Thursday, 28 February 2008


I was at our weekly life drawing session on Tuesday, but then went straight on to my daughters to help her move house. So only just got round to posting some of the drawings having returned home this evening. These two were done on A4 coloured pastel paper with charcoal and chalk - giving me three colours. The first image is of our model sitting on a large squiggy leather white pouf (is that how you spell it?) with a blanket over the top and I drew it on bluey/grey pastel paper. It was most unusual as this was the first pose of the session and the longest at 15 mins.

The second drawing I have posted was later in the session and as all the others a most difficult pose to recreate. I used pink pastel paper and again charcoal and chalk. I know the left arm is too narrow but I was concentrating on the foreshortening which I found difficult to achieve for some reason. If I had more time I would have improved the realism (I hope).

Saturday, 23 February 2008


I have at long last found a good few days to set aside to work on my second church oil painting for the Grimston Art Celebration Event in the Spring. On the 24th January I posted some local sketches and one was of a church ruin some 3 miles from here near a village called Hainforth and this is the subject I have chosen for my second piece. I have taken photos as I worked and post them all here (4 stages so far).

As you can tell there is some way to go yet before I can say it is finished. Again I used the Michael Harding oil paints but this time blended them more than the first oil painting I did (Grimston Church with Cherry Trees). It is larger at 20 x16 inches and I made more of the detail such as the tomb stones and individual trees and plants than in the 'scruffy' original pen sketch. Colours ranged from Yellow Lake, Indian Yellow, raw sienna, Indian Red, Napthol Red, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, King Blue and sap green. Quite a range with Titanium White but then I wanted to create the warm Autumn colours I first saw when I discovered the ruin among the trees.

Monday, 18 February 2008


A winter scene of the boathouses in Coltishall showing the oak tree that came down in January. Its known locally as The Salvation Army Oak as they usually play and sing under the tree each summer Sunday. You'll notice a tree stump behind the rubble, thats one of the swamp cypruses that had to be sawn down due to being dangerous as their roots are affected by a fungus. Such a change to the landscape now.
Had a walk over there the other day and coincidentally timed it to meeting the owner of the boathouses who was chopping up the trunks for firewood. Learned a lot of local history from him.

The painting is watercolour (White Knights again to match the other two paintings for this project) with just a little pen work in the roofs and tree trunks. Same size and paper - 20 x 16 inches Saunders Waterford HP. Found the trunks and 'rubble' of twigs and leaves difficult but enjoyed the rest. So pleased I was there to capture the winter sunlight and cast shadow.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


This is the second in a series of watercolours and pen and washes I am doing of my village of Coltishall for a printing project. I posted the original sketch on the 7th Feb and this is the final result on Saunders Waterford HP 300 gsm 12 x 16 inches. I adjusted the sketch composition as I had more space to make a better feature of the various areas in the allotments people are now beginning to tidy up in readiness for spring planting - with grass walkways between. Pleased with the cabbages in the end as they took the longest to achieve. Hope they dont dominate the painting. Used the same White Knights watercolours as before to make a pair. The gentle winter tonal differences on the cottage and church walls dont seem to show so clearly from this photo (as it flashed in doors) . Im thinking its about time I bought my scanner but an A4 would be too small and an A3 would take up too much space and too much money!!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


This, in fact, was my second sketch of the afternoon, drawn with green graphitint pencil and a little watercolour applied, with the water blending the outline.

This was the hardest pose - and how our model kept hold of her foot for so long I have no idea. Isnt she marvelous?? Again drawn with graphitint pencil and a little very wet watercolour added.

The final pose was the quickest to use up the final moments of the session, so I sketched it with a charcoal stick and added a little colour... and as you can see only tackled the top portion of the pose. When I wet the charcoal shadows they softened beautifully. Its fun to try different techniques each week.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


Many moons ago I used to use oil paints but found the mediums of those days smelt too much around the house and so began experimentation with acrylics which I grew to love for all its abilities of using thinned like a watercolour, creamy like oils and mixing with paste for texture. Over the years new oil paints have emerged together with odourless solvents so I have had the idea for some time to go back to my first love. In investigation I kept coming across work painted with the Michael Harding hand made paints - the colours so vibrant and fresh. I obtained a wonderful hand made colour chart that had a full desciption of how they are made with refined cold pressed linseed oil and no driers that can cause cracking and yellowing. When I discovered the gallery I visit weekly for life class was taking on these oils for sale and allowing me a discount I purchased a good range after Christmas.

The story continues - hope you still bearing with me - a church in West Norfolk has run a Celebration of Art during the Spring for the past 8 years and I have been fortunate to have work hung and sold. So I joined my new oils to my love of churches for this year's exhibition by painting the church of St Botolphs Grimston . I photo'd some of the stages which I post above. Its turned out thicker than I expected, especially the wall and the church building, as I painted in many different layers. Many of the paints I used are slow drying which made it fun to blend from day to day.

My reference was from a series of photos I took a couple of exhibitions ago when all the cherry trees were out in blossom by the wall. Its as well I have a good well indexed back up system of folders so that I can easily find what I am looking for from my own reference photos from my journeys and visits.

Cant wait to paint my second church in oil. It might be from one of my sketches I posted - more than likely the derelect tower with the iron gate. The third one might be the church gateway in Gayward, which is a village near Grimston.

Thursday, 7 February 2008


I've been up the allotments at the end of my lane as I know you can see the village church from there. Unfortunately though, in order to get enough detail of the run of cottages and the church tower, I dont get much in the same view from the allotments to make an interesting composition, so I sketched this shed front and back from another area thinking it might be useful in a final piece of work. ... but then

I saw a lovely patch of cabbages with torquoise netting thrown round on poles. Thats more like it I thought. So I sketched the distant buildings in my moleskin book lovely Anita gave me .. then added the cabbages on the botom half of the page.

Could work but then I spied some geese with runs and sheds and some chickens and photo'd them in case they get added finally. Who knows how it will proceed once I start on my lovely Sanders Waterford 16 x 20 inch water colour paper.

By the way, why has my visitor counter gone back to 3 when it was over 200 earlier in the week???

Monday, 4 February 2008


It was lovely and sunny and bright on my birthday on Friday, so went for a stroll round the village with my camera, as I want to do some local scenes either watercolour or pen and wash for printing. Today I have tackled the first one. I've actually put the tree and snowdrops closer to the church building to make an interesting foreground to the painting.
I used my cheap watercolours - St Petersburg or as they are now known WHITE KNIGHTS. My Sennelier were packed in the car and I couldnt be bothered to go get them! The WKs are excellent value with a lovely range of pure colours, very creamy and long lasting. I used oxide of chrome and a touch of sap green and turquoise blue for the grass. Then added burnt sienna to the sap green for the tree's darks, after laying on the first wash of raw sienna. The only other colour I used was violet Rose to help with the shadows on the church and on the thatch roof after a raw sienena first wash. Unfortunately, it was so bright I could not see the detail at the top of the thatch, which is a shame as I understand each thatcher uses his own unique pattern. I'll have another look next time I stroll down the hill and maybe add the design if it is interesting.
I photographed as I went along as I thought you might find it interesting to see its progression. I would not normally put in that dark shadow at the beginning but it was going to make or break the composition and I needed to know if it worked. I feel it gives the viewer the lay of the land with a typical grave yards lumps and bumps!! as well as taking your eye around the painting. I never had to touch it again. Finally I added more small branches and twigs and made them a little stronger in places. Also lifted some of the colour on the church as it was too warm in tone. I think the final cooler tone gives the feel of a bright winter's day.
Oh yes the paper was an expensive block I treated myself to for my South Africa trip and still have some sheets left. Loved painting on its smooth surface . Its Saunders Waterford 16 x 12 inches 100% cotton 300 gsm HP.

Sunday, 3 February 2008


I have been very busy over the past few weeks organising monthly all day ART WORKSHOPS in my new Norfolk village. I managed to get a good size article in the local magazine that came out at the end of January, and some adverts in other village publications around and about. To date I have had 9 enquiries. If all confirm, then its systems go with the Salvation Army premises in the village centre already booked for the first Saturday of each month. So Ive been beavering away on the jolly old compute preparing leaflets, posters and guidesheets for the members. Plus Ive prepared some tutorial guidelines for myself. Fortunately, I have done this before and only had to find the original documents and update them.

The images above are the ones I put on the leaflets and posters to show prospective group members what you can do with graphite (the cat commission) done with graphitint pencils; pen and wash sketch (the gateway of a church in Wisbech in the Fens); a still life watercolour (corner of the tourist attraction in Lincolnshire The Violet Centre) and the last one is a full size 16 x 20 inch botanical watercolour I did of a King Proetus flower when I was in South Africa last Autumn.

So wish me luck folks. Thats the trouble when you move, you have to start all over again. Fortunately, my lovely art friend Diane took over my classes in the Fens when I left last August and has encouraged them to go in for the GCSE (O level) art exam. Ive popped in to see them and they are doing some extraordinary work and subjects.