Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Doing my own thing

I have some plans to develop some new figure compositions
In order to find different arrangements of forms
I resort to the Masters.
My Rubens book cannot be found
Michelangelo is next
I draw and scribble his figures.
I find them unfamiliar, but this is good.
His figures are lively and full.
I look for balance and interaction
The trick is to superimpose my figures over his models
As Degas said, Copy the old masters while doing your own thing.

Monday, December 28, 2009

blind spot

The Three Towers
Having lived in Park Road for 18 months,
only this morning did I notice the obvious.
From the living room's three windows there are framed three towers.
Each tower is distinctive in form and purpose.
now having seen it - it ought to be painted.
but now it is obvious
I must code the obvious
and paint it as if - I have not 'seen' it
Each tower is distinctive in form and purpose.
From the living room's three windows there are framed three towers.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

after hours

Yesterday was a little tense
I wanted to establish some colour on this drawing
before I broke for Christmas.
All day it taunted me,
around 7.30 in the evening I felt ready.
with dishes of liquid oil I launched into the work
with the canvas flat on the table
I worked fast, very fast.

so far so good
I can rest easy tomorrow
Happy Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

found art

This piece of black moulded plastic lay in the snow.
on the side of the road.
an automotive part, thick with oil.
I returned to examine it, potential whispered to me
some oil has been cleaned off
as well as the oil it left on the back seat.
now promoted to the studio
it rests smugly

It will need to be mounted or framed to follow the contours
I need to work on the surface
we will get to know one another
before a decision is made
intimate washing of all the crevices
just me and the automotive part
we will work some magic

more later

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

first step

This canvas has been waiting
I drew this on it.
colour will be called for, and applied in a suitable way.
like a joust, a robust approach is required
it could be really good
on the other hand, very bad.

(see Nov 12)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa Junta ii

I spent some time this afternoon pushing this image about.
Maintaining the sense of space along with my actual memory of being there,
and without resorting to painting realistic things took a number of attempts.
It is oil on ply, scrubbed, washed and lined.
Santa Junta is a railway station in Seville.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Santa Junta i

While waiting in a Spanish Railway station I made a drawing,
not what was in my range of vision
for the space was too big.
I tried to encapsulate my experience of the space,
my drawing then was untrammelled by facts.

This morning I tried to lay the idea out in an oil wash
on a primed ply ground.
Here it is.
It is a beginning.
It is all I had time for,
but beginnings are good - another day will welcome it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

healing wings

A while ago I began some watercolours under the the general title of 'the healing wing' drawn from 'he shall rise with healing in his wings'.
To source some new drawings I retreated to a non place to draw.
it is the place in the film clip above
In my drawing book I wrote -

15 Nov 2009
under big trees in heavy wind
without possessions
under the power of the wind

not looking for revelation
only detachment from the domestic

lying in the dry leaves I drew healing wings
pages and pages of them

Those November watercolours failed
Today I found the drawings and began two paintings based on the text and the pages in the drawing book. Like the watercolours the paintings today are wrong
I have never painted such wings before
I will pursue them to see if they are paintable.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

taking control

I considered this piece carefully.
my last reworking had made good changes
but still more were needed
it was dark and spiky
time to steer it on course
angles out - curves in
black and red out - Cerulean and pink in
take control
colour makes a difference

Friday, December 11, 2009

late night shopping

The piece was becoming a clever mess. I want more clarity.
I must define.
I cut the women out from the mash with a line.
White with an accidental dash of Prussian blue is spread around.
I am consoled
the image breathes again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

more picnic

A very engaging day, for when the constraints are thrown off one can begin to paint.
I have reworked that recent picnic with a boat.
I found a more than usual pleasure in the mixing and application of colour
and a creative freedom in my choices and re-choices
This will provide a useful base on which to work later.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Car

Car as such is an ancient word
Family is a concept as old as time itself.
Here I work on them both.
Painting for me is easier if I shut out expectancy and work naturally, this oil sketch was laid in some days ago and today I resolved some parts and painted out some other parts.
So far so good, where it points to, is as yet unclear.
When I need to know, I will know

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

fresh attack

While completing the watercolour started last week - I felt the picnics completed so far were off key.
Too permanent, too static and decadent. 
I want this picture of life more transient, more journey, so I hacked this draft together at speed after lunch.
By adding a shelter and a boat it changes the feel. 
This change will lift my interest and enthusiasm.
More where I want to be.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

keeping strong

With this sort of thing it so important to keep belief in the vision.
Watercolour is not a forgiving medium, but for clarity and dazzle it is fantastic.
One can never, never fumble or fudge - always putting your money where your mouth is.
Drawing on experience but with taking outrageous risks.
Sophisticated madness. 
I still have plenty left to do on Monday.

Friday, December 4, 2009

new watercolour

Here is a new test.
Having made the new composition on Thursday, I wondered how a coloured draft would look.
This watercolour is about 45cm square on some stretched Arches paper.
I knew today and tomorrow has only patches of time available for work so this would fit in well with this medium as it benefits from drying well between layers.
Over three sessions I have managed this much.
It is drawn in HB pencil and I made revisions to the figures as I worked, making heads smaller and adjusting bodies.
I modeled the figures and coloured the grass. Both the sky and the water will be dark and this will change everything.
This work is in distinct contrast to yesterday when attack was the order of the day.
I love such variation, I love watercolour like this when it is possible.
My moods and circumstance seem to govern that possibility.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

shoppers 05

It was time.
This morning my oil 'shopping' demanded my attention.
There are day for certain things:
yesterday I planted raspberries,
today I worked on shoppers.
I read Rilke and Donne.

it is not so much what their word are,
more the way access normality
and then arrange their selection to present super-normality.
I covet that super-normality for my work.
I have rearranged my selection as shown above.

 I will seek to explain this process in the near future
to be a little more informed
about paintings that are less obvious.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


A new compositional drawing for Picnic
I wanted the final work to be larger but at the same time more intense. To this end I have compressed the composition to the point of overcrowding. This moment of pleasure is now confined and this changes everything. It adds questions. The choice of colour will affect its meaning as well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

a smack on the nose

A day of 7 trillion interruptions has annoyed me a lot. In my annoyance I looked at yesterdays work, it was quiet. I was not quiet. I demand a vigorous response in what little opportunity I have left today.  I want to give whoever see my picture a smack on the nose!
Well it certainly picks up on the energy levels. This 40cm sq oil really delivers for it's size, I make no judgement yet, much to early.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Creative moves

Picnic developments:    Following Saturday's watercolour draft for the new painting , first task this morning was to block in of colours on the 'proper' canvas. (see below) This bold statement show the dynamics of the composition and a real idea if the picture will work.
The figures so far are vague and will benefit from some attention. The drawing above is a result of quite a number of examinations relating to the figures under the tree. I need a thorough understanding of each group in order to freely expand them in a creative way. For me this is definitely not about accuracy - it is finding what is acceptable to my vision of the finished work. More about this will be addressed in some studio lectures later in the year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

beyond the predictable

Getting beyond the predictable is the first thing, so to paint a simple watercolour helps to establish a basic like v don't like in a layout. Seeing this colour version of the basic drawing is useful in order to be clear about the possibilities ahead. The debate in my head is how organized do I want it as a composition, how do I want the figures to look in terms of realism. Figures such as the standing girl at the back are to me quite out of place as she is painted now and yet I do like the movement that she adds. Monday will be interesting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

new picnic

An initial drawing for the picnic painting, again from a work completed in the early 90s. I need a general concept, an overall layout, a tonal map, a flavour, a plan I can make my own. Ships are built in cradles and when part built are launched leaving the cradle behind on the land. I need here such a cradle as an early support. These three pictures that I am working on need all to leave the security and safety of previous success. A commitment to deep water, a belief in the new is always hard. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

mental leap

Dissatisfaction was the word this morning, I knew it even in the night so when I saw it this morning serious revisions were needed. I took the elements into my heart and redelivered them to the canvas. This is how it landed, certainly bolder and less 'clever'. I will leave it to dry out of sight, in 10 days time it will more obvious to me what must be done. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shoppers 02

The work yesterday made some movement and broke away from the original scheme. What was an observational note about shopping now moves much deeper into the way we present ourselves and observe and how we are in turn observed. This watercolour is another development piece to feel my way forwards, not being confined, not tolerating the unwanted, trying things and then some more. It is noticeable how much white gouache remodels the centre section. This is a work for me, a working diagram for the journey.

This drawing is much larger, about a metre wide, and at this point is charcoal and Indian ink on a primed board. much has changed, much abandoned and in general an improvement.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shopper revival

New look shoppers
These are reproductions of a gouache draft to examine ways to develop an old painting. These upgrades are not straightforward because the past clings so much. To begin with I did a number of drawings but they hung  tightly to the old scheme, and in order to break the logjam, I pulled gouache out and an old piece of paper and after a number of reworked attempts found this image that marked a step in the right direction

This is a step, A piece of  primed ply is waiting for my next opportunity to work on it. below is the early painting that is the source idea. It dates back to about 1989.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Car

For my first day in the new work I retrieved this drawing, one that never saw the development it deserved, so I was pleased to give it some time today. The fact that we spend so much time in 'cars' today made the image worth another look and a new treatment. Car in the Archaic use of the word is a chariot, carriage, or cart, a vehicle for kings and warriors. This angle appealed to me more than the Ford Focus or some other more expensive machine, so my 'car' is a classical hybrid concept of my own making and a suitable carrier for my 'family'.
The painting will be 1.2M x 09M and a canvas was selected and an underpainting laid down. Next a sketch in charcoal based on the earlier drawing but now in a corrected format, followed by another oil sketch this afternoon as a basis for development.

This is the Charcoal sketch that at the moment will form the basis of the new painting, in reality it should be a sort of launching cradle that will fall away as painting proceeds.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New people

This was started yesterday and I have worked on it this afternoon.
It is probably finished, or at least I can't see more would be better.
It is a reworking of two figures drawn on a BA flight back from Madrid earlier this year. I was surprised to enjoy painting this, detached from any expectation I drew it with colour, allowing the work to just fall out of myself.
Contrary to the two in black frame in a recent post, they now need a powerful attack, maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

work in progress

Like the previous post, these two black paintings come from my Spanish Sketchbook, they are about 40cm sq and I have made some wood and copper frames to match the pencil scribble that I had put around the sketch. The initial blocking in was with four colours and I had them at one side for some time, not knowing what to do next.

Looking elsewhere is of little help, I have to look within. I put one on the easel and begin to paint. After a few false starts this morning I applied only two variations of existing colours, an orange adjacent to the cadmium deep red and some cerulean to modify the existing blue. Choices and placement are not recipe or design but are a probing in the dark as I find solutions. 

I paint the frames black and approve. I will leave them for a few days and meditate on the way forward.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

hunting unicorns

The unicorn is a mythical beast and not easily found.
the symbol for 'body and soul' is in the same category, elusive. 

For two days now I have planned and practiced a circle and a square.
selected, deselected and reselected colours' what colour wash goes under - what colour wash goes over, drawn and redrawn the shapes

in the picture above - on the left -  is a satisfactory draft, it is I have to admit, part of two painting pasted together. But it pleased me. Have I cornered a unicorn?
eight sheets of Hot pressed Arches paper are ready, 
can I pin the image down.

now it is 7.00pm   
. . . . just one may be acceptable
if it looks okay in the morning I'll post on 'new release'

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The painting above is only an idea, a beginning.
I developed it from a tiny drawing in my Spanish sketchbook.
The concept of a circle in a square will not leave me.

Today I have worked on the problem.
I have prepared for a series of drafts in pure watercolours,
with a view to paint a large oil or two.
The project now has a title - it will be 'Body and Soul'.
I had thought that the 'henge' series was the solution to this problem,
but no, the little drawing beckons me back for another look.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Firebox finale with ACME art

A very successfull three days were spent at a half term school art room venue, nine artist sought to tackle different methods to expand their artistic vocabulary. Well away from comfort zones and conventional brushes the focus was on the mobility of pigment in mediums, persuading the colour and tone to prescribed fields and with designed bleeds. It was never going to be easy and the journey proved demanding at times. With a steep learning curve connected to great enthusiasm much was achieved and as per plan we shared the personal gains among the group. Along with sweet cakes and buckets of paint the days were just brilliant.    

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A light touch

The nurturing of a light touch is worth while.
This is a lightening scribble on a primed canvas prior to starting work and it is so expressive. Carefulness is the ruination of good drawing.
It is simply a figure in the shower within a larger work about washing and dressing.
Some days are for plodding some for skipping.
Art is not Labour.

Friday, October 9, 2009


As Firebox comes to a close I am left with one subject: Faith & Luck

They are really mutually exclusive, and as I wanted to express faith, and by extension how it is different to luck. I needed to communicate an aspect of 'grounding' that faith in God delivers. Now, it is of increasing interest to me how one translates a sensation or a belief into a paintable symbol that will stand alone and communicate meaning while being unmistakably fine art, as apposed to an illustration or a sign.
The piece above is a step in that journey, hoping that the contemplation of this symbol will communicate 'grounding'
Time will tell

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Building websites

As a working artist I do find that times change very quickly and the way I need to interact with clients constantly evolves. This revised site is designed to allow artist, follower and client to communicate more and more. Web media is exciting to work on and updating will keep my new work and ideas to the forefront.
The way we want to show pictures and drawings to clients and followers is also evolving. Rather that the old 'exhibition' that worked for us in the past we will in the future show smaller selections to smaller groups by appointment. Broad selections can be made online but seeing the work first hand is essential for a true appreciation of the piece.
follow the events link above to find out more.