Saturday, 27 August 2011


As the weather was so appalling after Monday (see the riverbed plein air painting I did on Monday in my last blog) I decided to knock about in the studio painting from some photos. I started having a go at a 'sparkle on water' picture. This concept has been rather over done by many painters and I certainly don't think I added anything of my own to the genre. However, it's an interesting exercise to do, just to understand exactly how the key tones should be spread to make it work.

Bird sanctuary sparkle - Oil on board 25 x 25cm

Then I painted the ornate Victorian Teddington lock, trying hard to avoid too many sharp edges, which I think was the problem with my previous attempts at this subject.

Teddington Lock shadows - Oil on board 35 x 35cm

Next I painted a view along the boathouses in Putney. I've tried painting this scene on a few occasions in the past year, but found it too complex to produce a convincing painting. I'm not terribly happy with the outcome. I lost control of some areas completely (near left side of the picture for instance), but certainly it's my best attempt so far. I have captured the hectic nature of the area and the white boat in the distance being carried across the road, a common feature of the scene, works well, so not a complete waste of time!

The boathouses - Oil on canvas 45 x 55cm

I visited Norfolk about a year ago and was impressed by the beauty of its skies. I took several photos. I've looked at them many times since. This week I finally plucked up the courage to have a go at one. The foliage in the foreground, which should really be the easiest bit, is not too convincing, whereas the rest of the scene sits comfortably in space. Will have another go at a similar picture in the future.

Norfolk clouds - Oil on canvas 45 x 55cm

On Friday I moved back to familiar territory. I have painted the two houseboats at the end of Putney pier about 20 times in the past 18 months. They always end up looking like... well a couple of boats at the end of a pier. By portraying one of them in a shaft of light, the viewer has to do a lot more work. I think I've finally made it a more satisfying subject.

Light shaft - Putney pier - Oil on canvas 35 x 45cm

Monday, 22 August 2011


Mmm... what is it with me and water. It seems to creep into my life in every way! The week started badly, the sun was out first thing Monday morning so I headed off to Hammersmith Bridge for some plein air. Within 30 mins it clouded over and in under an hour it was pouring with rain. I headed back to the studio and completed the top five pictures below in the studio, before venturing out to Barnes common to capture a very beautiful London Plane tree on Friday. Today I went down onto the riverbed and painted a subtle sky and my favourite bridge, the combined District Line tube and footbridge. Water in 6 out of 7 pictures!

The runner - Oil on canvas 30 x 40cm 

The cloud - Oil on canvas 30 x 40cm 

Six bows - Oil on canvas 30 x 40cm 

Hammersmith Bridge sunset - Oil on board 35 x 35cm 

Conversations - Oil on canvas 35 x 45cm 

The tree on Barnes Pond - Oil on canvas 24 x 30cm 

Union jack - Oil on canvas 24 x 30cm 

Saturday, 13 August 2011


The weather was all over the place this week so I stayed in the studio, painting frames for an upcoming show at a local restaurant. I started the week with a dull still life painting, then some lads carrying a boat and next started experimenting with some new subject matter. I recently came across the yachting action shots of the American artist Willard Bond and decided to have a look at similar subject matter. My goal is to combine his subject matter with the 'wave handling' of Gary Long and the painterly strokes of Paul Lemon. Mmmm maybe plein air isn't so difficult after all!!