Saturday, September 17, 2016

Leaning sheds and allotment hens

 Leaning sheds and allotment hens
Leaning sheds and allotment hens
Oils 8" x 12"

Do you see what the hens were doing when I painted this one? They were queuing up to take turns in that lovely dust bath, so funny.

I really loved the strong lean on these characterful sheds and yes, I may have over emphasised the extent to which they leant ever so slightly ;-)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sunny afternoon with the hens

Sunny afternoon with the hens

I had a gorgeous few days with these hens earlier in the summer. This is one of four or five paintings I did there - I can't be happier than sunshine+sheds+hens... except possibly for snow+sheds+hens! I'll try to get back here in autumn and winter as it's not a subject I ever tire of. 

Yes it is tricky because they're moving all the time but if you hang around a while you can usually spot another hen in a similar position which helps. I love being around hens, their presence is so calming. 

You can find out how this painting might be yours on my website here :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Staithes rooftops

Staithes rooftops

This was worth walking up a hill and missing breakfast for... although I did have second thoughts once I was set up and began to draw in the complicated arrangement of shapes. When I say 'draw' I do mean with the brush and paint. With an architectural type subject I start with a linear sketch-in with a smallish brush, but I am always keen to move onto large value shapes as soon as I can. With a subject like this it's too easy to get lost in detail at the expense of the mood or get so worried about accuracy that you run out of time and lose the light. Luckily I had a strict time deadline which got me reaching for the big brushes and I got what I was after here.

This painting is now available to purchase at Staithes art gallery.

There is a brush set with ten of the brushes that I most commonly use available from Rosemary & Co. Click here for details :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Early morning glare

Early morning glare, Staithes

When I'm teaching in Staithes I tend to get up early so that I can get a painting (even two sometimes) under my belt before the teaching day starts at 9.00am. Well with views like this, it would be rude not to wouldn't it?  :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fishing boat at Staithes

Fishing boat at Staithes

I have had a fantastic summer, I hope you have too. I've got so much to show you from June through to the end of August that I thought it was high time I wrote a blog post or two... for those who are not avid Instagram users!

Here's one of my favourites from my teaching trip to Staithes in June. The attraction was the light coming through those buoys and even though it clouded over soon after I started I had sketched out the shape of the shadow cast by the boat and managed to stick to the effect of the sunlight. You wouldn't know that my group, who were watching me paint this were actually shivering with cold by the time I'd finished! I don't tend to notice the cold because I get so involved with solving the problems in the painting ;-)

Next year I'm going to be taking two courses for the Staithes art school, one in June and one in July. If you are interested in coming please contact Al straight away via the website because places are already booking up so quickly. The dates aren't on the website yet for next year but it's probably best to enquire now because it may be too late if you wait. It's a very special weekend and I'd love to see you there :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fishermens shelter and London workshop

Fishermens shelter
Oils 14" x 18"

I had the immense pleasure of spending a couple of days in the fishermens shelter in Portscatho last year, when I put on a little pop-up exhibition with The Harbour Gallery. I was really inspired by the large window overlooking the sea and the way the sunlight came into the room. I did paint this view while I was there but I always felt that I had another one in me. 
Now I've painted this larger version in the studio and I'm really happy with it. It's one of six paintings that I'm framing up at the moment to send for selection to the Mall Galleries for the annual Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition. 

This August I'm going to be running a day workshop at the Mall Galleries in London about 'Capturing the essence', talking about the ways I use simplification in my work. What is important to include and what can be left out?

Friday, July 8, 2016

East view interior

Red sail at East view

Well of course... it's the first thing I noticed when I walked in to this beautiful fishermens cottage in Staithes... a big red sail in the window. What a beautiful cottage and a beautiful subject. I painted this in situ with my small antique pochade box but I'm keen to also paint a version in the studio at a later date. I love love love coastal cottages :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Good morning heartbreak

Good morning heartbreak
Another painting of Dottys tearoom, this time I used my little antique pochade box and one of my students from the Staithes art school weekend workshop kindly offered to pose for me after another customer whom I'd started painting had left. 

I decided to name the painting after one of the songs that was playing at the time, and when we discovered that it was Billie Holiday's 'Good morning heartbreak' it seemed perfect!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Dottys tearoom

Dottys tearooms
10" x 8"

If I lived in the area, Dottys tearoom vintage shop and boutique in Staithes would definitely be my regular haunt. I do recommend a visit if you're exploring the North Yorkshire coast.

I painted this especially for a magazine article I was writing for The Artist magazine, called 'How finished is finished?'
In it I discuss ways that might help to avoid overworking a painting - firstly you need to know what you want to say in the painting and then it is easier to know when you have said it. 
And yes, that is all easier said than done!
The article will be published in the September issue of the magazine I think, which will be in UK stores in August.

‘A fine suggestion, a sketch with great feeling, can be as expressive as the most finished project’ Eugene Delacroix

International subscriptions to the Artist magazine are available here -

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lyme Regis harbour

Lyme Regis harbour
8" x 10"

While we're on a maritime theme here's a little plein air study from beautiful Lyme Regis a couple of weeks ago. I was in Somerset for a demo and I was in Lyme Regis just to have a lovely day with my good friend Jean Stevens. And fish and chips, of course. We got dive bombed by seagulls, boy are they big and scary when they swoop down on your head!

Managed one painting and I loved the view from up here. Although it was a really bright day it was very breezy. So much so that it was one of those sessions that you really can't place a brushwork exactly where you want it because the wind takes your arm.

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