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, 29 December 2017

Ruth Rouge - stage 4

This is what I have been able to do in the couple of hours I had this morning before leaving the studio, back on Monday. I have worked some more on the figure tentatively applying colours to see how the shadows and highlights are going to work - at the moment I am unsure and will take advantage of the days away from the studio to think about it.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Ruth Rouge - stages 1 to 3

Stage 1
This painting started out as an experimental landscape trying out some textural ideas using combs and paint shapers but when I got to a certain point I just didn't see it going anywhere as I was unable to control the effects in the way I wanted. I began to take the paint off the board with a kitchen towel and liked the textures it was producing so I decided to run the paint over the whole board and then move it around with a kitchen roll which produced some interesting shapes and textures that would be ideal to use as a background for a portrait...hence "Ruth Rouge"which is linked by colour to an older painting "Naomi Rouge". The model is the beautiful Ruth Netania of whom I had a good set of reference photos taken a few years ago to choose from.
In Stage 2 I painted in the outline of the figure in dark paint and then gave the background a glaze of transparent Alizarin Crimson ready for today's painting session.
In Stage 3 I roughed in some underpainting on the figure and gave the background another glaze of Alizarin Crimson. I am trying to hold back painting in too much light areas in the figure and save some nice juicy highlights for the end. I also don't want many sharp edges, the planned colour scheme is warm shadows cold highlights.

Stage 2   

Stage 3

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

IX acceptance

I am pleased to report that I have made the final selection for the Main Show at next year's IX in Reading PA. Not sure what I will be taking as I didn't sell any of what I thought was a pretty strong selection of paintings this year! Still, plenty of time to think of something!....?

Friday, 15 December 2017

Cypress Hill

Working title was "Autumn Leaves" but I changed it to Cypress Hill as it is literally that, a hill with cypress trees on it - absolutely no connection with the band of the same name but I like to title paintings that are the same or very near to something well-known but without the expected visual connection. 
This is another in a short series of experimental paintings where I am trying out some techniques in this case using paint shapers, to try to achieve textures that approximate to in this case fallen leaves on the ground. The next painting will be about the random complexity of branches found in natural locations like a hedgerow.
Oil on board 12" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Cypress Hill - stage 5

Didn't manage to get a lot done on this visit to the studio, not helped by failing winter light. I have managed to work on the fallen leaves in the foreground and will finish the painting when I return to the studio on Thursday. 
I already am thinking about the next painting in this series...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Cypress Hill - stage 4

This is as far as I could get today before the light failed (I like to paint in natural daylight). After looking at it between leaving and coming back to the studio I realised that the tree was too small so I first enlarged it before moving on to the sky - I want quite a large tonal contrast between the hill and the sky so I made the edge of the hill pretty dark to make the sky look lighter.

Cypress Hill - stages 1 - 3

Stage 1
Literally Cypress Hill, a hill with cypress trees on it - I like to title a painting sometimes with a well-known phrase etc that has associations that I then ignore and don't illustrate in any way. It somehow gives the painting title an extra resonance.
This is another of my current series of simple but more experimental paintings in terms of look and technique. With this one I am trying out using some paint shapers that I use to take away the paint from the picture surface, this gives some interesting textures and shapes although these only work with transparent paints as far as I can tell. 
Stages 1 and 2 show the initial layer of transparent paint that has been roughly applied with an old bristle brush, the colours being a mix of Transparent Maroon, Burnt Umber and Alizarin Crimson thinned with Liquin and turpentine. I then used some plastic paint shapers to remove little flicks of paint to imitate the look of fallen leaves.
Stage 3 shows the final complete underpainting with the tree roughly painted in and some tone in the sky.

Stage 2

Stage 3

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Artists & Illustrators magazine

Artists & Illustrators magazine has just posted in Facebook the link to an abridged version of an article I wrote for them a while ago on how to paint an imaginary landscape which follows a step-by-step progress through "Departure of the Bash Kadin".

Saturday, 25 November 2017


After the exertions of producing a body of work to take to Illuxcon, I am now just trying a few experiments with some smaller paintings. Right back to when I was an illustrator I occasionally produced more textural paintings then in acrylic, whereby dark transparent paint is roughly painted on first and then highlights painted into it when it was dry. This worked particularly well with natural forms such as tree trunks. I have over recent years done something similar with oil paint except instead of painting in highlights I have have erased them with a small bristle brush dipped into turpentine. Whilst at Illuxcon I saw the work of Julie Bell who has been doing something similar although a lot more refined than my attempts so far and decided to have another go on a simple landscape. I chose a lonely Scots Pine with writhing roots on a hilltop against a cloudy sky, keeping it moody by lighting it quite low with no really bright areas. I am not overly happy with the results but it's a start, I'm not sure if I will continue with these or not...
Oil on board 18 1/2" x 18 1/2",
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Sentinel - stage 5

After much deliberation I decided to paint some rich dark glazes over all of the bottom half of the picture, mostly warm browns but with touches of green and blue and then picking out highlights by erasing the glaze with a small bristle brush tipped in turpentine. 
Not sure where I'm going with this but it's good to be trying something a bit different and indeed good to be back painting.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Sentinel - stage 4

This is just to show what I have been able to do in a couple of hours this morning before I have to be away from the studio, back Thursday. I washed some transparent colour over the ground and rocks to knock them back tonally before deciding how to finish it on my return to the studio.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sentinel - stages 2 & 3

Stage 2
On my return to the studio yesterday I painted in the basic shapes of the lone Scots Pine tree and darkened the sky with the previous mix of Raw Umber, Transparent Maroon, and Alizarin Crimson mixed with Liquin and turpentine.
Today I was able to paint in the sky and clouds as well as pretty much finishing the tree as far as where the roots start. I used mixes of Raw Umber, Zinc White, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Sienna and Lemon Yellow for the sky area. At this point I decided to stop as I need to think about how I'm going to tackle the bottom part of the painting, such as how much different colour should be introduced or should I keep the whole thing moving between browns and blues for instance.

Stage 3

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Sentinel - stage 1

After recovering from Illuxcon and the lack of sales I am getting on with something different that has been been bubbling away in the background for while and that was rekindled when looking at the work of Julie Bell who was exhibiting at Illuxcon. This is just a trial and is only the first stage, it may need more variety of colour for instance but I will paint in the lone Scots Pine when I return to the studio on Saturday. It is then a question of painting in the clouds which will be soft and nebulous and sorting out the foreground textures etc.
This stage was "drawn" in with some battered bristle brushes using a mix of Alizarin Crimson, Transparent Maroon and Raw Umber thinned with Liquin and turpentine. The sky was put in with a rag using the same mix.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

IX 10 Encore Show

Cold Constantinople
Whilst the unsold paintings are on the way back to the UK from IX 10 in Reading PA three of them are included in the IX 10 Encore Show that runs until December 31st. This internet show is to give a chance to collectors that couldn't make it to IX 10 itself to purchase paintings etc from where they live.
The three paintings are:
"Cold Constantinople"
"Midnight Keep"

Midnight Keep


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Wall Of The Citadel and Give Me Shelter sold

Give Me Shelter

Luckily whilst I made a monetary loss on going to Illuxcon two paintings were sold on Artfinder, "Wall Of The Citadel" and "Give Me Shelter".

"Give Me Shelter" was painted a few years ago as part of my series of nocturne paintings of Hove seafront near where I live.
The shelter in "Give Me Shelter" was used for dalliances with usually married women by the future King Edward the Seventh when he was still the Prince of Wales when he stayed at a nearby seafront house in the late 1890s. It now has a very different class of occupants, homeless people.
Oil on board 36" x 18".
"Wall Of The Citadel" was painted last year as a kind of homage to the Orientalist postcards of the early 20th Century. I tried to paint it in virtually two colours, red and yellow.
Oil on linen 22" x 16". 

Wall Of The Citadel

Friday, 6 October 2017

Siren's Dawn

The final painting that I have been just able to finish in time to take to Illuxcon.
A mermaid combs her hair as she lies on a rock on a deserted shore line in the soft early morning light. She has suddenly turned around as she notices a distant ship on the horizon, the next victims for the red-haired femme fatale?
This painting is really all about the sky. I always saw her in my mind's eye as semi-silhouetted against the sky looking towards the distant ship. The model as usual is the lovely Naomi Wood.
I wanted to avoid a corny sunrise/set painting so I set the time as dawn is breaking, the first rays of the morning sun yet to shine on the mermaid and the foreground landscape.
It was painted on a stretched Winsor & Newton "Maritime" canvas but I added two more layers of oil primer sanding between coats to fill in the weave a bit to get it nearer to my preferred surface, linen.
I used mainly transparent colours for the sky so as to help it recede into the background, painting it in layers so as to build them up until I had the right balance of transparency and opacity.
Oil on canvas 39 1/2" x 15 1/2".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog

Monday, 2 October 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 13

Over yesterday and this morning I am hoping that I have done enough so that on my return to the studio on Thursday it will just be a matter of a couple of hours work to finish the painting.
I really want to take this to Illuxcon but it will be tight if it is to be dry on Friday for me to scan it and then pack into a box to send to America.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 12

Put in some work into the figure and rock she is lying on in the couple of hours that I had this afternoon on returning to my studio. I have slimmed her hips down a little bit and am hoping that I have enough done on her to be able to pretty much finish her tomorrow, indeed it is still touch and go as to being finished in time to take to Illuxcon.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 11

I realised late yesterday that the sky still didn't make sense so I resolved this morning to break up the clouds at top into smaller shapes and knock them back a bit so that they don't occupy the same distance from the viewer as the small darker clouds at left.
This is all I can get done this morning as I now have to be away from the studio until Saturday.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 10

Kind of finished the sky barring a few tweaks later on perhaps and then I made a start on the sea as well as blocking in the land and mermaid.
It's touch and go as whether I finish this to take to Illuxcon but I will carry on and try to get it finished in the limited time I have available, if I find I am rushing it too much then I will leave it as I don't want to compromise quality and handicap a potential sale later on.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 9

Whilst away from the studio I realised that the sky was not getting across how I wanted it to look and consequently decided to make more use of the panoramic format by running the horizontal clouds right across the width of the canvas. I then resolved to separate the sky into three sections that each occupy a part of the sky that recede into the distance. I am now trying to have the nearer, darker clouds at the left in front of the lighter horizontal ones with the other clouds at top right and centre that are catching the dawn light separated also from the horizontal ones (haven't done these yet). The sky is also too saturated and too cool so I will have to put a few glazes over later.
I doubt if I will have this finished in time for sending to Illuxcon and don't want to f*** it up by trying to hurry it!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 8

Again, not really a stage, just the progress this morning made on refining the sky before leaving the studio back on Monday. The difference between stage 7 and 8 is quite subtle as I have just been changing some shapes and directions of clouds-the sky must hang together as a real sky, the nearer clouds darker against the further ones.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 7

I changed my mind about the sky after making a start on putting in the sunrise light onto the clouds when I realised it was heading towards a (to me) corny sunrise/sunset painting, something I try and avoid. So instead of the pink clouds spreading across the sky at right I am just going to have the light hitting the clouds in the centre of the sky with the rest of the clouds in shadow. I left it at this point as the light in the studio was getting bad and it was a good point to stop and look at getting the cloud shapes right in tomorrow morning's session.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 6

I had enough time this afternoon on returning to my studio to paint in the beginnings of the clouds, making sure to use transparent colours as I discovered recently that this gives the best approximation to how clouds look in the sky. All you need to do is paint them in transparent layers until you feel that you have the right balance of opacity to transparency. Consequently I used a mix of Zinc White, Ultramarine Blue, Ultramarine Violet and Permanent Orange, all Michael Harding colours.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 5

Not really a stage as such, just the result of an hour and a half's work this morning before I am away from the studio back on Wednesday.
I have just smoothed out the gradations in the sky and put a little bit of work into the clouds near the horizon.
Hoping to have some fun painting the clouds when I get back to the studio!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stages 3 & 4

Stage 3

I first put in some more undercolour into the sky after strengthening the lines on the figure and then blocked in some more tonal undercolour into the foreground, resolving the shape of the rock that the figure is lying on in the process. I mixed Liquin and Lukas Number 5 Medium into the sky colours hoping that they would dry quicker but alas they were still tacky in the afternoon.

In the afternoon session I still carried on making a start on the sky which I had to curtail as I needed the top of the painting dry before I could properly continue. I am trying to not make the sky too dark as I want it to look quite delicate and soft in the morning light.
I forgot to mention in the post for Stage 1 that I gave the Winsor & Newton canvas two extra coats of oil primer, sanding between coats to fill in the weave a bit to try and get the surface nearer to linen, my preferred working base.

Stage 4

A Sidestreet In Madurai sold

"A Sidestreet In Madurai" was sold last week direct to a buyer in the USA who has now bought at least four paintings over the past twelve months.
This was painted in 2013 after a visit to South India in which I wanted to get across the scruffy charm of a street that really could be anywhere in India with it's typical mix of worn colourfully painted surfaces, interesting street furniture and poor drainage!
A step-by-step process article about this painting featured in Artists & Illustrators magazine the following year.
Oil on board 36" x 18".

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 2

I just had time this morning to put down some undercolour before leaving the studio for a few days, back on Friday.
With a rag I washed in the beginnings of the sky using mixes of Lemon Yellow, Manganese Blue, Kings Blue Light, Indian Yellow, Permanent Orange and Brilliant Pink, all Michael Harding colours.
Although the foreground will be in cool blues I have washed in a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet over this area as red/browns sit very nicely under blues and violets.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Siren's Dawn - stage 1

At long last I am getting on with another painting after nearly a month of tweaking earlier paintings and sorting out things on my new computer. I am hoping to have this ready to take to Illuxcon but it will be a close thing and probably will be shown unframed if I do take it along.
This painting is really all about the sky and lighting to set the mood and at this first stage it is impossible to see what I envisage. I am hoping to wash in some tone on the foreground as well as the background colours in the sky tomorrow morning, at this point it will hopefully become more apparent as to how it is going to look.
The mermaid/siren has suddenly seen the distant ship on the horizon in the early morning light as she combs her hair. I saw her in my mind viewed from below so that she is silhouetted against the sky. The model was the lovely Naomi Wood.
This stage has been "drawn" up with a thin bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and turpentine.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Lack of activity...

Apologies for the current lack of posts, I am still only occasionally in my studio and have been prioritising my time on sorting out my computer. I am planning a mermaid painting as possibly the last painting to take to Illuxcon in October and am hoping to make a start on it next week! 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Midnight Mahal

As part of the current exercise in tweaking some recent pictures I have slightly changed "Midnight Mahal" by putting in an indication of the moon in the sky at near top right as well as putting in a few more moonlit highlights on the Taj itself. The colour is more blue than it appears here but again this is another hard painting to photograph.

Original painting

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

60,000 page hits

I am pleased to report that my blog has just exceeded 60,000 page hits...

Moonlight In The Seraglio...again

OK OK I've finished tweaking it now! I returned to the studio yesterday and finally realised what was bugging me about the top of the picture, I didn't like the shapes of the dark foreground against the moonlit background. To this end I darkened off the arches and merged them more into the curtains, this added some more contrast which makes it work better spatially and breaks up the awkward way the curtains met the top edge of the picture.

Due to my father having another fall I will be around less in the studio for a while so please understand the relative lack of activity on this blog!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Moonlight In The Seraglio

Although I thought that I had finished repainting "Moonlight In The Seraglio" yesterday I was looking at it this morning and I realised that I could improve it by darkening the interior. To this end I painted a Violet/Blue glaze over all of the mid-ground interior and over the shadows of the buildings on the background. This I think separates the interior from the outside and gives a bit more of an interesting tonal design to the picture by accentuating the shape of the area lit by moonlight in the  background.
This is a hard painting to photograph so you will have to wait until Illuxcon to see what it actually looks like!
I will be away from the studio now until Thursday although due to my father having another fall yesterday, things are more uncertain...

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Moonlight In The Seraglio repainted

Something has bugged me about this painting for some time and I decided that if it was to be of a good enough standard to take to Illuxcon I needed to do something about it. I finally realised that it was the perspective in the foreground and the awkward space of carpet between the figure and the immediate foreground. The area that she occupied in space was wrong and it looked as though the divan was at some crazy angle to the floor. I didn't want to repaint the whole figure so I resolved to try and sort it out so that although it wouldn't be perfect at least it would make more sense, to which end I positioned her on a different divan that was at a different angle to the floor. I then added some other details such as an incense burner and a cushion and slightly repainted the figure.
I hope that this has resolved the situation!
Oil on linen 18" x 24".

Original painting

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Moonlight In The Seraglio/Midnight Bay

Original painting
I have carried on with tweaking these two paintings to get them ready for Illuxcon with "Midnight Bay" now finished. I gave it two glazes of a green/blue (Winsor Green and Prussian Blue) to darken areas and strengthen the contrast.
Due to the extensive reworking of the foreground in "Moonlight In The Seraglio" I am still working on this one, hopefully finishing it tomorrow morning before I leave the studio for a few days, back on Saturday.

Reworked painting   

Monday, 24 July 2017

Moonlight In The Seraglio

New Version
In order to get some paintings to a state that I am happy with to take to Illuxcon I am repainting or adjusting a number of paintings including "Midnight Mahal", "Midnight Bay"and "Moonlight In The Seraglio".
With "Moonlight In The Seraglio" there has been something bugging me about it for some time and have finally realised what it was, the perspective in the foreground. With that in mind I have made a start on correcting it by placing the figure on a different divan and at a different angle. I have also repainted the foreground pillar perspective so that the different components of the foreground will make more sense in terms of the space they occupy.

Original painting