Monday, 14 May 2018

Adventures in oils.

Hello and welcome to my Monday Blog

'First thing' 

 Oils and cold wax medium on canvas  16 x 16 inches

My adventures with oils and cold wax medium continue.
I am enjoying the process of layering and scraping back to reveal the underpainting.  
The texture and feel of the oils and wax create lovely luscious marks.

When viewed close up you can see how it adds interest to the work.

Here is a detail of the above painting 'First thing'

This week I received a book by Serena Barton about painting with cold wax.
She also writes about the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, a philosophy that
honours the changes of nature, the imperfect and the hand-made.

Twelve artists shared some of their methods and creative processes.
I found similarities in my own intuitive mark-making process
taking a journey in paint.  Serena calls it taking a journey without a map.

My work is intuitive and I often surprise myself when I stand back to look.
 If my work shows a sense of struggle I don't mind. 
For me, it's all about making something interesting rather than perfect.

A sense of place...

Another detail of a piece I have been working with.

This has several layers which have been scraped back, rolled
and re-worked.  I think it might be finished now or it will get overworked.

Knowing when to stop is the hardest part.

Light and shade...

Just by my studio door...

Plants around a small pool.

I liked the sun on these ferns and iris leaves with the dark wooden railing.
Nature gives a lesson about light, tonal values and shadows.

If you are interested to see Serena's work...
visit her website

Until next week...
Thank you for visiting.


Monday, 7 May 2018

Problem solving.

Hello and welcome to my Monday Blog

'Making an entrance'   Oils on board and frame 
 (approximately 22 x 26 inches)

Framing is often a difficult decision.
Should it be dark, light, elaborate, plain or none at all?

Two recently completed paintings have given me a hard time.
To solve the problem I decided to paint onto the frame. The effect is quite striking.

Averting disaster.

This is a rework on canvas after I ruined a nearly finished piece last week.
This time I will let it dry and settle for a while before making any hasty changes.

Here is the painting on the easel at the end of Sunday afternoon...
It is an atmospheric piece, abstracted and reminiscent of the coast.

Here is a close up detail...
The fine vertical lines echo the masts of boats.


Feel the warmth   Oils and cold wax on box canvas  16 x 16 inches

I had a small pile of red left on the palette so I mixed it with yellow and orange.
Then I added some cold wax medium before spreading the paint randomly 
over a redundant canvas leaving some of the old image showing through.
 I used a roller to soften the edges and blend the paint.  

Two dark bars were rolled on from the left and then a few marks
cutting into the wet oils gave some interesting shapes on the right. 

Painted quickly, this small canvas came to life without any stress.
I think I will leave it to dry.  Time for tea.

Until next week...
Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 30 April 2018

All is calm.

Hello and welcome to my Monday Blog.

'Blue Stream'   Oils on canvas 16 x 16 inches

There is a sense of calm in this painting.
It is a re-work just finished and put into this float frame.

Here is the first 'draft'.  

I liked the right side but the left needed softening...

I poured solvent onto the surface and scrubbed with a brush,
 blotted with paper towel and scraped until a ghost image appeared.

Part of the old work is now there which gives a mysterious feeling.
The little scratch marks on the right were made with the pointed end of a brush.

This softened image gives me the impression of water.
All is now calm.


Below is a new piece on an old canvas with a dark underpainting.
The green area was left-over paint on my palette, spread randomly over the surface. 
 I used a squeegee and roller to move it about, scraping to reveal the dark underneath.

The used paper palette was used to blot the canvas leaving traces of blue and other colours. It now resembled grass and earth which gave me an idea for more marks.

Warmer colour was rubbed over the 'skyline' with a broad streak
of yellow to add light. Scribbles and scratches into the oils give a tangled effect.

This was painted very quickly resisting any tinkering.
It has a fresh, untroubled look of a wild landscape.

'Tangled'   Oils on canvas  16 x 16 inches. 

On with the show...

I now have three paintings to submit to the Lincolnshire Artists' Society
for the Summer Show in June.  If selected they will be in Sam Scorer Gallery, Lincoln.


They are from my new series of abstracted landscapes with a wild theme.
Now it is back to the easel to prepare for another show in July.

Until next week...
Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 23 April 2018

This road is bumpy.

Hello and welcome to my Monday Blog

Caution in the wind

Oils and cold wax medium on panel and frame.

Last week I showed a photo of some paintings with their frames being painted. 
 They went from cream to dark grey brown, and back again.

  I still couldn't decide on their future so I threw caution to the wind
 and loosely painted the abstracted landscape onto the frame.
A few scribbles and scuffs were added for good measure.
It seems to work and I shall let the piece dry.

The painting road is a bumpy one...I have learned to take the rough
with the smooth and not get too emotional about the potholes.

Change of attire...

Framing is always difficult.
I am aware that viewers will have their own opinions and preferences.

Some of my work isn't framed at all.
The gallery wrap box canvases can look right without.

I paint the sides of a box canvas.
Sometimes continuing the image around the edge.
Others have the sides painted in a dark colour.

Dilemma...which one?

Tuesday afternoon  Oils on canvas board  10 x 12 inches

A new painting this week.
The off-white frame is looking a bit stark...

The same painting is in another painted frame.
I think the darker one is better.   

Taking the easy road...

Moor  Oils on canvas  8 x 8 inches

Another little landscape study painted at the weekend to take to the
  Lincolnshire Artisan's Market in Market Rasen on Saturday 30th June.

These small studies are a joy to make. I paint them quickly
and keep them loose and abstracted for a sense of place.

No real place however, just my own thoughts.

In the studio this week...

The painting on the table is still on the rocky road...hopefully not to ruin. 
It is the second experimental one using the frame as part of the image.

A long way to go yet but it is an exciting journey.

Time to go home...

The road home is a short one.
Our garden is turning green now the sun is shining.

Until next week...
Thank you for visiting.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Moving on in abstraction.

Hello and welcome to my Monday blog

Sketching a painting

This is a work in progress.
  A re-work over a piece painted in 2013.

I am using oils and a little cold wax medium here and there.
Using the end of a thin brush I have drawn into the paint making scratches and doodles.

This gives the impression of a sketch book on board.
It adds interest and a little intrigue.

Land or sea? 

 Another re-work on board in progress.
This is actually on the reverse of another painting.

Again, I have scratched marks in the wet paint to reveal the underpainting.
The frame will be re-painted too...possibly a dark almost black finish.

Making abstracted paintings

Abstraction is my favourite way to paint.
I love the surprises along the way which can determine the outcome.

Cold wax medium was mixed with the creamy green oils and knifed
over the already textured surface.  Paint clings to the raised bits like sparkles.

As soon as I had placed the cream paint and pulled it down the surface
I knew the painting was finished.  Stop now!

This was painted today and is drying in my studio.

I like the colour combinations of violet and soft greens with some warm yellows.
A watery shore?   Maybe.

All shapes and sizes

Colour and shapes.

This canvas begins another life.
My big clearance last week has certainly brought on a flurry of new work.

I feel as if I am in the flow and will keep painting whilst the feeling lasts.
The weather has not been kind for gardening but it is ideal for my studio work.


Tools of the trade

To keep my hands clean I wear vinyl gloves as I handle the oils.
This protects my skin from exposure to the paint but they get very messy
and each time I squeeze paint from the tubes I transfer the 'mud' as you can see.

The box is getting very low on materials so it must be evidence of my working day.

Moving stuff around

Little groups

My studio is always on the move.
I like to have my work around for encouragement and company.

Old canvases are also stacked here facing the wall ready for re-painting.
The large canvas in front was finished recently for a show later this year.  


Three under construction...

I am experimenting with paint finish on frames.

These have had a preliminary coat of oils using some of the colours from my palette.
    At present they are looking very scruffy as I am distressing them. 
 They will have several more coats and I am not sure how they will be in the end.
The exciting part is playing with them.

I might have them ready for showing you next week.

Until next Monday...
Thank you for visiting

Monday, 9 April 2018


Hello and welcome to my Monday blog

Last week I had a big spring clean in my studio.
It was getting very cluttered with paintings of all sizes.

I was ruthless.  
Now I have many empty frames and a crate of rejected work.

I shall re-work them into new paintings.

Getting near the edge  Oils on box canvas 16 x 16 inches

This one has been re-worked and is hanging on the studio wall.
I have left a few marks from the previous one peeping through.

A black and white image shows the value range.

This is a handy way of knowing if the painting has balance.

Taking a deep breath.

Sometimes a complete overhaul is required.
I began making marks and thick paint to cover the original image.

After scraping back several layers to reveal the colours beneath
I added some Naples yellow.  I have left it to dry before moving on.

Repairing damage...

This is a stretched canvas which had a split at the top.
I nearly put it out for scrap but I removed the canvas from the stretcher 
and cut off the damaged part.  Then a coat of turquiose oil was brushed over the
image in a loose way.  I left parts of the first painting to show through.

A hand-painted frame completes the picture.
I propped it against the wall near an orange jug of old brushes.

Saving the day...

River walk   Oils on gessoed watercolour paper

This image was posted on my Blog last week.
It all went wrong when I wanted to add colour on the right side of the work.

A sea of mud emerged so I decided to crop that part off and resize it.
This is the finished adapted piece.  

Something old, something new...

Creek   Oils on panel  

Previously, this was a landscape featuring a lake.
Using loose brush strokes and a knife I turned it into another image with water.

Detail of the work
A close up view of some gestural brush strokes.

The Studio...

Work in progress.

Work is on easels and tables waiting for the next stage.

The large painting on the wall is a painting from 2007.
It will remain untouched...

Until next Monday...
Thank you for visiting.