Friday, 28 October 2011


Reflections are not my only interest, I'm really beginning to enjoy the subtleties of shadows too. I'm currently reading Carlson's seminal book on landscape painting. I picked it up for less than £10 on amazon. It's a great read, it mentions one of Corot's recommendations, "start painting a landscape from 50 foot away", in other words, don't paint the foreground! I'm not sure I agree with this. He thought too much foreground detail 'draws attention' away from 'the distance', which in a landscape may be the most important bit. However, I think if it's left quite loose, it can work well.

I often bemoan my brushwork. In the picture below I took it slowly, mixing and placing quite deliberately. I've started using synthetic sable style brushes as well as Hog flats which gives a bit more variety. 

During a Scottish sailing trip earlier in the year I took quite a few photos with a view to working them up into paintings later in the year. The element of the view below that attracted me was the sunlight catching the tree tops on the loch side. Though it's quite convincing in this photo, it doesn't work so well on the actual painting. I may give this another go, another time.

I was fascinated by the sharp contrast between the red building facade and the wet shadowy foreground. It almost works, but I think I should have tried to keep the foreground looser. Perhaps Corot was right after all!! 

Thursday, 20 October 2011


This is a 24cm x 60cm painting of a very pretty private road in Barnes called St' Mary's Grove, produced mainly from photographic references.

And a 50cm x 50cm study of the avenue of trees in Bishop's Park Fulham. I've called it 'watching the dog' as there are a couple of tiny figures in the distant sunlight playing with a small dog.

For reference I used a combination of a plein air painting I completed earlier in the year (see picture below) and a photo.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


Again I have merged a plein air sketch together with some photographic references in this 24 x 60cm painting of the road along to the boathouses in Putney. This larger painting actually takes two very similar plein air paintings as its reference, the one at the bottom of this posting and another I did on 16th September.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


During the week of very fine weather a couple of weeks ago I went down onto the riverbed as the City ferry was leaving Putney Riverside Quarter and tried to paint a plein air picture of the scene. It was about 7am. I realised that the light was changing far too fast and abandoned the picture after 20 mins. However, to avoid complete frustration I spent 15 minutes recording 2 groups of 3 colours. The groups consisted of a colour 'swatch' of the sky, buildings and water, at the left hand end of the horizon and at the right hand end. Rather than thinking of them as 'colours', with a 'name' I tried to think of them as 'visual perceptions' or 'juxtapositions'. The 2 groups are circled in white on the plein air sketch. When I returned to the studio I used my photographic reference from the scene and the 'colour perceptions' and put together the above, reasonably satisfactory picture. I think it may be a stronger picture if the ferry was a bit further to the left. An interesting exercise though.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


I've spent the last couple of days working up two plein air sketches from last week (see previous blog), into a larger painting (above) measuring 24cm x 60cm. I then used the same colour scheme and tonal range to work up a photo I took down on the riverfront about 10 days ago. These pictures have a very wide tonal range which gives them quite a punch. They hang together quite well, but as usual the brushwork is a bit haphazard! As is often said, a finished painting should look like a battleground! These do!

Monday, 10 October 2011


I don't intend to make a habit of painting pictures of people's houses, but I've stumbled across several ad-hoc offers in the past few months. I like to take on a challenge, the greatest of which is bringing some light and life to the facade of a north facing terrace! 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Last week I noticed a rather beautiful sunset occurring at Putney Pier. A combination of a high tide and a low autumn sunset. At around 4pm the sun shines between two tall buildings on the riverfront and creates an interesting shadow pattern on the moored barges. I painted it on two consecutive days. On the first day (top picture) there were also three moored boats (beyond the gantry to the pier), catching the sun. Rather than trying to create a picture I just decided to try to record the colours and tones as accurately as I could. I intend using these two studies for a larger studio painting later in the year. I only spent about 50 mins on each painting.

Also did a quick still life. Rather a dull composition, but I caught the glass and chrome materials reasonably well.