Friday, December 24, 2010

Little Collections

I am making  little collections of limited edition prints from paintings and sketchbooks. 
Over the holidays I shall put together some others.  Each print is small, about 7cm x 10 cm or 2.5 inches x 4 inches. The size of a playing card.   They look wonderful framed in little frames and displayed together.  Printed on beautiful archival watercolour paper they are wrapped in a little folio made from watercolour paper.  Each collection will hold 12 little prints. 
This first one is from a trip I made to China many years ago, in 1984.
My sketch books were very important to me and to this day the drawings from that trip remain far more important than any photos that I took.
Watch out for more mini folios...and have a Very Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Light

18cm x 48cm or 7inches x 18 inches
The same line of Cornish oaks but this time in the first light of a cold frosty morning.  In the rushing madness of just before Christmas it is very good indeed to take a little time out, look at the sky, watch the dawn and feel blessed to be alive and to have friends and family to love and cherish.  Happy times to everyone, always.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cornish Oak.

 Watercolour with scratching out over pencil   SOLD
40 cm x 18cm or 16 inches x 7 inches

There is a line of Cornish Oaks, (also known as sessile oak) very near my house.  Their wind pruned shapes, gnarled and twisted against the sky are beautiful in any light but in the evening they excel.  As the sun dips lower in the sky and frost kisses the tips of the grass they stand out, almost in silhouette, like dancing sisters, lacy tracery of tiny branches against a cold cold sky.
I was checking out the new Google Books feature the other day and put in my name and it came up with lots of stuff, one of which was a painting by my great great grandfather with this description, Watercolor with scratching out over pencil, that sounds good I thought, so I did this painting as a bit of a homage to my old ancestor.  It was his influence, from way beyond the grave, via his ancient painting kit that languished in my Grandmothers attic, that made me think, at a very tender age, that being an artist was a good plan.
 So here you can see, in this detail, the scratching out as well as the pencil.  It is a nice technique, pencil work gives you confidence in that you know where everything is going before slapping on the colour and the scratching out provides that little frisson of excitement, will it wreck everything!
I don't think it did wreck it, just gave the frosty grass a little sparkle as it caught the last light of the day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Snowing

20cm x 50 cm or 8 inches x 20 inches

It is snowing!  Last light of the day and the cows are wandering off to find shelter in the lea of a hedge somewhere.
I love it when the leaden, snow laden sky lets go its hold and soft white flakes begin to fall, they bring a strange silence with them.

Snow sketches

Snow Cows Sketch

Watercolour sketchbook
No painting for so long feels odd.  I have got a bit of spare time having worked very hard on other commitments and finally got out and about, in the cold and snow.  This will be the info for a painting later today...will post up the results.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Winter Paintings on Show

Beside The Wave have their Winter 2010 exhibition up online today, with everything available to purchase from the web site right now and the opening, with mulled wine and mince pies, on Saturday.  It is on for a month and there are some lovely paintings there. 
I wont go on about everyone elses here as I do that on their blog, to which I am a blog reporter and which you must visit, because it has some interesting posts about art and artists...
I am really pleased with my set of paintings, all beautifully framed and looking fantastic.  My absolute favorite is the one at the top, it is very simple, a fallen tree, over the river (Frenchmans creek) in the snow.  I love the very faint reflections of the trees on the other bank.  My next favorite is "Swans on the River" which is the one that was exhibited at the Royal Institute last spring.
All of my paintings, except one, were painted last winter, when it snowed.  I painted them especially for this exhibition, which shows surprising forward planning for me.  Anyway pop over to the web site to see all the paintings that are in the show and don't forget to hook up with the blog, and, if you can, visit the gallery in person.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cold and Silky Water

17cm x 31 cm or 6.5 inches x 12 inches

It is very cold, when it is cold water seems to me to be thicker, almost oily.  The river flows slowly, gently rippling like silk.  The air is very still, ice and frost are waiting for the night to fall when they will stroke the trees, paint the leaves and turn the earth to stone.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Painting Trees

This is a test really, I set up the video camera and then started painting. The film is speeded up so don't worry, it only takes about two minutes. I didn't do the whole thing, it started to get dark towards the end, I think it is OK though. I shall try making one that is a whole painting, start to finish. I need to practice painting with people watching (it does feel a bit the same with the camera going!) as I will, hopefully, be running some painting workshops in the summer. Anyway, this is the first go!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Evening Trees

13 cm x 20 cm or 5 inches x 8 inches

Low sunlight through the trees, early evenings, deep in the silent woods. 
I have been trying to paint without the use of masking fluid.  I have developed a deep hatred of the stuff, I messed up a couple of paintings when it stuck fast to the paper and ripped bits up, it is too heavy handed (or perhaps I am) I just don't like it, and it smells funny, perhaps it has gone off!  I tried permanent masking fluid but again that felt clumsy and wrong so I am painting without, finding other methods to preserve light in paintings.  Happily I think it is working so far.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Through Ash & Beach

14cm x 21cm or 5.5inches x 8.5inches

In a sheltered spot, away from the wind, the leaves are still clinging on.  Looking up through Ash and Beach I try to catch the textures and patterns, twigs and branches as they weave their autumn painted selves together.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Sketches from my i pad

Evening Beach

Watercolour. 33cm x 13cm or 13 inches x 5 inches.
It is getting cold now, evening gets earlier every day, long shadows of trees fall across the beach, a little golden light from the dying day plays on a gentle swell.  The sea is breathing in and out and the scent of the coming winter is in the air.

Monday, November 08, 2010

River in November

I have been very busy with all sorts of things lately, not much painting going on but there will be soon.  I thought that, in the mean time, I would make a little video of where I go to restore my soul and to gather up inspiration for my paintings.  It is three minutes of a very quiet, peaceful November afternoon.  Nothing spectacular as far as colour goes, I am very fond of the kind of grey green melancholia of winter though.
Sorry about the quality, I am practising, I need to get to get better at making little films.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn on The River

Autumn on The River
43 cm x 28 cm or 17 inches x 28 inches

The river, on a beautiful afternoon in autumn.  The water is still in places, carrying deep smooth reflections.  Ripples break the glassy surface where fish feed on low flying insects, or where the river flows over a hidden channel.  The tide turns, changing the patterns like someone tuning an old radio.  The changing leaves halo the trees and smoke from an autumn bonfire softens colours.

Detail from the painting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lamp Light

Lamp Light
Watercolour and Body Colour
15 cm x 9 cm or 6 inches x 3.5 inches
Another tiny watercolour, the sky has deepened a notch, lamps are being lit across the water, the temperature is dropping and a hush descends, velvet and dark.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Bonfire  SOLD
Watercolour and body colour
27.5 cm x 9 cm or 11 inches x 3.5 inches
This isn't a large watercolour but it is very layered, evening again, the day drifting away like the smoke of the bonfire.  Deep colours on the land hinting at fields, woodland and settlements contrasting with the layers of diamond light reflecting off the water and the seamless sky.
I show you a couple of details so that you can see the colours and brushstrokes that make up this little painting.  It will be varnished and then framed, glassless as I am already in love with the brush marks!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Oil on Board.
30 cm x26 cm or 12 inches x 10 inches
Late afternoon in October, on the distant shore someone has an autumn bonfire going.  The sun is low, a last sail before laying up for the winter.  There is a wonderful melancholia in the air and the faintest scent of colder air coming from some faraway winter mountains. 
This is looking from Pendennis Point in Falmouth, across the bay towards the Lizard, where I live.  I felt as if I was on holiday, visiting a foreign shore, everything looked new and exciting and this view got my heart pumping.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How To Varnish Watercolours

I have just been experimenting with something that I have never considered doing before, varnishing watercolours.
It occurred to me that when visiting a gallery I find myself immediately "drawn" to certain paintings, also I like to look very close up at things like brush marks, paint effects and paint "blooms"  In a mixed show oils seemed to win over watercolours and I think it is mainly because of the reflections.
So... how to get rid of the glass?
This is what I do...
First of all take your watercolour painting and paste the back with PVA (Elmer's in the US I think) do this quite carefully working out from the center of the painting, so that none seeps underneath.
Then place the painting on a piece of mount board that is a bit larger than the picture.  After that carefully cover the painting with some tissue paper or kitchen paper towel.
This protects your still vulnerable painting from the heavy book you are going to put on top of it.  I did a few at the same time so ended up with a stack like this...

Once the front side was dry, after a day The whole process was repeated with another piece of watercolour paper on the back, this is to stop any warping happening.  Another day of drying and then they were cut to the size of the painting
Then I lined them all up in a shoe box (because they were small) and sprayed them with a thin coat of LASCAUX ACRYLIC RESIN FIXATIV When that was dry I did another just for luck!
After that I sprayed a few thin coats both front and back with  LASCAUX UV PROTECT  I guess by this stage you could use any varnish that you would use for oil paintings.  The most important thing I think is the UV protection.
I tested it by pouring hot coffee on it and cleaning with a was fine!
After that, when all is dry I framed it like I would an oil painting, Mine usually go on a white backing board with a white frame.  I gave the painting , the found objects that were to go underneath the painting, and the backing board a few coats of matt picture varnish and that was it.

This is one of the framed, glassless, varnished watercolours.

Friday, October 08, 2010

New Blog

Beside the Wave Gallery is launching a new blog tonight.  Hopefully it will become a very interesting insight to all of their artists with studio visits, working practices as well as the running of the gallery, it should be one to watch, so if you are interested in art, pay it a visit and bookmark it to watch its progress. Beside The Wave gallery blog.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Penarvon Cove

Penarvon Cove
Watercolour  21 cm x 9 cm or 8 inches x 3.5 inches

September sun shimmers off the water, a gentle mist rises through the trees, it feel as if summer is slipping away with a soft sigh.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


20 cm x 9 cm or 8 inches x 3.5 inches

A day on the river and some tiny watercolours.  I will post all of them along with sketches up on watermarks.
I am planning to varnish these and then frame them without the traditional glass that usually is necessary to protect watercolours.  So you see them here first before the experiment.  I will post the results, which will be for sale.  So there you go, I am boldly going where I have not been before, watch this space!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


18 cm x 46 cm or 7 inches x 16 inches

Low tide, empty beaches, the sea has soaked up all the blue from the summer, miles of wet sand...bliss!
I took my paints and did some bigger sketching, that is careful sketching with watercolours, it takes longer but is worth it for the peace and relaxation it brings.

Monday, September 13, 2010


55 cm x 35 cm or 21.7 inches x 13.8 inches

Beautiful cone flowers lighting up an autumn garden.  This time of year in gardens is one of my favourites, dahlias, cone flowers, cannas, sunflowers, sedums all catching halos from a lowering sun, spiders webs bejeweled in dew, its all so beautiful!  I visited Monet's garden in Autumn.  On that day the sky was a thunderous blue grey but the sunlight was spotlighting the amazing displays of dahlias, it was stunning and I took loads of photos.  A few hours later, miles and miles away in some wood in Normandy the photos were accidentally deleted!  I still haven't been back but I have the image of that sky with the brilliant dahlias in my mind, which has no delete button, well not yet anyway!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Sunflower

Sunday Sunflower
Watercolour and Gold leaf
55 cm x 35 cm or 21.7 inches x 13.8 inches

Its Sunday!  The sun is shiny, well a bit, and this is a happy happy painting and that's it.  I bloomin love sun flowers.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


18cm x 26cm or 8 inches x 10 inches
Watercolour, Ink, Gouache, Gold house paint, Gold Leaf.

A friend gave me some gold leaf and a bunch of Teasels so I have been experimenting.  It is quite relaxing just to chuck a bit of paint around.  Going to go back now and draw these spiky beauties.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Time Out!

Time Out
Watercolour and Inks

Just for pure enjoyment, a little time out tripping around in the secret gardens of my imagination.  Sometimes this is what I do for a bit of relaxation after a long day painting!  Ha ha ha, daft but true!