Minis

I recently started a new project called the Mini Collection. I first got the idea a few months ago when I was drifting off to sleep (which is how 90% of my ideas are born) I had become frustrated with painting one theme for weeks on end, be it London or Bristol and wanted to find a way to stay motivated and excited about painting every day.

I get a lot of ideas throughout any given week and am constantly thinking “oh that would make a great painting” or “I’d love to explore how light breaks through trees at sunset” but I was always committed to doing something else, so had to put all these impulses on the back-burner. So, after my 4 recent shows were over, I decided to give it a go and paint one 18 x 18 cm painting every day and put it up online. This daily painting practise is not a new thing, it was first popularised online by Duane Keisar who sells small daily paintings on eBay. I remember looking at that work and thinking how lovely it must be to rapidly experiment like that, plus the work was good.

I made a wet carrier to hold eight 18 x 18 cm boards and went out to Severn Beach in North Bristol to start the project off. It was a windy, wild day and I had an absolute blast. I’ve always loved painting small, there’s something wonderfully intimate about a little painting. The small scale means you have more time to plan a composition and mix really good colour because you’re not worrying about trying to cover a large surface, you’re just focussed on making every square cm count.

Another reason I wanted to do minis, was it finally gave me a chance to capture all the day-to-day images I see while riding my bike, or out with the kids on a weekend. I can whip out my phone and grab a shot of a view in a few seconds which is great when I don’t have my painting stuff with me. I recently got a new smartphone that has a very good camera on it that shoots in RAW mode just like a proper camera, so I can edit the pic back in the studio in photoshop and get something incredibly close to what I saw when I took it to use as reference. I’ve always had a very good visual memory and have enough experience of painting outside, that interpreting a photo with oils is not a struggle.

Now, this isn’t painting from life, it’s not traditional plein air painting, but who said every painting has to be? These days, my main priority is producing images in oil paint that scratch my itch. I’m interested in making beautiful pieces that are love letters or poems to the visual world. I’m not obsessed anymore with doing everything on location. I want to interpret a scene more and use my creativity and skill to tell a more engaging emotional story which comes from me and from a state of empathy, rather from a place of mere literal recording.

Does that make sense? It’s easy to get stuck in your own Dogma about how everything MUST be done. This was the case for a long time with me and initially it helped in a lot of ways. I painted from life for 5 years, forcing myself to learn in a lot of very difficult circumstances. But after I’d put in my 10,000 hours, I decided I could experiment with studio painting and it’s been a revelation. There are just things I would never have learnt if I had painted outside exclusively.

Drawing has been one new change to my working practise and it’s been so wonderful to get stuck into again. One 2B pencil and I’m in heaven. Coming from a background of illustration, the muscle memory just kicks in and I’m off, trailing lines around and varying the pressure and wobble. It’s another dynamic that just adds to the painting, as the pencil shows through the paint film and gives another layer to the story.

I’m planning many, many more minis, so keep and eye on the website and sign up to my mailing list if you want to be first to hear when new pieces are uploaded. They are selling well and the reaction so far has been fantastic. It seems there’s a lot of people out there that feel £200 is well worth a punt. Plus they really hang well as a set, so you can just keep adding them.

Making the packaging for the Mini Collection was also an integral part of the project. I got great satisfaction from designing a new logo and screen printing it onto my new boxes. Presentation matters and it just feels good to send work out knowing it looks awesome before they even open it.

Ive never been this happy as a painter.

 

“Painting The Bridge” Show

 

I’m really excited about this upcoming show of paintings of the Clifton Suspension Bridge showing at the lovely Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitors centre. I’d really love to see you there. I’ll be posting more images of the paintings in the show over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

So, put it in your diary or simply join the Facebook group for live updates.

29 Sep – 7 Oct Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor’s Centre

There will also be a free prize draw to win a framed 28 x 22cm painting “Sunbeam in the Gorge”. All you’ll have to do is sign up to my mailing list at the show. I’ll draw the lucky winner at the end of the show. Here’s a pic of the painting.

Bath Commission

I was lucky enough to get commissioned recently to paint the house of one of my collectors for a 50th birthday present. I went over on a sunny day and set up at the end of the garden to do an initial plein air sketch. The height of the house leant itself to a vertical thin format which was nice, as I love painting in a 2 to 1 ratio.

I’m not keen on painting large on location so a small painting done from life over 2 hours is preferable. I then use that as reference when producing the final piece in the studio on a larger scale.

If you want your house painted, drop me a line.

Here’s some pics.

New London Paintings

I’ve been focussed fully on London recently and sticking with the larger format. After many years of painting small pieces on location, its very refreshing to get stuck into a lot of bigger stuff in the studio. It’s a very different process but very engaging and interesting. It’s wonderful to have more time to plan things and think more about composition, brush work and layers. Here’s the work.

I love London in the rain. There’s a real magic to the gloom and reflections and it’s something I’m wanting to explore in far more depth in the future. This image looking up regent street had been in my head for ages. Its a wonderful road, so rare to have a continuous curve in the heart of a city. It was also begging for a wide format.

This is one of my favourite spots in London. The classic architecture, planted slap bang in the middle of the ultra modern glass towers of the city is just such a wonderful contrast. The Royal Exchange itself is an incredible building, hollow inside with high gallery walls over looking the cafe in the middle. Nice to have a coffee there.

This spot in Piccadilly looking down Regent Street St James’ always looks amazing when the suns blasting up it into your eyes. The headlights against the backlit vehicles just gets me going. The Xmas lights above the road also lend a strange “Alien Invasion” vibe…

I love Harrod’s. I really love Harrod’s. I’ve spent entire afternoons wandering its many floors looking wide-eyed at all of it’s wonders. There is no shop like it. It’s brilliant. I particularly like the food courts, the decor changes dramatically from room to room, its basically the Disneyland of department stores. I was in London for the day with my partner who had a painting in the Threadneedle prize. We were on our way to the Mall Galleries and decided to go via Harrod’s. Just as I was crossing the street the sun burst through a rain cloud and light up the building with late afternoon warm light. What a moment.

I spent the day in Hamsptead recently walking it’s many tree lined streets, looking for painting spots. I found this wonderful view at around 7:30am looking up Pond Street. Early morning and late afternoon really does give the best light, with long shadows and more dynamic colour temperature. I’d like to do more paintings in the late afternoon, but getting home to the kids makes it difficult!

New Regent Street painting in rain

I recently finished a new painting of Regent Street in the rain, from the same viewpoint of the previous painting. There aren’t many spots on Regent Street that I find appealing from a compositional perspective, so stuck with this for a second go. It’s nice to get all those very British things in one scene; the taxi, the letterbox and the London bus. The “Super Dry” sign, not so classically British, but it’s part of the place, so in it goes.

Sunstreak on Whitehall with bikes, December – 90 x 90 cm

I recently finished a new painting of the sun cutting across Whitehall in December. The traffic was busy coming up towards Trafalgar Square, with cyclists overtaking buses and brake lights glowing in the shadows.

As always, if anything is of interest, please get in touch.

 

 

Interview with Creative Boom

Creative Boom were kind enough to feature my work this week in a short interview discussing my new London paintings. You can read it by clicking HERE

Paintings of Regent Street and Camden Lock, London

I recently finished two new paintings of London, one of Regent Street in the rain in December with all the Christmas lights above the street and another painting of Camden Lock Bridge in the sun. I’m really enjoying painting in this larger square format, many more to come.

As always, if anything is of interest, please get in touch.

Awards! Prizes!!!

I was delighted to win three awards this weekend at The Artist painting competition held at the annual Patchings Festival near Nottingham. I won the top prize which was a purchase prize, The Royal Talens Award of £250 of art materials and thirdly, an exhibition in 2018 at Patchings. I was pretty chuffed to get 3 awards for one painting, so thank you to Ken Howard RA who was judging.

Penzance, Mousehole

I had a few days plein air painting down in Cornwall recently around St Ives, Mousehole and Penzance. The original plan was to paint some beaches at St Ives but it was so hot and so bright that the white sand literally blinded me when I took my sunglasses off to paint so I had to abandon a lot of paintings, which was very frustrating. I got some done in the end though at Mousehole and Penzance, looking over at St Michaels mount. Lovely spot, that.

Here’s the work. If anything is of interest, do get in touch.

 

Cornwall

I had a wonderful 3 day trip to Cornwall recently and painted in Padstow, Polzeath, Daymer Bay and Bedruthan steps. It’s an amazing area and you’re completely spoilt for choice, with wonderful coastline in all directions.

Here’s all the works.

 

 

Pen y Fan

I had a wonderful plein air painting trip up Pen y Fan in the Breacon Beacons in Wales last week. I’ve wanted to take all my painting gear to the summit for years now so thought I better just get on with it. I chose a nice clear day and set off really early, arriving at 7:30am to clear skies. I painted one on the way up, one from the summit of the first peak, Corn Du and then climbed up to Pen y Fan for lunch and the view. I finally did a third painting on the way down and then a forth from the valley, looking out over Cantreft Reservoir.

All in all a wonderful trip! Here’s the paintings. If you have any questions of purchase enquiries please drop me an email. Many thanks.

Brixham and Dartmoor

I had two days in Brixham, near Torquay and Dartmoor recently. I am hugely fond of the moor, having spent many a family holiday there as child. It’s a truly wild place and so peaceful. I couldn’t resist having lunch at the Warren House inn, the best pub in the U.K (fact) where I devoured are rather good burger with a wonderful view.

Brixham was a challenge. I was painting Broadsands beach for a commission, but the sun was in the “wrong place” when I arrived, so I had to wait all day for it to swing around. But swing around it did and cast a wonderful warm glow across the beach. I painted fast and managed to get it finished with about ten minutes to spare before the sun disappeared over the horizon. I rather enjoy those panicky moments.

I experienced an impromptu  style change on Dartmoor for some reason and decided to go with it. It happens sometimes and in this instance, helped me considerably as the sun was in, out, in, out, making things rather difficult to capture in my usual way. I love how the roads look on Dartmoor. There are so few of them that they carve a wonderful snaking line through the landscape, so I decided to make it part of the composition.

Here’s the paintings!

 

 

Hengistbury head, Old Harry Rocks, Brownsea Island

I had a wonderful three day trip to Dorset recently and painted at Hengistbury Head, Old Harry Rocks, Brownsea Island and Poole Harbour. The weather was absolutely perfect, almost freakishly so. I got a ton of work done and explored a couple of new spots, while going back to some old ones. Here’s a pic of a piece. You can see the rest of them in the coast galleries on this website, or watch the episode of Thoughts on Painting that I filmed over the three days. Click here to watch it.

Same spot for 12 hours

I recently got stuck into a small project that had been on my mind for a few years – painting on one spot from dawn until dusk. I set up in the avon gorge, as I know the spot well and feel comfortable there. I didn’t get the clear skies that I wanted, which was a shame as you really need to sun to track the passage of time over a full day, but I still had fun. Here’s some pics of the work.

Thoughts on Painting – Episode 11 Port Talbot, Wales – March 2017

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize

I popped down (up?) to London yesterday for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize which was being held at the Mall Galleries. It was packed in there and I heard they had received a record number of over 2000 entries. 105 paintings were selected, so I was very fortunate to be among them. I took some pics with my new fish-eye lens which was fun. Huge congratulations to the prize winners, but my favourite painting of the show went unrewarded, a wonderful urban landscape by Paul Newland called “The Line into town” brilliant painting.

Here be pics.

Paul Newland – “The Line into town”

Dawn & Dusk

I’ve become fascinated with the golden hour, at both dawn and dusk. It’s a magic time when light does wonderful things and in winter, it’s not too tough to get up in the morning to catch it 😉

I’ve focussed on the Avon Gorge and suspension bridge because its just such a perfect spot to watch the light effects play out. There’s also one of Lockleaze, a great spot I found on an empty road in suburban Bristol. I hope you like them!

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New Bristol Paintings

I’ve been hard at work with a new series of Bristol paintings. This time of year has my favourite quality of light, soft, subtle and with the sun at a low angle for much of the day. Lovely.

I’ve focussed on the avon gorge, the clifton suspension bridge and Underfall yard in the floating harbour.

Please do enquire if any are of interest.

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Avon Gorge, high tide with blue sky and clouds, November – Oil on Board – 12 x 10 in

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Avon Gorge, twilight October – Oil on Board – 12 x 10 in

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Clifton Suspension Bridge, contre jour, November – Oil on Board – 18 x 8″ 46 x 20cm

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Jogger and car on the Downs, misty day, November – Oil on Board – 10 x 8 in

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Looking South down the Avon Gorge from the Downs, soft light – Oil on Board – 12 x 10 in

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Sunset over Underfall Yard, November – Oil on Board – 10 x 8 in

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Sunset over Underfall Yard, November – Oil on Board – 12 x 10 in

New London Paintings

I’ve been working on some large paintings of London in the studio recently, painting Camden Lock, Piccadilly and Bond Street in London. I’ve painted each location before on a small scale, but really wanted to do something larger, as those scenes all have something bold enough to carry over well on a large scale.

 

Camden High Street, September – Oil on board – 30 x 18 in

 

Camden Lock Bridge – Oil on board – 30 x 13 in

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Big clouds over Bond Street, September – Oil-on-Board – 30 x 18 in

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Traffic cone in the City – Oil on Board – 14 x 12 in