Saturday, April 18, 2015

Inspiration in California

Pacific Grove
12" x 16"

The plein air convention has been such a whirlwind, I didn't have time to blog until now! This is my last day here and I'm doing some painting and some eating and some relaxing, I may even have a nap!
I've been inspired in so many ways at the conference and I've had a little time out in the stunning landscape. The light here is nothing short of incredible!
This one is Pacific Grove, I was really trying to capture the misty softness and the reflected light in the shadows of the rocks.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How finished is finished?

Morning sunlight on the campo

Ah, the eternal question! When do you know a painting is finished... if indeed, a painting ever is finished? And does 'finished' mean 'finished off' as in, well... I think you know what I mean!

Here's an interesting case in point. I was working on this studio painting a couple of weeks back and then I had to put it on standby and get on with other work. In my head this painting was labelled 'needs further attention, needs a lot more work, must go back to it, it's quite a way off being finished (the dreaded word)'.

Now today it's caught my eye again and what's happened? Have the studio elves been working while I've been in France? It caught my eye and my mind said this 'that's an interesting piece, it evokes a mood, what more is there to say? By golly I think it's .... (insert dreaded word here)'

What do you think? How much information is enough? For me this is the eternal question. Firstly you should know what you are trying to say in your painting. Then, it's easier for you to recognise when you've said it. That's about all the help I can give today but I know it's a topic I'll come back to ;-)

And now I'm a teensy little bit excited because the suitcase is zipped shut, my passport is in my hand and I'm heading to Heathrow ready to fly tomorrow. See you in California!

Monday, April 6, 2015

On the road

I've been away with the family in France for Easter and tomorrow we'll be travelling all day to get back home. It's a shame really as the weather's just turned gorgeous in the last couple of days after a disappointing and chilly start.
Before I went I was busy framing up three pieces from winter that have been pre-selected for the New English Art Club exhibition. I need to get them to the courier on Wednesday so they can travel to London for final selection. It would be marvellous if any make it on to the walls but I won't get my hopes up too high! I've always felt the NEAC was a bit avant-garde to be very interested in my work, feeling much more at home with the ROI and RSMA. Still, it's good to try these things from time to time!
When back in England I have a hectic three days which will involve a lot of unpacking and packing again before flying to San Francisco for the plein air convention. How exciting!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rocks and waves

Rocks and waves at Mousehole
Framed size about 21" x 25"

Back in the southwest of Cornwall again with this one - and you can see the pretty village of Mousehole nestling in the background. Maisie loves to run around on these rocks and bark at the waves! For now I'm enjoying having it up on the wall in the studio, but if you'd like to purchase this painting you can contact me and we can discuss framing/delivery etc.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shadows at Bedruthan

Shadows at Bedruthan
Oils, framed size 16" x 19"

Here's another new studio painting of a different view at the Bedruthan steps. Oh my, I'd love to live with this painting. It takes me right back to the hypnotic motion of the waves swirling around over the rocks below, the feel of the sun on your face and the salty breeze. That turquoise water, those scudding soft clouds, and that brightly lit grass on the cliff top... just lush.

Alas, I won't be keeping the painting because it will have a nice home waiting for it somewhere. I am having it made into greetings cards though, so far this is one of four brand new card designs that I will be showing at the Patchings festival in June. There will be many more new ones, original paintings and 2016 calendars too!

But if this gorgeous painting belongs with you, feel free to contact Mark here. I don't think it will be on the gallery wall for long.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beach at Bedruthan

Beach at Bedruthan
Oils, framed size 19" x 23"

The stunning rugged National Trust coastline on the north Cornwall coast at the famous Bedruthan steps. Really wished I lived closer and could get here at different hours of the day, and to be able to make the most of good weather days such as this one!

This painting is also heading to the Scarlet Hotel which is within two miles of the steps. The price, framed, is £850 and again if you'd like a closer look you can contact Mark at the Harbour Gallery because he's a lovely and helpful chap!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Breaking wave

Breaking wave catches the light
Oils, unframed size 16" x 20"
Framed size 23" x 27"

Here's a change from all those lovely wintry paintings I've been doing lately - I've also been busy painting lovely seascapes so I'll show you a few of those this week. I really love this one, that marvellous green glow as the sun illuminates the breaking wave. This is a studio painting but I have stood on these rocks at Mousehole and painted the waves coming over the rocks from life, so I hope I have captured some of that feeling of urgency and movement here. As always, distilling the information received down to it's essential components, is what counts.

This one is being framed up for the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall, and will be for sale there at £1100. If you'd like to rush in and grab it before it even makes it to the gallery wall or the Harbour Gallery's website please contact Mark here :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Exciting times - new book!

Washing day, Venice

I must fill you in on my very exciting news! My Facebook friends may have already seen me mention this earlier in the year when I asked which topics you would like to see covered, but of course not all of my lovely blog readers are also on Facebook.

I have begun to write a book on oil painting. Its going to be full of information and inspiration and of course my paintings. A lot of the information will be useful for working in other mediums too, as it will be about the properties of a successful painting and how to put them into practice. I have had a planning meeting with the publishers so all I need to do now is work on the content - all 144 pages!

I'm hugely excited, but I also wanted to warn you that I have a very busy year ahead of me! I will continue to blog as often as I can but please be patient with me if you don't hear from me for a few weeks sometimes. I will be having not one but three solo exhibitions in 2015 so I need to be ultra productive and organised.

I've got lots of fab travel plans for this year - California, France, Umbria, Channel islands, Venice... which means there will be lots of good stuff to blog about when I get the opportunity ;-)

Monday, March 16, 2015


Oils 8" x 10"

Another in my Christmas market series. I'm really happy with the feel of light and movement, that time of day when the electric lights start to take over from the sun. I will probably seek out a fairground for further studies this year. And some of these will undoubtedly be a starting off point for larger studio paintings.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

BBC Big Painting Challenge


Have you been watching the BBCs Big Painting Challenge? I've seen lots and lots of criticism of it on Facebook. I'm really enjoying it, and think it's great to get to see some painting on TV instead of cooking and baking and sports.

People feel that the judges have been unduly harsh and should only say positive and kind things to the contestants, but it's a competition not a painting holiday! The judges have to choose which artist to eliminate each week at the end of their painting and drawing challenges. Some of which are extremely challenging by the way.

Besides which, we are only shown the edited highlights. Of course the judges may have made many positive comments that have been cut out by the producers.

I'm enjoying sketching the brave contestants anyway!




If you're in the UK you can watch the episodes so far on iPlayer here.

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