Thursday, 28 May 2009


It is six weeks until the Bird and Davis sale starts.

I'm counting the days.

I always try to buy as much as I can for the year ahead during their sale, and my stocks of paint and brushes are getting low.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


In this blog I have written a lot about my passion for painting outside, in the landscape.

This doesn't however mean that I could do without my studio.

Essentially this is a large indoor space which I use for storage; to prepare, stretch and prime* canvases; as a framing workshop; and of course for painting.

While it is a lovely, characterful building it does some drawbacks. Chief among these is natural light, which is sometimes lacking in strength.

This means that in order to get the best out of the light I almost always have to work close to the window, facing a particulary way.

Also, because it is a rented space I have to respect the walls and the floors. This is quite a challenge as I'm a naturally messy person - but it is at least a good discipline.

The top photograph shows my easel and the canvas on which I'm working at the moment. The black-and-white photograph below is one I took of myself priming canvases on the studio floor last year.

*Here is a link to an excellent article on stretching, sizing and priming, written by my old Slade colleague and friend Andy Pankhurst. It appears on the website of the late Margaret Muller - another Slade painter.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


I've been working on a 6ft canvas of figures in a landscape.

Here's is a picture I took of myself in the mirror at the studio before starting work on it.

The photograph above shows the brushes that I use.

I ensure that I have plenty of choice. My jar-full of brushes is dominated by large flats for blocking in colour, but there are always some small round sable brushes. These enable me to control line with precision.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Yellow And Yellow

Here is the painting that I showed in progress in this earlier post, now finished.

It is interesting for me to contrast this painting with Spring Flowers below.

Both paintings are about colour - but in very different ways.

This painting seeks to depict the subtlety, softness and light of the flowers; whereas the other concentrates on the vivid, almost day-glo, intensity of the yellow rape.

I was fastidious in trying to accurately convey the true character of the real colours I observed. 

Here is a link to another yellow and blue flower painting. It amuses me that the only thing that isn't yellow in this painting are the actual flowers.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Spring Flowers: Rape, Narcissi, Primrose

I finished this painting today.

The flowers are now three days old, and the primroses are dead.

The challenge was having so many small-headed flowers, and also getting the composition to work on a square canvas.

What I like about it is the blue background with the yellow flowers. These are unusual colours for me in this combination.

Here is a link to a master of flower paintings.