Thursday, 28 May 2009


Am I glad May is nearly over and we go away to Italy at the weekend for a well earned rest - it has been an incredibly busy month. Finally, I had a week to create this acrylic painting of THE CLOISTERS AT NORWICH CATHEDRAL and completed it last night around 11 pm when I continued shapes around the sides of the box canvas. Today Clive put on the D rings and cord and I varnished and labelled it ready to deliver with the other 3 paintings to my pal Sandra who will take it to the selection committee for me.

Here are a couple of photos of the process throughout the week.

When I visited the Cathedral I simply loved the way the bright light was flooding through into the cloisters and hoped I could achieve this feeling. To do so I added some yellow to the white light to help the contrast with the blue tones in the stone floor. I decided to extend the large shapes of the archways on the foreground floor area to give more impact and did a final white glaze all over the floor area both light and shadow. You will see the difference when you look at the top photo of the final painting.
Hopefully in June I will be able to visit my blog and yours more often.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


click to enlarge
Sorry, I have not posted anything lately but been very very busy. Firstly preparing the West Door of Norwich Cathedral above in acrylic for submission at the end of May (one week!) to be selected for exhibition at the Cathedral later in the summer.

Thought you might like to see its stages, but as I have put the finished work up already, here's a middle stage followed by some of the early wash shapes on sketch created with graphatint grey pencil. Make a change to go backwards through the process!!

I used photos I took last summer on a visit (only 10 miles from home) and painted on 16 x 16 inch square box canvas using a real mix of acrylic paints from Liquitex, W&N Finity and some Spanish tubes I bought years ago and for the final coat on the wooden door, I popped down to my local Swallowtail gallery and purchased - heaven forbid - a cheap Paynes Grey. Everyone know's I don't use Paynes Grey but felt a glaze would knock the tone back but allow the rich warm reds and blues to show through. I used such a mix of manufacturers paints as I saw so many colours in the stone and wood from greens, reds, yellows, browns and blues and I just rummaged in my box until I found the colours I wanted from unusual ones like Mars Orange, Light Green Oxide etc.
I have one week to sketch (from my photo s) a view of the cloisters (with some people on the green outside in the background). Hope it goes as well.
Happy painting folks.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

FLORAL SKETCHBOOK latest from my garden

Been so busy forgot to show you the latest in my handmade sketchbook of flowers in my garden. I had a surprise when I walked through the little gate down the path to the shed when I spied this glorious colour at the end on the left facing the hose reel and tap. Its a little raised area with a stone edge right by the shed door and there were these lovely bright self seeded Californian Poppies. Must have blown in from next door, as I know Netti has some in her flower borders in the front.

I must admit I had to photo them, as I did not have time then to sketch or paint. So the photos gave me the idea of adding the hose reel and shed door as an alternative to the bloom study. It helped to make two very different pages to the double spread.

Image 1 - left hand page, where I added the coloured borders after I had finished the right hand page to made the double spread more harmonious.

Image 2 - I had the idea of creating a little 'garden scene' on a page within a page and then simply carried on by adding the sketches around and the background colours.

Altogether, makes a very different spread from all the previous 12 entries since I started the skektchbook back in July last year.

For more detail of washes and penwork, please enlarge by clicking on images.

Monday, 11 May 2009


Anita and I have just spent a most wonderful weekend at a friends cottage by the sea at Wells on the North Norfolk Coast. We were so lucky with three dry, bright sunny days - though the wind did gust by the quayside and at the beach. Its a delightfully quaint location with myriads of boats of all types and sizes and a vast beach with a row of beach huts and pine woods and the sea miles out.

On the Friday afternoon after a long chat (hadn't seen each other in a while) we strolled down to the quayside and sketched around near the harbour masters office. These boats were the first of the three or four boat sketches I did but I'm glad to say they improved.

On Saturday we were out from 11 am to 5pm , having started with a visit to the beach which must be half a mile from the town along a raised pathway (catches the wind) but we cheated and took the car down to the beach car park and cafe. We started on the main beach and I sketched some of the row of beach huts in my mole skin. I then actually did a full panoramic watercolour from the side to get the full sweep of the beach length (there seemed to be hundreds of them in all different colours and loads and loads of steps and railings) but the masking fluid I used was so old it stuck and went like dark rubber and spread across the painting.

Afterwards we came off the main beach to an area near the life boat house where we found a bench to plonk our materials on and sketch together.

This final image is my favourite boat sketch and the sunniest morning where I sat on some grass above a wall looking down to beached boats. It was a protected spot and I chose it for the contrast of - you've guessed it - some flowers growing.
We really enjoyed ourselves but I won't go into the amount of food we put away or late nights chatting, painting and having a glass or two.

Sunday, 3 May 2009


We had our first workshop in the new venue - the lounge of the village hall - and were very comfortable with lots of space and light. As you may recall, I never teach with the use of photos but as we plan to get outdoors more this summer, I thought it a useful exercise to practice skies, trees, boats etc before braving an en plein aire session, so I brought along a selection of my own photos for the regular members to choose.

Initially they practiced different ways of creating skies and clouds - here's one for you to see.

Then they chose a landscape photo from my selection - guess what one chose a woodland (no sky!) another an area of moored yachts on the north Norfolk coast with a plain sky! Here is a WIP view of the woodland with bluebells - yet to be completed

Two others chose riverside scenes

Our new lady this month got on so well with her geometric shapes in graphite

that I gave her the dreaded copper coffee pot to work on and tone in graphite. She did so well that by mid afternoon I suggested she redraw it and tone it in three coppery water colours. Amazing progress on her first day with us.

Last, but by no means least, is the work of our young lady who joined us in February. Knowing how well she had worked with graphite before, I decided to bring along a set of Pitt Sepia pens for her to work with and suggested she sketch an ink pot and its box. The ink was nut brown, so we planned after the penwork to add some diluted ink washes .. but time ran out. This first image she was not satisfied with so started again larger and almost fell off her chair when I suggested she tackle the lettering. Its so great to give each member a little push into more than they think they can do and this result is masterful.

I may not have had time to add new posts to my blog lately, but when I do I certainly give you a lot to look at!!!