Sunday, 29 March 2020

A little extra

Hello again from 
Wild at Heart Studio & Garden

(Detail of my rescued painting)

Good evening...

 I hope you are all keeping safe and warm.  

Here is another post for my Blog friends.

This time I thought you might like to 

see the progress in my wild garden.

A few signs of spring are encouraging. 

  My young Tree Peony has some buds...

I call it the Pickering Peony.

It was a gift from the garden of my artist friends
Pamela and John Pickering.

And the pots near the back door are looking happy.  

Some weeks ago I began a 90 day challenge 

clearing brambles but I have lost count of the days now.

The brambles are still rampaging 

around my wild garden. 

When the North wind eases I shall be 

out again to continue digging out the roots. 


 The birds are busy gathering nesting 

material from my untidy borders.

   I leave all the last years growth until 

now so there are still plenty of seeds 

and insects in the dead heads. 

Leaf litter and dead stuff give the 

blackbirds and thrushes a ‘wormery’.

New projects...

Making a new ‘raised’ vegetable plot is my 

main job at present so I can keep it weed free.


 It is on a gravelled area I have constructed 

at the rear of my studio.     

I have found some old plastic pots and tubs 

in the sheds which will get 

a coat of mixed leftover emulsion paint.  

The new ‘Privy’ will soon have a coat of paint. 

  This little plot is quite sheltered and sunny.

  Bees are already visiting the Viburnum bushes.  

 There will be some bee and butterfly 

plants in some pots too.

   As the garden centres are now closed 

I shall be taking cuttings and bits of 

perennial roots from around the garden.   

The peat free compost has arrived...

My new trolley is a great help 

for transporting heavy sacks.

The vegetable seeds are on order.   



There is not a lot of painting going on in the studio 

but I did finish a picture yesterday which 

has been a jolly nuisance for weeks.   

It was worked and reworked and very nearly went 

to the potting shed (pre-bonfire storage).  

 But...after putting it aside and giving 

my brain chance to recover from trying too hard....

a small patch of light green casually 

placed yesterday has given me fresh hope.   

Here is the picture...

’Taking a less travelled path’.

  Oils and cold wax medium on 24x36 inch box canvas.

I shall be back soon...

Until next time,

Thank you for visiting

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Catching up

Time to gather my thoughts...


A small 10x10 inch painting on
Arches oil paper using palette leftovers.

Time to get things done...

During these changing days I am
catching up with jobs which have 
been put aside until now.

Things like painting the sides of canvases,
and cleaning squeegees and rollers.

The wild garden is also getting more attention
which is a good thing as the brambles
are beginning to extend their arms and legs. 

An overgrown cold frame has a healthy
crop of self sown foxgloves which 
will be fodder for the bumble bees.

Foxgloves making a good start

These will be pretty when they grow.
I shall scatter the seeds around the garden.

The 2020 art calendar has changed...

The art shows are cancelled during the
current pandemic so the Lincolnshire Artists’ Society 
is having a ‘virtual’ show instead.

Here are my submissions for selection.

‘Pass the red around’ 

 Oils on 36 x 36 inch box canvas

‘Meet me where the wild grass grows’

Oils on 36 x 36 inch box canvas

That’s all for now...
Thank you for visiting my Blog

‘Be happy’

Oils on Arches oil paper

10x10 inches

The wild pond life

To read my art story..
Click on the picture

Tuesday, 3 March 2020


I just read something...

“Plain canvases...have paint added...

and become something they were not“

(The Painter’s Keys - 3 March 2020)

These simple words made me think.

A blank canvas is just a blank.

An artist comes along and makes a mark.

Now the canvas has has a design.

It will never be the same as before.

Blank has gone.  

When another mark is made, 

it alters the dynamic of the design.

Every new mark has a consequence.

Here is an example...

This picture began as a simple

design in black and neutral colours.

More colour was added which changed

the whole narrative.

Each additional mark made me

change from intuitive to considered.

The painting was moving on,

changing with every mark.

Each mark, each colour has a bearing

on what happens next...

Nothing is the same now.  

I could return the canvas to blank white...

but this would have to be a thick coat of 

paint to cover up all the previous marks.

Then it would become a painting 

covering a previous painting.

It wouldn’t be the pure blank canvas.   

All this theory aside...

my job is to make a picture.

After all the previous mark-making

I decided to take away some of the 

previous marks to simplify my work.

The conversation has changed now.

Some parts are reduced to a whisper.  

Others are the yellow.

Here it is again in black and white...

as removing the colour makes

it much easier to see the values.

My picture is born.

It wasn’t here before.

Something has come from

something which was not.  

The plain canvas has had paint added,

and went on a journey to become something new.  

‘Unseen Journeys’

Oils and cold wax medium 

on 16 x 20 inch canvas

Thank you for reading my studio musings.

If you would like to visit the Painter’s Keys,

the website is:

That’s all for now from my studio,

to visit my own website,

click on this link.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Pushing the limits

No boundaries

For several months I have stored
a large square canvas in my studio.  

I was waiting for an appropriate time.
Or is that translated as procrastination?

This week I decided to make a start...

Detail from early stages...

My paint stocks are running low
but rather than waiting for an order to arrive, 
I used the available colours,
 squeezing tubes to get the last dregs.

More marks taking shape...

Larger pieces are worked on the 
floor and I turn the canvas round
 to get the oil on the surface.

Random marks were applied loosely 
without thinking too much about a plan.

I was aiming for some dark shapes
next to light ones, some hard edges,
areas of smudgy paint and a few 
scribbles and scratches.

It was painted over three days to allow 
the paint to ’set up’ a little before moving on.

My main concern was avoiding any
tinkering as I wanted an abstract picture
without reference to reality.  

Here is the painting...
still on the floor to dry.

I have titled it...

‘Crossing borders’

Oils and cold wax medium on 
100 x 100 cm box canvas 

That’s all for now,
until next time.

Thank you for visiting.


Wednesday, 26 February 2020


Let the paintings speak...

‘Full Effect’

This picture speaks to me in a cheerful voice.  
I cannot feel unhappy when I see it.

Is it the colour?
Or the design?

Or is it a conversation?

A conversation in different voices...
Some are soft whispers,
Others are loud and shrill.

These voices happen when parts 
of a picture are of different ‘values’.  
Dark against light.

The difference makes us take notice.

Changing the image to ‘noir’ 
shows how the conversation varies.  

There are black parts, mid grey, and white.
These are actually colours but this image
shows how different ‘values’ make the painting ‘pop’.
The light against dark has the loudest voice. 

Too much loud talking will be tiring
so a few soft passages are restful.   
The mid grey tones are quieter.  

A few loud areas can bring a dull painting to life.
Also differences in texture and hard edges.

Here is a picture in my studio which 
has been re-worked several times.

It now has a dark, brooding feeling.
Although I like it I wanted to push it further.

I wanted it to shout a little.

The next stage...

A few changes...
and some lighter marks.

But it feels messy.
I rested it overnight to dry a little.  

Small detail of the picture...

Here is the complete painting with 
both loud and quiet conversations.

These are translated into a combination of...

Value changes,
Light against dark,

Sharp and blurred,
Soft and hard.
Smooth and textured.  

I shall leave it to speak for itself.

‘No words’

Oils and cold wax medium 
on 36 x 48 inch canvas.

Until next time...
Thank you for visiting.

Click here for my website

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Which way is the right way?

Telling a story...

I painted this picture today as Storm Dennis
was lashing rain and wind outside my studio.

It took a long time to reach a conclusion.
Several times I scraped it back and rubbed out overworked parts.
I wanted a loose abstracted feeling.
A sense of place.

Detail of the painting.

This small area became the focus in 
a suggestion of a desolate shore.
The background was left simply grey.

When I shared this image today on Instagram I
received a message suggesting I turn it around.

Turning the canvas is what I usually do as I paint
but today I had left it on an easel to dry.
I hadn’t seen the picture upside down.

I re-posted the painting like this...
and it was a surprise to see a different ‘narrative’.
The energy of the piece had changed.  

This prompted a viewer on Facebook to comment...

“Stunningly storm filled and adventurous.  

I love this. 

It makes me want to be in a harbourside pub,

 with salty windows lashed by ocean spray.

 Whisky, fire and company warming my cheeks, and a lock in.

 Sea shanties and crab pots”

There is no right or wrong way to view this piece.  

Each person brings a different perspective.

Thank you for taking an interest in my art.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Stormy days.

Whether the weather be fine, 
or whether the weather be not...

Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not, 
Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, 
We'll weather the weather, whatever the weather, 
Whether we like it or not.

‘Splash of Morning’

Oils and cold wax medium on Arches oil paper.

Last week I was happily pulling brambles
in my unruly wild garden.

The sun was shining and the arrival of 
spring flowers gave a sense of optimism.

The hedgerow with a log pile for toads 
and snowdrops beyond.  

My paintings also seemed to brighten.

Layers of oils and cold wax medium.

Six small studies on a 16 x 12 inch
sheet of Arches oil paper.

Then it all changed...
Winter has returned.

I have retreated to my studio.

My paintings have also changed.
The colours are stronger,
darker and warmer.

Oils and cold wax medium on Arches oil paper 
A little abstract study 

Part of a larger painting on Arches paper.

I like the warm orange red 
against the cooler blue green.

Here is the whole picture...
it has two smaller images at one side. 

As I write the rain is lashing the windows.
Gales are bending the tall trees.

Whether I like it or not...

That’s all for now...
thank you for visiting.

Click on the picture 
for my website