Monday 29 September 2014

Wiltshire Blue

Coming down off the ridgeway in Wiltshire in June, this caught my eye - I don't know what the crop was, but it was decidedly bluer than anything else growing in the fields. The receding stripes echoed the clouds in the upper part of the sky agreeably and I knew it would make a good painting.

This is rather a quick painting, so there could well be a better one to be made.

Anyway, I took a photograph back in June and used my ancient iMac to display it today, thus circumventing the printer (which needs ink).

Blue Stripey Field
Oil on linen canvas, 30 x 30 cm

Sunday 28 September 2014

From One Hill Fort to Another

This was a plein air painting made back in July, just before the schools broke up and summer holiday madness commenced.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Local retail of greetings cards

Our village shop, Swan Street Stores, has agreed to take some of my posh greetings cards on a sale or return basis. The cards are sitting on the counter at the till, hopefully looking "different", and tempting, priced at £3 each. I tried to incude several local scenes in the selection that I took in, but there's quite a range there - from the colourful "Freedom" imaginary dancer to Perranuthnoe's brown and blue winter tide.


This painting - a commission - was a fabulous challenge: a two-metre-long palette-knife-oil painting of the view from a cottage on East Cliff, Porthtowan, Cornwall. Slightly complicated by the necessity of "removing" the newer buildings further down the slope that obscured the view of the beach.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Porthtowan (WIP) before the surfers hit the beach...

I have a few things left to do to this, including adding a few tiny figures on the beach.

Oil on really big canvas, 80 x 200 cm
WIP, commission

Four Candles

Three ACEOs. Four candles (actually, there were five; the plain one just got painted four times) and four forks. Oh, and two Ronnies...

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Blueberry Muffin

This cake needed to be disturbed for a more interesting picture. It was still delicious, even after a couple of hours of sitting in its broken state.

Palette: Pyrrole Red, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Phthalo Blue and two flavours of Titanium (White and Buff).

Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm

Porthtowan (WIP) on Tuesday: the village starts to appear

I'm continuing work on the really big canvas of Porthtowan (80 x 200 cm). The static image, above, shows its current state, while the animation below shows a series of stages.

Today, I livened up the sea a bit and started adding the buildings of the village.

Previous post: Friday

Subsequent posts: Wednesday, Thursday

Sunday 21 September 2014

September in the Abstract

Two abstracts-in-progress (both 20 x 20 cm) from yesterday.

My 8-year-old daughter tested out my dribbly acrylic technique;
I tested out the idea of 'tutoring' (and had another go at the dribbly acrylic thing).
I'm not sure, but I think I may have learnt more than she did... except what I learnt wasn't about how to *do* art.

Last September, I posted my first consciously abstract painting, along with an analogy between music and visual art.

This September, I posted my biggest abstract painting to date (I don't make much abstract art), done using a technique that I hadn't tried before.

And... all of a sudden, I have suddenly started noticing abstracts dotted around the online galleries that I frequent when I'm not blogging, painting or otherwise engaged. Is it the time of year?

Friday 19 September 2014

Porthtowan, Work in Progress: Beginnings, edges, and how it looks this Friday evening

There's still a fair bit to do, but this is the current state of my really big painting of Porthtowan. I'm working my way down towards the village, which will be a challenge. Godrevy lighthouse is there - just - and I haven't forgotten that there is a chimney on the skyline.

Porthtowan is a large subject, and I'm remarkably fortunate that my client wanted it on a large canvas. His deposit paid for the 80 x 200 cm stretched canvas to be made. I got it delivered direct to my studio as it's too big to fit in my car (and definitely too big to carry on my bicycle!).

Giger Counter (Abstract)

The title came to me early in the process of painting this; it's a dreadful pun conflating the name of the Swiss surrealist (who died this May) and the instrument used to measure ionizing radiation levels (spelt 'Geiger' and named after the German physicist). The texture of my picture reminded me of that of some of H. R. Giger's work. The painting was based on the leftover dribbly acrylic from painting the edges of my Really Big Canvas. I liked the effect of the dribbly underpainting on that work, and decided to make a painting that was just about that.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Web Site
Some of my regular readers may already know this, but it seems that I have neglected to mention on this blog that I have expanded my Web presence slightly to include a "proper" Web site.

I even got myself a fancy address:

And if you click this blog's Home button, that is where it will take you.

The new site is a bit spare at the moment (although it does have a "shop" under the SALES tab, just supposing you wanted to buy something) and this blog isn't going anywhere - it's still my main art showcase.

I'd love it if you have any constructive comments on the new site. Anything that doesn't look right, anything that might be A Good Idea... actually, what do you think of an "on the easel" page?

Porthtowan: Work in Progress and Sketches

This is the (rather bright) acrylic underpainting for a large commission that I started work on today.

It is based on photographs and sketches of the Cornish village of Porthtowan, looking down from East Cliff.
Watercolour done from footpath

Line and wash done from photomontage

Pen sketch done on-site

MAKING A MARK: Derwent Art Prize 2014 - ineligible drawing wins first prize?

I find the situation highlighted in Katherine Tyrrell's blog post on this year's Derwent Art Prize highly disappointing. Essentially, the winning piece was a straight copy of a photograph in the public domain. There are no copyright issues, but the artist essentially used someone else's design, contributing only technique. The competition rules state "no copies", yet this is clearly a copy.

Although Derwent (the pencil people and sponsors of the prize) do not judge the competition, this still reflects badly on them if they do not react to an unfairly judged competition in their name.

MAKING A MARK: Derwent Art Prize 2014 - ineligible drawing wins first prize?

Monday 15 September 2014


There were five doughnuts in the packet. One each, and one to paint. "But who is going to eat the last doughnut?" asked my daughter. Good question...

Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm

Saturday 13 September 2014

Profiteroles - SOLD

Yesterday's pudding... with a little exagerration.

Acrylic on box canvas, 30 x 30 cm.


Thursday 11 September 2014

Swan House

This painting was painted inside its subject.

Five Knives

Having painted some brushes and some pencils, it seemed only right that I should give my painting knives the same treatment.

Saturday 6 September 2014


This is a handsome pen - the barrel, which you can't see here, is made of walnut, and the gold nib has delicate scrollwork on it - but it's never really worked right. I'm changing the ink to wahable blue to see if that flows better, but in the meantime I think I have found an alternative use for the pen - as a subject.

Watercolour (with white acrylic for highlights) on paper, ~10 x 15 cm

Thursday 4 September 2014

People at an Exhibition

Painting inspired by Penlee House (Penzance); title inspired by Mussorgsky.

I recently visited Penlee House art gallery in Penzance, Cornwall, to see their splendid Model Citzens: Myths and Realities exhibition, which looked at the human subjects of the Newlyn School. While there, I made a couple of quick sketches - including a few of my fellow visitors:

I decided to work this up into a painting. Using a subdued palette (buff titanium, black, ultramarine, yellow ochre, alazarin crimson (hue), hooker's green and - finally - a little titanium white), I hoped to echo the colours of the Newlyn School paintings that were on show. Two of my people were from sketches made in the exhibition. The third is borrowed from one of the paintings.

The three Newlyn paintings are:
William Holt Yates Titcomb, 'Jubilee Day, St Ives, Cornwall (Good News from the Front)'
William John Wainwright, 'Mackerel in the Bay'
Henry Scott Tuke, 'All Hands to the Pumps'
 And finally, here are a few of my in-progress shots:

People at an Exhibition
Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 22 inches