Sunday, May 30, 2010

Beech Woods in May

Beech Woods in May Oil on wooden panel
40cm x 50 cm or 15.75 inches x 19.75 inches.

This time of year it is possible to believe that magic exists.  Deep in the woods, beneath the towering Beech trees, with the sunlight filtering through all the bright new leaves, soft moss on the ground and the scent of wild garlic, bluebells and cow parsley in the air.  Surely there must be fairy folk here, I just need to be a bit quieter and wait patiently in this cathedral to Gaia.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Allotment (finished)

(Finished ) Official size: 80 cm x 95 cm
Pure Watercolour

It is strange how taking a photograph of a painting makes you see bits that need changing.  Yesterday, after a little boat trip and some "time out" I came back to this painting, checked it over in a mirror and decided to do a bit more.  I wanted to make it feel hotter, so I have knocked back some areas by misting water and paint at them then glazed over others with a clear but hot (to me) blue, it is Antwerp Blue, and always reminds me of the deep pools of shade made by a hot summer sun.
It has worked for me anyway!  Here I am,  painting away, just to give you some idea of the scale of the painting.
I have decided to make a page on my web site for commissions, portraits etc and one of the things on offer will be "garden portraits" Good idea? What do you think?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Allotment.  SOLD
Pure Watercolour.
95 cm x 110 cm or 37.5 inches x 43.3 inches

This allotment is in Harringey, London.  A little garden of Eden in the noise and dust of a big city.   A slice of heaven.  Which is what all gardens are, a haven, a getaway, a retreat, secret or public.  Beautiful, tyhere should be more gardens and green growing things, they sooth the mind and make your head good!
This is a large watercolour, has taken quite a long time to get the right amount of growth.  I wanted to show the variety of leaf shapes without making it a botanical study, I just wanted the lush, over grown tumbleness of it.  I love the little details like the strange windmills and the plastic bottle, recycled polystryine planters and weird bleached wood gate.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Red Campion

Red Campion
Oil on wooden panel
30 cm x 24 cm or 9.5 inches x 11.75 inches.

The same little lane, red campion shining out amongst the cow parsley and wild angelica.  The sweet smell of late spring hedgerows, especially after a little rain, is so powerful at the moment.  It has been such a long winter that all of a sudden everything is clammering to grow tallest and fastest, it is a spring explosion, fireworks in the hedges.

I thought you might be interested to see how the paintings are developed.
First of all is a little sketch done on location, in a small moleskine watercolour sketchbook, using a tiny watercolour set and a water pen and sometimes a little pen as well.
These sketches are really quick, not finished at all just a visual reminder of a place, colours and shapes.

I will take a few photos as reminders of things like leaf shapes, or how something fits together.  Photos are great to look at calmly, after the excitement of seeing the place of painting, you can go home and really check out the little details, blur your eyes, or make the photo go out of focus and look for shapes and patterns.

I have changed the way I am working for oil paintings,  I was working onto a black ground, blocking in the light and working out from the black.  These leafy lanes, woods and trees have so much texture and direction that I decided to go the other way.  So onto white gesso I paint the whole thing, or rather do a painted drawing, looking to build up tones and depth of field.  Once that is dry I begin to build up the layers of colour in semi transparent glazes.
Finally plopping in some thicker paint, right at the end to make the statements.

I think these leafy lane paintings are going to the gallery for their summer show, well they will if they like them!

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Oil on wooden panel
24 cm x 30 cm or  9.5 inches x 11.75 inches

This lane takes you down to a little hidden cove.  In the early summer the flowers and grasses take over, shrinking the walking space with their exuberance, nodding foxgloves dance against the sky.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Fleet Street

Fleet Street
pure watercolour
38 cm x 54 cm or 15 inches x 21 inches.

This is, apparently, where The Beano was published, obviously it was something to do with the Sunday Post and the People's Friend, the building I mean..  I used to love the Beano and the Dad of one of my friends at school, years ago, when I was of Beano reading age, was the artist who drew the Bash Street Kids, Leo Baxendale.  Of course I didnt call him Leo then, or even anything at all, but I do remember thinking that he must have possibly the best job in the whole world!
Anyway, this makes a change from trees, sea and boats.
Also, has anyone any idea how to take pictures of pictures with the lines appearing straight? I cant do it!