Friday, 6 February 2015

I've been out of action for a few days after a bit of "keyhole surgery" - the surgeon must have had in mind the keys to the Tower of London.  No riding my bike to the studio for a while, but I can drive so I get to enhance my carbon footprint, yay.  I want to get out and paint, but carrying french easels and the rest of the kit is off limits for a week or so.  My friends of the Brass Monkeys painting group (all weathers - you get the reference) are meeting near Richmond Park on Sunday, which is close to me, so I might have to get out, with a little sketch book instead of oil paints.
There's something wonderful about painting, or drawing, in a group, which I've only recently appreciated.  As someone who's spent decades working alone, I'd built up a resistance to being overlooked - paintings often look strange when they're in progress, so I'd find myself needing to explain what I was working towards.  I also suffer a dip in confidence in the middle of almost every painting I do, when it isn't going exactly how I envisaged, but its new, and sometimes better direction hasn't yet emerged, and it's only long experience that's taught me to persevere.  At this stage I'm not at my most sociable.  I have a piece of paper pinned to the studio wall with something I found on the interwebs to remind me that this is a universal process, it says:

The Creative Process
This is awesome
This is tricky
This is shit
I am shit
This might be ok
This is awesome

Not always awesome but almost always better than I feared in the middle.  And working alongside experienced painters, the bad language is usually understood and tolerated.

Here's a painting I finished just before the op, for the producers of the Carole King musical "Beautiful", which is opening this month in London, having been on Broadway for a while.  It's acrylic on canvas, 70x60cm.  I'd have preferred to use oils, but it had to be dry, scanned and prints made in a couple of weeks.  I've done similar paintings for the shows "Legally Blonde" (all pink) and "Shrek" (all green).
"Beautiful in London",  Acrylic on Linen,  70x60cm

Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas Card time - I still send out paper cards, which might be a bit ungreen, but hell, I never fly anywhere and don't eat meat so I think I'm still on the right side of the line.  It's a great way to stay in touch with past clients and buyers, they have a little picture that stays on their desk for a couple of weeks.
I was stuck for a subject this year till I got a message from Richard, an old friend, last month, asking if he could commission me to do a painting of a building in Tottenham Court Road for a client of his, to be used on an Xmas card.  So as he'd come up with the idea, I gave him the use of the image as long as I could put it on my cards too.  With 2 daughters to pick up from the Borderline one Saturday night, I got a perfect chance to take lots of photos.  And it didn't rain, so it was all meant to be.  I'm sending out a lot by post but if you don't get one, hope you like the painting and please take this as my wish for a great Christmas and a happy New Year.  x
Tottenham Court Road, Watercolour, 35x50cm

Friday, 21 November 2014

Back in August I put up some paintings at the local art society's open air exhibition at Molesey lock on the Thames, but the locals were unimpressed.  Still, it was a nice day and I painted two oils of the river while people walked by.  One of these did sell to a couple who saw me painting it, this is the other one which I only finished when it was time to pack up.  It shows the crane that's been digging out the weir for the past year or so.
River Works, Molesey 12x16 oil on board

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

It's been fabulous weather for the last couple of days, and I was stuck inside yesterday so couldn't help but get out today with a big tube of Burnt Sienna into the autumnal smells and colours.  Today just 2 10x12s of Bushy Park, one under a lovely big oak,
then another of Waterhouse Pond - the little building is supposed to be a pumping house but some kids who passed by said it was a witches house, they might be right, they said my picture was nice so they're clearly very astute kids.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Went to see Mr Turner the day after it opened at a BFI screening.  Mike Leigh, Timothy Spall and JMW Turner - I was pretty sure I was going to like it, and predictably, I did.  It's very cinematic for Mike Leigh, with beautifully composed shots and all dark, warm colours.  It shows JMW in his later years as a bit of an old bastard, especially in his treatment of women, and the children he refuses to acknowledge, but likeable if you go for jowly, grumbling, sometimes growling types.  Great reconstruction of Turner witnessing the Fighting Temeraire, just as painted, from a rowing boat, it was like watching the Channel 4 idents, waiting for everything to come exactly into line.  They did the "strapped to the mast" scene, but not the burning of the Houses of Parliament, apparently they just didn't have the budget to stage it.
Going to the cinema a lot more now that Lizzie's joined the BFI, and now she's 18 we can even go for a drink afterwards to talk about it.  Happy days, as they say.
Link to trailer

Monday, 20 October 2014

This is Milo, our wire-haired Vizsla, without whom I would never find a lot of the landscape views that I paint.  Milo has introduced me to the joys of peaceful woodlands, walking in the rain, watching the seasons change, wandering along streams, (he jumps into them, I don't), and generally loving being out with no particular destination in mind.  He's too impatient to wait while I paint for an hour, so I have to go back without him to places we've found together.  Maybe when he's older (he's nearly 3) he'll sit and wait for me, long enough for a quick sketch, before we find the pub at the end of the walk.
Life is better with a dog.

Friday, 10 October 2014

I'm doing illustrations of big boats at the moment, which I can't post as images because they're confidential - in some cases it's just as well.  So here's a recent painting of Lulworth Cove from the coastal path, based on an earlier much bigger painting, I now prefer this version.  This one's only 8x10" and makes me remember the fresh air and the stiff breeze.

Lulworth Cove 2, 8x10" oil on board

This is the original painting from a few years ago, it's more adventurous with colour, maybe a bit too much so.  Might go well in certain big boat interiors.

The Path Down To Lulworth Cove, 24x30" oil on canvas