Friday, 23 September 2011


I got out with my pochade box a couple of times this week, firstly to Sheen and then to the boathouses in Putney. My first picture of the Mortlake brewery (in Sheen) was painted in reasonably consistent early morning light. The things that caught my eye were the sun catching the round building and the counterchange between the right tree in shadow and the light building behind, and the left tree in sun with the dark building behind. 

Then I had a shot at the level crossing at the bottom of Sheen High Street. There's always a buzzing atmosphere here, with people coming and going, and waiting!

On Wednesday I caught the hectic riverfront strip in front of the boathouses. There are always rowers and dog-walkers around, together with lots of cars, vans and trolleys all parked at peculiar angles on the slipway. All paintings, 24 x 30cm oil on canvas.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


A couple of weekends ago I visited Bath to take a closer look at the Roman Bath which is my nominated subject for the Bath Prize. It was a dull day. Though inspired by the building and its possibilities, the sky was grey, the light poor. I noticed a couple of statues standing well above the building line and decided to make one of these a feature of my painting. Using the photos I took on the day and some extra references I researched I've composed a picture which captures the statue as a dominant element, but also the condensation rising from the warm water and the warm sun-lit facade of the cathedral behind. I've never before painted a picture that wasn't alla prima, so going back to a painting three days in a row was an interesting experience, though it didn't actually take 3 full days to complete!

Oil on canvas 35cm x 50cm

Friday, 16 September 2011


Yesterday, Thursday I headed down to Putney Embankment and spent just under a couple of hours painting this pretty late summer scene. The trees just turning from green and a high spring tide with boats clearly visible from the road.

I've recently met an excellent and very experienced painter, Rod Pearce. He's suggested I spend less time in my comfort zone and take on some new challenges, so today we tried our luck at St. Pancras station. It's hard to believe that if not for the efforts of Sir John Betjamin, in its place would be another dull rectangular concrete block. He wrote "What [the Londoner] sees in his mind's eye is that cluster of towers and pinnacles seen from Pentonville Hill and outlined against a foggy sunset, and the great arc of Barlow's train shed gaping to devour incoming engines, and the sudden burst of exuberant Gothic of the hotel seen from gloomy Judd Street." It was a painting subject I was inspired by, I'll be back another day to have another go. Today, my first two attempts were passable. All pictures 24 x 30cm oil on canvas.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


We have a very active artists' community in Putney and every year the local council, Wandsworth run an Open House for artists working in the area to show their work from their homes or studios. The borough is divided into 5 areas of which Putney is one. I am one of 4 local reps helping to get our area's work publicised. This year we have launched a website at The event takes place on the first 2 weekends of October.

Consequently I have only produced a modest amount of work in the past few days, what with painting frames and carrying out other pre-exhibition tasks.

In the two landscape paintings I concentrated on the colour in shadows. Quite an interesting exercise, because as soon as too much colour enters, it can be mis-interpreted by the eye as light, but if there is none, the shadows are dull and lifeless.

Barnes Common - oil on canvas 24 x 30cm

Path from Waterman's green - Putney - oil on board 35 x 35cm

In the to still lifes below I have been developing a more subtle method of representation, particularly working on soft and hard edges. Also, thinking about less conventional compositions.

Red Lollypop - oil on canvas 24 x 30cm

Corn - oil on canvas 24 x 30cm

Friday, 2 September 2011


Being a bank holiday week and having to do a few other bits and pieces I didn't get much done this week. I produced a painting from a photo I took in the rain at the weekend. I thought the woman with the yellow coat, red accessories and colour co-ordinated dog would make a great picture, and indeed it did. Some nice fresh brushwork and successful reflections.

34 x 45 oil on canvas

On Thursday evening I went to the private view of the Plein Air Brotherhood. A very nice bunch of guys and some absolutely superb paintings. Had a chat with Adebanji, David, Karl, Roy and Anthony. I hope to paint with them in the future. Also in attendance was 'The Botticelli of Backlit Barbie Dolls'... as he seemed quite relaxed about being described by an art critic recently.

I was obviously inspired into action to go out today, Friday and hit the riverbed. There was a rather beautiful limpid hazy light in the morning which I tried to capture. Quite tricky, almost pulled it off. To make my task more difficult I painted the hotch-potch of boats under the footbridge and didn't do enough work on simplifying them and throwing out the irrelevant stuff.

24x 30cm oil on canvas 

In the afternoon I headed to the boathouses, with a low but rising tide.  I caught the sunny atmosphere reasonably well.

24x 30cm oil on canvas