Tuesday, 31 December 2013

About Blogs and Bloging

As I've had a bit of time lately I thought I would slightly alter the appearance of my blog and I've given it a plain grey background which I think ties in nicely with the look of my website.  I've also started the list of blogs and websites on the right hand side here and I thought I would take the opportunity to mention  a few of the blogs I have a look at on a fairly regular basis which I've got interested in over the last couple of years and which got me interested in starting this blog.    Most of these I've only really discovered through looking at art blogs and more recently a few others discovered through facebook.  


I've worked with the Griffin Art  group based in Danbury for a number of years now (I really can't remember exactly when we started out but its always been a pleasure to meet up 3 or 4 times a year with them and this was the first art blog I came across.


I discovered Adebanji's blog through his website address which I saw in an art magazine  and it was like opening up and Aladins cave of interesting articles both about Adebanji's but also lots of interesting links to other web sites and blogs of other artists and organisations.   Here's a few:


Making a mark is a fantastic blog written by Katherine Tyrrell.  As she say's at the beginning of her blog she "writes about art for artists and art lovers on her top art blog" and it really is a fantastic resource.

Olha Pryymak is an artist whose work I've enjoyed following for the last couple of years.

There's a few artists whose work I enjoy seeing on this site which changes on a daily basis and this was one of the sites I got interested in which displays work by artists who paint mainly small paintings on a daily basis and post them to the site each day.

I love to have a look at this blog from time to time which displays the work of sketching correspondent's around the world who post there sketches of urban environments all drawn directly in front of the subject.  There's also a  link on the blog to a flickr page with a wider pool of artists which I've occasionally contributed to.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Southchurch Hall

Southchurch Hall - Watercolour 4" x 6 "

As it is such a lovely sunny day today I accompanied my wife on her daily walk over to Southchurch Hall Gardens which is just over the road from where we live.  Red has been walking there most days since the summer to gradually building up her stamina since her heart attack in August and I'm pleased to say she is gradually making a bit of progress.   I've broken my leg at the moment and I  can't walk far on crutches or carry much either so for this one I chose to work in water colours postcard size.    Water colours are not my strong point but I feel like I should persist with them! I did enjoy the experience though and used a small vintage reeves box which one of my students gave me recently, a small postcard block which came  free with discover art magazine and a couple of brush pens.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Recent sketches....

Here's a couple of sketches I've done in over the last week or so.
Mug and a couple of tubes of paint. A5 Sketchbook
I've been working on a very detailed commission for the last couple of weeks comprising of a  painting and four little ink and wash drawings.  This drawing was a bit of relaxation time from my efforts. The  little still life which arranged its self in the corner of my sofa which has become my make shift studio since I broke my leg three weeks ago.  I rather liked the way the label was peeling of the Jacksons white oil paint tube and overlapping the Windsor and Newton Alizarin.

Waiting Room - Fracture Clinic Southend Hospital. A4 Sketchbook
The NHS 111 service advised me to go to the doctors after I'd had cramp in my calf muscle for 4 days in the leg that I've broken so this little sketch which I'm assuming was Father and two sons was done about 8am in the morning waiting to see the out of hours doctors. 

At the Nosh Café - New Southend Library.
After popping to Frame it to drop of  a painting to be framed we decided to try the new Café in the new library for a coffee.  This woman was sitting opposite me absorbed in her phone.  So I set to sketching her as soon as I sat down.  She had a lovely bright green suit on and I immediately liked all those repeated rhythms within the composition. the echoed curves through the back of the chair, the circular window design and then just as a bonus as soon as she had left a van pulled up with a curved  shape it's side as well!

Friday, 6 September 2013


Here's a link to my facebook page:


I've started to use facebook a lot more over the last year or so and I've been posting most of my latest sketches, and paintings as they've been created here.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

August Update.

Narrow boats Pageant day Oil on Canvas 8" x 20"

Time for an update and a bit off taking stock as it's been a long wile since I've touched my blog!    We've had a huge family upheaval recently as my wife had a heart attack just over a week ago which has shaken up my priority about whats important in life so painting and my career as an artist is going to be  taking a bit of a back seat for a wile as caring for and spending more time with my family has become a priority.   I thought then that it might also be a good time to spend a bit of time reflecting on the work I've been doing over the last few months and to take stock and update  my blog and web site.  

This  painting of narrow boats coming through Tower Bridge was started last year.   I put a few finishing touches to it on Friday afternoon and it's been selected to go into an exhibition of  works by Artists of the River Pageant as part of this years Thames Festival.   I painted it from photos I took before the start of the Pageant last year and its about the moment when I got to London and the river  last year and this was one of the first scenes I saw and for me this was the moment when all the planning and imagining became a reality.   I found it quite a moving scene seeing these little tiny narrow boats emerging out of the drizzle and mist through Tower Bridge making their way up the Thames to the start of the event.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

April update.....

Well, so much for trying to add something to the blog each month!  I managed to keep it up for a few months but got a bit behind lately.   Here's a bit of an update.

Waterloo Bridge

Oil on board 8" x 8" 2012

This is one from  last year which I sold in the early part of the year.  It was only a few weeks after I'd sold it that I realized I'd forgotten to take a picture of it so managed to get its new owners to bring it in so I could take a photo of it.   I was pleased with this one and it was really nice to see it again but glad its found a new home!   It was painted from photos I took on Waterloo bridge a wile back.

Boats at Richmond

Oil on board 12" x 10" 

I painted these two back in March on a trip to Richmond with members of the Plein Air Society.   We had a lovely bright and cold day and it was a great opportunity to meet other artists interested in working out doors.   

Boats and boat house.

Oil on board 8" x 10"

Friday, 25 January 2013

Snow time!

My first experience of going out and painting snow! I've fancied getting out and painting the snow for a wile now.   On Saturday we had the lightest of dusting's with a forecast of more to come so I decided to make a start and chose Southchurch hall which is very close to my home and there fore I figured the warmth.  
This was how the painting looked at the end of the first session on Saturday.  

By Sunday mid morning the scene had transformed to this so I ended up re-painting the roof and grass areas and adding the figures that were playing in that area.
Oil on board 8" x 12"

 Probably more of a souvenir piece in the end as the roof and grass looked a bit like the icing on a Christmas cake with so much thick paint on it covering the wet paint underneath which was difficult to cover.

I was much happier though with my second attempt at painting snow which I painted on Monday. I started of by cycling along the sea front and taking photos then finally stopped by some of the palm trees in Westcliff.   They take quite a battering really and I love seeing them in different times of the day and different seasons as I travel up and down the seafront on the way to my various teaching jobs.

This is how the completed painting looked.
Oil on board 10" x 12"

At one point I a chap asked if it was OK to take a photo of me painting.  Two days later I got a text from my student, Jan saying that she'd just see a picture of me painting in the evening echo!
(photo by Simon Murdock)