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, 25 August 2014


The last framed painting that I will be taking to Illuxcon, this is a portrait of the lovely Ruth Schechner in my "gold" style as suggested by Pat Wilshire, co-organiser of the event. Due to the use of gold paint and the limitations of my camera in terms of handling colour this is the best I can do as an image to post on the blog and Facebook. I wanted the figure to be set against an intense red background which I managed to get by roughly painting layers of transparent red oil over a dark burgundy acrylic wash, managing to get a bit of texture to it which is what I wanted - I didn't want a flat red background. 
I was originally going to drop bronze powders onto wet paint to get the metallic surface designs but opted instead to mix the powders into thinned oil paint or Liquin, a fair amount of control to produce different levels of shine was afforded by varying the amount of paint to powder. An early decision was made to have a flowing black shape running through the dress and somehow continuing onto the hair above as I wanted a link from the dress to the figure; all other shapes (I had opted to have all curves for the patterning) were added spontaneously around it as I went along. I would have liked an extra day on this but due to the fast approaching deadlines for framing and packing I have to leave it as it is, I have put an oil radiator next to it to make sure that it is dry for tomorrow so that I can get it scanned/photographed asap. Oil and bronze powders on canvas 11 3/4" x 31 1/2". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in earlier posts on this blog.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Ruth - stage 7

Finished the dress barring any last-minute tweaks so I got on with the face today, trying to get that sassy expression as she looks down towards the viewer. I think I will knock back the gold curve in the hair to a much more orange gold.....or even paint it out.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Ruth - stage 6

Nearly finished the decoration on the dress and now starting to think about the face and arms so I have started to build up the red background in transparent glazes to give me an idea about the colour and values for the flesh. Also painted the hair area darker for the same reasons.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Ruth - stage 5

Today I painted some more of the gold dress area this time getting some more three-dimensional effects by putting on blobs of gold paint that will hopefully remain above the picture surface when dry. I also painted a semi-transparent glaze of a darker red all over the background and am pleased to see that a certain amount of texture remains visible.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ruth - stage 4

I have started to mix up richer metallics now and use them on the background patterning as well as putting in the major curves in a brighter gold.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

"Approaching The Citadel" sold

I am very pleased to report that Pat and Jeannie Wilshire have just bought "Approaching The Citadel" prior to it being shown at Illuxcon. I wish that I had done more paintings with this kind of mood and lighting, I think I'm on to something here.......thank you Pat and Jeannie!

Ruth - stage 3

I made a start today in getting some basic shapes into the dress including just one black line to run through it and out of the figure to emerge as a gold line over the hair - I want a link between the figure and background. I have been experimenting with mixing the bronze powders with oil paint and/or Liquin as it produces a richer metallic lustre than conventional gold oil paint and one can easily control the colour and lustre by varying the quantities of powder to paint. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Ruth - stage 2

I have made a preliminary start on the figure, principally to establish the basic form and to hide the underlying grid. I will stop here and get on with the gold decoration as the bronze powders often stain adjacent areas in oils so I will try and get most of this done first and can then easily paint over these areas afterwards. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Ruth - stage 1

The painting so far
Well here goes, a portrait of the lovely Ruth Schechner in my "gold" style, this time in oils and bronze powders at the suggestion of Pat Wilshire, the co-organiser of Illuxcon. I am hoping that I can finish this in time as I seem to get lots of disruptions to my working days but at least today I managed to get started. The first thing I did was to try out some ideas on the computer in Photoshop, looking at different poses and different arrangements of gold, black and red (the primary colour scheme for the picture). After agonising over whether to paint it on MDF or canvas (I chose canvas) I first gave it a wash of Burgundy acrylic as I needed an undercolour to work over; I chose acrylic as it is fast drying and I could get on with drawing it up straight away. I gridded up the reference photo I had decided to use from last week's session with Ruth and painted the same grid on the canvas in acrylic as it would not disappear when I start putting the oils over it. Once I had finished "drawing" it up in a mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Purple oil paint with a stubby oxhair brush I then blocked in the background with the same colour mix (which hid the grid) and then the hair with the same colour mix but a lot more Dioxazine Purple in it.
Gridded up

Working out in Photoshop

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Approaching The Citadel

This follows on from "Arrival of the Concubines" in that it is another Orientalist painting based on colour and atmosphere. A nomad leads his camels towards a walled city, a white marble citadel is mysteriously lit by a moon only seen as a reflection in a desert riverbed in the foreground. An orange glow emanates from a gateway thus providing the complementary colour to the green/blue of the rest of the picture. I have agonised over the amount of moonlight there should be in the water; too much and it dominates the picture so I have kept diminishing it until I felt that it works with the background (the original concept for the painting was the bright reflection in the water as the primary focus but I came to realise that the Citadel was really the focus). The painting is influenced by the work of Atkinson Grimshaw and Albert Goodwin although I now see some Edmund Dulac in there as well (no bad thing!). I hope to take this one to Illuxcon in September. Oil on canvas 19 3/4" x 19 3/4". There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in earlier posts on this blog.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Approaching The Citadel - stage 5

Put the first glaze on the sky, adjusted values in the city walls, put in the subtle orange light in gateway, worked on the left foreground and put in the three camels. Stopped then when it came to the water as I'm not sure how much bright moonlight I want in the reflection. So I will look at it again in the morning and hopefully finish it before I go to Leicester at lunchtime, back on Wednesday.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Approaching The Citadel - stage 4

Decided to hold back on the glaze so I finished off the citadel and made a start on the landscape foreground instead. Also made the camels larger as the scale to the buildings wasn't right and got rid of the water behind them as I could now frame the leading camel in the orange glow in the gateway.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Midgard repainted

Actually "repainted" is a bit of a misnomer - all I have done is to put a Norse warrior figure into the near foreground at bottom right. I felt in the end that it needed a human presence in the painting.

Approaching The Citadel - stage 3

Spent most of the day working on the mosque/palace (based on The Citadel in Cairo). Hope to get the first glaze on the sky tomorrow.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Approaching The Citadel -stage 2

OK, got some colour down today to give me an idea about how it is going to work out. I have left the gate in the wall with the underpainting showing through as that gives me an idea about wether to have a red/orange glow like a welcoming light for the travellers and is of course a complementary to the blue/green of the rest of the painting. If I do have the light in the gate there will be a nice reflection of it that will highlight the first camel rather well.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Approaching The Citadel - stage 1

This one follows on from "Arrival of the Concubines" in that it will be a painting all about mood and atmosphere. Three camels and a couple of nomads head towards the walls of an imposing city, a mosque seems to float above it illuminated by a moon only seen in the reflection on a river running through the foreground. The painting is influenced by the work of Atkinson Grimshaw and Albert Goodwin and will be based on variations of greens and blues with maybe a touch of red orange light coming out of the gate in the city walls. This is my usual first stage of a mix of Burnt Sienna and Dioxazine Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine applied with a rag over a simple "drawing" using a thin ox hair brush with the same colours.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Siren's Cove repainted

Repainted version
Sorry no new paintings recently, I have been away for four days and then distracted by a business opportunity that I will say no more about at the moment until such point that it looks like it's going to happen. I have however found time to improve (hopefully) some paintings that could be bound for Illuxcon like this one, "Siren's Cove". I have widened the gap between the cliffs which I think makes for a better composition and tweaked the figure as well. Oil on canvas 11 3/4" x 31 1/2".

Original painting