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!

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Hub Prime

After finishing "The Dark Citadel" I was planning on having a rest from painting and do some other things but the idea for "Hub Prime" just came to me in the bath and I felt duty-bound to paint it. This one is very unusual for me as it's a Science Fiction- oriented painting which I haven't really done since the early 2000s for a book jacket commission. In fact I have another S/F idea that has come out of early thoughts I was having for "The Dark Citadel" so the next one will be S/F too...
This one is set on another planet with two moons in the dusk sky, four monorail-type travelways head towards a giant cave below a glittering city that straddles a canyon.
It is based around a blue/green - red/orange complementary, most of the sky using mixes of Prussian Blue, Permanent Orange, Zinc White and Lead Tin Yellow Lemon (all Michael Harding paints).
This might be a painting I bring to IX in October.
Oil on canvas 31" x 12".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

The Dark Citadel

Now that Pat and Jeannie Wilshire are using this image for promotion I am able to start showing my painting for their IX 2019 Commission, "The Dark Citadel". It's a very tricky painting to photograph as it has a very specific lighting design which still doesn't come across in this hi-res photograph...suggest you see it in the flesh at IX in Reading PA in October!
I commenced the painting a month ago after painting a series of small pictures aimed at honing my skills at painting skies and other aspects of my work. Quite a lot of thought went into this picture with many roughs in pencil trying to work out the best composition and canvas size/format that best got across what I was trying to do. For instance I chose a Portrait format as opposed to an expected Landscape format as I wanted a wide angle effect so that you are looking up at the sky as well as looking down on the valley and figure. This means that when I hang it at the show the painting needs to placed so that the viewer's eye level is about where the spray from the distant waterfall is lit by the moonlight.
I wanted a secondary focal point in the painting to the moon in the dramatic sky and decided to put a figure at the bottom right but kept very subdued in lighting. She is there in case Pat and Jeannie need a figure to focus on in terms of publicity purposes as a landscape is normally somewhat diffuse in terms of focal point and visual impact. In fact in retrospect I think the citadel with the moon behind it has enough impact anyway so perhaps I needn't have bothered putting her in! I composed it to get as much movement as I could in the picture, there are no horizontals and just the verticals of the buildings, everything else is about diagonals and leading the eye around the painting.
My pencil roughs are very sketchy as I like things to develop as I go along. One drawback with this approach was when I came to painting the canyon cliffs that link the top and bottom of the painting. I knew that I wanted the top of the cliffs and the buildings to reflect the title, "The Dark Citadel" and then somehow the bottom of the cliffs merge into the moonlit valley. This area in between was fairly blank in the rough but it was only when I started painting this area that I realised what I had taken on to try and realise what I envisaged in my head. This area took a whole week to paint as I gradually figured out how the lighting and colour needed to be painted. Incidentally I originally intended that there were going to be many lights on in the citadel but again to reflect the title "The Dark Citadel"I decided it would look more sinister if there were no lights on - who is up there? Is it deserted? etc
Although I am interested in beauty I always like to have elements of darkness in a painting so in this case you have a beautiful sky, landscape and female figure but also there is a dark potentially sinister citadel within it.
I wanted to keep the whole painting within a relatively limited palette based on a Red/Orange - Green Blue complementary axis, the sky for instance is just painted from Phthalocyanine Turquoise, Permanent Orange and Lead Tin Yellow Lemon (all Michael Harding paints). The tonal underpainting of a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Purple which effectively comes across as a kind of Burnt Orange sits under everything and can be seen underlying all the colours in the mountains and valley for instance.
The whole sky and landscape was invented as I went along apart from the figure which was based on photographs I had taken of the lovely Naomi Wood. There was going to be a group of ruins seen from above breaking up the curve of the river meander at the bottom of the painting but I left it out as it was directly below the spur that the citadel sits on in the centre of the picture's width and compositionally just didn't look good. I couldn't move it to the left because that would cut out the nice river curve and it couldn't go to the right as that space was occupied by the figure.
So...please come along to IX this October and see my painting!
Oil on canvas 30" x 40".

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Hub Prime - stage 6

Working on the city now, at the moment with a bit of glow around it which might go when I look at it tomorrow morning and appraise what it's looking like so far.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Hub Prime - stage 5

Spent some more time on the sky before painting in the basic landscape foreground and mid-ground which I will adjust tomorrow before starting on the city and traffic on the various kinds of monorails coming into the bowels of the city. This is when all the lights come on...

Monday, 25 March 2019

Hub Prime - stage 4

After a very enjoyable weekend in London I have resumed work on "Hub Prime". When I looked at the sky this morning I thought that the sky looked a bit flat so I added a darker layer of clouds and then cleaned up the rest of the sky - I might still add a few more darker clouds tomorrow. They were painted with mixes of Prussian Blue, Permanent Orange, Zinc White and Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, all Michael Harding paints.
I then scumbled a layer of blue/ purple/Burnt Sienna over the landscape ready for working on tomorrow.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Hub Prime - stage 3

Managed to put in the first colour pass on the sky and darkened the foreground before going to London for the weekend, back painting on Monday!

Friday, 22 March 2019

Hub Prime - stages 1 & 2

Stage 1
Apologies for posting very little recently but at the request of the people who commissioned it I have been unable to show the progress through "Dark Citadel", a large painting for IX in the USA which has taken nigh on a month to complete. I will be able to show it it ten days time or so when they have used it for early publicity for the IX event in Reading PA in October.
I was expecting to have a bit of a rest after the large painting but an idea for a Science Fiction-style picture popped up into my head whilst in the bath a couple of days ago and felt duty bound to get going on it. It was vaguely connected to the sky in the previous commission but over this morning's coffee I decided to change it a bit but this won't be apparent until later in the painting progress.
Four kind of monorails converge on a cavelike entrance under a city built on rocks that straddle a canyon on a planet like ours but that has two moons in the night sky. 
Stage 1 was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin.
Stage 2 has been put in with a flat brush and a rag using the same paint mixture with a bit more Liquin added.

Stage 2

Saturday, 2 March 2019

New English Art Club

I have kind of neglected the so called "fine art" side of my work due to lack of time and opportunity over the past few years so I have recently been trying to address this, first with that series of trial paintings of recent months and now entering competitions again. I was surprised to see that all three of my paintings I entered for the annual New English Art Club exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London have got through the pre-selection stage and I will be taking them up to London in April for the final judging. I have to add at this point that it is perfectly possible that none of them will make the show! 
All three of them started out as plein air paintings that I finished off in the studio, oil on board 18 1/2" x 18 1/2". They are "Oak Pool, Isfield", "Falling Tide, Shoreham Harbour" and "October Afternoon, Newtimber Hill".
Oak Pool, Isfield

Falling Tide, Shoreham Harbour

October Afternoon, Newtimber Hill