air in this picture which also gives it a surreal, dreamlike atmosphere. Oil on linen 20" x 16". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in earlier posts on this blog.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Illuxcon 2015

I am pleased to say that I have been accepted in the Main Show for Illuxcon 8 to be held in Allentown, Pa October 21 -25 2015! It will be a great chance to meet up with friends old and new as  well as to hopefully build on the contacts and connections I made in September this year......and looking forward to all those diner breakfasts and pumpkin ales.......

Saharan Sunset - stage 5

Painted in the lettering and pretty much finished the motel so started on the background in addition to painting another glaze of pink/blue over the sky. I'm still thinking of keeping the Boulevard deserted....

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Saharan Sunset - stage 4

I realised that the lamp post at left was too high so painted some out which I think will make it a better composition with the main palm tree being the only object now breaking the top picture edge. I then put down the first glaze of pink/orange over the sky before starting to resolve the motel and the short palm tree at left foreground. Not getting a lot of painting done in this dismal weather, I don't trust or like the light you get from so-called "daylight" bulbs!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Saharan Sunset - stage 3

Put down some base colours into the foreground and gave the sky another coat of pink/orange ready for the first glaze tomorrow. Thinking of having Sunset Boulevard empty of cars and people....maybe a more surreal feel to the picture?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Saharan Sunset - stage 2

Made a start on the sky including a decision to put in the sun as I want the maximum contrast tonally in the picture, from some near-blacks in the foreground to the virtual white of the sun. Managed to get two coats down of an Alizarin Crimson/Dioxazine Purple mix over the bottom of the painting through the use of Lukas Number 5 Medium that allowed the first coat to dry so quickly.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Saharan Sunset - stage 1

"Saharan" as in the motel on Sunset Boulevard LA that is! This is another of my high contrast, high saturation pictures this time based on an analgous colour set of orange to violet (at least that is the plan at the moment). I am using an interesting method of obtaining reference material which I will write more on at a later time. I first "drew" it in with a mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and then washed in a tonal underpainting with a rag and brush using a mix of Permanent Orange and Permanent Rose for the sky and Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and turpentine for everything else.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Drive Thru

Continuing with me trying out a higher contrast, higher saturation look this is a painting of the well-known Rock and Roll MacDonalds at 600 N. Clark in Chicago and references a photo I took there many years ago. It is based around a pink/orange - green/blue near complementary colour axis trying to keep each colour area distinct for a stronger design. 
My recent Orientalist paintings such as "The Arrival Of The Concubines" and "Approaching The Citadel" which use a high contrast, high saturation look that has been well received have informed my current approach to my other work such as this picture. I like how I could continue to paint for different markets, each one connected and informed by the other; one, the more fantasy influenced Imaginative Realist the other more for the "fine art" market in the UK and USA.
20" x 16" oil on linen. There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Magic Night

This was originally a plein air painting that I changed into a night picture back in the studio as I felt it could be more interesting. I was going to bring it to Illuxcon but decided to bring all canvas paintings as they are lighter and therefore cheaper to ship to the US. As a plein air it was painted near a village in the East Sussex countryside called Isfield on a warm Spring day a couple of years ago and then subsequently worked on in the studio. Oil on board 18 1/2" x 18 1/2".

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Drive Thru - stage 5

Tweaked the values on the upright poles, put in the flag and then worked on the foreground cars and any shadow areas with a further glaze of blue/green. Decided to take out most of the pinks in the ground in foreground areas to ensure that the basic design works; one area of pinks and oranges and one area of blue/greens in unequal proportions. I am linking the foreground to the background with just a few touches of pinks and oranges (toned down) in the blue/green area.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Drive Thru - stage 4

Worked on the left side of street and background buildings at right before starting to resolve all the foreground areas making sure to keep within a fairly narrow range of colour so that the two areas of colour are distinct from each other - the pinks and oranges of the sun and background distinct from the blue/greens of the foreground areas.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Drive Thru - stage 3

Started painting in the setting (or is it rising?) sun and the buildings in the distance and then painted two more glazes of blue/green over the rest of the painting as it I want this area to be unified in tone and colour. This should then best express the pink - green complementary design of the painting as well as making the lighting work.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

20,000 Page Views so far!

I am happy to report that this blog has just exceeded 20,000 page views. Well it makes me happy but of course this is probably small beer compared to many other blogs!

Drive Thru - stage 2

I have blocked in some colour into the sky and then washed in some transparent glazes of yellow, orange and pink into the area where the sun is. After that I painted some transparent glazes of blue/green over all the shadow areas; at this stage I am not worrying to paint up to many lines as I want it to look quite "busy" in terms of texture and content. I was able to paint several layers of glazes in one day by using the wonderful Lukas No. 5 painting medium which dries so incredibly quickly.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Drive Thru - stage 1

Another painting where I want to try out this high contrast, high saturation look this time back on canvas (linen) again. I first "drew" it out with a brush using a mix of Sap Green and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and turpentine then went out for lunch (very nice) to give it time to partially dry. On my return to the studio I then washed in a tonal underpainting with a rag using a mix of Burnt Sienna (and a touch of Quinacridone Red) and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and turpentine. The painting's location is the famous rock and roll McDonalds drive-through restaurant at 600 N. Clark Street in Chicago using a reference shot I took there many years ago.