Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Working on a privatly commissioned panel at the moment , to convey something of the Spirit of "Wiltshire Landscape".    These clumps of trees are typical seen atop and around the Wiltshire Downs they are usually on ancient Bronze Age sites. I've added some standing stones, burial mounds, often seen in the landscape. 
(This is still unfired paint and the coloured glass is stuck up with beeswax, on a flat glass easel , for painting against the sky ). Black lines are painted behind the easel glass to simulate the lead between each piece.

 Close-up detail at lower part of the panel  with wheat, flora, water.
There's the remains of a Viking helmet under the water, reference to King Alfred beating the Viking Danes at Edington.
Some silver stain will add touches of gold and enhance the richness of the glass. i.e. fruit, helmet, wheat, primrose (might have all 4 seasons in this one) - Stain still to be fired on.

There might be  a few insects in the undergrowth if you look carefully :-) or are they in the other bit?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Harvest Time, from Strawbery Hill

(Above) Just After Harvest
(Below) Early evening before Harvest
(below) Looking North Towards Devizes and Roundway Hills

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Apple Blossom, Great Chalfield.

Just updating this image.
Another view looking back at the house in May .....

..... and catching the last of the Apple Blossom. Also showing Climbing Roses and Wisteria on the left.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'll be exhibiting with the MARLBOROUGH OPEN STUDIOS  soon, sharing a studio with portrait artist Yvonne Cunnane. The  event runs over four weekends from Sat 23rd June to Sun 24th July.

I'll be there for three weekends but on the 29th June - 2nd July I'm exhibiting in Bradford on Avon  -   with two friends ValĂ©rie Pirlot and Bob Childs, we're calling our exhibition  THREE WESSEX SKETCHERS.
All welcome to drop by these events if you can.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Apple Blossom at Great Chalfield

I was asked to paint an apple tree at Great Chalfield Manor  

There was quite a delay before I could get there but I think I made it just in time and found the trees with flowering blossom. This little tree caught my eye and appropriately it is seen against a backdrop of the Apple Store, building on the left, and some of the cottages on the Estate. Amazingly it was a beautiful fresh day after the dire wet cold month we've been  having ( yes I know the rain is much needed) so I really enjoyed the sun on my back, getting quite hot at times.

 Bach's Chaconne for solo Violin played Hilary Hahn.1/2
(good music to paint to) 

Joshua Bell playing the Chaconne in Washington Metro subway

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Painting the Rapeseed, near Marden.

It's odd how subjects select you. I was going to paint an adjacent row of trees, see in the video,  but this field in bloom insisted I painted it; so,  how to use a half a tube of yellow without really trying.(I got a dose of nasty spring hayfever too!:(

Learning some basic editing ....  three takes in a 3min video, at a 'blocking in' stage: quickly working at blank areas, of the painting. It can be interesting watching other painters at work but  actually quite alarming to see oneself painting - normally the brain is in freeflow and one is oblivious of much else and  has little sense of time.   

Captured without looking through the viewfinder, so not seeing the framing hence dipping to the mixing palette, camera in my right hand. This is  in real time though I did discard a few seconds of  mixing on the palette and another short clip in the sequence which was badly framed. Also I should have set camera to a wider image format.

Music: Var. no.2 of The Goldberg Variations, JS Bach courtesy of  a great facility I discovered recently- - I thought that better than adding dialogue here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hooray! I just sold three of these late evening sky paintings, they'll be framed together and hung one above the other.
Just looking at this batch of 8 I did almost a year ago. I'm trying to devise  a catalog system, an inventory to  keep track of my paintings so each is numbered and  named. i.e. these are "Lavington skies with Jet Trails" (no's 1- 8) but 81-88 in the  main list. Does anyone recommend a good system of cataloging?

And it was whilst doing this series , some differ slightly in size, that I realized I had to make a better effort at standardizing sizes so bought  a big batch of ready cut board, all primed now and ready to go.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Plein Air Painting at Urchfont Manor

I'm doing a Plein Air teaching day on Saturday 14th April  at Urchfont Manor, in Wiltshire.

 Some experience with oils is helpful but not essential. Starting with a short introduction and discussion on methods, the idea is to work outside in the garden, painting en plein air, where spontaneity often produces surprising and rewarding results.  Hopefully the weather will be kind.

 Emphasis will be on working quickly to produce several pieces.  A short equipment list will be available to applicants, but bring any of your own equipment as well.

  Limited places left (last time I checked) so  book soon so not to be disappointed. If they are fully booked you can contact me via my website as I'll be organizing more painting days in the summer .

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Making Sun-Thickened Linseed Oil.

Spring is here, time to make a new  batch of sun thickened oil - a very useful medium for plein air painting - when used in small amounts in painting media acts as a siccative drier.
Using a purified cold pressed, linseed oil, pour the oil into a shallow plate (about 5mm deep),  then this needs to be covered with a sheet of glass to keep dust out . The process works by oxidation  so the glass needs to be raised somehow to allow air in. Put on  a sunny windowsill, the more sun it gets the better. Air on the surface of the oil  and ultraviolet rays from the sun start a slow drying and thickening process. It is important to remember to stir the oil every day to prevent  a skin forming. After two or three weeks  the oil will be thicker and more viscous. Decant into  an appropriate air tight storage bottle This is  a great medium for plein air painting as it is half oxidized so dries quickly allowing  the painting to be worked on in thicker layers without it getting too oily and slippery. The oil yellows slightly in the process and dries with some shine. As with all new medium, it  needs  a little  practice to understand its  properties, and the viscous flow should  be adjusted by adding turpentine,  (or Zest-it!) to suit your painting process. ( a recipe from  "The Materials of the Artist" by Max Doerner.  - quote: Cennini calls it the best of all oils "I could not give you anything better")

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stourhead revisited

I need to go back once more to do minor finishing touches to this. It has been a struggle getting the right light. Despite favorable weather reports, I got rained, sleeted and hailed off at least twice (almost like a rogue weather system was waiting for me to arrive). There were some nice fat sheep, steadily  munching their way into the scene from the right on the last visit, Probably too late to add them, maybe they'll be there for the final sitting.

This one looks  a little staged in it's composition. The lake was half frozen on the left side that day, but  a brilliant sunny day and I became fascinated by the light catching every branch and twig of the tree on the island.

Sketchbook drawings of the Apollo Temple on the hill.
Exploring the subject by making a pale water colour image, then scribble over it with a  water soluble  drawing stick. An enjoyable technique somewhat aided by bad weather and enhanced by the accidental effects.