Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Just before my last life drawing class at the RA I stopped off in Green Park for a quick plein air. It was early evening so the light was fading quite fast, but I think I just about caught the atmosphere. A photo of the scene is shown below.

And this was the model I painted an hour later.

Earlier this week I went down to Brentford Dock where the Grand Union Canal leaves the River Thames. This is a residential pontoon looking towards the entrance to the canal. Quite tight perspective an oddly cold light, but I think I just about pulled it off.

I've seen this washy background technique used by several artists, originally Richard Schmid, but more recently from James Hart Dyke ( whose work I really like. I've started to experiment with it.

I don't particularly like the picture below, a bit dull!!!, but it is nicely controlled I think, and the knitwear works well. I've used a lot of soft edges and just a few hard ones which seems to balance.

Painting this little oil can using a really strong composition gives it more gravitas than it actually has.

My friend Graham Townsend reminded me of the work of William Wray the contemporary American painter. This prompted me to sharpen my palette knife and get a few pics drafted, firstly of the Putney footbridge and then of the walkway down to the pontoon at Putney Pier.


  1. Hi Ian.
    All wonderful paintings. Your dedication is brilliant. I only wish I had some of it. All the best Ian.

  2. Thanks Vic, actually I think my work rate has been a bit slack lately. While I do profess to paint most of the time... other things keep getting in the way!

  3. Waw. for some reasons I missed your latest posts and I can see now how prolific you have been! I must say the first picture (green park) is a real gem for me - I like the way you've kept it simple and sketchy but at the same time your values and tones are spot on! Love the life model too, very expressive, and I like the green fabric going so nicely with the skin tone. Nice one!

  4. Thanks for your positive comment Valerie, yes I think the Green Park picture works well. But you know what it's like, when you are outdoors with limited time available, there is always a tendency to compromise either colour notes (hue/chroma/tone), drawing accuracy or brushwork. Sometimes one just has to give. But I've noticed that keeping the colour notes correct can make up for shortcomings in the other 2, unless the subject requires really accurate drawing!

  5. Cracking good plein air paintings Ian - love your loose brushwork. Let's see some more!

  6. Thanks John... have been slightly put off by the rain... not exactly a 'painter's summer' !

  7. Hi Ian. I haven't seen a post from you for a very long time! Hope all is well for you??