Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Though some other plein air painters seem to be able to disprove my theory, until today I had not really managed it. The theory is this: "The abundance of light outdoors, even when standing in shadow, makes it virtually impossible to record colours seen, in a chroma which looks correct outdoors and indoors". My thinking was this. The addition of light to any colour makes it appear to be a lighter chroma than when light is subtracted (i.e. indoors). Therefore, chroma will look correct outdoors, but as soon as the same picture is viewed indoors it will appear dull. Indeed, this is the most obvious sign to the tutored eye, that a painting has been done outdoors. But why should this be? Surely it is possible to correct this somehow. By chance, I seemed to do this in my painting today. I'm not sure how I did it, but I'm going to try and figure it out, because I like brighter paintings.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Got the tube up to South Ken. to paint one of my favourite London properties, the classically proportioned, porticoed mansion at the end of North Terrace, Kensington (just around the corner from Brompton Oratory). I made a very poor start and within half an hour the thunder clapped and the rain poured down. I ran for cover and returned to my studio. Fortunately I'd taken a snapshot, so returned to the picture back in the studio and spent a couple of hours 'moving on' the basic drawing and groundwork done on site into a half decent picture.

Monday, 27 June 2011


I spent some time at the weekend reading about 'notan structure', the pattern of light and dark in a picture. It occurred to me that by 'squinting' in three stages I could slowly identify, and group the main four tonal patterns in a scene before starting a picture. This would theoretically give me in order of squinting least to most, dark, dark mid-tones, light mid-tones and finally with my eyes virtually closed, the lightest lights. Great in theory? It almost worked. Anyway, enough to give me a better steer on tones. This morning, up to the windmill on Wimbledon common (one of its blades can be seen poking up from the middle tree), where Baden-Powell wrote 'Scouting for boys'. This afternoon, to Waterman's green, just below Putney Bridge, another favourite out-of-the-way spot in downtown Putney.

Saturday, 25 June 2011


I discovered a great little painting location half way down some steps to the riverbed and out of view from passers by. The sun was right behind me but I was in shadow, so perfect in every way. Each of the power station's walls that were facing me appeared to be at exactly 45 degrees to the sun so there was no apparent tonal difference between them, so quite difficult to describe the form. I think the composition works well, as do the colours. Disappointed that I didn't manage to capture the roundness of the chimneys or the form of the barge. Otherwise an attractive picture I think. Oil on canvas 24 x 30cm.

Sunday, 19 June 2011


I put three pictures in for the Chelsea Art Society summer exhibition and was pleased that all three were accepted. More significantly I felt thrilled and privileged to have one of my paintings, "Midday light - Putney Footbridge" attributed with the status "highly commended"! One of only two pictures to have this recognition out of over 650! Being recognised by ones peers is most satisfying. My congratulations go to the 10 artists who were given awards.

Friday, 17 June 2011


I have just returned from a very enjoyable sailing trip in Scotland. I don't usually have a problem with sea sickness. However, the strict one and a half hour slots I was given by my sailing friends (all keen to sail, rather than watch me paint), resulted in a lot of very brisk nodding of my head, observing and painting. I nearly fell over a couple of times. What a weird sensation!

Bill's House - Island of Rona

Tin Hut - Groebay

Shaint Island

Inverewe Bay


The tide when I started, and finished, followed by the painting!