Monday, 31 August 2015

Something of value.

                             Wheelings   Oils on board   4 x 8 inches   SOLD

Values.  Tonal studies.  I get very fond of them and always look for something to practice when I am out walking.  This field is ideal.

In this painting I focused on the tractor wheelings making inroads into the cornfield.  Darks  against lights and lights against darks.  The sky is almost a bystander...the interest is elsewhere.  I like the patterns and colours in the foreground and the pale gold of ripened corn like a smooth blanket keeping everything in place.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Nearly gone.

                               Last Call    Oils on board   4 x 8 inches   SOLD

The day before harvest.  Whippet was pottering about in the trees as we walked towards the river.  It was calm and warm in the sun.  There is a drone of combine harvesters in the distance.  You are next you golden crop.  All will be gathered in for another year.

I have painted this place before at different times of the year.  A simple composition but I like the V of the track as it narrows in the distance and the triangles of crop and trees.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

The seeing eye.

                               Sun Stripe    Oils on board  4 x 8 inches   SOLD

Once upon a time I looked but did not see.  Then I realised what I was missing.  I learned to see differently...shapes and blocks of colour instead of things.

 27th August.  This is just a little grass track, a wheat field before harvest and a few trees....nothing very spectacular.  A scene possibly overlooked except for one thing on this particular day.  Sunlight.

At the left is our tall hedge which ends halfway down the track.  After this the fields are open and the midday sun streaked across the wheat.  The effect was really striking and caught my eye.   Painted fast and loose, this little study reminds me of that moment.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Embrace the change.

           Shifting Sands 1   Oils on stretched canvas  20 x 51 cms   SOLD

                         Shifting Sands 2    (A second view...rotated another way)

Our Lincolnshire coastline has many faces...always changing with weather and time.  I embrace this change with a painter's eye as I am inspired by the beauty to be found in our land.

This painting has undergone changes along the way as I let my inner creativity take charge. I added parts, subtracted parts and then walked away....

Now it is finished and I can almost feel the soft sand and touch the debris washed up on the shoreline.  

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Fragrant clouds.

                          Earth Scent   Oils on board   19 x 19 cms   

I love abstracting the landscape so when I saw this scene I knew exactly how I wanted it to look.  Fragrant clouds of perfume are in the air as the sun releases the lavender scent.

Threatening rainclouds are near but they don't dampen my spirits.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Winter Squall.

                 Storm over the Till   Oil study on board   4 x 6 inches   

North storm clouds gather but the sun manages a smile on this brisk day.  A fine sprinkling of snow on the river banks makes my walk a quick one.  The colours are bright and almost harsh but give a sense of a chilly day.  

Abstract shapes with a tapestry of colour in this quickly painted study.  Painting quickly helps to keep the subject fresh and untroubled.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

On fire.

                         Blazing Willows   4 x 6 inches   Oils on board   SOLD

Ablaze with colour these willows are sporting their spring growth.  The lake at Fillingham is popular for fishermen but I was looking for inspiration of a different kind.

I was stopped in my tracks by this sight.  Loose and confident brush strokes depict the scene.  Abstract shapes and colour are all I wanted for this little study.  To render it tightly would have lost the spontaneous feeling.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Private View.

                        Back Way   Oils on canvas board   5 x 7 inches   SOLD

Along the river bank I found this little track leading to a farm garden.  The morning sun was shining on the distant grass.  I liked the tracery of the tree branches giving an impression of a stained glass window.  

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Passing shadows.

     August Wheat, Tractor Wheelings   Oils on canvas board  10 x 12 inches   SOLD

Taking advantage of nature, 10 am August 17th.  In two hours this scene will be different as the sun moves round to the south.  The shadows will be gone.

The wheat is near harvesting and turning a rich golden hue.  Parts are still pale with green showing.  The trees to the left are high and dense with dark copper leaves, casting long shadows across the field and the tractor makes 'wheelings' through the crop which give a textured look. 

 I was interested in the abstract value patterns across the corner of the field.  Soon the combine harvester will cut it all down making a different scene for me to paint.   As a landscape painter I have learned to look for shapes and patterns, light and shade, abstract in the real.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Shapes and sizes.

Cricket Till   Oils on canvas board   5 x 7 inches   

A walk to the River Till on Monday morning with whippet.  As he ran up the steep slope to the river, I looked north to my right and saw the Cricket Till.  It is a small waterway which runs parallel to the river and has trees and shrubs on its sides.  The water surface has a blue/green tinge due to weed.   The stream is quite narrow at this part and has recently been dug out by the Board.  Several trees have been pruned back.

Some years ago I painted this scene after a snowfall.  Today it was more like a study in greens with a little warmth from the rust coloured dock plants.

I liked the dark patches of the shadows amongst the trees as a tonal study with the contrasting lighter shapes.  Painted quickly I wanted to give a sense of place with an abstract feel.

Just for fun I turned the image around to demonstrate how a painting can become an abstract study.  In fact, I could hang this little example either way.  Below is the same picture in black and white to show the values and composition.  


Cricket Till, Broxholme


Friday, 21 August 2015

River paths.

                       Mown Path   Oils on canvas board   5 x 7 inches   

The River Board has been with mower to cut down the grass on the top and sides of high banks.  Now the grass is blonde after several weeks of dry weather.  There are rust coloured dried out dock flowers and thistles along the sides of the path.

I spotted the S shape as I walked with Whippet and it proved irresistable for me.  When I reurned to my studio I quickly sketched the shapes and loosely painted the little study.

A flourish or two at the end with a loaded brush highlights the curves along the way. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

North Sea.

                        Fresh Wind   Oil study on board   9 x 14 inches   

Sun sparkle and a fresh wind make a bracing day at the East Coast of Lincolnshire.  Thick oils sculpted with a brush to give an abstracted impression of the day.   Sun on sandbanks, marsh and mud at low tide.   Just right for a walk along the shore.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


          Walking Barefoot   Oil study on stretched canvas   9 x 12 inches   SOLD

Treading on sunbeams, walking into the water and a warm heart.  This little study is for all romantics.  

Painted mostly upside down, the canvas was white and ready for the warmth of the colour. I loosely scrubbed in the first colour to get a feel for the composition then teased out a design.  There is a sense of reality but my way is to abstract the shapes and create an atmosphere.

I like the deeper colour on the right with blues and greys...this area brings out the yellows and oranges reflected in the shallow water and wet sand. 

Splashes of blue and violet act as a balance on the left.  When nearly finished I turned the canvas right way up to add the final flourishes of Naples yellow and blue with trails of water running down to the bottom of the image.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


                  Tread Gently   OIls on stretched canvas   9 x 12 inches   

The mud flats look calm and lush but there is a warning for the walker...tread gently my friend...the shining surface hides deep pools and soft, slippery ground.

A re-visit to this marsh and mud but on a larger canvas.  Again, I enjoyed the shapes and colours, blending the paint on the support by picking up several colours on my brush.  They have a gentle blend this way rather than mixing them too much on the palette.  

Blues, violets, siennas and yellows.  Mud is very colourful when you look beyond the name.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Fit for the birds.

                   Shifting Weather   Oils on canvas board   5 x 7 inches   

The skies are patterned with colour and the mud flats at low tide are ready for winged visitors.  I like the texture in skies with plenty of clouds.  The big skies of Norfolk and Lincolnshire are like a giant cinema screen.  Whatever the weather, sun or rain, the birds don't seem to mind.  

Sunday, 16 August 2015


                              Quiet Place   Oils on board  5 x 5 inches   

I love the pools in the marshes and mud flats around Norfolk.  There is something quiet and calm about them.    A little end of painting day sketch which came to life quickly.  

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Bright and early.

                            Wake Up Call   Oil study on canvas board   5 x 7 inches

There is plenty going on in this time for sleeping...morning has arrived.   The sun's golden yellow reflections on the ebbing tide shimmer with each little wave.

Night-time cloud curtains roll away to reveal the blue sky and the bay is ready for its visitors.  
                                                        Have a nice day.

Friday, 14 August 2015

West Front.

                       Looking West   Oils on canvas board   6 x 6 inches   SOLD

They say...if you break the rules, do it in style.  The sun is centre stage in this little study and proud of it.  The reflections zig-zag across the water standing in the little creeks.

             A spontaneous loose rendering to give an impression of the day.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Charge of the Light Brigade.

          Shadows make the Light   Oils on canvas board   10 x 12 inches   SOLD

Diagonals rule in this study of light and shade.  Colour also plays a part as the grey/blue complements the orange/yellow hues.

The painting may well look easily painted...abstracted and loose...a feeling of relaxation.  Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as I struggled for hours trying to achieve more reality.  After several attempts the painting was getting near destruction as I wiped off the oils.   

I took a deep breath and stood back to evaluate the situation.  The penny dropped...I was not following my inner voice.  I have always said that rendering photographic reality is not in my soul.  'To thine own self be true' (from Shakespeare) came to mind as I picked up my brush.   This is the result and I am very happy with the outcome.

It is the fourth in my series of light on land and sea.

Here is the black and white version of the same painting...

Shadows make the Light

In this image it is easy to see the composition showing diagonals as the viewer's eye scans the picture.  From left to right or right to left there is a path to follow.  The values are quite close but still enough to give balance.  I wanted a sense of calm as the sun was setting so hard edged darks would possibly have been too much.  Enough fussing...I am inspired and happy so back to the easel and on with my work.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Evening Blues.

                   Blues on Parade   Oils on canvas board   5 x 7 inches   

Some days do not go well in my studio...and this was one occasion.  I had been battling all afternoon with a larger painting and it wouldn't work how I wanted it.  In the end I totally abstracted it and the result was more to my liking.  It is on the easel drying.   If I am still happy with it in the morning I might post it online tomorrow.

I needed a small painting however to post on my website and on this blog.  This little painting was finished in about 45 and furious...and I really enjoyed myself.

I am convinced that taking too much care when painting stifles me.  Trying to depict nature as it is might work sometimes but I really prefer not to be too realist...a photographic replica is not for me.  As soon as I put my reference photo away and began pushing the oils about the painting took on a different feeling.  

This one, 'Blues on Parade' was abstracted from the start...I used the larger abstract painting for reference and the painting came to life without too much fussing.  

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


                     Summer Field   Oils on canvas board   5 x 7 inches   SOLD

I apologise for the glare on this image...the paint is still wet and I wanted to upload it tonight.

This is another evolving landscape from my imagination.  The use of violet/blue on the distant trees helps to give some perspective to the work.  Keeping my brush strokes loose and using several greens for variety, the picture also has a casual feel.  

Painting from 'inside' without any reference for guidance is exciting but there can be a danger of overworking the piece.  There is a fine line between sensing when to stop and going too far.  Ooops...nearly.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Textures and tone.

                               Hedgerow   Oils on board   22 x 37 cms   

Why copy the landscape when a picture is inside your head?   In this painting I was interested in colour and value using my imagination to create an image.  

I like the effect of mist and the golden colours of autumn as it approaches.  Autumn has beautiful soft colours as the plants relax after their busy summer.

So...with just a hint of an idea I began painting the sky first to give a moody, misty feeling.  Next I blocked in the hills and some trees/bushes.  To give the painting perspective I darkened the greens as I came forward.  Finally I added warmth with a suggestion of dried grasses and ferns in the foreground.  Using the end of the brush I scraped upwards for the stalks and twigs.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


             Light Touch   oils on stretched box canvas   12 x 12 inches   SOLD

Skies are multi-coloured along the Yorkshire coast in this sunset.  Pools of water and a slack tide give a calm feel to the evening view.    Near reality but with an abstract feel I used a large brush for this study.  

This canvas is ready to hang as the sides are also painted.  

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Sense of Place.

                         Horseshoe Creek   Oils on board   8.5 x 11 inches   ON HOLD

I am in my element with abstraction.  This creek on the Lincolnshire coast is a favourite subject for me as I love the remoteness of these nature reserves.   No visitors in sight...just me and some oil paint.

I chose a soft, muted palette of colour to give a sense of place; gentle colours are found in our landscape as the light can sometimes be 'flat'.  It gives me a range of greys (grays) too which are perfect for making a little bit of colour stand out.  No need for extremes here.

I think it makes a third in my 'Creek' series to sit with  'Hidden Shore' and 'Several Shades of Grey'.

Loose brush strokes here and plenty of scrubbing on the board for a textured feel.  My usual flourish of light to finish....

                                                      ( Walk away now Anne.) 

Friday, 7 August 2015


                         Rest Easy   Oils on canvas board   10 x 12 inches   SOLD

Sinking into the marshes, this old relic has enjoyed an active life.  Now the old boat can rest easy and take in the atmosphere.  

Nothing stopped me today...the study came together quite easily and I loved using the vibrant colours.   

I have one more 10 x 12 canvas primed for my painting session tomorrow then I return to small ones.   They are primed with some left-over oils from todays palette...burnt sienna, phthalo blue and a little permanent rose.  I like to prime my landscape boards with a loose wet wash and prop them up to dry.  Little runs and drips form and dry to make a textured look to the surface.  Not lumpy, just drizzled.    Little bits can be left to show in the work especially around the bottom area to represent pebbles, or rough ground.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Rocks and Reflections.

                  Favourite Place   Oils on canvas board   10 x 12 inches   

Back to my favourite place...I can breathe in the atmosphere.  On this larger support I was able to sculpt away to my heart's content...moving the 'water' around the rocks and picking up reflections on the way.

I finished it in time to take a photograph for posting online...please forgive the reflections in the wet paint.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

On the Property Market.

                         Second Viewing   Oils on board  5 x 5 inches   SOLD

It was a quick viewing...this little coop is now ready for new tenants...fences sound and plenty of garden to enjoy.   

After my failed painting a few days ago I had 45 minutes today to try again.  This time the sketch has a livelier feel and the sun is shining.   'Mostly light greens, some mid greens and a little bit of deep shade'.   Abstracted and loosely rendered I am happier this time.

I hope any new tenants will appreciate the extra work invested in their honour.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Trees are green?

                Summertime Blues   Oils of canvas board  5 x 7 inches   

Abstraction is a wonderful thing...and imagination releases the unknown.   This canvas board was part painted and propped up on a table in my studio.   I had some paint left
on my palette so I had a little playtime.   It didn't really matter if I 'spoilt' would see it...until now!

I decided to post it as an example of how a little abstraction and a play with colour can be a rewarding adventure. 

 In case you are wondering, I like blue trees...

Monday, 3 August 2015

In the deep end.

                       Shallows   Oils on canvas board  7 x 5 inches   

In this painting I was aiming for an ethereal look and a trail of colour to suggest reflections in the water. 

Wading into colour and light I painted parts of this three times before I was really happy with the work. Eventually I decided to leave it alone before it was too late.

I like the blues and oranges with flourishes of Naples yellow brushed loosely across to add sparkle and finish to the piece.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Vacant property.

                        Coop to Let   Oils on canvas board 6 x 6 inches   SOLD

This little oil sketch was doomed for the fire...

After a good start, blocking in the shapes and colours its journey went downhill.  Paint after paint...and pushing it around, nothing was working.  It was a mass of green.  Feeling exasperated, I reached for my paper roll...tore off a sheet, pressed it down onto the surface and peeled off the offending layers of paint.  Voila!   Sir Arthur Tonks to the rescue.  

Whilst not exactly a masterpiece, this little piece was saved and has taken on a poignant feel.  The small coop in the orchard was home to our Rhode Island Red hens until they decided to foolishly fly over the fence to investigate the rest of the garden. is not always greener on the other side as Mr Reynard was waiting to introduce himself.  

I will not say more about this matter.  

Studio Musings...where I went wrong

I was looking at this little sketch after I posted it here to see what I was doing wrong.  I changed my photograph of the painting to black and white and the mistakes were glaringly obvious.  I am posting the monochrome image here...

Amongst other things...I can now see a lack of tonal values.  There is no sense of direction. It does not tell a story and I seem to have forgotten my colour palette.  I was overdosing on greens of similar values.

I returned to my reference photo of the hen run to look for clues....


The colours and values in this photo look to be made up of 'mostly, some and a bit'  (reference Greg Albert, 'The simple secret to better painting'  2003).     Mostly light, some middle value and a small amount of dark.  I had completely overlooked this useful formula in my haste to get painting.

I began asking myself questions...The little coop  (which was my main focal point in the painting)  actually falls into the light value range...shall I change this?   The dark value behind the fruit trees has an element of mystery about it...what is behind there?    Is that where the fox hid?    The apex of the coop roof leads the eye into this mysterious woodland area.   Shall I make more of this dark area?

In my re-paint I shall follow Greg Albert's formula  'Mostly, some and a bit'.   Perhaps I can turn this little study into a dramatic event.

I shall return. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015


                 Lighting Up Time   Oils on canvas board   6 x 6 inches   

Sparks are flying in this study.  Flashes of paint are my gestural marks to represent reflections on water and sand.  The dark colours of the mud banks give a solid base to the work adding some weight.   

Different Styles

I painted 'Lighting Up Time' before my previous post of 'Restful Evening' and have the same group of colours in both.  I put this one aside to dry and forgot about it until now.  Looking at the two paintings it is clear that even with a similar scene, the same painter and the same colour palette, the results are totally different.  One is calm and restful, the other less so....

 I have a theory that emotion, and my feelings on the day must play a part.  Some days I have more 'gesture' in my paint handling and this shows in 'Lighting Up Time'.  

I don't worry about this at all...I like variety and it is one of the reasons for returning to some of my old photos or paintings to 're-visit'.    It is part of my painting journey and a valuable exercise in paint handling and growth.   I never wish to make a copy and become a slave to my work.  I let my painting evolve during the process and take on its own identity.  
A little journey beyond reality and I enjoyed myself.