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, 28 July 2014

Arrival Of The Concubines

An Islamic city, possibly Istanbul on a moonlit night. A boat silently approaches a jetty, on board two new concubines are being delivered to the sultan. On the jetty a lone figure, the Head Eunuch of the Harem, waits by the lamplit pavilion for the boat to pull up to escort them to the palace. All is quiet apart from the gentle lapping of the water against the sides of the boat and the jetty.
I wanted to paint something atmospheric and Orientalist but to keep it as a landscape with just the small figures supplying the possible narrative. Atkinson Grimshaw is the main influence on this picture, the painter of moonlight par excellence. I based it on a red/orange - green/blue complementary colour axis, oil on linen 19 3/4" x 19 3/4". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting on earlier posts on this blog.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Arrival Of The Concubines - stage 5

I just have to finish the boat and reflections, put a couple of figures on the jetty and then paint various glazes to get the lighting I want, - atmosphere is everything in this painting.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Rusting Boat, Newhaven

Vis a vis yesterday's plein air painting trip to Newhaven, here are a couple of photo's showing the progress through the picture and indeed what we were looking at to paint. The first shows it after I have completed the initial wash-in and then the painting in of the sky and background buildings. The second shows it when I am starting to paint the foreground boat. You might be able to tell from the first photo how I have altered the background buildings to get a better composition and then understand my decision to knock them back and simplify them so that the focus of the painting is the boat.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Plein Air Painting, Newhaven

Rich Newman, Yvette Sullivan (and Isla) and myself went to Newhaven for some plein air painting today, settling on Denton Island as the place we would set up. There was a battered old boat on the opposite shore of the river which we thought would make a great subject. This is what I came up with, a contre-jour scene concentrating on the texture of the boat and putting the background buildings into light soft focus. It was started in the usual way, a tonal underpainting using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and turpentine painted with a rag. I based it around an Orange and Blue complementary scheme. Oil on canvas 19 1/2" x 7 3/4".

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Arrival Of The Concubines - stage 4

Painted another glaze of Prussian Blue/Phthalo Green over the sky and painted in the rest of the water which I will allow to dry over tomorrow (I will be plein air painting all day tomorrow in the Newhaven area) before finishing off on Friday. The circular glow around the moon will be subtler in the final painting.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Arrival Of The Concubines - stage 3

The first glaze of Prussian Blue with a touch of Phthalo Green has gone on the sky and the light around the moon worked on today. Then the shoreline and background buildings defined, the start of a glow in the jetty pavilion and finally a start made on the water. It is now getting easier to see how the light and colour is going to work.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Mermaid's Storm repainted

The repainted version
There are a few paintings that are contenders for Illuxcon that I have not been happy with and this was one of them. It seemed a shame to not take them after putting that time into painting them in the first place so I am working through the ones I am unhappy with and attempting to improve them. On this one the clouds bothered me first and foremost; they looked too stringy and solid, like floating sausages, so I resolved to try and adjust them by breaking up the lines and lightening most of them. They could still be better maybe but will leave like this as the painting is supposed to be slightly unreal which is why I have kept the colours as they were. I also lightened the sea towards the horizon as it was too dramatic and indeed too dark. Oil on canvas 11 3/4" x 11 1/2".

The original version

Arrival Of The Concubines - stage 2

Looking at the work of Atkinson Grimshaw I conclude that he must have done a lot of glazing to get the richness of colour so I have resolved to do some on this. After I have finished the transitions around the moon I will glaze some mix of Prussian Blue over the deliberately warm colour that I applied today on the rest of the sky - hopefully a cold blue over a warm greenish underpainting will produce a nice effect. The sky will be darker than this, hopefully richer in colour with a dazzling light effect on the moon. I can't really put the water in yet as until the sky is finished I don't know what light and colour it will be reflecting. There will be a warm orange glow in the jetty pavilion and a few lights on the shore and city - a complementary colour axis that the painting is based on, Red/Orange - Blue/Green.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Arrival Of The Concubines - stage 1

I regret that I gave up on "Lonely Street" yesterday! I just didn't like it and I decided to cut my losses and start another painting, they can't all work out. I think it should have been a virtually monochrome tonal painting and the addition of colour just confused the composition - maybe I will come back to it one day and see if I can rescue it.
This painting, "Arrival Of The Concubines" will be all about atmosphere, a moonlit Orientalist picture of a boat arriving at a landing jetty with a version of Istanbul in the background. Hopefully an Orientalist Atkinson Grimshaw. This is the usual mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and turpentine applied with a rag on linen (something I rarely paint on).

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Lonely Street - stage 6

I opened the possible whore house, populated the elevated railway train and worked on the building on the right of the picture. Currently having second thoughts about the shadow and wondering if it is better without it......

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lonely Street - stage 5

All the darks have "sunk" at the moment, so I need to run a layer of Liquin over them when they are dry to bring the value back. I have changed the building at bottom left from a diner into a possible whore house (closed!). Actually, I think I will change it to open tomorrow as that is in keeping with the possible narrative that runs through the painting.....
All values so far are keyed to the focal point of the subway exit/entrance and the red wall opposite, I will tweak everything done so far when I have painted these in. Also haven't painted the distant skyscraper yet either.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Lonely Street - stage 4

As the picture is based on a red/green complementary colour axis I decided to put some green into the sky (the nearest colour to blue) as well as the shadows and distant buildings. This should emphasise the red colours in the wall. There is a building in the distance that I want to be brightly lit as a symbol of the distance both geographically and monetarily that there is between Lonely Street and the prosperous city far away. I have also decided to make the light in the subway exit/entrance much colder so that it stays nearer to the red/green colour scheme. I will be away from the studio today, back on Monday so there will be no further work on this painting until Tuesday unfortunately.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Lonely Street - stage 3

Put in some colour today and made a few changes like getting rid of the retro street light and replacing it with a single modern one. Also changed the height of the opposite side of the street. Spent the rest of the day finishing the changes to "Mermaid's Storm" and also making some changes to "Siren's Cove".

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Lonely Street - stage 2

As this picture will be very much about light and shade I decided to put a wash over the whole painting of a mix of Burnt Sienna and Transparent Maroon thinned with Liquin and turpentine. I did this as I want to design the painting around pools of light set against areas of shade as well as the focal point of the red wall. I can now establish early on where the light areas will be for a strong but simple design within a potentially complicated picture. The rest of the day was spent repainting part of an earlier picture called "Mermaid's Storm" as I was not happy with it and felt it needed rescuing if it is to be taken to Illuxcon.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Lonely Street - stage 1

This is a painting influenced by the etchings of Edward, Hopper, Martin Lewis and Film Noir movies. I will just take one of my city paintings to Illuxcon which if it works out how I see it in my mind's eye will be this one. It's the wrong side of town, Low Rent I think it's called, and some guy in hat and overcoat is emerging from a subway station in a deserted part of the city, in the distance can be seen some Downtown buildings, modern with lights in windows, here nowhere is open apart from a dimly lit diner in the left of the picture. His looming shadow caused by the bright light emerging from the subway exit is cast against a red wall on the side of a building opposite, a meat packers now closed until early the next morning. A train moves along the Elevated Railway at top left. The subway entrance is based on Astor Plaza in New York but I have moved it to the Wrong Side Of Town. The first stage was to work out where things were going using a brush and thinned down paint, the second part was to apply a tonal wash with a rag - both stages used my usual combination of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple thinned with Liquin and turpentine.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Waiting For The Sun

I managed to get this started just over a week after my eye operation, it has taken a bit longer than normal to finish but I am glad that I was able to be productive in this time! A naked Dryad stands in a boulder-strewn canyon by a waterfall strewn with driftwood. She looks towards the rising sun, a promise of warmth in the golden glow of the sunlight as it penetrates the chill morning of the canyon. It is another of my paintings that is hopefully destined for Illuxcon later this year; a straightforward landscape in many ways but with the addition of the Dryad it takes on a more mythological feel which is accentuated by the design and lighting. Based on a red orange/ blue green complementary axis I have warmed it up by keeping most of the greens tinged with orange and yellow. By painting over a strong red brown underpainting this has a richer feel to the colour due to the red brown showing through all the painting in some way or other. When the painting is seen in the flesh as it were I am pleased that one squints one's eyes to look at the sun due to careful control of values over the whole picture and therefore mimicking how it would be in reality. The title references an album by The Doors but has no visual connection with it any way, I just like titles that reference songs etc! Oil on canvas 39 1/2" x 15 3/4". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in earlier posts on this blog.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Waiting For The Sun - stage 10

I painted in the rocks on the left of the picture today which just leaves the arch, figure and any final adjustments before it is finished. This painting has taken a bit longer than usual but considering that I managed to get going on this not too long after my eye operation I am pleased that I have been able to get another painting ready for taking to Illuxcon in this period.