Thursday, 8 September 2016

Latest work in progress

Soon to be finished painting of the light around the south coastal beaches. The levels and relationships between light, shadow midtone and highlight and how these can be manipulated to increase feeling and atmosphere are the things I'm working on at the moment. I am increasingly using less values I think there is only6 in this painting. 

Friday, 18 March 2016

Landing on Fishermans Cove

Today's study in black and white

Nearly capture this open launch. It sat so well on the foreshore for the drawing a very well behaved sitter.

Open launch on Salcombe's foreshore 2016

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Jamacia street artist

Visited a friend in Bristol at Jamaica Street artists. Seems like everyone is an artist in the area, nice to see I wasn't the only one with paint on my coat. Abigail mcDougall is a urban landscape painter and part of Bristol contemporary art. They will be taking my paintings to the Battersea affordable art fair next weekend

Friday, 26 February 2016

Self portrait

Being getting a portrait itch. That kind of feeling in your belly that says it time to start working again with you're own face. It started a month back and I egnored it. It came back and like a itch it needed scratching, so I made a few studies in pen. This made it worst and resulted in this little painting today
 It's oil on canvas board starting with a peach background and putting in the darks then the mid tones. 
I think I might have ago at some daily self portraits over the next few weeks, watch this space

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Cloudscape painting on resin on canvas

70 X 70 cm cloudscape made on canvas over a resin base, the paints sit so well over resin when it's been given some tooth with course and paper. They level out and glide across the surface. The plants and subtle total changes are intermixed with patterns made as the different mediums collide and slowly mix over a period of many hours. This painting was made to go to the Battersea art fair London 2016

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Friday, 19 February 2016

New series of large cloudscape paintings

These large 3ft X 3ft canvases us oil paints and various different mediums to achieve a dramatic space, atmosphere and sensation. The paintings are created using wind and gravity to effect the paint. I set the painting is going and stand back, wait and watch as the paints move across the surface. I make great pools of paint on the surface each made with a different medium base each with a different recipe. A turpentine medium an alkyd medium, a linseed medium, a Dammar medium plus many more secrets. The difference in the mediums effects how they mix or blend together on the canvas. Once the paints are on the surface in there differing pools the painting is set, a multitude of possibilities and endless series of chance and exploration sits ahead of them (I find it veryexciting) to start I leave these works in the elements outside in windy places. The windy pulls and pushes at the liquids and sends them across the surface mixing into each other. These works sometimes take several sessions of this, each time I have learnt which kind of medium to use in different weathers and stages of the paintings. Sometimes the paintings are left on a slight angle so the paints will move ever so slowly across the canvas. I do these last thing before leaving the studio as they are quite odorous. It's exciting to come back to the studio and see how the paints have moved and slipped in the night. When I return The painting is so different and unexpected that I don't feel I have painted it just that I allowed it to evolve its own way, it's like it's not my hand that paints the begingings and then I can react to that and develop the patterns and forms. Some of the mediums take hours to set and dry others take 3-5 days each have qualities suited to different stages in the painting process. I use these processes and layers to capture a clouds beauty as it glides across the sky, but more than that I like to capture the moment when light breaks though a storm cloud, when a cloud lifts when it hits the shoreline and drops it heavy rains on the beach, or when a cloud just dissaperars in a matter of minutes as it hits a new warm front. Watching clouds goes right back to my childhood where a house my parents brought looked out over the sea from a high cliff. Watching the weather was a thing I did as a child, the excitement of seeing large ships gather in the bay meant that a storm was coming and they were seeking shelter. From inside my shelter I could watch the rolling clouds whip the sea into white horses and even see the storm pass and the sun beam out again marking the end.

3ft X 3 ft oil on canvas
These cloudscapes will be on display in March at the Battersea Affordable Art Fair from the 10th - 13th 
See link below for more details

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Totnes studio at Coombe Park

Here some images from a new studio space I've got very close to my home. It's great to go up to late at night after the kids are in bed. It's a space were I can make bigger works. A whole wall just to hang a single painting on and have space to sit back and look at is great. 
Coombe park studio is just outside of Ashprigton near Totnes. It's home to a wild life sculptor, a potter and a fabric designer among others. It's the first time I've had a space in which to really create with no boundaries. It's mine to use as I want and I actually really love having the space to be free

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Battersea art fair

I'm very pleased to be working towards the Battersea art fair in the beginning of March. I'm working on large cloudscapes made with multiple layers of oil paint. The layering of paint use mediums, varnishes and linseed oils. Each layer is thinned with turpentine and the paint allowed to move under gravity. 
I love coming into the studio in the morning after setting a painting in slow motion the paint moves so slowly that it's only after 6-12 hours that the paint reaches a equilibrium were it's still and allowed to dry.  I will try and post some works in progress in the next few day to follow the progression of these highly experimental works.  

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Studio visit a Hope Hall Exeter with Gregory Mason and Ken Cosgrove

Here is Gregory Mason working on his entry to this year's BP portrait award. I dropped in on Greg and Ken Cosgrove studio space that they share. It's a great space with double height Windows lots of space and basically a dream studio space. It's just outside the city centre and is just the two artist working from it. Ken Cosgrove has recently moved from California and has made Devon his home, now he's tapping into the local art scene which he tells me is pretty spread out and hard to connect with. But he's very proactive already Ken runs a painting course at the Phoenix centre and will be heading a new landscape painting course at Dartington Hall. All that and he has just become an associate member with the South West Academy of Art. 
Both artist are figurative but produce landscapes as well. I plan to interview them at a later date when my idea for a podcast actually takes hold and starts to germinate.

Friday, 29 January 2016


A study for a Dolph larger painting the dappled light on the incoming waves was what I was interested in and the problem is getting the lights on the water to recede back to the headland. The silhouette seems to be a bit dark so tomorrow I will lighten it further change the tone and value of the body board later

Monday, 25 January 2016

Hawthorne on painting a good read!

"Paint is limited in its range as nature is not, therefore keep the lights (the sky, the water, and the sand, the top of the parasol or anything in sunlight) as near the same value as possible. Keep the mass that is in shadow, always in shadow, and make differences by gradations of color". Hawthorne on painting

I'm reading Thomas W Hawthrones book on painting. It's a wonderful little book but what really got my attention is the way Hawthorne teaches to see colour and paint it. He talks a lot about shilloette against light and seeing the mass of colour against another. 

Just thought I would share this book and see what people think? It's on Amazon and is good in the kindle edition.

The Baltic Exchange the Tamar class lifeboat of Salcombe

The Baltic Exchange slowly returns home after a training session. I saw this motif and just knew I had seconds to capture it. A quick sketch and a fuzzy iPhone image was enough to to give me all I needed to produce this painting in acrylics on board. I love the shilloette of the boat! There was just enought light on the water to completely black out the mass of the vessel. Painting a large shape quickly I blocked in the main vessel then carved the shape with the low light grey of the sky. The water was intresting as it was a lot darker than I would normally paint it. A high dark in parts and mid tone in the foreground. I added a burnt sienna to the edges of the brightest lights to give them warmth and to make them dazzle of the board. There is also a cool blue in the wake of the vessel and some reflected Reds underneath baltic exchange. I feel like I've pushed the light on the water bit further by adding these tones and Hues. Instead of the water being one flat value I put in three values plus the burnt sienna then added the highlight in dots and circles.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Open launch and my value scale in words and numbers

This is a start, I was listening to the Saudi podcast and in it that interviewed artist was talking about the importance of starting things. The start is really successful for me I put this all down within half an hour a real quick response to a motif. I put down very quick chunks of paint starting from hi dark then mixing in midtone, before putting in the lowlights and the highlight on the shore. I then worked low darks into the boat and closest land on the right.

The values are use are going to be easier to talk about if I named them so starting from the brightest will the latest. They'll be highlight which is white, pure white. Then light, low light then middle grey then high dark, dark and low dark. I also number them 8 I highlight 7 light. 6low light. 5 middle tone, 4high dark. 3 dark. 2 low dark, 

Starring into the light

Here is today's painting.  Painted over two days this painting is a step forward in making work that concentrates on my intrigue in tonal or value relationships. The water in the foreground is made up of all eight values that I use when painting. While painting this I was thinking of a workshop I will be running the end of February. In the workshop I will be talking about my monochrome painting. It struck me today that the water was a good thing to work on in the demo as it demonstrates a lot of the things I've learnt about value painting. Things like visual constancy, and working late and dark and dark into light. I put down the darkest tones and then step-by-step bring the lighter values inside the brushstrokes of the darkest tones. It's hard to explain in words so the workshop will be nice to show people whilst I'm trying to explain it. I will be sure to blog some good images of the workshop and things I've learnt by attempting to teach my interest in value painting.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A deeper way of looking

This is a work in progress, it's not finished but I thought it would be intresting to show it now and again finished. I've started looking in a different way at these paintings. It's hard to explain but I've a better understanding of value now. Gained from all the previous paintings in monochrome. So I've started looking at the back colour of what I'm painting as the first thing to paint. By the back colour I mean the barkest value in the form I'm painting then bringing the form forward by adding lighter values inside the darker one before. This seems to help not just over paint angina and again til I get it right. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Coves Quay Gallerys Annual charity bazaar at Ullacombe farm, Dartmoor 2015


A Christmas Bazaar of applied arts and crafts
Coves Quay Gallery, from Salcombe in the South Hams, will be hostingChristmas Bazaar at Ullacombe Barn,

The show has artisans and artists from the South West, showing their work in order to raise funds for charities that include :
Childrens Hospice South West, The Primrose Foundation, The Lymphoma Association and The Dartmoor Hill Pony Association.

The exhibition space at Ullacombe Barn is unrivalled on Dartmoor, it provides a setting for bringing together an exciting mix of applied arts and crafts which will  be featuring paintings  from Greg Ramsden, Lucy Pratt and Sue Lewington, photography from Brian Sedgbeer, Bespoak with their crafted signs, Christmas wreaths and decorations from Briony Dundas, Val Chappelle with her  Winterwood Boards,
 Julia Paramor Cosmetics, Clare Gault's Preserves, Gwen Vaughan's Animal Ceramics,  MW Glass Designs, She Sells Sea Shells Jewellery,  Ambrose Vevers Furniture, Alison West's Saggar Fired Porcelain and Woody Fox's Willow Animal Sculptures.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Monochrome painting

Today's painting is of the jetty in Salcombe, I love the subtle relations between the people. The couple in the front of the boat are really close together, there is plenty of room on the boat but they want to be close. The gentleman stepping into the boat is chatting with the other couple in the boat. When I paint these I like to think about situations and back stories to the people of paint. Could there be the a new romance, a long old friend not seen in years. These hiddern narratives are becoming more interesting to me than the painting of the lights on the water, which was originally the first point of inspiration in the monochrome series.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Egremont by Greg Ramsden SWAc

Today's drawing a pencil sketch of the Egremont, it's the island sailing clubs training vessel. I'm fascinated with the shape and wieght of this hunk of metal standing at rest, slowly slowly resting and rusting. It's been a long time since I've made a drawing like this with such detail. I now have a better understanding of negative space the rails around the second deck are all made by leaving the white paper and sketching or hatching the negative space in between. I don't think I would've been out to do that or realised to do that sometime ago, so step forward.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Waiting for the ferry at East portlemouth in Devon

This painting is of the jetty where are queue builds whilst waiting to return to Salcombe on the ferry. The silhouettes of the people and children I find intriguing. The moment when people stop and stay in one place. They start to look around, reach into their banks, turn round for conversations, point out interesting things to the nearest person and generally take time to stop and look. All the time the light bounces from the water all around them. I love painting these are little subtle relationships between the people on the jetty. They always seem fresh and interesting subjects to paint.

Monochrome watercolour challenge

After talking with many other painters I decided to give watercolour ago here is the resulting painting the something about watercolours that just doesn't interest me. I find that with most things what at first seems flat and rigid can suddenly flip and become something in which a great freedom and expression can be found. I hope I can do this in watercolour one day for now I like The buttery substance of oil an acrylic.

Placed in the Royal West Academy open, show for the second year running

Was really thrilled to be placed in the Royal West Academy Open exhibition again this year. Here I I am next to my entry the green cloud, not sure it really worked on the stunning blue walls?

Monochrome works in neutral greys

The South Sands Ferry,  completed in eight values of grey to capture the atmosphere and light as this colourful little ferry passes bye. In the background is the South Sands hotel and the castle is the ruins of fort Charles the last place in England to see action during the British Civil War.

From black to white. Working on a black ground

18 men on the deck in order to drop the mainsail. A acrylic painting on canvas. I started this painting with a black gesso ground and is really joyed working from dark to light. Leaving the highlights until last was exciting the painting going to life in the last 10 minutes of work. I've really enjoyed the direct brushstrokes and drive us technique trying to capture the posture of the deckhands in the single attempt.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Work in progress issues with underpainting

Below are three images of today's work in black-and-white acrylic paint. The first is after one days work, well and An hour yesterday. The second image is after another hours work. Yesterday's post put out an outline of how I started as I progressed this painting today I filled over all of the underpainting which was the subject of yesterday's post. I found it quite fustrating to cover the initial drawing done in WetPaint but found that the tone and value wasn't correct. I wanted that underpainting to be a part of the finish painting but this didn't happen as the painting progressed. The idea of the underpainting was to start in a new way and see how this affected the finished painting but in reality all it did was to make a start it was completely covered over by the third photo below. The painting still not finished but I ran out of inspiration for the day and thought it best to work on something else I will post pictures of that something else tomorrow. The next idea would be to create a underpainting which could be seen in the finished painting this is been done before with colour but not in black and white.

If anyone reading this has any ways they start paintings and in regards to underpainting please do feel free to make a comment it would be great to talk please difficulties with other painters struggling with the same issues

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Experimenting on a theme.

The start of a painting is a puzzling time. Where to start how to start. I don't really have a way of starting each painting. So I've been working on paper and painting it neutral mid grey before drawing out a pencil sketch, but Ive started this painting by painting it neutral grey then working a black watered down paint on top. While the paint was still wet I wiped the black away to put in the highlights.  After this I worked into the darks. it's only a start but wanted to share the different ways I explore staring paintings and how it effects the finished work.

The Egremont, island cruising club vessel

Here is my latest painting. A black and white acrylic of a training vessel in the Kingsbridge Estuary. The boat is used to train sailors in its former life it was a ferry. The boat is rusting and is mode all year round at this birth. I love the textures of the rusting vessel and the history of it people would stay all weekend on the boat and sail during the days. It's been a long time ambition to paint this boat and only now do I have the capability and confidence to attempt it. I'm really pleased with the results I've managed to capture a difficult subject on a small scale with delicate brushwork and very fine light. I have enhanced the strong light coming from the right hand side and this gives the painting I real atmosphere of late summer sun striking the rusted form. This painting has become one of the most photographic works I have produced so far the aim was not photorealism but to capture the vessel as it is now. The boat is in a sorry state and desperately needs some TLC. This was one of the reasons I wanted to paint the boat now it may be gone soon and it's been a part of the estuary for many years. Many people have a strong connection with the boat through staying on it whilst training and that kind of connection with a place and boat was what interested me and brought me to the painting.