Friday 9 December 2016

Artist of the Year competition shortlist

The UK magazine Artists and Illustrators runs an annual artist of the year competition. I entered it and was delighted to hear that the judges had shortlisted my  Shelves of Inspiration. There are 50 artists on the shortlist, and all of the pieces will be on display 23 - 28 Janaury 2017 at the Mall Galleries, London.

Part of the competition is a Reader's Choice vote. If you want to vote, you can see the whole shortlist here:

If you know that you want to vote for me, click here.

Friday 11 November 2016

Ropley (Steam Train)

Ropley, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm
Ropley is a station on the Mid Hants Railway (a heritage railway that is also known as the Watercress line). This knife painting was based on photographs that I took on a half term visit with the children. We were standing on the "Harry Potter bridge" - a bridge that was used in one of the wizardly films - under which the train was about to pass.

Monday 31 October 2016

Man in a Tree (Robin Hood)

Man in a tree (Robin Hood)
Looking back at the work in progress post, this one has changed even more than I remembered. But it's a lot closer to the concept than the version posted there, although - unfortunately - the opportunity that I was painting for has since vanished into thin air.

So I have shelved my Robin Hood project for the time being, but this fellow is now happily ensconced in his tree, awaiting a rich, unscrupulous (and unsuspecting) abbot to pounce upon - or is it the sherriff of Nottingham he's lying in wait for?

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Where does the time go? - SOLD

Acrylic on canvas, 10 x15 cm
I recently succumbed to the lure of a box of random mechanical watch parts. There are many fascinating tiny objects within; these are just a few of them.


Thursday 6 October 2016

Man in a Tree (work in progress)

This one is going to change direction, but I quite like it as it is, for what it is (which isn't what is was meant to be).

It's based on one of a series of sketches of a friend who cheerfully agreed to climb a tree for the purposes of this picture:

Monday 3 October 2016

Incongruous Lime

Incongrous Lime, 12 September 2016
Oil on canvas, 22 x 18"
This was a still life set up by a friend for a meeting of the brand new Clere Art Club. I have been wondering what sort of dish it would make - it all seems to go very well together until you notice the lime, which would no doubt be an interesting addition, but doesn't seem to be part of any well known recipes that include the rest of the ingredients.

Ground black pepper
Olive oil
Red pepper
Red onion
Tomato purée

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Artikinesis exhibition at Blakes Lock

Artikinesis at Blake's Lock began its run on Saturday. There have been quiet times (such as the time that I drew the exhibition hall, above), but there have also been very busy times, and it does seem as if the people who have come to see the exhibition so far have enjoyed it. So have at least some of the people who came to see the Turbine House itself, or who popped in from the adjacent restaurant, or who came to say hello to one of the artists.

Artikinesis at Blake’s Lock, Reading, RG1 3DH.
Open 10 to 6 daily until 30 September, 10 to 3 on the final day, 1 October.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Rapunzel - a fairy tale painting in progress

 It's that time of year when family commitments mean that I don't get into the studio - or out in the field - much, and so it's been a little frustrating having a part-finished large work lurking in the studio.

Rapunzel is, of course, the well-know Brothers Grimm fairy tale. And it was a bit grim for the prince - when his night-visiting antics had been discovered by the witch, he got thrown down the tower into the thorns, which must have broken his fall because his only injury (a cruel one) seems to have been the loss of his eyesight.

This wasn't the end of the tale; he later recognises his love by the sound of her voice - she and her baby were turned out of the tower to roam the forest - and the little family lived happily ever after in the prince's court.

This image is not finished yet, and with the Artikinesis exhibition at Blake's Lock coming up less than a fortnight after the schools go back, it may be October before I raise a paintbrush at the prince and the tower again.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Blake's Lock - a teaser...

These are details from nine pieces that I have been working on for Artikinesis' Blake's Lock exhibition (17 September to 2 October). I've been considering the surface of the water and thinking about the Victorian turbines...

Sunday 31 July 2016

An aside about gnosticism, ancient practices, and art

Two sketchbook pages about wood engraving

I recently found a quote, credited to Hugo Ball, in the front of a book about woodcut and wood engraving. It said
"Artists are gnostics, and practise what the priests think is long forgotten."

Saturday 23 July 2016

Artikinesis set to exhibit in Reading

17 September – 1 October 2016

"Not far from the hustle of central Reading there is Blake’s Lock. Along this quiet backwater, five artists and a poet came, saw, recorded their findings and expressed their feelings.
"Now at the Riverside Museum’s Turbine House gallery, you can share their experiences and discover hidden Reading for yourself."

Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock, off Kenavon Drive, Reading, RG1 3DH
(access through car park of the Bel and Dragon restaurant)

Exhibition opening times:
Every day 17 Sept – 30 Sept: 10.00 – 18.00
Final day 1 October exhibition closes at 15.00

Artikinesis is a group of five artists: Adeliza, Brian, Elinor, Rose and myself. We're very excited to have Duncan writing poems as part of this project; the interplay between location, visual art and words promises to be very interesting.

Windsor Castle en plein ar and a little bit in the studio

I decided that I didn't like the guards in this painting - they were rather hastily put in and they didn't seem to belong to the scene at all, probably because I made them too big for their position.

Friday 22 July 2016

Pitt-Rivers Dinosaurs

A series of quick sketches of reconstructed dinosaur skeletons in Oxford. All those knobbly bits make Eddy, Trike, Iggy and Rex tricky subjects, especially with children in tow.

Sunday 17 July 2016

Windsor Castle en plein air

North Terrace, oil on canvas, 50 x 70 cm
Yesterday (Saturday 16th July), I participated in the Windsor and Eton en plein air event. To celebrate Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday, 90 artists were invited to paint within the grounds of Windsor Castle. My friend Rose and I were two of those artists.

It was a very hot ad sunny day, and the castle was thronging with visitors. Every now and then, a small group of red-clad soldiers marched smartly along the North Terrace, where we were both positioned. They were difficult to capture, and I very nearly scraped them off at one point, having despaired of seeing them again and fixing in my mind enough detail to make my image of them believable...

I think I only just pulled it off.

Monday 27 June 2016

Painting local churches...

I'm not terribly clued up on the way the Church of England organises itself, but there are three churches in our local group. There's St Mary's (Kingsclere), St Paul's (Ashford Hill) and St Peter's (Headley)

It sounds a bit like a 60s folk trio.

But these are the churches. Norman St. Mary's, squat and sturdy; Victorian St. Pauls, elegantly be-spired; and miniscule St. Peter's, also a Victorian building, represented here by a pair of sketches.

On Saturday, I was at a charity event at St. Paul's, and I was there to demonstrate my knife-painting techniques. I had a gazebo, which was fortunate, as it rained quite a lot.

I had my acrylics...

40 x 40 cm, painted in the morning, when
there was a glimmer of blue sky and sunshine

 ... and I had my oils ...

41 x 33 cm, painted in the afternoon, when
the sun had disapeared but the roof was shiny

Both paintings were auctioned for charity on the day.

Thursday 23 June 2016

Oh, let me in, the soldier cried

It's a cold, haily, windy night.
Let me in, he says
Oh, but I can't. My parents wouldn't be happy.
I'm going away. I might not see you again.
Oh, alright then.


Ooh. Shouldn't you marry me, now?
No. 'Bye.

The words in the song are more poetic. But the soldier is still a cad.

Friday 17 June 2016

A Green Man, or the Sleeping Giant

30 x 40 cm, oil on canvas
An imaginary figure, part of his environment. Painted quickly from imagination using a restricted palette that included no white and no yellow, but that nonetheless included more colours than I often use... 

Sunday 12 June 2016

St Leonard's in Oakley

It was raining, so I sat under the lych gate to make this sketch.

Curious about the unusual name of this church (many a church is named for saintly Peters, Pauls, and Marys - although I'm not aware of any dedicated to Puff the Magic Dragon), I discovered that Leonard was a sixth century frenchman known for freeing prisoners.

Given the dedication, I was assuming that I would find a definite assertion that the church building was (underneath all the additions and alterations) of Norman origin, but there seems to be no such statement to be found online. It is, however, believed that a Norman chuch stood on the same site.

The history of the building seems vague until the 16th Century, so it seems reasonable to state that the church is medieval with distinctive Victorian additions. It is, however, charmingly quirky.

Friday 10 June 2016

St Mary's, Kingsclere

St Mary's, Kingsclere, oil on linen canvas, 30x40cm
A little plein air oil of the parish church, painted yesterday. It's been much altered, but underneath it all, this large edifice is a Norman church.

Sunday 5 June 2016

His name is Jock Stewart

I'm a man you don't meet every day
(Mixed media on Bockingford Not paper, A3)
A folk song, known to me cheifly via the Caitlin O'Riordan voiced version by The Pogues. I do like a bit of gender switching in songs, but I decided to play this one straight as an image. That is the Stewart hunting tartan, by the way. Approximately.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Up Swan Street

This is the companion piece to Down Swan Street and was painted just outside of the studio door on Sunday, the final day of Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire, with a few minor adjustments made today.

The sky was ominous for most of Sunday, and, by the time I took the decision to stop, thunder was rolling through the valley. The red kite had been calling most of the afternoon, and made an appearance in the sky at just the right time for it to also appear in the painting.

Oil on canvas, 40 x 60 cm

Violinists and Piano

This was based on a couple of line sketches made of the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra rehearsing in St. Nicolas' Church, Newbury - part of the Open Studios / Newbury Spring Festival collaboration. It was a far more complicated subject than my usual fare, but I enjoyed the challenge.

Oil on canvas, 40 x 80 cm

UPDATE: I wasn't entirely happy with how I had painted the pianist; here is the revised version (slightly wonky photograph):

Friday 20 May 2016

Violinists and Piano - Detail of unfinished painting

Tomorrow is the penultimate day of Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire - I'll be working on my Violinists and Piano painting. There's not a lot to do on it, so you won't be preventing me from finishing it if you do come and see me!

Swan House (24 Swan Street) Kingsclere 
11am to 5pm

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Colouring Books on sale...

The Artikinesis Art Colouring Book is currently on sale in three Open Studios, including my own.
This is the final week of the West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios, and the dates are as follows:

Wednesday 18 May: Rosemary 11-5; Amanda 11-3
Thursday 19 May: Amanda 11-3
Friday 20 May: (all closed)
Saturday 21 May: Rosemary 11-5, 6-8; Amanda 11-5; Adeliza and Elinor 11-5, 6-8
Sunday 22 May: Rosemary 11-5; Amanda 11-5; Adeliza and Elinor 11-5

Rosemary is in Newbury, I am in Kingsclere, Adeliza and Elinor are in Tadley.

If you can't make it to any of the studios, we can post it to you. Post and packing is £3, and the following link allows you to pay by Paypal:

Buy a colouring book for £12 + £3 p&p

Sunday 15 May 2016

Work in Progress: Violinists and Piano

Sketch made at the rehearsal
As noted in my sketch blog, I attended a rehearsal of the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra at St. Nicolas' Church in Newbury in my capacity as Open Studio artist. Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire are collaborating with Newbury Spring Festival.

The sketch blog currently features a series of sketches made of the cello section. I also drew other parts of the orchestra, and decided to paint the violins (and the pianist), in oils.

It's quite a complicated image, all done from line sketches. I haven't finished it yet - and I have two days out of the studio before I Open again on the 18th May; this will be the final week. So I thought that I would share what I've done so far.

It's all looking a bit murky at the moment. I'll be brightening up a few areas on Wednesday and clarifying some of the details.

Watch this space...