Tuesday, 24 March 2009


I'm on Tresco, in the Isles of Scilly this week - painting hard.

The photograph above shows my set-up as I paint a view looking northwards towards Cromwells Castle. Below is the painting itself.

This will stay on the island until it is dry. I'm planning to come back later in the year.

Sunday, 15 March 2009


We had heavy snow a couple of weeks ago, which is very unusual for this area.

It is always a treat to be able to paint a fresh snowscape. There is almost an excitement as I get my palette ready; anticipating the fact that there'll be a landscape that I know so well - with new pale, cold tones and softer outlines and undulations.

The top photograph shows this painting (oil on canvas, 41 x 61cm). During the following days, and the snow thawed, I returned to the same view. With the snow painting I love the fact that the snow was so white and sharp, that I made the sheep far more yellow and golden than one would usually expect.

[The thumbnails above do not show the pictures in proportionate size to each other. The middle one is square, and small than the others at 35 x 35cm; and the one at the bottom is longer and thinner at 45 x 81cm]

Monday, 2 March 2009

Face To Face

I've been working on a self-portrait in the studio over the last couple of weeks.

One of the hardest things with painting is deciding at what point I should bring the painting to a conclusion. That is, Knowing When To Stop.

When painting from life one has to be selective about what is going to feature in the painting. For instance, will it be the glow of the skin, the tone which can define structure, the contours and lyrical lines of the subject - or any number of things. And in all this you have to capture the essence of the sitter.

On this occasion I've had the added complication of working from a mirror - with a tall canvas that means I've been craning my neck to strain to reach the top of the canvas. It is not easy to paint my face from the angle of looking up, whilst my painted face appears to look down from above. Its tricky trying to keep the angle of the head the same each time too.

Here is an idea of the progression I made over 24 hours. The photographs show details of a full-length portrait which is nearly lifesize. The first photograph shown was taken at the end of my session today, the lower one yesterday.