Monday, 29 January 2018

Seeing beyond

Good morning and welcome to my Monday Blog

Recently I have been looking beyond the obvious in my work.
I will explain...

 I will show you one of my seascapes, 'Sandbank' 

The overall impression is light on sand and pools of seawater
but if you look to the lower right side there is a patch of gestural brushwork
 which, if taken out and viewed alone shows the abstract in the work.

The image could be about texture, terrain, shapes or just brush strokes.
This is one of those times when I would love to translate it into a large piece.

However, it isn't easy for me to do that.
Trying to copy an abstracted portion to look the same rarely works for me. 
 I become too obsessed with trying to get the work to be just right. 

All my spontaneous free brushwork disappears and the work becomes forced. 
The only way I can get close is to squint...sketch the shapes and note the colours.
Then I can put the image aside and experiment.

Looking further...

Here is another part of a new work last week.
Almost totally abstract and it might be easier to upscale into a large format. 

I love the power of blue here.  Close to the pale greens but separated by
a grey/brown/red which makes the colours stand out.
I like the textured surface and luscious feeling of the paint.

I am trying out some cold wax medium mixed with the oils.

Here is the finished work...on canvas/board  12 x 10 inches.

I like the way the top third has a misty far away look and the remainder
is textured with abstracted marks and brighter colours.
The Cobalt blue has a bold attitude.

I think it is finished.  No title yet.

Beyond reality...

As time goes by   Oils on canvas/board  10 x 12 inches

Seeing beyond reality yet with a hint of realism.
I like to make paintings which have a little of each.

This piece is only about lines, marks and values. 
The black and white image below reduces the painting to basics.

Patches of dark, some mid tone and some lighter. About three values. 
The warm underpainting completely disappears in this image.

Changing the photograph to monochrome is a useful tonal exercise.

Back to normal...

'As time goes by'

In a traditional gold frame distressed by hand with oil paint.
The dull gold gives some more warmth to the painting.

Is it finished?...

The dilemma I often face is how I finish a painting.
Is it enough or do I add more?
Do I retain the abstract or move towards reality?

Meandering   Oils on box canvas  20 x 20 inches

I re-worked an old painting and it hangs on my studio wall.
For months I have wondered about adding more but I have resisted the urge. 
I uploaded the image onto Instagram to get feedback from others.

I was advised to leave it alone.

Until next Monday...
Thank you for visiting

Monday, 22 January 2018

The way things are

Good morning and welcome to my Monday Blog

I often find my painting plans have a way of going another route.

Last week I posted two images of close-up details and another image
of the work in progress.  The painting had a disastrous end as I went
through several changes to get the piece to look how I wanted it to be.

Three times it was scraped back.  It changed from moorland to coast and
back again.  In the end I found it had evolved into a coastal scene.

It is quite heavily textured as I laid on thick oils and then sculpted them
with my knife.  Now, after several days drying I will add some transparent glazes.

I want it to be darker at the bottom to add weight but retain the details.
Here is the painting before I begin the process.

As it happens   Oils on canvas board 10 x 12 inches

The lower part will have the glazes.
If it works I will post an image next week.

Work in progress...

My studio is quite messy at the moment as I play around with new work.
I gave these 10 x 12 inch canvas boards a wash of Burnt Sienna to
add a warm glow.  Whilst I was painting the seascape above I cleaned my
brush and knife on three of these 'empty' canvases.  Scrubbing the excess
paint on in a random way can give me ideas of some shapes for a landscape.

Close-up of right side with scratches and scrapes

Close-up of left side scratched to resemble branches

Another canvas board on the easel with spare oils scrubbed on

A little 5 x 7 inch board on the table with a make-over.
It might make an abstracted landscape.

Two part finished paintings in the studio are waiting for inspiration.
I need to decide their future.  Meanwhile they can sit on their easels.

Fragments of the previous 12 x 10 inch image remain.
The large part is a sea of mud after I scraped it back.
It might have another chance...

This is part of a 16 x 16 inch stretched canvas.
I like these marks so they will remain and I will
begin working on the scrappy parts soon.

It reminds me of tree bark.
Some of our Silver Birches have similar marks and colours.

The good, the bad and the ugly...

The reason I have posted these images is to share
 my painting life, including the bad days.

It might be of encouragement to anyone just starting out
on a painting journey and afraid of making mistakes.

It really doesn't matter if the painting goes wrong.
Just wipe it off and begin again.  No-one will know.
Lock the door and paint for yourself...and most of all enjoy it.

Until next Monday...
Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Getting started

Good morning and welcome to my Monday Blog

The studio door is open and a few paintings are drying.
It is a good feeling and I have got into a flow of work.
Small square canvases 8 x 8 inches.

Saturation   Oils on canvas  8 x 8 inches

A textured piece with saturated hues and highlights

Texture and Tone   Oils on canvas  8 x 8 inches

Low tide on the saltmarshes.  A chilly day.


Brief Interlude  Oils on canvas  8 x 8 inches

Light on the sandmarsh at low tide

Hidden Stream  Oils on canvas  8 x 8 inches

Tangled undergrowth and a hidden stream 

All these paintings have a common theme...texture.

Thick, luscious oils were brushed and knifed onto the canvas.
Parts were scraped back and the oils were 'sculpted' to add interest.
No fixed plan, just free abstracted expression and imagination.

It is my preferred way to paint. 
 I like to think of these pieces like sketchbooks.
A diary of working practice although they are little paintings in their own right.

They might be kept aside for some exhibitions later in the year.

Up close and personal...

A detail from another work in progress

More detail.  Thick juicy oils.

These close-ups are so intriguing. 
 I am tempted to use them for a larger abstract.

Abstract painting is sometimes mistaken for painting about 'nothing'.
In fact most realist paintings have parts which could be classed as abstract.
The painting below reveals the source of the two small sections.

Work in progress...

This 10 x 12 piece has the first layers of paint.
It began with a warm, thin underpainting of Burnt Sienna.

Then I painted a 'landscape' with thick oils leftover from the previous work.
  I added some Indian Red, Sap Green, Yellow Ochre and Naples Yellow.

The two close-up details shown above were taken from mid right and lower left.
The painting will have a few changes before completion.

It will evolve from this part-painted stage.
Maybe a moorland or another seashore.

Until next Monday...
Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Memory Lane

Good morning and welcome to my Monday Blog

Another visit to my archive.
Here is a painting from 2013.

It is one of my favourites and hangs in our home.
This work began with an underpainting which is shown below...

Viewpoint  Oils on canvas  20 x 20 inches

This process is 'creation-destruction-creation'...
I created an underpainting using transparent oils which were
scrubbed onto the canvas with a broad flat brush.

Some parts were rubbed out with a rag to make a lighter glow.
Marks and scratches resembled twigs, branches, paths and open spaces. 
 I wanted this stage to remain loose and abstracted.  

No image was used, it was purely imaginary.  The first creation part.

After this had dried I began the destruction stage with no regrets.

With a completely open mind I blocked out parts of the canvas to create
another painting.  I destroyed quite a lot along the way to reveal a new
imaginative landscape. This one has a 'window' through to a distant 'hill'.

Although there wasn't a definite plan I could see and feel the image
developing into this finished painting.  I named it 'Viewpoint'

Here it is again...

 Other paintings in 2013

Here are some paintings which were in my solo show
at Caistor Heritage and Art Centre in Lincolnshire.

They are about shapes and colour...with a hint of fantasy.
I used my process of underpainting first then I began blocking out. 
Small parts of the underpainting were allowed to show in the finished piece.

It was a great adventure as I experimented letting my imagination run free.

When Yellow meets Pink  Oils on canvas  24 x 24 inches 

Small piece of Orange   Oils on canvas   12 x 30 inches

First Encounter   Oils on canvas  20 x 20 inches

Boundless  Oils on canvas  20 x 20 inches 

These paintings still hang in our home.
I think they have now become part of our family.


I am sometimes asked which I prefer to paint...abstract or realism. My answer is both. 
 My landscapes have a sense of abstract and my abstracts often have a hint of reality.

I shall look forward to sharing my work with you during this year.
An open canvas beckons.  My studio door opens this week.

Time to start new work.

Until next Monday...
Thank you for visiting 

Monday, 1 January 2018

A blank canvas.

Good morning at the start of 2018.

Welcome to my Monday Blog

I am not very good at new resolutions so I won't
bore you with promises I could break in a few days.
Instead, I shall share a few memories and images of past work...

Looking through my archives I have found a few to share.
These paintings went to new homes several years ago but
it is interesting to see how my work has evolved or not over time.

Winter Willows  Acrylic on board  2006

This snow scene is entirely imaginary. 
I was visiting a friend in Laneham, Nottinghamshire when I saw this water meadow.
  It was April and the lush green grass, willows and stream were in their spring attire.

I took a photograph and later decided to try painting it as a snow scene.
It meant altering just about everything but I think it worked.  

It is quite realist and tighter than I prefer to paint now but I still like it.
The painting is no longer with me but I might try a loose, expressive re-paint
in oils and see what happens.  I often use my previous work for ideas.


Ebb Tide   Acrylics on canvas

Both of these paintings were acrylics on box canvas in 2009
I haven't seen these images for some time but there is
still a similarity to the work I am currently making.

Estuary   Acrylics on canvas

Winter Trail   Oils on board  2011

A snowscape near my home.
I walked over the fields in the snow between Christmas and New year
 and liked the pink/apricot light in the sky.
I might paint this one again...


Great Expectations  Acrylics on canvas  2004

I remember painting this one, surprising myself with the textures I made.
It was in the early days of my painting journey.
I think it was near Christmas.


Sienna Grey   Oils on canvas  2010

A gentle abstract with thoughts of pebbles and stones in a shallow stream.  
It was a favourite at the time.  Perhaps another for a re-visit.

Benniworth   Oils on board  2010

We visited friends in the Lincolnshire Wolds and walked up to the hilltop.  
The poppies were quite startling when I looked back...

Landscape   Oils on canvas  2010

I remember this painting well.
It wasn't in my studio for long and I must admit being
 a little disappointed when it went to a new home.

I tried to paint a replica but it didn't work...
paintings in my studio have a habit of going on a different route.

I have enjoyed my little trip down memory lane.
The paintings are some of my favourites and I think of them as old friends.

Onward now to a blank canvas...2018.
I have lots of ideas for new work which I hope to share with you each week.

Until next Monday...

Thank you for visiting and good wishes 
for a bright and happy New Year.