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.