Sunday, 23 December 2012

December update

This is going to be a bit of a catch up post as its been a wile since I updated my blog.    One of the things I had on my list back in January of what I wanted to do in 2013 was to keep this blog updated at least once a month.   Well that got forgotten about till April but since then I've managed to keep posting at least once a month so I'll do the same next year.

Here's what I've been up to since the end of the summer when it all got very hectic when the Rochford Art trail started and I had a lots more new art courses to teach starting. 

The half moon - pencil A4

This is one of the last pieces  I did on location and I compleated it over a couple of  lunchtime 15 minute sessions towards the end of the summer in Rayleigh.   There's been a couple of quick sketches since but illness and wet weather has put pay to my Rayleigh drunches (drawing lunches) lately.

"Postcards of the masters."
Pavement drawing workshop 1.5 x 2 meters pastel on paper.   
This started out as a paper on pavement drawing workshop for the Rochford art trail intended to be created with the help of the local childrens.   A very cold and rainy day put pay to it being created outdoors though as the pastel soon turned into watercolour and the paper started to disintigrate. I had to seek refuge in the Women's institute hall for a bit of shelter and where I got a bit of help from the locals!  

Oil on canvas 16" x 16"
This was one that was started in one of my classes as a demo piece from a photo of sunflowers I'd taken a couple of years ago.   I was pleased to get it finished in time for the Rochford art trail. 


Back to life!
Pastel on paper

After the summers break our monthly friday evening life drawing sessions once again started at the Leigh community center thanks to Susan.  These three sketches were produced in pastel in October.

I was really pleased to have been shortlisted for the Artist and Illustrator Magazines artist of the year competition and a picture of my painting got into the magazine with the article about the competition.    This is the first time I've had any of my work reproduced in the art press.

Two more life studies from our Friday evening life drawing sessions.  This time I got back into using my oils during the sessions which I've been using during life drawing sessions for well over a year now.     I very rarely get the paintings finished as the 30 minute poses are a bit too quick for that but I love just working quickly from life all the same.

Shoebury mudflats
Oil on board
On 24th November I did a painting demonstration for Southend Art Club.   I've done several of these over the years for various local art groups but this was the biggest I've done to date with a packed lecture theatre at Southend Library  approx 70 members of the club were present.   I was reasonably pleased with my efforts and the way in which the demo went.   I painted this in about and hour and  3/4's.   I used a couple of photos I'd taken and pasted together for the reference materials.   I then produced a charcoal sketch beforehand so that I could visualise for my self the whole thing coming together as the tones in the different photos were a bit varied.  

Life study
Oil on board 12" x 16"

This was the painting that I donated to the Leigh Art Trail Auction to help us all raise funds for next years publicity for the Art trail.  It's one from earlier in the year completed from life and memory.  I believe it sold on the night.


Thames River Pageant
100cm x 30cm Oil on canvas.

And finally for December here's the second version of my pageant painting.   I  completed this just over a week ago and it's now with its new owner in a shiny new gold frame.   It's based on the  original painting I did on the day and the photo's I took from millennium bridge.     I was fortunate to be one of 20 artists chosen by the BBC to paint during there live broadcasts of the pageant back in June.   I wasn't featured on any of the coverage but it was a fantastic experience all the same.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Estuary sunset

Estuary sunset - oil on board 11" x 14"

I've not been painting much for the last few weeks as starting up new courses and framing my latest paintings have taken their toll on my time.   Here's one that I started earlier in the year and finished last week as I wanted to exhibit it in the Rochford art trail.  I painted it from a couple of photos I took on my way back from teaching in Westcliff about this time last year as the sun was setting over the estuary.  

Friday, 19 October 2012

Rochford Art Trail

I've been getting ready for the Rochford Art trail this week and here's one of my paintings on the cover of the programme.   I think it was the autumn theme that did it as the Rochford trail is the last of the Essex Summer of art Trails.  It was nice suprise to see my painting on the front of the programme when I opened up my packet of leaflets last week!   I'm going to be exhibiting my latest paintings at Alessandro's Italian Restaurant.   Alessandros is housed in a lovely old building in West street with four small rooms with lots of little alcoves which should suit all the little paintings   I've been working on over the summer.   If there's enough room I'm also hoping to put in my painting from the Queens Diamond Jubilee River pageant which I've not had chance to exhibit yet.

The Rochford trail is very much a community art trail with great mixture of community arts groups, arts and health groups and professional artists taking part.  There are all sorts of workshops lined for the trail aimed at the general public and anyone interested in professional development in the arts and health field. 

On Saturday 27th October I will be running a pavement drawing workshop between 10am and 1pm and then in the afternoon I will be joining the Open Arts groups on the wellbeing stalls.

Hope you can make it!

Here's a link to the map if you fancy downloading one or it can be picked up from one of the venues as you go round.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


My painting Sunday Morning is one of 40 paintings shorlisted in the Artist and Illustrator artist of the year completion.   If you'd like to see the other shortlisted artworks and vote follow this link  My painting is in the portrait section.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Shoebury common

Shoebury Common

Oil on board 10" x 12"
This was a quick study really which I painted this morning before my students arrived for the last of our ourdoor workshops.  I'd borrowed a Ken Howard video and watched bits of it the night before and was interested in how he seemed to establish a bit of all the tones in his painting quite early on and also in how much warmth he seemed to see looking into the sun and that he only painted for up to 2 hours in a session.   Well today was quite a soft day light wise.  The rather  rushed structures on the left are supposed to be beach huts and I was very supprised to see a rabbit walk round the corner of one of them!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Hockley woods

Woodlands tea stall at Hockley Woods
Acrylic on board 8" x 10"
I started on this one this morning as I was waiting for my students to turn up at our on location class.    After having a little wonder around first thing and selecting a few possible views of the woods I noticed  this tea stall out of the corner of my eye.   I liked the light and the way the trees framed the view of the tables and people so I made a start then added bits throughout the morning.   This is the second acrylic I've tried recently and as it was a bit cooler I managed to get a bit more paint on the board before they dryed which was the problem I had last week.    There were a few figures sitting at the tables when I started which was part of the appeal so I'll need to add them either from memory or photos I took at the time.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Rayleigh Windmill

Rayleigh Windmill
Charcoal with pastel highlights A4 size.
Drawn over a couple of 20 minute lunchtimes sessions and compleated last week.  After drawing Rayleigh Highstreet in charcoal a couple of weeks ago I fancied using charcoal again but this time  I went straight in with tone rather than starting off with line.   I feel happier with the result. The lights were difficult with just the charoal so I fixed the drawing once the darks were in then drew with lighter pastel on top. 

Friday, 24 August 2012

Latest paintings and a few camel sketches.

High time I posted something on my blog me thinks! Since June I've tried to add something to my blog each week and say a few words about any work I've been producing. Last week however I spent more time re felting the flat roof on our kitchen extension and going for a rather nice cycle ride with my friend Andy on Sunday so that put pay to the bloging. I have managed to keep chipping away at my sketching and painting though over the last couple of weeks so here's an update on what I've been doing.
Dog walker over Westcliff Gardens
Oil on board 8" x 12"
These two were both started as demonstration pieces for my art classes.  I started the Westcliff one a few weeks ago with a college class then finished it last Friday before the start of my drawing on location class.  The dog walker was a welcome addition to the scene which would have been a little dull without him. 
Old Leigh High Street
Oil on board 10" x 12"
I've been trying to encourage my Wednesday class members to go out a bit more and draw and paint from the fabulous location we have in Old Leigh.  This one started as a demo at the start of one of the classes from just outside the sailing club on the ramp and then I carried on over another 3 early morning sessions before class to complete it.  Old Leigh is pretty empty first thing in the mornings, mostly delivery trucks and people working in the local businesses then in the summer the crowds start to arrive by lunch time.

Osbourne's Shell fish Cafe and benches
Oil on canvas 8" x 20"
I liked had my eye on this view for a wile and previously made sketches of it and wondered if I could paint it so I thought I'd give it a go and see if I could get away with it.   I painted it by sitting on a bench outside the Crooked Billet pub opposite as the benches are right by the road and cars and lorries pass very closely so there wasn't room to set up an easel so as I wanted this wide view I balance a small canvas on my paint box which all worked out well.  The left hand side was painted a couple of weeks ago then I returned this afternoon when I thought the light would be the same to complete the right side with the figures buy the windows. 

A few sketches from the last few days.  Camels from the circus which is next to Southend airport in Rochford and a sketch of people in Rayleigh high street.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Rayleigh, Leigh and a figure drawing workshop

I got to run a figure drawing workshop this afternoon for Southend Art Club which was really great went really well.  We had fantastic weather which was fortunate as it would have been a bit cramped if we'd had to go inside and use our cottage.   We had well over 30 people attending and it ran the whole afternoon from 12pm till 4.30pm.  Towards the end of the afternoon they asked if I would do a longer drawing demonstration so I drew in charcoal for about 40 minutes.

Rayleigh High Street

Pastel Pencil and Charcoal   A2 size

Earlier in the week I completed this pastel pencil and charcoal drawing of Rayleigh High Street. 

I started the drawing weeks ago as a line drawing demonstration using black pastel pencil for my two classes I hold in Rayleigh on Tuesdays.   Anyway I was really enjoying the drawing and enjoying working a bit bigger than I have been of late so I decided to see if I could complete it so it's been progressing a little bit each week in 15 - 20 minute busts during my lunch breaks for the past few weeks.   After I completed the line drawing I started to wonder how it would look if I started to introduce some tones so I got out the charcoal.   Last week when I was drawing I had a woman come along asking why I keep drawing this same view saying and saying she didn't think it was a particularly interesting view.  I was a bit gobsmacked so I put my mind to completing it this week .  This week I had a chap come up to me and ask if I did commission so that felt a lot better

To the beach

Oil on board 4" x 6"

This little one which is almost complete was started as a little figure painting demo for the small class I teach from home on Wednesday afternoons.  It's of the view from the window at Leigh Sailing club where I hold my classes on Wednesday mornings.   I love looking out of the window and seeing all the folk going by on their way to and from the beach so I'm always  taking of photos of them with a view one day painting them. 

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Sandra's Sunbeam

Sandra's Sunbeam

Oil on board 12" x 10"

 I've been working on this one today and I think its about there although I  may think differently when I have another look at it tomorrow.     I started work on it on location a few weeks ago on a trip with Southend Art Club to the home of our clubs patrons.     As you can see I've simplified the scene by leaving out the house and really made it more of a portrait of the car.   I just thought it was such a fantastic opportunity to have a go at painting an old car like this.   It's a 1914 Sunbeam complete with wooden spokes!

I painted it using my paint box as I only had the minimum of kit due to lack on car and needing to strap everything to my bicycle.   This is how it looked at the end of the session when I got it home after working on it for about three or four hours.

I carried on working on it today in the studio from  photos on my laptop.   My printer has gone wrong so this meant I had to rig up this drape to cut down on reflections on the laptop screen.

As you can see below I tend to work from top to bottom and left to write to save smudging the bits I've just painted.  You can just see a bit of the drawing showing through in orange which I sketched out breifly in pastel pencil to make sure everything was going to fit in.  Sometimes I do this and othertimes I just go straight in with the paint.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Paintings from the last couple of weeks

Endeavour at Old Leigh - Oil on board 8" x 10"

I went back and added the finishing touches to this one last week.  I painted it over 3 early morning sessions before my Wednesday class started in old Leigh over the last few weeks.   Some weeks the tide was in so I wasn't able to continue then.  When I went back the last time I had to squeeze my self past a large digger that was sitting in my painting spot and waiting to unload the cockle boats when they returned on the high tide.

Lyndon in the estuary - Oil on board 8" x 6"

Painted during a trip to the beach last weekend with my son Lyndon.   I decided to paint the view out over the estuary as I wanted to keeping an eye him and make sure he didn't drift out to sea on his body board!    After a wile he gave up on the body board and that was the point when I decided to pop him into my painting.

The new flats on King's Road - Oil on board 6"x6"

I was really pleased to get this one completed last week.  It's probably one of the smallest oils I've painted with this much detail and information in it.   It's the view from the window of the Westcliff united reform church where I hold my art classes on Thursdays.   Over the last year the house which had been a care home has had the builders in and has been covered in scaffolding, the brickwork cleaned up and thoroughly renovated and made into flats.   It's taken me a wile to paint and when I started some bits were still boarded up, the trees were only just coming into leaf and the gate posts hadn't yet been created.  I've been painting before my classes starts if I've had any time left once I've set the room up.   Last year I discovered some of the daily painting sites on the Internet and artists  who paint a small new painting each day.   So I was wondering what I could do on a small scale.   I must admit I  found it very difficult to paint a subject like this with so much in it on such a small scale, and particularly as I'm getting older and my eyes won't  focus close up like they used to! 

Friday, 20 July 2012

Painting Bath in the rain!

Great Pultney Street in the rain - Oil on canvas 60cm x 40cm

Here's my painting of Bath that I completed over the weekend.   I decided to enter  the bath prize competition again this year as I'd really enjoyed the experience last year.   The way it works is that when you enter they ask you to paint a specific  location in Bath for your first painting and then if you want to enter more paintings they can be from where ever you want.   You can either paint on location or make studies / take photos and then paint from your studio.  My location this year was Great Pultney street, just down from the Pultney bridge.  Here's how my painting progressed....

I arrived about midday in Bath and made a start soon as I could.   I had a wander along Great Pultney street and considered a few different views before initially deciding on the view towards the Holburne museum which you can see I've started here. There was a lovely hexagonal post box that I wanted to include as it added a splash of colour to the image as well as being a lovely feature.

After about an hour and a half of painting though the heavens really opened and in spite of my  umbrella and waterproof jacket  I got really soaked and the painting took quite a battering too so feeling exhausted, ill and wet I gave up for the day.  

When I returned the next day it was raining again and  the composition I'd started felt awkward so I decided to have a fresh start and this time looked in the opposite direction towards the centre of Bath.  

There was something about the slightly miserable view down the street with the scaffolding and blue plastic coverings  that appealed to me that rainy morning so I set about painting for about 5 or 6 hours in the rain from under my umbrella.   The one advantage of painting in the rain was that the light stayed pretty even throughout the day and only in the last hour did the sun come out a little.  I think I must have painted non stop for 6 -7 hours with just a few breaks for conversations with passers by and a very grateful cup of tea from the man at no 60! This is how the painting looked at the end of the second day.

Here's me painting on my third day in Bath, as you can see the sun had come out by then so I had to try and remember how it all looked in the rain!  I completed the remaining sections, mainly in the foreground of cars, railings and people in about 5 hours then took it to the gallery to hand in.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Bath last year and Bath tommorow

I'm off to Bath tommorow for the weekend to take part in the Bath Prize competition.
Heres a photo of the painting I did last year and a couple of me painting it.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Essex Open - Plum cottage

Plum Cottage - Oil on board 20cm x 20cm

I'm off to the private view of the Essex Open exhibition in a minute as I managed to get my painting of Plum cottage selected.     I had a great time painting this last year over a couple of lovely sunny afternoons in Old Leigh.   I'd seen these nets in front of the cottage a few days before and loved the juxtapostion of bright colours and textures against the black and white of the cottage.   The fisherman who owned them came up and told me that his boat was being worked on and that that was why they were there but thinking about it I think they are still there a year on but in a slightly different position. 

Freya - Oil on board 20cm x 25cm

I compleated this painting of Freya this week.  I did most of it one morning a couple of weeks ago but when I got it home to the studio there were a couple of things I weren't quite sure about so I took it back with me this week, had another look and made a couple of alterations.  I was hoping to go back to leigh today to work on a couple of others but as it rained most of the day it wasn't to be!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Hadleigh Castle and back to life!

Hadleigh Castle 6"x6" Oil on board

I've not got a lot to show for this week really but here's a little painting I started as a demo piece for my students during a drawing on location session at Hadleigh Castle on Friday and then finished it after they had gone.

Hadleigh Trees 8" x 10" Pastel 

This was the first piece I did which again started as a demonstration piece, this time in pastel and again was compleated after my students had gone.   I was fairly happy with it but not so happy with the greens so I may well see if I can rework them from memory.

These three little studies were done at the Friday evening life session.  They're all from approx 30 min poses and as you can see I really struggle to get anything compleated in that time!  They're all Oil on board 12" x 16". I was fairly happy with the first one and may well just try and finish our models legs from memory.   We had a new model which was great, I liked the pose and I always find it interesting to see what sort of poses people naturally adopt.

I struggled to get going with this one and I wasn't happy with the pose as it was a bit to similar to the previous one.

I really liked this pose but as you can see fatigue and fading light took its toll  as I could have done with getting a bit further on.   Halfway through I started I wish I'd ignored the head and just concentrated on the arms and legs as they made such a lovely arrangement of interlocking shapes rythems.