Monday, 11 December 2017

Battening down and warming up...

Good morning and welcome to my Monday blog.

This week the weather has changed and cold winds, ice and snow have arrived.
Time to batten down the hatches and keep warm.

My studio is a wooden cabin heated by a woodburning stove.
It is a hungry beast and needs stoking often to keep the temperature
suitable for painting.  I have moved my easels nearer to keep watch.

I use a variety of easels.  Freestanding and table versions.
A large old dining table is useful for my palette, table easels and other equipment.
I like several pieces of work in progress so I move from one to the other.

This prevents the temptation to begin fiddling with a 'difficult' one.
Turning my back on the work for a time means I look at it again with fresh eyes.

Over the past few weeks I have been working on small  8 inch square canvases.
Now it is time to change to something different as I like variety.
I believe it keeps my work fresh and spontaneous.

Here is the final one in this series...

Gold Sky   Oils on canvas  8 x 8 inches

I completed another small coastal study too...

Turning Tide  Oils on gessoed watercolour paper  6 x 6 inches
in a hand-painted wood frame.

It is a textured piece, with oils sculpted by brush and knife.
I love the luscious feeling as I work with the paint.

Close-up detail

More detail

Now for something completely different...

Lud's Doorway   Oils on gessoed watercolour paper
with cream mount and black frame measuring 10 x 12 inches.

Lud's Church is a cathedral-like place amongst the rocks
in the High Peak, Derbyshire/Staffordshire region.

Memories from a walking holiday there inspired this piece.
The light pours in through a gap in the rocks looking like a doorway.

Out of the woods   Oils on gessoed watercolour paper 
with cream mount and black frame measuring 10 x 12 inches.

This imaginitive landscape was inspired by the woods and
 fields I see when walking near my home with Whippet Brodie.
Weather and changing seasons often feature in my work.

The mount/mat isolates the painting from the frame giving it a bold contrast. 
 They look nice hanging together.  I am happy with them.

Framing changes...

My framer Graham has decided to scale down
 his workload to concentrate on other commitments.
I would like to say thank you Graham.
I have been very pleased with all the frames you have
 made for me and I send you good wishes for your future.

That's all for now...the stove is calling.
 I hope you keep safe and warm.

Until next Monday...
Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Shipping, housekeeping and other studio musings...

Hello and welcome to my Monday blog

This week I have shipped a larger framed painting to a new home.
I think this new owner will be quite busy unwrapping it.

Most of my online sales are small or medium sized
 pieces  which are fairly easy to pack and ship.
Masses of bubble wrap, cardboard and brown paper were used for this one
 but just to make sure I put the parcel into a thick plastic sack and sealed it all
 with copious amounts of sticky tape and 'fragile' tape.   It was a huge effort
 but I felt it was necessary to help the parcel arrive in one piece.  Phew!

Now I remember why I usually keep to smaller sizes.

Studio Housekeeping...

Winter is a good time for me to look around my studio and select paintings for sale.

I try not to get too attached to my paintings but some pieces are
 kept back for me to hang in my home and studio gallery. 
  Often an idea for a new piece can come from looking at them.

  I remember hearing the artist Fred Cuming RA  mentioning this in one of his DVDs. 
  He said one of the paintings around his studio can 'spawn' another.

Here are some examples from my collection...

          This is a detail from the centre of a larger piece called 'Mellow Mood'

This small area is interesting enough to translate into a new seascape.
I like the colours too.

The one below is a detail from my painting 'Winter Glow'.


This detail is from the upper left in the framed painting.
It has a feeling of a winter moorland.  I like the colours and shapes.
 Another possibility for a new landscape painting.

A third example is this detail from 'Sundown'.

Luscious oils sculpted with a flat brush.

The detail is from the right side of the framed painting.  I really like this one. 
 There is energy in the brush strokes and a sense of urgency about the piece.

The composition and tonal qualities are exciting and these
 little patches of abstraction will kickstart a flurry of painting activity.

There is a reason for showing you these images.
I have heard some painters saying they have difficulty getting 'inspiration'.

For anyone seeking inspiration I would suggest following Fred Cuming's
 advice and take a look at pieces they have already painted. 

  Inspiration might be right in front of them.

Surprise of the week...

Looking through my older paintings I turned one over 
and saw this on the back of my painting 'Mellow Mood'.
I had forgotten it was there having painted on the other side.

It is an old landscape painted over with rough gestural brush strokes.
The resulting image is nothing very inspiring until I zoomed in a little...

Suddenly there is something I can use.
I like it and think it could work.
I will try it.

Now it is time to get working.

Until next Monday...

Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Re-unions and other studio musings...

Hello and welcome to my Monday blog.

For the last few days I have been preparing four paintings
for a group show in Sam Scorer Gallery, Drury Lane, Lincoln.

It is the called the 'Re-union Show' and is for 18 past exhibitors
 celebrating the Gallery...opening on 12th December for two weeks.

Choosing work for this show I decided to submit two landscapes
 and two seascapes of similar sizes and framing.

Here they are...available for a new home.

Sandmarsh  Oils on gessoed watercolour paper

Hedgerow  Oils on gessoed watercolour paper

Shore   Oils on board

Winter Fields  Oils on board

Keeping warm...

The weather is turning cooler in my studio so I light the woodburner
stove most days.  It makes a big difference and gives a cheery light.

I have a new arrived this week.
A Kindling Cracker designed by a young girl in New Zealand.

Here she is on the box...Ayla Hutchinson

   A cast iron chopper for firewood using a lump hammer
to knock the log down onto the 'blade'.


Safer than using an axe, this will be a great tool for a woodburning painter.
Now I have plenty of firewood for lighting the stove on cold mornings.

Meeting new friends...

I like to use the Internet to meet other painters and see their work.
Over the past few years I have made several painting friends 
around the world and I enjoy this way of being in an art community.

I have previously mentioned I enjoy watching Brian Rutenberg's YouTube videos.
If you are interested to see what he does with oil paint visit

Another favourite is Mitchell Albala.  
I like his subtle atmospheric oil paintings.
His blog is informative and full of useful painting tips.

Something I am currently studying is the technique of using
cold wax medium.  I have bought a small jar to experiment.
Mixing it with oils it looks quite exciting so this week I shall give it a try.

Here is a link to a site I found whilst exploring the web.

Before I go...

I would like to share a link to Kim VanDerHoek's blog.
She writes interesting notes about painting and the use of colour.

That's about it for this week...
I shall read some of these blogs now.

Until next Monday...

Thank you for visiting


Monday, 20 November 2017

Staying loose and other studio musings...

Hello and welcome to my Monday blog.

I have been continuing my series of small canvases.
They are just right for a short painting session.

Sketch painting on a small canvas 8 x 8 inches is like playing scales on a piano.
It loosens up the 'painting muscle' in my head.

No fussing or fiddling is the best way and I often find the 
most acceptable pieces happen in the first 15 to 30 minutes.

  After this I am tempted to tighten up which usually means trouble
 leading to destruction.  Destruction sounds severe but by scraping off the
oils and rubbing down the canvas I can begin again.

Here is a little one drying... 'Still'  8 x 8 inches

I think I might have been thinking of wild ponds.

Close-up of 'Still'. 
 This highlights the marks, scratchings and luscious oils.

There are not many sketch books or preparatory drawings in my studio.
It isn't my style.  I rarely plan anything in a formal way preferring a 
spontaneous application.  This way I can let my imagination free.

However, I do look around my studio paintings for ideas.
Parts of a painting might stand out and give me an idea.

Some examples are here...

This is a section of 'Icy Wild'

I can see this enlarged as an abstracted landscape.

The whole painting of 'Icy Wild'

Another detail of a textured piece...

It would be fun trying this as a larger painting but I think
it could be difficult to repeat.  I sense it going its own way.

This one might be useful as an abstracted seascape.
It has a few energetic marks and plenty of calm places for the eye to rest.

This detail is about marks and colour.
It is actually in the same painting as the one above.

Here is the painting they both come from...

'Golden Coast'  40 x 30 inches  Oils on canvas.
Now available for a new home.

My new addition to the studio is a woodburner stove.
Previously I have had to bring all my art into the house each winter.

Lighting the stove each day helps the timber building to stay dry, warm and aired. 

Back to work now...until next Monday

Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Taking the long view and other studio musings...

Hello and welcome to my Monday blog

I shall begin with an overview of recent pieces of work.
These are hanging on the wall in my bedroom.

Displaying them here gives me an ideal viewing area
 to decide if they are finished or in need of more work.

Storm Clearing  Oils on gessoed watercolour paper

Low storm clouds are clearing and light breaks through.

This one is top right in the above photo.
It is in an ash frame with a cream mount.

Ebb Shore   Oils on gessoed watercolour paper
About the colours and textures on the shore in a warm light.

This work is also in an ash frame with a cream mount.
These paintings have a coat of re-touching varnish
for protection and can be framed without glass if preferred.

Framed by Graham Perkins at Forge Arts
These frames are a change from my usual choice.
I like the mount which draws the viewer in to the picture.

Visit for Graham's website.

New Work today...

Abstracted and in progress...Oils on canvas board  16 x 20 inches
My thoughts were about my wild garden in summer.

I began with a warm underpainting and blocked in colour and shapes.
Using a brush and palette knife I sculpted and scraped, rubbed off and
created an abstract view of the borders in my garden.

This was purely imaginary and open to change along the way.
I shall leave it to dry before teasing out a composition and overpainting.

It may have several changes before I am happy with the result.
Next week there will be photos of the progress.

My wild garden in November..

Late afternoon on Sunday12th November.
The photo was taken by my daughter as we walked in the paddock.
The autumn colours are still around and the light on fluffy
Rosebay Willowherb seed heads is inspiring.

There may be another abstracted painting this week.

On a final note...

Brodie, my studio assistant may look innocent enough but
this sweet Whippet stole a whole 6 inch freshly baked egg custard tart 
from the kitchen table a few minutes after his photo shoot!

Until next Monday...
Thank you for your visit.