Friday, 28 December 2018

Wonderfully weird.

Happy New Year to all art lovers.

New Resolutions...

I was inspired recently by a quote from
Austin Kleon’s newsletter.
December 18, 2018.

‘Stay alive, get weird’

For anyone out there who is not afraid of 
being labelled weird, here is the actual post...

‘Stay alive, get weird’

December 18, 2018

Written by Austin Kleon.

I love this little collage of Picasso self-portraits at age 15, 25, and 90, stitched together by photographer Clayton Cubitt, who captioned them, “STAY ALIVE, GET WEIRD.”

I like making the phrase two-way, so it’s “stay live, get weird,” but also, “get weird, stay alive.” Both have worked for me…

Austin Kleon is the author of Steal Like An Artist and other books.

Austin Kleon

So there we have it...

Many times I have been called weird. 

It seems I am in good company.  

My resolution for 2019 

is to ‘stay weird’.  

Back to the Studio...

Layering paint.

Another new piece is hanging in my home.

I re-worked a painting to create this many layered piece 
scraping and scratching along the way.

It is heavily textured and glows in the hallway 
which is painted a dark grey green colour.

I like to make a picture which has a sense of mystery.
Perhaps it is weird...

‘Layers of Time’

Oils and cold wax medium on canvas.

8 x 20 inches in a float frame.


I have been preparing three large oil paintings 

for the Lincolnshire Artists’ Society Show in January.

They are now framed and labelled ready for off.  

‘Bright Abundance’

‘I climbed the hill to see the world’

‘Searching for the silver lining’

Good wishes to you all for 2019.
Until next time....
Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, 23 December 2018


Good wishes to all art lovers.

Christmas Moon.

I took a photograph of the full moon 
rising on Saturday evening.
It was a large golden ball shining 
through the winter trees.

My photograph taken through the window was 
rather uninspiring so I jazzed it up a little on my iPad.

It’s great fun doodling over images.
I wonder if I can make a painting?

In the meantime... I give you my
good wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas.

Until next time...
Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Winter cleaning

Studio clear out...and a fresh start.

I have a tidy workspace.

A new clean canvas is on the easel 
and the oil under-painting is drying.
Transparent oil was loosely scrubbed onto 
the surface and spread around with a squeegee.

Scrapes and scribbles are part of my working process now
so a few were added before the paint dried.
 I like the rough effects and some calligraphic marks for interest.
Some will be covered over with paint as the painting progresses.

Back to clearing out...

I think a good clear out is quite satisfying.
This week I threw out three overworked canvases 
which were draining my positive energy,
 and wasting precious wax and oil paint. 

Sometimes this is the only way to progress
when paintings are too bad to save. 
The surface was too rough and unsuitable now. 

I could have sanded it down but enough was enough!

In addition I emptied my paint box, sorted
the paint tubes into colours and threw away 
lots of tubes which were flattened and empty.
I have no idea why I was keeping them. 

Now the box is ready to house the new
oil paints which have arrived today.
Christmas has come early to my workshop.

A festive picture.

I love this painting.
It has been hanging in my studio for months 
and now it is adding some colour in my home.

The work has been on a long journey, starting out as a 
still-life in summer and then it moved on to be more abstract.

I placed the board in this traditional wood frame,
and decided to extend the picture over the moulding.

I painted it black, then red, rubbed it down and
gave it a textured, worn and distressed appearance.

Any leftover paint was scrubbed on the canvas surface 
here and there in a random thoughtless way.
It gradually became more textured and colourful.

I scraped back into the layers and made scratch marks.
There was nothing precious about this painting,
it really didn’t matter what happened.

Then...after a few weeks drying...
one day I realised the picture had suddenly 
come to life.  It was time to stop.

The success of this picture is definitely due to
a loose, relaxed attitude about its progress.
I have found the more I try to protect the work,
the faster it goes downhill towards the bin.

Before I began tinkering with it, I brought my
picture inside and placed it on the window sill.
It is safe for now.

Happy ending...

It began life as a painting of vessels and has now 
returned to form part of a new still-life arrangement.

Oils on canvas board and frame 
22x26 inches overall.


I have painted over more photo tiles this week.
The previous ones have dried well and become little oil studies.
Here are two new ones.

‘Free Fall’


 8x8 inch oil studies 
on self-adhesive plastic tile

Until next time...
Thank you for visiting 

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Being an artist.

My painting life is full of surprises
and ‘happy accidents’.

When I rework a canvas I never know the
outcome in advance.  Some take weeks of 
scraping back and changing course whilst others
come together quickly without too much stress.

This painting is now finished and drying.
It came together well and I think the secret 
really lies in keeping loose and relaxed.

With hints of a summer landscape 
I have titled it ‘When all is Summer’

‘When all is Summer’.   Oils on canvas 20x20 inches

Taking risks...

Recently I had some photographic images 
printed on several self-adhesive plastic tiles.

Some were a bit boring so I decided to take 
a risk and paint over the top with oils.

I have finished 5 so far and the results are pleasing.
They might be described as loose landscapes.

If they dry well I shall put them on sale for £ 35.
Two are below...

‘Bright Day’.   Oils 8x8 inches 

‘Exuberance’.  Oils 8x8 inches 

I read a statement online last week by artist 
Louise Fletcher.

It sums up pretty much how I feel too.
Here are Louise’s words....

Artists are not like everyone else. 

We think differently. We see the world differently.

 We notice things that others do not. 

We feel things that others do not.

That doesn’t make us better than anyone else – just different. 

But that difference can be hard until you realise why it’s there. 

I know it was for me.

But when I finally accepted myself as a born artist,

 I was able to accept all the things that once bothered me.

I used to think I was overly sensitive. 

Now I think of myself as perfectly sensitive.

I used to worry that I lived so much in my head. 

Now I know that’s where I have to be.

I used to be suspicious of the ideas that appeared from nowhere. 

Now I feel grateful to have a powerful intuition.

These “flaws” are actually gifts.

 I am sensitive, day-dreamy, introverted and intuitive 

because I am an artist. 

And being an artist is still 

– to my mind – 

the best thing I could possibly be.

Louise Fletcher.  2018

Until next time...
Thank you for visiting 

Monday, 3 December 2018

Rescue and rework.

Hello and welcome to my Blog.

‘Whilst the sun shines’.  
 Oils on box canvas 20x20 inches. 

I am on a rescue mission in my studio.

After weeks of making the equivalent of mud pies
I have resurfaced and rescued a few paintings destined for the bin.

They are all significantly heavier after adding more layers of oils.
There are some improvements and some are set aside to dry before 
deciding where to go next.  Some might call it ‘painter’s block’.

One painting has been particularly difficult to reach a conclusion.
It is a stretched canvas measuring 40x30 inches.
I painted it early in the year and it has been hanging in my bedroom.

It was one of those ‘alright but a bit boring’ pieces.
Time to liven it up a little.  Add a bit of colour.

My plan went downhill rapidly.
Yes, I added some colour...then a bit more.
It was not looking good. 
Time to leave it to dry and assess the damage.  

The next day I decided to leave it alone.
There is something mysterious about the image.
As though looking through a portal.

‘Searching for the silver lining’
Oils and cold wax medium on canvas 

40x30 inches 

Another piece in a waiting stage is this one below...
I like the warm glow underneath the grey blue oils.

I have called it ‘North Face’.

Back in the studio today and two more paintings on the way. 

Oils on box canvas 16x16 inches. 

This piece has been worked over several weeks. 
I like them hanging on my studio wall.

Gradually a composition is teased out until I am happy.  

This has been a battle of wills.
Nearly scrapped, it suddenly came together
when I got into a loose gestural mood.  

Now it has strength and purpose.

Oils on canvas 32 x 16 inches. 

This painting has moved on from a 
piece I thought was finished in summer.   
Although I liked it I was in the mood for change. 

Oils on box canvas 20 x 20 inches

(Before the revamp)

Until next time...
Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Good advice...

Hello and welcome to my Blog...

Eastern Shore.  
Oils and cold wax medium on canvas 
16 x 16 inches

Today I read an article by art critic Jerry Saltz...

11 pieces of wisdom for anyone not sure what a life in art means.

Jerry Saltz, Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York Magazine Senior Art Critic,

 gives a talk at the 2018 Frieze Art Fair. 

1. Your number one job as an artist is to embed thought in material. 

That means your idiot idea has to be there in your idiot art.

2. Being an artist is tough. 

So only be one if you really, really, really, really have to be.

3. If you’re in a relationship, when you are lying awake 

in the middle of the night fretting over something (or everything), 

for god’s sake, do not wake up your partner.

4. Work late, stay up late with your peers, 

and support each other. 

You’re only as strong as the weakest among you.

5. You will be poor, but your life will never be boring—accept it.

6. Make an enemy of envy today—tomorrow is almost too late.

7. Remember that you do not own the meaning of your work. 

As Oscar Wilde said...

“The minute you think you know a work of art, it is dead to you.”

8. Have an elephant skin—and grow a pair of…

 whatever you need a pair of.

9. If you have the opportunity to travel, 

go to the Prado Museum in Madrid. 

Then spend three days there.

 You don’t need to go anywhere else.

10. You only need to convince seven people that 

your work is worth taking a chance on: four collectors,

 one art dealer, and two critics. Just seven!

11. Be vulnerable, expose yourself, have an opinion. 

And remember: You know a lot less than you think you do.

🎨🎨🎨 It is a tough world.  🎨🎨🎨

I am busy preparing work for a forthcoming exhibition in 2019.
I will submit three paintings for possible selection.

Two are ready and a third is on the easel.
It has been a struggle and was scraped down twice today.  

I shall let the paint dry a little before going back into it.
Otherwise it will get very muddy.

Here is one finished on Saturday.
I have to give it a title
and resist the temptation to tinker with it.

Here is the second canvas...

Until next time...
Thank you for visiting.

Good advice...

Monday, 5 November 2018

Best laid plans...

Hello and welcome to my Blog..

Last week I had a painting on the easel which was finished.
Or so I thought.

An artist friend gave me some advice about 
a part of the work which might benefit 
from some colour changes.  

The painting is no longer there...
In an effort to alter parts of the painting 
one thing led to another and it all went horribly wrong.

I did mention last week that challenges live in my studio.
This became a big one.  

It was time to assess the situation and see 
if I could bring the painting back to life.   

It took two days before I was happy with the results.
It might even be a stronger piece of work.

A critique from another painter has made me 
question my belief about being true to myself.
I was doing what another person wanted...

I will think about that...

Here is the new piece.
It will stay as it is.

‘Third time Lucky’.  
Oils and cold wax medium on canvas.
36 x 24 inches.

Here are some close up details...

If I could reproduce this in a large format 
it would make a colourful picture.

If you wish to own a piece of my art,
please email me to arrange a visit to my Studio.
Card payment accepted.

Until next week...
Thank you for visiting.


Monday, 29 October 2018

The art of being true...

Hello and welcome to my Blog.

I saw this quote today and it really made me think...

Here is another...Be true to oneself...

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. 

William Shakespeare

My Studio World 

I am happy in my studio moving oil paint around.   

Making marks on canvas.  

Am I true to myself?

I like to think so.

I get to choose what and how I paint.

I do not paint what others want...

Not now.

How do I do it?

Where do ideas come from?

Is there a formula?

Questions asked by viewers of my work.

It is hard to explain...I really do not know.

There is no initial plan and no prior sketches.

I just begin.  

As the painting progresses I might make colour 

changes and the shapes evolve as I work.

I add layers until I like it and will take 

parts away or make new marks.

I rely on my feelings and follow my intuition.

The oils and addition of cold wax medium 

make the paint pleasurable to sculpt with

a knife or brush.  Scrapers and rollers

are also used to create the effects I want.

Struggles and battles on the shop floor.

Studio life is full of challenges.

There are few times when the picture almost 

paints itself. Mostly there is a battle of wills.

These keep me focused and prevent complacency.

A recent example...

Below is a painting on my easel which has been a struggle.  

A reasonable painting was turned into a nightmare 

by my tinkering and meddling.  I should have walked away.

Layer after layer has now been applied, scraped back and scribbled over.   

It represents hours of struggle and perseverance.   


It has gone through many stages but I think I am getting somewhere. 

I like the texture and thick parts of oil paint 

which gives a luscious appearance.

Now it rests in the house until it dries.

Then I will decide if I go further, change parts 

or leave it alone for a few weeks.

Here it is...  

If you would like to own a piece of my art,

please email me to arrange a visit to my Studio.

Card payment accepted

Until next time...

Thank you for visiting.