Tuesday, 31 March 2015


               Foreshore Pools   Oils on canvas board, unframed  5 x 7 inches  

Unsuspecting walkers can get trapped by the incoming tide which fills the pools on the marshy shore.  On this day as I climbed over the dunes the scene was a deserted tranquil one and ideal for a walk on the beach.  Quickly sketched I wanted to capture a sense of place. 

Monday, 30 March 2015

Beauty of Gray.

         Fitties on a Gray Day   Oils on canvas board, unframed  5 x 7 inches  SOLD

Gray, stormy skies and incoming tide made a lovely subject for me to paint.  Whippet was snuffling about in the sand as I took some reference photos before the tide cut us off. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015


                      Forest Floor    Oils on stretched box canvas   12 x 12 inches 

Although abstract this painting reminds me of the forest floor in autumn.  I sculpted the paint with my brush to create the marks.  This little painting glows.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

                                                             Nature's paintbox.

                              New Dawn   Oils on canvas board   4 x 4 inches  

At the end of a painting session yesterday I was feeling a bit 'blocked' and threw out the work I had finished.  However, I like to finish on a good note so I started painting this little 4 x 4 study.   Trying to keep it loose and expressive I worked quickly with a half inch brush.  It might be suitable for a larger piece one day.  In the meantime...I think I am happy with it as a finished picture.  Welcome, New Dawn.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Abstraction and Me.

                 Off Balance   Oils on stretched box canvas   16 x 16 inches   

I like to experiment with colour, shape and form in my abstract work.  Although there is not really a 3D element here I think there is a hint of perspective in some parts of the image.  The title came from the appearance of a wobbly black shape on the right.  Much of the final stages of my abstract work comes from negative painting, cutting in around colours to form ambiguous shapes.  I find it really enjoyable.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Gray and mellow

              Mellow Yellow   Oils on stretched box canvas  16 x 16 inches  

I love including gray in a painting as it makes other colours sing.   Subtle shades are grounded by the dark area at the bottom and three yellow shapes add light, warmth and balance to the image. The black area top right has an element of bold surprise.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

No set rules...

        Not just black and white   Oils on stretched box canvas  16 x 16 inches   

Is it a real landscape?  Is it abstract?  Things are not always black or white and in my painting world there are no set rules.   This gives me absolute freedom to express myself and explore the ambiguous and abstract concept.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Beyond reality again...

                   Sidewalk   Oils on stretched box canvas   16 x 16 inches   

Some viewers are mystified by my abstract paintings.  I am asked why do I do them, what do they mean, and why don't I 'paint properly'?    My work comes from a desire to create something from inside...without directly referring to a tangible object or a place.  The paintings evolve as I work from my imagination.  This picture makes me laugh as it is quite bizarre.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Colour and Form

        Sienna amongst others   Oils on stretched box canvas.  16 x 16 inches  

Sculptural forms emerge in this painting.  Purely imaginative abstract shapes.  I like the blend of organic against hard edge and light next to dark. The sienna is all that remains of the under-painting.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Sense of Place

               Sunrise on the ebbing tide   Oils on canvas board  4 x 4 inches  SOLD

I kept to gentle tones in this tiny study for a peaceful look to the place.  My aim was to capture a reference for a larger painting.  

Friday, 20 March 2015

In the deep

                          Marsh and Pools   Oils on canvas board  5 x 7 inches 

Unsuspecting walkers could suddenly find themselves in deeper than they think if these marshes are submerged by the incoming tide.  The pools and creeks formed by the tidal movement are interesting shapes for a painter and I have abstracted them for an alternative image.   The mud banks have a violet tinge and the marsh greens vary according to the seasons and the weather.  The water appears blue on this clear day.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Tidal formations

                      Ridge and Runnel   Oils on canvas board  6 x 6 inches 

Tides interact with the shape of the land making ridges and runnels on the foreshore of the Lincolnshire coast.  This makes textural and light effects for me to paint.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


                           Up the Creek   Oils on canvas board  5 x 7 inches 

I love a deserted beach.  Our Lincolnshire tides constantly shape the shallow beaches with ridges and pools.  This part of our coast is popular with visitors in summer but I had the whole beach to myself on this bright winter day.  My aim was to capture a sense of the place with abstracted shapes and skims of paint to suggest standing water. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


                              Shallows    Oils on canvas board  6 x 6 inches 

My aim was to give a sense of place in this little study.  Quickly sketched in oils with a minimum of brush strokes I think there is enough detail to show the standing water on the marsh and sand.  A highlight on the sandbank where the sun streaked across was the final flourish.  Painted on canvas covered board with a dark sienna and ultramarine under-coat which I allowed to show through  in places.

Monday, 16 March 2015

East Coast

                         East Coast Creek  Oils on canvas board  5 x 7 inches  

Sand and marsh on Lincolnshire's coast at low tide.  Small creeks revealed with shallow water sparkling in the sun.  A favourite place for me to walk and whippet to run.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Staying loose

                                Teatime Skyline  Oils on canvas board  6 x 6 inches 

A memorable day out to the galleries in London.  We enjoyed afternoon tea at Tate Modern, high up on the top floor overlooking the Thames and the city skyline.  A loose sketch about a sense of place, giving some idea of the shapes and colours without the detail.  

Saturday, 14 March 2015


                                        Twice as Blue   Oils on stretched canvas 2014
                                       New 'morphed' image of the painting below...

Colour Form 3   Oils on stretched canvas 
First painting 2012

Here is an example of how my work can become a new painting by re-working parts of the canvas.  This one began as Colour Form 3  in 2012 and at the time I was happy with my picture which hung in my studio.

A year or so later when preparing work for a solo show I had an idea of partly destroying the image to create a different piece.  Looking at both images it is possible to see where I made the changes in colour and shapes.  Colour Form 3 lost the soft organic feel and became harder edged and more of a still life than landscape.

Twice as Blue is now in a black float frame and was displayed in a show at Sam Scorer Gallery in September 2014.  It has returned to my studio/gallery.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Composition and Value

Beside the Point    Oils on stretched canvas   ( Cropped image from square to show a vertical format )   NFS

Composition and values, I am told, are fundamentals of creating an interesting image.  Colour comes third.  In this painting I am happy with all three...each time I look there are places to explore.  The painting began with an under-painting, quite high key.  Then I wanted to see how far I could push it before I destroyed it.  Leaving parts of the first image showing, a new one emerged as I cut in with deeper colours making new shapes.  Here is a second image of the painting altered to black and white which show the values.  A good test when checking if the painting 'works'.  I am happy with it.

Beside the Point 2   (Monochrome image changed on the computer)

Fusion   Oils on stretched canvas ( cropped image of the original under-painting)

Here is part of the first painting cropped to the same format in my examples.  Although it has interesting parts I have no regrets about re-working it to make the second one.  Seeing the monochrome image with this one I am able to remember where I worked around the design keeping certain shapes and creating others.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Winter walking in Laneshawbridge

                           Nearly Home   Oils on canvas board 5 x 7 inches  SOLD

Continuing my walk along the lanes I passed a hedgerow holding onto its autumn glory.  The colours were quite striking next to the snow.  A brief interlude between snow showers allowed me to take note of the scene and a quick photo for reference.  Time then to hurry on to the Inn for tea and the warmth of a log fire.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Splash of extra colour

                           Surprise Guests    oils on canvas board  5 x 7 inches   SOLD

Poppies always add a splash of colour when they appear in crops.  These guests found their way into a field of oilseed rape.  A study of primary colours in nature.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Winter walking

                          House on the Moor   Oils on canvas board 5 x 7 inches 

Over the stile the path led across the field past this house glowing in the winter sun.  A loose study to give an impression of the day...winter snow flurries and a covering on the background hills.  It was cold but fine between the showers.

Monday, 9 March 2015

A way of 'seeing'

                  Land Patterns   Oils on stretched canvas   16 x 16 inches  

Three years ago I became interested in creating paintings which took a reference from nature yet did not depict it directly.  I wanted to make marks with oil paint that fitted in between abstract and representation.

I set about making my own stamp on things and experimented by making an under-painting to set the scene and after it was dry I 'attacked' the canvas with abandon adding colour and sculpting the image with a brush.

This was the first finished piece and was spotted by a gallery who invited me to paint more of them to exhibit in 18 months.  I rose to the challenge and had a solo show last year.

These paintings are very different to my small figurative realist paintings and some viewers of each have their own strong opinions which they seem to enjoy airing in my presence. Undaunted, I shall continue to paint both.  

I shall be moving back into my garden studio now the weather is improving so the joy of facing a new stretched canvas to make paintings for my 2016 show awaits.  

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Shape and form

                       Orange on the side  Oils on stretched canvas  20 x 8 inches  

Part of the fun of painting is creating something from my imagination so I can have free rein without being constrained by reality.  This painting began life as something quite different but evolved into this design along the way.  I like the colours and the crispness of the edges softened by the semi-circle at the bottom.  There is something about the work which reminds me of a harbour but I can't explain why.  Others might see it differently.  

Saturday, 7 March 2015

January in Pendle...winter in Emmott Lane

                            Up North   Oils on canvas board  SOLD

Emmott Lane is in Laneshawbridge in the Borough of Pendle.  It is a wild and beautiful area perfect for an oil study.   A walk with my whippet along the lanes whilst staying at the Alma Inn was quite magical as snow flurries were beginning to settle.  Time to hurry back to the Inn and the log fire.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Purple shades of night

                             Twilight Zone    Oils on board   12 x 12 inches   

Twilight has a wonderful way of making a garden beautiful by highlighting blues, purples, whites and pinks.   The flowers seem to pop out in a magical way.   The transparent oils used in this painting were ideal for sculpting with the brush to make shapes and mysterious marks.  I allowed the painting to evolve using the surprise elements as a guide.  Pure fiction but it reminds me of summer evening walks.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Oils are for me...

Three examples of my working with oil paint and its versatility

 Cragside  Oils on board

  Point of View  Oils on canvas

  Slow thaw  Oils on canvas board

I thought I would talk about my preference for using oils as I sometimes get asked why I use them instead of water-colour or acrylic paints.

Over the years I have used the other paints but when I began to handle oils there was an instant appeal.  I love the luscious creamy feel of the paint and it suits my way of working.  I admit there are sometimes challenges when painting 'alla prima' if I want to avoid muddying the colours but having a little patience to allow the paint to dry overnight I can place some highlights successfully.

My figurative paintings are mostly gentle colours, typical of our Lincolnshire landscape so there are not many occasions when I will use bright, saturated hues.  Perhaps a bright colour will be needed for a poppy field or some other object in the scene.

On the other hand, my abstract paintings can be very colourful so I would require a different choice of colours.  I still keep to a limited palette though as I prefer to mix my colours from the three primaries...two reds, two blues and two yellows...a cool and a warm of each.  In addition I will have earth colours Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, and possibly Burnt Umber used sparingly as it can be deadening.   

I find I can get lovely darks without using black so I very rarely bring it out of my box.  I have mixed black with yellow occasionally to produce a lovely green.  My paint box does contain other colours such as Viridian, Pthalo Blue and Prussian Blue.  These are strong insistent hues so I mix them in carefully using a little at a time. 

I use Titanium white but I have to be restrained as colours can become chalky if used too much.  Often adding a touch of lemon yellow will lighten and retain the glow.

Transparent colours such as Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine are useful for scrubbing in the under-paintings for both figurative and abstract work...I find it very useful for establishing a tonal study and composition before commencing the piece.  Any changes to shapes and perspective can be altered easily or even rubbed out in places to set the scene.  This will apply with both styles of work.  Adding a touch of medium will hasten the drying process.

Part of painting for me is the thrill of handling the paint, sculpting it with a brush and making shapes.  Even the palette looks exciting at the end of the day...mixing the paint produces some lovely hues and dried left-overs can sometimes become a work of art.   I have even hung them on the wall of my studio.

Oil is definitely my favourite medium for creating all aspects of my work.   


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Favourite Places

                                      Sun on Sandbanks   Oils on board  SOLD

I am posting this image again for all those who like it as much as I do.  I have had some really nice comments about it.  The east coast is where I grew up as a child so I have many memories of the marshes and sandbanks.   On this day the sun broke through the clouds highlighting the sand and the water in the little creeks.


                       Passage of Time   Oils on stretched canvas  20 x 8 inches   

I have a fascination with coastal erosion, creeks, sandbanks and rock formation.  The ageing process and weathering inspires me to create something which reminds me of this.  This image is not any particular place...but as I sculpted the paint I noticed marks which reminded me of things I have seen.   This one is part of my Land and Sea series which was exhibited last summer in Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


                  Moment of Thought   Oils on stretched canvas   20 x 8 inches   

This is one of my favourite paintings.  I loved sculpting the paint to create an image with marks suggesting hidden figures...an element of mystery to draw the viewer in.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Tall format

                               Circling Grey   Oils on stretched canvas  8 x 20 inches  

Using a tall vertical format I teased out this composition using a very limited palette of colours.  The purple on the right side is part of the underpainting which I left showing to add a hint of mystery.  I wanted to keep the image looking spacious and not filled with other detail.