Monday, 31 May 2010

In The Rain

This morning when I arrived at my chosen spot - this time on the beach at Old Grimsby - it was a calm, still, clear day.

Once again, the day threatened rain. Not in a grey, glowering way - but in a white, pale, soft, enveloping sense.

I worked very hard on my first canvas - second from the bottom above - and finished it before the drops began to fall.

Instead of packing up, as I'd planned - I felt inspired by the possibility of trying to complete a small canvas in the rain.

The bottom painting, above, is the result.

I'm really pleased with it, and it pairs beautifully with the first. The differences are subtle, but apparent, and the experience was very rewarding.

Painting in the rain is definitely a struggle, but can be worthwhile if you're prepared to be disciplined and persevere.

Paintings from my trip so far can be seen here.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

A Soft Day

Of course after what I wrote in my last post yesterday evening, today started quite dry with the promise of sun - but it began to rain a steady fine drizzle as soon as I'd set myself up on the beach.

The water creates a film which sits on top of the palette, the brushes and the canvas.

This can make the mixing and application of paint quite tricky.

There is an advantage to painting in rain however. The light and colour can be quite spectacular.

In order to minimise the amount of water on the canvas I turn it upside down whenever I'm mixing colour on the palette. You can see this in the photograph above where the painting is leaning - upside down - against my makeshift easel (a lobster pot).

I also shake or tap the canvas to get water drops off it before applying paint.

The two central photographs above show the water droplets on the canvas, and the last one the finished painting propped up in the hallway at Tresco Abbey.

Photographs of paintings from this trip, including today's, are here.

Saturday, 29 May 2010


Today started with wind and rain.

The wind can be overcome. Indeed I have painted in gales before. It is simply a matter of managing your canvas - and ensuring it doesn't turn into a hang-glider.

Rain is another matter. Although I can finish a painting if rain arrives while it is in progress, I won't start on a painting while it is actually raining.

So when the skies cleared in mid afternoon, I was ready to set off immediately.

The beach where I painted yesterday was very blustery, so I found a different - more sheltered - spot nearby.

Working outside, sitting on sand, means that sand will end up in your paint - no matter how hard you try to avoid this. I do like the texture that this can create in the paint, but on this occasion the volume that was blowing around and adhering to my palette and canvas meant that the colour became quite difficult to manage.

One way of overcoming this is to keep my brushes in the sand, as shown in the photographs above.

My paintings of Tresco completed so far during this trip - including the one above - are here.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Back To The Island

I arrived back on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly yesterday for another painting trip.

Here I am, pictured earlier this morning, on my bike carrying a canvas to the beach.

I'll update the blog and website with the new paintings.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Models & Pastels

This week has seen the resumption of pastel and charcoal drawing, with a new model - Cynthia - coming to visit.

Cynthia's red hair was an inspiration to draw, and gave me the opportunity to really dig into my messy pastel boxes. This in turn in inspired me to take some photographs of the pastels themselves.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Hambledon Hill

Over the last couple of weeks, as spring (hopefully) merges into summer, I've continued painting views of Hambledon Hill, a amazing Iron-age hill fort in north Dorset.

Hambledon is something of an enigma. It was constructed on a large hill, on a massive scale. It is also however quite elusive. From whichever direction you approach there are never any distant and complete panoramas - mostly glimpses through trees and gaps in the landscape.

It is not until you are at the foot of the hill itself that you begin to encompass its impressive scale.

The hill also shifts in tone and colour moment by moment, as clouds pass across the sun and shadows move - shortening or lengthening. These changes can be dramatic and inspiring, but present a real challenge to paint.

In preparing to paint the hill I have to first choose my spot, and then make decisions about whether to represent the hill's light/warm state, or dark/brooding alter-ego.

The weather has also been quite variable. The photograph in the middle above shows a painting that I completed almost entirely in pouring rain. I think the painting has captured the luminosity of the landscape and foliage as I look towards the hill through a veil of rain.

More pictures, availability and pricing, are on my website.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Marjorie & Monica

After a break, I've started drawing from the model again and I've been lucky to have two very enthusiastic and interesting women visit this week.

I'll put more pictures up, and up the website, over the weekend.