Monday, February 28, 2011


Oil on Linen Canvas 50 x 40 cm or 15.7 x 19.7 inches.
The sum of February, there seemed to be a lot of mist and rain, at least that was my impression.  Beautiful softening of the landscape, lovely green grey colours in the water.  I finished this off just now on the last day of the month and, as if to contradict me the day is stunning, blue sky and bright sun shine so I might have to go out and do some painting, perhaps a different subject.  There have been times during this month when I have struggled to get down to the daily pontoon recording.  There have been interruptions from my day job as an illustrator, family troubles and worries and beastly weather but every single time the effort has been worth it.  The weather is never as bad as it seems from inside the house, I have good waterproofs.  I need a break from illustration work and always return with renewed vigour.  Problems and sadness are put into perspective by a little time out and what has become a kind of meditation.  I have discovered however that, far from being an angst driven artist, I do not paint well when I am unhappy and if I wasn't trying to be so brutally honest with myself with this project ( it is as much an observation piece for me as a painter learning as it is of the changing seasons) I would have happily destroyed several pieces by now.  I do really appreciate all of the comments, it is good to know what other people think.  Here are a couple of details of this painting.  I am a compulsive peerer at the detail in paintings, I like to work out the process of painting...
This is a row of cottages across the river at Durgan, they are often spotlighted by the sun and shine out as a little block of white.  The buoys also pepper the meeting of the land and the water, that is what those little dots are.

The Scots Pines are a "trademark" of this area, I love the way they stand above the other trees, and the small white blob is a lovely house at Golden Gear, another place that I would dearly love to live in!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bright Buoys

Oil on card 20 x 15 cm or 6 x8 inches
Sun and clouds. Two headlands in deep shadow and the sun is spotlighting the far shore and all the bright buoys.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Home for Tea

Oil on card. 20 x 15 cm or 8 x 6 inches.
A beautiful sunny early spring day is ending, a few clouds spread blue shadows on the land while the setting sun paints everything else in bright gold splashes.  One of the boats comes in for his tea with a gathering of gulls following.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mackerel Sky

Oil on card 15 x 20 cm or 6 x 8 inches.
Spring is definitely arriving, the primroses are out, wild garlic and hawthorn leaves are greening up the woods.  I think doing this project is making me both patient and impatient in equal measures.  I am patiently painting the grey days, and enjoying them I should add, but I am so looking forward to Spring.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Misty Moisty Morning

Oil on card, 20 cm x 15 cm or 8 x 6 inches
Soaking wet, misty moisty Cornish rain.  High tide.  This is the slightly different view point that I did right at the beginning of this month.  The little old quay always has a bright green slash of grass, there is a lovely house at the end of the green slash of grass, it is a place that I covet.  Imagin living right there, no need to go anywhere at all!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


50 x 60 cm or 20 x 24 inches
A commission, my mossy tree who lives just down the road and every winter his beautiful bright green moss shines out. 

Mist and Rain, Again

Body Colour with Watercolour.  20 x 14 cm or 8 x 5.5 inches.
A grey misty day, trying out a slightly different technique, putting on the darker colour with watercolour and then drawing in the white with gouache.  Thinking about negative spaces more. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

February Afternoon

Watercolour and Body Colour
20 x 14 cm or 8 x 5.5 inches.
Late afternoon after a lot of rain.  Feeling a bit detached from everything so got out my old faithful watercolours to get back to my roots!  Some dogs being walked on the shore, distant voices and the trees have a slight hint of green, wishful thinking perhaps.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Early Evening

Oil on card, 15 x 20 cm or 6 x 8 inches.
Early evening, the first boat has sailed up the river.  Very high tide to go with the full moon.  The inky water beneath the woods has an occasional soft ripple of light, I am enjoying a little time out from a stressful weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Early Morning Flat White

Oil on card.  20 x 15 cm or 10 x 8 inches.
Out painting early as I had to get to Truro today.  There is a kind of flat white light, everything feels closer, still and slightly misty, I could sit here for hours listening to the gentel wash against the shore.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oil on card. 20 x 15 cm or 10 x 8 inches
I thought a break from the pontoon would be a good idea, however, although I tried not to paint, I was scuppered and did a quick study of toiling workers picking the daffodils.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gap in the Rain

Oil on card 20 x 15 cm or 10 x 8 inches
A little gap in the rain, its been pouring, lead grey skies, heavy rainfall but it has just brightened a bit.  Sitting down on the river I can hear eastern European voices drifting across the water, as the daffodil fields are being picked.  I really don't envy them that job in weather like this.


Oil on board
15 x 20 cm or 8 x 10 inches
Last night, she was looking fantastic, clouds scudding across the sky and stars glimpsed through the breaks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Glassy Water

Oil on board. 20 x 25 cm or 8 x 10 cm
That old waxing gibbous moon is nearly full, her reflection gently moving in a green glassy sky as the river sits, calmly breathing beneath the afternoon sun.  The light delicately etches twigs and branches against the soft winter greens.  The only sounds are a little dog barking and a couple of kids messing about in the shallows.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Scots Pine

I know I said I wouldn't paint today, I was lying, went for a walk and couldn't resist these lovely trees and the big steely grey clouds.  Painting is just so very theraputic.


I had a rainbow test-trial-work-out.  It is a glaze, red yellow and blue letting them mix into orange, green and violet, then, once stained I blotted them off.  I think it works and I quite like it with the wind turbines too. 
I am not painting today.  I am wishing good thoughts to one of my sons as I am more than worried about him, I know he is in the best hands but I cant stop thinking about him.  I am also trying to cook a loving Sunday lunch for my lovely Big Dave, as we are both away tomorrow and tomorrow is "loved up" day.  So all in all a lot of love is flying around my head and heart, rainbows fit in quite well then.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blue Beyond The Grey

Oil on card,  15 x 20 cm or 8 x 10 inches
What a lovely day, bright sunshine with dramatic grey clouds, the water a beautiful colour.  There was a rainbow just out of sight, if I had turned a bit I could have painted it but, to tell the truth, I am a bit scared of rainbows!  I don't think I know how to paint them!  I worry that they would look far too sickly, like a sunset, dangerous territory.  Also how do you get that light?  I suspect a glaze would be good but that's impossible with a plein air painting.  I am going to do some experiments.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Across The River

They went to the pub, I went down to the pontoon, turned round just a bit and got the view across the river and managed, by a whisker, not to miss today's pontoon painting!

Pressure Washer

45 x 59 cm or 18 x 23 inches
I have been working on this watercolour for a while and now I am almost certain that it is finished.  I might have to run it past my boat experts just to check the boat is right!
This is Falmouth, down by the boats and the slip ways.  The sun was low in the sky, making glorious everything that it touched.  This chap, in his oilskins, was using a pressure washer on an old boat that looked as if it had been under water for ages, it was all covered in seaweed, inside and out.  The sun caught the spray as he worked and turned everything to gold.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Foggy Mist

Oil on card 15 x 20 cm or 6 x 8 inches
I had just got in from painting the windmills for a spot of lunch when another friend, who lives just above where I paint these, send a message that the river had a "lovely foggy mist".  Cant resist a bit of foggy mist so dashed out again and got a bit of foggy mist, which turned to foggy rain.  Rain and oil paint do interesting things, I like painting in the rain!  What I am having trouble with, however, is the right mix of colours for the faded luminous orange of all the bouyes, anyone got any colour mixing ideas?

Wind Power

Oil on board 20 x 25 cm or 8 x 10 inches
Not everybody likes these big windmills but I do.  I love the size of them and the swish through the air.  This is an unremarkable little track on a grey and rain soaked day, I was on my way home from having birthday coffee with a friend when I saw these majestic towers in the mist.  So, with my new found passion for plein air painting I stopped my van and did this. 
I also had a chance to test out my new invention...plein air glasses!  They are an old pair of glasses with the lenses coloured red with permanent marker pen, what they do, you see, is to make the tonal qualities of what you are looking at much more extreme.  So I wear them to map out my painting, they work a treat, they look very odd but I don't mind about that!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Soft Light

Oil on card  15 x 20 cm or 6 x 8 inches
A beautiful soft light today, tide up for a change and a gentle swell on the water.  Although everything is still and quietly winter lit the birds are obviously preparing for spring, they sing their little hearts out and the spring song wings its way across the water.

Moleskine Sketchbook
From Sunday on the beach, flapping flags and the sun breaking the growling grey sky. 
Now that I have combined my blogs the sketchbook stuff will be here as well as the paintings.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Starry Starry Sky

Oil on Card. 15 x 20 cm or 6 x 8 inches.  SOLD
Yes I know, but Vincent called it Starry Night and a starry night like this is hard to ignore.  There were far more stars I wanted to show that pin prick of light so bright in a velvet sky.  Simply beautiful, I love night painting, the darkness is many colours.

Monday, February 07, 2011


Very peaceful down there today.  It has been so blustery lately that the stiller air feels extra quiet.  The distant shore seemed closer today, is still air clearer?  There were lots of swirling shapes in the water, I could have stayed there for ages, a refuge, time out, chill out!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday Lunchtime

Met up with some friends for lunch at the Sand Bar at Praa Sands and after lunch I got this little painting done at the end of the beach, it was one of those days with bright sun and a misty hazy look to everything.  Then because the parking place is a bit quick off the mark if you go over your time we went to Rinsey Head.
Pottered about a bit, did this
and went home.  I love Sundays.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


A squall coming, sea birds huddled up in a group, heads to the wind.  Patterns written on the water with every gust, it is raining, just a bit, that wet rain that pretends it is a cloud.

Friday, February 04, 2011

A Grey Day

About 1.30pm, grey sky, grey sea, very windy and low tide.  I have had a day of dashing about, fitted this in at lunchtime and only just got home now to take its picture, hence the bad lighting.  It is dark now and my "daylight" bulb from above does pick up the shiny lumpy bits.  Anyway, here it is!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Spring Sky

1.45pm.  Tide out, light breeze, sunny and big sky.  Lots of birds singing, feels like spring.


It got accepted! This painting has been accepted into the  R.I. 199th Exhibition.  This means that next year I will be able to make an application to be considered for membership.  I am so happy, and relieved.  Often when working away in splendid isolation niggles of doubt creep in about ones ability to paint and it is so good to receive conformation from people whose work you respect that you are doing OK.  I am going to have asparagus and poached egg for my lunch now, by way of a celebration!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Reflections In The Creek

50 x 69 cm or 20 x 27 inches
I have been working on this one for a while.  The colours in the river water were so deep and complex that I had to do many many layers of watercolour to get the feeling.  The tide comes in and the seaweed forests make dark shapes below the green water.  It is a very green piece I find greens very peaceful and I hope this painting holds the tranquility that this part of the river has.  Imagine the rooks calling and the river birds, nothing else. Peace!

Drizzle at Dawn

 Oil on board 20 x 15 cm or 6 x 8 inches
I got down to my "place on the Helford" just before dawn.  There was  a soft drizzle of rain but not enough to stop painting.  It was so peaceful, gentle breathing of the river as small wavelets stroke the shore, the dawn chorus in the woods and the liquid calls of the waterbirds echoing out across the river.  As the time ticked on the light changed and I did this gouache as well.
Gouache on paper 13 x 20 cm or 5 x 8 inches.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Low Tide, Sun after Rain.

oil on board
20 x 15 cm or 6 x 8 inches
A slightly different view point today, not sure if I like it yet. It has been a grey, misty, rain soaked morning but by lunchtime the sun was out.  The thing is, I think I like the grey misty stuff, its more moody.