Studio Show

Studio Show – 28th Feb & 1st March 12-7pm

Collectors & followers,

I will be having a show here at my home studio in Redland, Bristol at the end of the month and would love you to come. The show will run from 12-7pm on both Saturday 28th February and Sunday 1st March.

I will be showing over 70 paintings produced over the last couple of years, both framed and unframed. The majority of the work will be from the Bristol and Bath area but I will also be showing some still life.

There will be nibbles and refreshments in the relaxed atmosphere of my home. I would love to have an informal chat with you about the work and answer any questions you may have. I will also be able to take card payments for purchases. Prices at this show start at £350.

If you would like an invite, or know anyone that would (and please, tell all your art-loving friends) then let me know and I’ll email one to you, including my full address.

I’m really looking forward to seeing you.

mail@tomhughespainting.co.uk

 

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*Update 14th Feb*

Things are coming together nicely with some of the work up.

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Padstow

I had three days painting in Padstow last weekend, prior to Jane Reeves new gallery opening there next month. I’d visited once before for an afternoon of speedboat shenanigans with some friends (a pregnant member of our party went overboard, but both her and baby were fine!) and was keen to get back, if only to visit Rick Steins Fish Bar. I left Bristol at 6am and drove down in the dark, through dense fog over Bodmin moor and onto sunrise at Padstow. There is something about sunrise, I think I actually prefer it to sunset, I feel incredibly energised and excited, rather than slightly morose, as I do at sunset.

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I walked around the harbour for a while trying to get my bearings and find a spot. The sun was climbing up and the sky was clear, so I thought I’d head up the coast path and try a contre jour of the town. I walked up a field and got a pretty decent spot, surrounded by about 100,000 tiny little money spiders spinning their morning webs.

Padstow from the coast path, Contre jour, January

I swung round and put my back to the sun after this painting and saw the wonderful view towards Trebetherick. There is a neat little ferry that runs all day from Padstow harbour depositing dog walkers and ramblers onto the beaches. The trips were regular enough to warrant including the ferry. I think it made the painting.

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I went back into town after this piece to have a pasty and a cup of coffee. I got stared at by a lot of seagulls. Friday afternoon in Padstow in January is pretty quiet, so it was nice to just sit and enjoy the sun.

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I ended the day with a small 10 x 8 boat painting and headed for the beach to watch the sunset on the West coast. The beach was amazing and completely empty so I had it all to myself.

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After a pretty damn good sunset I went back to my hotel where I played pool with “Colin” (three straight losses) and had a few pints while talking to the hotel cat. Then bed.

Day 2

The forecast was sun, before clouding over later in the day. I drove around to Polzeath via an Art shop to replace the jar of turps and linseed that I had smashed the day before, thanks to a kind soul giving me the heads up to its location on Twitter. Polzeath was very quiet and grey, with a single surfer bobbing around in the water. I painted towards the life boat station as the rain started, but I managed to get it done.

Towards the Old Lifeboat Station, Polzeath, January

Returning to Padstow I got a small 10 x 8″ done of a fishing boat in between the rain showers. you can actually see the marks from the rain drops all over the painting if you look closely, in the flesh.

Blue boat with red flag, Padstow, January

I headed for Rick Steins Fish Bar for dinner as I was pretty knackered at this point and fancied a treat. It was a good meal, they cook the chips in beef dripping which is marvellous, all chippies should do it. Nice fish and mushy peas, too. Cheers Rick.

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I headed back to the hotel but alas, Colin was nowhere to be seen and the cats were ignoring me. I downed a couple of pints before watching 40 mins of the shopping channel (I don’t have it at home) and then turned in for the night.

Day 3

Day three was a short one as I had to get back to Bristol so I decided on a 12 x 10″ under an overcast sky. The boats in Padstow harbour all seem to be painted in wonderfully bright colours and the neon red buoys glow brightly, even on a grey day. The piece went well as the light was consistent, no big changes.

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A good trip and one I shall be repeating before long, I’m sure. There’s still the local bakery to sample and numerous other chippies to patronise.

Innocent Fine Art Closure

Innocent Fine Art Closure 

Innocent Fine Art will be closing its doors on 31st of January after 17 years trading. It’s sad news as the gallery has been a respected destination in Clifton for quality painting for many years. Carole was the first person to take me on when I started painting and helped me get a name for myself in Bristol. I wish her all the best for the future.

I still have around five pieces in the Gallery, so do head up there before it shuts in 11 days!

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London

I had a very cold, but very rewarding three days in London recently painting a series of small 10×8″ street scenes. The light in winter is just so wonderful, the low-hanging sun gives an eerie drama to the city and a blinding one at that when you’re staring into it! I hung around the central areas, walking a good few miles each day while I searched for a spot where the light looked good. It’s daylight from 8am to 4pm at the moment so the painting window isn’t that long, but long enough to attempt three paintings in a day. I got six I was happy with from the trip which is pretty good going. Working into the sun or “contre jour” on Whitehall and Waterloo Place was a real thrill, both scenes just looked mesmerising and I worked as fast and as accurately as I could before the light changed. I got lucky.

I explored Soho on the second day, but couldn’t find a spot I really liked, so mooched off to Honest Burger for a medium-rare lunchtime feast. Recommended. I had a crack at Tower Bridge in the late afternoon and painted fast as the sun set behind a wall of cloud. I was freezing cold and very tired and then it started raining. I think the piece worked though… the blue paint they use on the suspension arms really does look that bright!!

On the third day I got up and was setting up on London Bridge at dawn to paint the sunrise. If you’ve ever attempted a sunrise painting en plein air, you’ll know how fiendishly difficult they are and in this case, I didn’t pull it off. It was about 6 degrees on the bridge according to the Met Office App on my phone with a horrendous windchill, I couldn’t feel or really move my fingers after about 30 minutes so I stopped prematurely and limped to a café to warm my bones. Brutal! After a warming flat white I was suddenly really taken by the dark shadow cast under the railway bridge at London Bridge Tube station. It happens sometimes; you’ll be walking along and then BAM, something completely innocuous grabs you and you set up and get it down. You get stared at a lot in these instances, because, well… you’re painting a dirty bridge. But when people stop and see the painting they usually “get” it.

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Here’s the selection of pieces from the trip and also an example of my new distressed gold frames. Very nice they are too.

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Artists & Illustrators Magazine

Artists & Illustrators Magazine

I was interviewed a few weeks ago by Artists & Illustrators magazine about my working practise. It was a phone interview followed up with a visit from photographer Gareth Iwan Jones, who snapped some really good shots of me both in the studio and working outside, en plein air. I’m very pleased with how the article came out, I imagine it’s not easy to condense a 1 hour conversation into a couple of spreads of text, but it reads well and gets my main points across.

The interview can be found in the February issue and is in shops now. WH Smith is a good bet.

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ROI Show

It was off to the Mall Galleries again yesterday for the opening of the ROI show. A full day of food, wine, painters and public which kicked off at 12:30pm and ran all day until everyone was knackered and slumped around on chairs, all talked-out and overdosed on painting. Good feeling that, so can’t complain.

My painting “Gerbera with origami birds” won the Second Prize which was exciting. I had been told ahead of time, so there wasn’t that “who….me?” moment during the announcement, but it does feel good to be one of the ones collecting something from the stage, rather than watching 10 other people do it while you clap your hands raw. Congrats to all the other prize winners by the way.

Food was pretty good, a decent variety of sarnies and a very good selection of fresh fruit. Buffets matter, don’t they? Who can resist it all piled up like that, looking nice? Actually, the wine was really nice an’ all. Well done Mall Galleries.

Was great to see old friends and meet new people, the world of painting is small and everyone seems to know everyone else. I got to meet some people I had been following online for a while too like Oliver Bull.

Here’s some piccies of my highlights, sorry if I didn’t get yours in, there was a ton of good work.

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David Pilgrim ROI


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Tom Stevenson

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Norman Long MAFA

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Graham Webber

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Adebanji Adelaide

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Oliver Bull

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Peter Brown NEAC

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Michael John Ashcroft MAFA

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Miranda Ellis

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Me.

ROI Prize

My painting “Gerbera With Origami Birds” has won Second Prize at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters annual Exhibition. Many thanks to Winsor & Newton for supplying the prize – £600 of Artist’s materials which will come in rather handy over the next year.

It’s been a good week!

The ROI exhibition runs from 10-21 Dec at the Mall Galleries, London. 

Gerbera with birds

 *UPDATE* 23/12/14

Here’s what I got for my £600! full RRP doesn’t go very far!!

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Discerning Eye Show

I had a great day in London yesterday visiting galleries all afternoon before heading over to Mall Galleries for the Discerning Eye private view. London is already looking very festive, with Piccadilly and Oxford street in full Christmas-light splendour. I popped into Fortnum & Mason to see all the expensive things I will never buy and to listen to the pianist on the top floor. Same bloke as always, playing “A Whole New World” and smiling a lot. Brilliant.

I went to Messum’s to See Peter Brown’s latest show of London and Northern France paintings, they were massive! I wasn’t expecting such huge pieces, God knows how he does those on the street without constant stress… Some lovely works. I especially liked the small pieces, just so beautifully observed with real flourish in the paint handling.

I then paid my regular pilgrimage to the National Gallery in the late afternoon to spend some time with Turner. I think that sofa in front of “The Fighting Temeraire” is probably the best seat in London. What a view. The National Gallery now inexplicably allows photography, resulting in hoards of celebrity-painting-tourists standing with their backs to giant Monet’s, Turner’s and Van Gogh’s to take selfies with their iPads. I don’t want to sound like a stuffy old get, but that really wound me up. They weren’t even looking at the paintings, it was just a celebrity moment for them to stick on their Instagram or Twitter feed with some stupid hashtag. Harumpff.

ANYWAY….

The Discerning Eye show opened at 6:30pm to a vast swathe of artists, friends and buyers. I think the Mall Galleries now has a new bar, which looked rather Star-Trek-esque in it’s white, circular magnificence. There was a lot of wine. (and you people whine about where your entry fees are going…) I got topped up more times than I can remember and felt pretty refreshed and upbeat by the time the prize giving started. I was sat on the stairs right next to the microphone, not deliberately, but because my feet hurt and there are no seats in the Mall Galleries. The prizes were announced to much clapping and squeezing through the crowd by the winners to receive their trophies. Towards the end I turned to Lillias August who I had been chatting to and said “I’ve never won anything..” then 30 seconds later “Tom Hughes” was said into the microphone, so I stood up! It must have looked a bit rigged like I was sat there waiting which seemed to amuse people. I won The Benton Purchase Prize for £1000 for my painting “Studio With Turqouise Socks” I got a lovely little trophy too, I was dead chuffed.

Here’s some awful photos of the evening taken on my camera phone (sorry, no selfies)

Onwards and Upwards!

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Bath Show at Hilton Fine Art

I will be showing 10-15 paintings of Bath at Hilton Fine Art as part of their Christmas show and I would love you to come along. The private view is on the 12th of December, which happens to be my birthday! So please pop it in your diary and treat yourself.

Click here to visit the gallery.

Hilton Fine Art
5 Margarets Buildings
Bath
BA1 2LP

Milsom Street, afternoon, August

Discerning Eye selection

My two studio interior paintings have been selected for the Discerning Eye. The exhibition runs from 13 – 23 November, Mall Galleries, London.

Studio with air filter and vase Studio with turquoise socks

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

The weather forecast is becoming increasingly important to me. When you’re painting at the coast visibility is key if you want to see those distant peninsulas, so the promise of 2 clear days was irresistible. Having painted in Devon recently I wanted to move East into Dorset, to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. The forecast was spot on, I left Bristol at 7:30am with the car full of painting gear, food and camping stuff. I’d booked into a local campsite right on the coast so could get an early start on day two.

Day 1

I Started at Lulworth cove in the glorious sun. It was already busy when I got there with families on the beach and boat rides departing up the coast. I had a good walk around, looking for an angle. I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to finding a spot, everything has to line up to provide a composition that I think is worth painting. The blue boat on the beach looked good, it was absolutely glowing in the sun and the two men painting the hull told me that it wasn’t going anywhere soon. I felt a little close to it while stood on the beach, so retreated to the hill above and got a perfect spot.

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The sun had started to swing around by the time I had finished the boat painting so I headed up Dungy Head to get a view looking back at Lulworth Cove. The path is very steep and not made any easier by having 20kg on your back! I kept stopping on the way up (to check the view) and eventually settled on a decent height that let me look down into the cove. Those two boats in the water just made it. Lovely.

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It was lunchtime (no, not nap time) after the first two paintings so I found a nice spot to eat my half stale, half soggy sandwiches. I chatted to some lovely people while enjoying the view before continuing down the West side of Dungy Head and down to Durdle Door. I hadn’t been to Durdle Door since I was 17 and I had forgotten how dramatic it is, helped in no small part to the divine weather. I spotted a bird of prey on the walk down and snapped a pic (not sure which one, help please)

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The light was warming up as the sun was dropping which leant an orange tint to the chalk cliffs. I set up and got to work with a good audience and had some nice chats.

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I was pretty tired after this third piece, so called it a day. Walking back up to the campsite, I spied this rather incredible trike-thingy in the car park. Amazing!

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Dinner was served in the form of a mediocre burger, fries and onion rings, washed down with some quality beer. I walked up to the cliff top to consume this styrofoam-encapsulated feast and watch the sun go down.

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The campsite was lovely, with tent spots scattered amongst pine trees. I brought a duvet with me, but forgot pillows. Darn. I’d love to say I had a wonderful nights sleep, but there were some people having a very sweary, heated argument about 40 feet from my tent and it sounded like things were being thrown. I finally got to sleep around 4:30am so was not a happy bunny.

 

Day 2

I woke up feeling rough, but got going quickly after some awesome porridge cooked on the camp stove. Coffee was drunk, tent packed away and car moved up to the cliff parking where I walked up about 50 feet and set up on the path for the first one of the day. The morning sun was hitting Durdle Door, casting a beautiful shadow on the water and cliff. Irresistible.

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I was so taken with the view I got out a 12 x 10″ and did another.

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Lunch comes around quick when you’re working hard, so it was time to stop and eat an even staler and even more soggy sandwich. And a Twix. I hadn’t actually painted the arch yet, so walked down to Durdle Door and then up the incredibly steep Western cliff path. The sight from the top was about as perfect a view as you’ll find anywhere in England I think. Stunning.

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I really wanted to paint it all in one, but needed either a 16 x 12″ or 14 x 12″ board and seeing as I had neither, I opted for two seperate 16 x 7″ paintings. This also meant I could cope with any light change over time as the sun was descending quickly, thus changing the colour temps.

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I wish I could have stayed until sunset as it was clearer than the day before but I had to get back to Bristol. I met a lovely chap while doing the second painting who kindly took this picture.

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All in all this was one of my favourite painting trips. I really feel at home painting these views and am surprised I never thought to come down here earlier. Plenty more coastal paintings to come, weather dependant. I can’t wait.

If you are interested in buying any of these paintings, please email. I’d love to hear from you.

mail@tomhughespainting.co.uk

Devon and Dorset coast

I’m just back from a two day painting trip to the Devon and Dorset “Jurassic” coast. The weather forecast had promised me some haze on Tuesday and clear skies for Wednesday. This turned out to be absolutely spot-on, so props to the Met-Office there. I went back to Burton Bradstock as I wasn’t done yet with the spot I found back in July. It looked very different in the overcast haze and was a reminder of the incredible variety the British climate can serve up. What a great country to paint in. I did a couple from the lay-by on the B3157 looking West towards Lyme Regis. It was colder than I was expecting, but to be honest, I have kind of missed wearing layers when I paint. For some reason I like to feel I’m in a slight battle with the elements when I work, it seems to make me get into it more, so a bit of a chill in the air is welcome.

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I carried on down the coast road East to Weymouth and then out to Portland. There was a strange atmosphere out there, it’s a fascinating peninsula. I drove to the top of Portland up some very tight switchbacks with no idea that there was a prison at the top! makes sense I guess, hard to escape when you’re surrounded by cliffs and water. There’s a café up there where I had a sit down and a think. The haze was still too dense to bother painting from up there, so I just took some pics and then drove back to Burton Bradstock.

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By late afternoon the sun had finally broken through, so I went up onto the coastal path in Burton Bradstock and painted looking East.

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Day one over with, I drove to Seaton to stay with my cousin and her family. Wonderful hospitality and a very accurate human alarm clock in the form of a 7 year old boy. Thanks Adam!

Day two was spent at Beer. There was a thick haze in the morning, so I walked down to the beach to paint some boats as the cliffs were completely concealed. The mackerel fishermen were all loading up to go out for the day, there was bustle, but it was still very peaceful. Lovely place.

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After two boat paintings I was ravenous. It was either a pasty or fish and chips. I like fat/grease, so the chips won. I always get sleepy after a big meal, so treated myself to a nap up on the hills next to the beach after lunch. Lovely! I was woken by the sun coming out and burning my arms, which was a sign that it was time to paint the cliffs.

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The battery on my phone died after this pic and I didn’t have my decent camera with me, so I couldn’t get any more pics unfortunately. I walked up the West side of Beer cliffs and continued up the coast path. The sun broke through quite spectacularly and lit up the cliffs a treat. I found a bench (lazy, seated painting spot) and got to work on a 16 x 7″ It came out well, so I walked up the hill just a little further and tried  12 x 10″ of the same view. The sun had gone back in again and the haze was returning, but there was still a wonderful quality to the light. The red cliffs of Seaton are so different compared to the white cliffs of Beer. Not sure there is another place that shows that geological contrast that well.

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So, that was it. I was out of water, exhausted, but very satisfied. What a lovely two days. If you are interested in buying any of these pieces, please drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.

mail@tomhughespainting.co.uk

 

National Open Art Competition Selection

My painting Studio stuff with stove and conker has been selected for the National Open Art competition. The show runs from 18 September – 2 October, Somerset House, London, WC2R 1LA

Studio stuff with stove and conker

Interiors

Interiors have been on my mind a lot lately. There is something about trying to capture a room and playing with light in the process that I find incredibly exciting. When I’m outdoors painting plein air, it’s all about what the sun is doing but when I get inside it’s fun to pull down the black-out blind and turn the lamps on. Complete control is a nice change from no control.

I did a couple of pieces using the convex mirror that I’ve used a few times before. The curve on it is quite extreme so the edges really do distort. This obviously creates some pretty bizarre angles, but it does mean that you can get 180 degrees of vision within a very small space. My studio is tiny, so it’s great to be able to show it floor to ceiling in such a compact way. I also love painting in a square format, it’s just incredibly satisfying for some reason.

The arrangement of objects in this first one was pretty much as it was when I set up the easel, I barely moved anything. I like to try and capture chaos/mess in a very natural way, rather than contriving a scene too much and deliberately placing things. Real mess always looks better. There are a couple of deliberate interventions though; the rainbow stripes you see in the drawer is a pack of multicoloured origami paper that I used for this painting and the turquoise socks were picked up off the floor and hung on the boards behind me.

Painting a reflection obviously flips everything, so I here’s the painting as-is and also reversed, so you can see what the studio actually looks like.

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The second one was slightly more contrived as I had to move a lot of stuff around to get it in view. The origami paper was switched to the other end of the drawer and I dropped the cling film wrap on the floor to tie in with the bright orange mini-hacksaw on the table. The thing on the windowsill is an air purifier if you were wondering, great for keeping dust and odours at bay in a small space. The small black vase also make a reappearance, it used to contain a rose that I sent my girlfriend on valentines day when I was living in the States.

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I’ve wanted to tackle my living room for about a year. I sit on the sofa most nights watching Dexter/Mad Men/Breaking Bad and my eye is always caught by the book shelf in the corner when the lamp is switched on. There is something about the glow of that area that I cannot stop looking at. Coupled with the cooler light of the TV screen, it makes for quite an eerie contrast that I haven’t been able to get out of my head, so here is my attempt to capture it. I treated myself to a new, larger convex mirror for this one. A real beauty. The curve is less extreme, so therefore less distortion at the edges, but this also means that me and my easel intrude more into the scene. I love the “behind the scenes” aspect of this painting; the fact that you can see the dust sheet, cables, tripod, light stand, everything that I needed to make the painting happen. it’s a look into a personal space, but also a view of all the set-up and foundations that make the painting…even though those things are the painting. Weird.

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The Mendips

The “sunny landscape itch” still wasn’t entirely scratched after my recent Quantocks trip, so I popped down to the Mendips to scratch some more. The mendips are closer to Bristol and smaller than the Quantocks, but still give a huge variety of views. The weather, again, was ferociously hot. I must admit on this trip I was done-in by the heat and actually fell asleep under a tree! I was lying on my back, sweating, watching the clouds and my eyes started to close so I gave into it. It was great, I can highly recommend it. I think it may have been due to eating an enormous home-made banana flapjack after setting up my stuff. I put an absolute ton of Golden Syrup in them and I think I read somewhere that the insulin you produce to deal with a sugar rush makes you sleepy. That’s my excuse.

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With my afternoon nap in the bag, I decided to do some work and painted towards Chew Valley Lake. There was a thick heat-haze, which I found rather frustrating. I prefer painting on clear days as the colours are clearer but you just have to make do when painting outside and get on with what you’re given.

I did two, one after the other then headed back to the car for another nap. Not really, I just had a banana and drove home.

Chew Valley Lake from Mendips, July No.2

The Quantocks

I fancied going a bit further afield recently due to a weather forecast of clear skies and hot sun so skedaddled down the M5 to The Quantocks. The Quantock Hills sit just West of Bridgwater and stretch about 15 miles North West towards the coast. I used to go mountain biking there a few years back and have fond memories of some great views, so thought I could potentially get some good work done.

Having sat-nav on your phone these days is a life-saver, I’d be lost (sorry) without it. The approach to the hills involves a fair few twists and turns up some tight lanes, the odd cattle grid and lots of wild horses and sheep littering the road. Lovely stuff. I had a ton of water with me due to the intense heat and a fair amount of food so my bag was pretty heavy but I was excited, so didn’t care.

I walked for about 40 mins before setting up for the first painting. I did two about 100 feet apart I think, both looking through the gap in the main hills towards Brean. The first painting featured the nuclear power station in the middle-ground. I liked the contrast of a big industrial building within such a stunning landscape. It also happened to be there. I never edit a scene and take things out, I just paint what I see, regardless. Who am I to say what’s beautiful?

Brean from Quantocks, July No.1 Brean from Quantocks, July No.2

I walked on a few miles more for the final painting and got absolutely baked in the sun. I had almost run out of water at this point but was convinced that there was a perfect view at the crest of the next hill. There was! I faced East, set up on the path and got one down, my favourite of the day. It was very peaceful up there and fiercely hot, I hope that comes across in the paintings. Realising I had to walk about 4 miles back to the car was a bit of a downer, but getting exercise, a farmers tan and severely dehydrated is what plein air is all about! I saw quite a few walkers up there, it’s nice when you pass a walker as they usually acknowledge you, smile and say “Hi”. I like that.

I drove home pretty pleased with a headache, sore ankle and a smile on my face.

Looking East from Quantocks, July

Pintar Rapido

Last weekend I went up to London to enter Pintar Rapido in the searing heat. The competition sees 500 artists take to the streets of Kensington and Chelsea and paint on location all day before exhibiting their finished pieces in Chelsea town hall the very next day.

I spent Friday scouting out the area to get a feel for the place and find a decent spot for Saturday. I’ve painted in London  a few times before but never in Chelsea, so I wanted to walk around a bit. After 3 hours and about 2 stone lost in sweat, I called it a day. Kings road looked good, as did Brompton Cemetery and of course Albert Bridge on Chelsea Embankment.

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I signed in Saturday morning and got a few 12 x 10″ boards stamped, thus proving my painting was done on the day. I couldn’t get into it in the morning and felt very tired after 2 nights of dreadful sleep so I just sat in Sloane Square with a coffee and stared into space for 40 mins! I finally got my arse in gear and walked down the Kings Road to a spot near where I had been the previous day and set up. The weather forecast was for hail, thunder and torrential rain. It was overcast as I began painting which I was very glad about as I love greys and flat light when painting in urban areas. I stuck my headphones in to keep focussed and put Sigur Ros on shuffle for 90 mins while I worked. I was very pleased with my piece and felt I captured the scene, greys and all. The sun broke through just as I finished and only got hotter throughout the day.

Kings road Chelsea, July

I had the whole afternoon off and very much enjoyed wandering around and talking to all the other artists, it was fascinating to see how many different approaches people had and how big some people were painting! I also saw a woman painting from inside a dense bush which made me laugh. Maybe she was shy.

I handed my painting in, framed it, then went out to do another for fun. I had to do Albert Bridge, it would have been rude not to. The sun was absolutely scorching at this point and I put my back to it and painted the bridge fully lit with my neck and arms smothered in suncream. The painting came out okay, but I thought I was going to faint from dehydration, so packed up a bit early and wobbled back to the town hall.

Albert Bridge, July

The exhibition the following day was packed. Quite a feat to hang all that work at such short notice and the staff did a really great job in making everything run smoothly. Well done you lot.

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I didn’t win a prize, but my painting sold by midday which was great, thank you to my buyer, I enjoyed our chat 🙂

All in all a great event, I really enjoyed myself. The highlight was chatting to all the other artists really, I got to meet so many people, it was wonderful. Amazing to know there are so many fans of plein air out there.

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Burton Bradstock

Summer is here, with knobs on. I have been patiently waiting this last week for a couple of days of perfect sunshine to undertake a commission for a friend of the family on the South Coast. My girlfriend and I were very kindly given the keys to a delightful holiday home a stones throw from the Jurassic coast under strict instructions to execute and bring back a plein air painting of unabashed brilliance, to be given as a birthday gift. We packed the car full of food, coffee, gin and fine wine and trundled off to Burton Bradstock with Radio 4 on full blast like the rebels we are.

Day 1

Bit of a nightmare… I had a hay fever attack in the long grass and produced two embarrassingly awful paintings, back-to-back. I returned to the cottage defeated and drowned my sorrows in front of an absolutely divine sunset before crawling to bed and passing out with swollen, itchy eyes.

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Day 2

Far more productive. I had planned to paint looking West in the morning and then East in the late afternoon. I had two industrial strength coffees (beans courtesy of Two Day Coffee. Try them, they’re wonderful) and painted the same view twice. I headed back to the cottage with sunburnt arms and devoured a stale cheese and pickle sandwich before heading back out to paint the reverse view towards Abbotsbury a couple of hours later when the sun had switched sides. I was happy now, having got four paintings done in a day despite insects, sunburn, hayfever and wind-induced earache. I returned to the cottage victorious and devoured multiple G&T’s before tucking into sausage and mash washed down with Rioja before sleeping like the dead for 8 hours.

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Day 3

I gave the West view another go but the clouds were making the sun go in-out-in-out-in-out, which makes for very difficult and frustrating painting. I did my best. I then had a lacklustre go at a North-facing view towards the hills, which came out a bit funny. I headed back, packed up and we hit the road.

All in all a successful trip and a lovely “break” (working holiday) It’s a lovely part of the country, the cliffs are an incredibly warm yellow colour, so different to the chalk cliffs on the South Downs and harder to paint as a result.

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Ta-da!

These are my favourite two.

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Onwards and upwards.

BP Private View

I pootled up to London last week for the private view of the BP Prize. There was a slightly different vibe than at similar shows at say the Mall Galleries, with massive bouncers on the door, bag searches by security staff and camera crews filming the proceedings. The paintings were exhibited in the end room, so you got to have a nice browse of the permanent collection as you made your way to the main event. This is the 25th year of the BP Prize which saw record entries – 55 paintings out of 2377 submitted made it through to the final show and the standard was high. Exhibiting artists were all exchanging catalogues to sign their respective pages, a nice gesture, but I caught on too late and only managed to grab David Kassan’s.

Huge congratulations to the prizewinners, Thomas Ganter, Richard Twose and David Kassan for their excellent work.

Particular highlights for me included the following:

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Padre – Maria Carbonell

It’s too small to make out in this image, but the face in Maria’s painting was beautiful, the eyes in particular were heartbreaking. I actually found it hard to look at. In a good way.

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Seek first – John Murphy-Woolford

I found John’s piece wonderfully emotive and gentle. It was small, beautifully painted and sensitive. Loved it.

Here’s a photo of me looking grumpy!

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Glenn Davis, you out there?

 

An open letter.

 

Glenn,

I hope you remember me, I certainly remember you. You taught me Art for 3-4 years in Oxfordshire from ’91-’94 if memory serves. Your influence on me was great and long-lasting. Please get in touch, I’d love to catch up. So would Kev and Dave.

Hope you’re well… I dun good!

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