Monday, 19 February 2018

Mood and Mystery

Good morning and welcome to my Monday Blog

Before Spring arrives I am enjoying painting the grey mood
 of winter and exploring the darker side of framing.

With a limited palette I made cool greys, adding a little warmth in places.
 The painting below was kept loose and unfussy to give a sense of place.

I painted the gold frames black and then rubbed over the raised
pattern to reveal a little gold.  This gives them a luxurious feeling
 which seems to fit with modern and 'traditional' interiors.

Bleak Times   Oils on canvas board  10 x 12 inches  

Wet fields and winter colours with loose and expressive brush strokes.

A similar frame holds a special favourite...

Today the sun shone on my painting about sunlight on a winter shore.
I love the drama of this almost monochrome painting in the black frame.

Lifting Mood   Oils on canvas board  10 x 12 inches  


The painting below on the right is sitting happily in
 an off-white mount and simple black wood frame.

Muffled   Oils on canvas board  7 x 5 inches

There is just a hint of colour in this snowscape.
Loosely painted with a few textured brush strokes.

Drama at the coast...

Last Call   Oils on gessoed watercolour paper 5 x 7 inches

 This dramatic little study on paper is framed without glass
protected by two coats of re-touching varnish.
The off-white mount holds the picture in a simple flat black frame.

Moorland mood...

Along the way   Oils on canvas board  6 x 8 inches

Soft, moody colours of dried grasses and heather.
In a speckled dull gold frame.

Small studies can also have mystery and atmosphere.
A gold coloured frame adds warmth to this cool landscape.

Until next week...
Thank you for visiting.


Monday, 12 February 2018

Cold winds and bleak days

Good morning and welcome to my Monday Blog

The weather is cold and bleak this week but painting goes on.
I think I must be in a Gothic mood, as all things dark and mysterious are
of interest to me.  My palette has been sombre and sultry too.

Jewels of Winter  Oils on canvas board  10 x 12 inches

A moody piece of work about the wild night sky.
Dark clouds scud across the sky with moonlight breaking through.

My black interlude also extended to frames...

I have been experimenting with oils and cold wax medium
over gilt frames.  I mixed the dark with Ivory Black and a touch
of Venetian Red for warmth.  Cold wax medium mixed into the
oils helps to reduce the gloss giving a velvety surface.

'Early'   Oils on canvas board 10 x 12 inches in a hand-painted frame

This painting is about sunrise over meadows and trees.
Abstracted and reduced to marks and colour for atmosphere rather than reality.

'February Fields'   Oils on canvas board 12 x 8 inches in a hand-painted frame.

This piece is about the wet fields around my home.
Puddles and water in the tractor ruts are like mirrors for the sky.

I have a few more in this 'dark mood' which I will post
 when I have a photograph of them.

Last but not least...

I say goodbye to my framer Graham who has made my frames for several years. 
  He has made me some speckled gold frames for some little oil studies.

Thank you Graham and good wishes for your work in Archaeology.

Until next week...

Goodbye and thank you for visiting

Monday, 5 February 2018

The nature of things.

Good morning and welcome to my Monday Blog

The Nature of Things   Oils on panel  13 x 9 inches

Sometimes things do not go according to plan.
I am referring to my studio work this week.
I have been away from my painting for a few days
owing to maintenance jobs around our home and 
Saturday was the only time I put brush to canvas.

I was planning to put some darker washes on a landscape I painted some time ago.  
All was going well until I decided to change part of the composition. 
I should have known this would not end well for my landscape.

After a struggle I did manage to bring some order to the chaos
It was definitely a case of 'Creation-Destruction-Creation'.

Close encounters...

A detail of the work.

Parts of the previous painting show after scraping back.

Another detail...

I love this part. 
 The oils have a luscious texture.
The rich green was made with a mix of black and yellow

This little area of the painting would be good to try as an abstract.
I have some 12 x 12 inch box canvases which would be ideal.

Until next time...
Thank you for visiting.

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.