Thursday, 23 December 2010


Another painting inspired by the beetle rally, earlier this year. Painted in a direct method, without too many washes, I used the whiteness of the paper to create the highlights and sparkle on the shiny chrome. The bright, fresh green of the grass is refelcted in the bumpers.

The weather here was bright and sunny. Now though, winter is here with snow all over the country.
To all watchers and followers of my blog, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

"Britannia on Torquay Pavilion"

Another view of this fine building. Built from stone, with copper domes and iron work in the Art Nouveau style, this presents quite a challenge for the artist. As usual, I have simplified the details greatly. The strong sunlight creates crisp shadows with plenty of reflected light.
The Pavilion was opened in 1912 and contained a theatre. Unfortunately, much of the interior was destroyed in later years. Since then it has contained a skating rink and now shops. Unbelievably, it was proposed to be demolished in the early 70's but was listed in 1973.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

"Broadsands Beach, Paignton"

I painted this small seascape one sunny morning, back in the summer. This spot is walking distance from the house, so I carried my paints and easel down the hill, under the viaduct (built by Brunel) and onto the beach. When I arrived, about 10am, there was almost no movement in the clear, blue water. The cliffs around the Torbay area contain some beautiful colours and when they're bathed in sunlight, they take on a lovely pink colour.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

"Bright Morning at Torquay Pavilion"

Earlier this year I got on the bus to Torquay, with my paints, easel & paper, and hopped off at the Pavilion. I managed to find a little shade under a tree and set up my easel. For anyone who's ever painted outdoors, you'll know just how fast the shadows move and the light changes. This seems to be even more apparent when you're painting architecture. As the sun catches widow sills and railings, the shadows move across the surface like a sundial. Still, I work pretty fast and managed to paint this in just over an hour. I began with an all-over wash with cobalt blue in the sky and raw sienna on the sunny areas of the building. Once dry, I quickly filled in shadows with cooler mixes of cobalt, light red and alizarin crimson.

Monday, 13 December 2010

"Rainy Day at Lerryn, Cornwall"

I led a watercolour workshop at this village in Cornwall. I liked this view, as the different-shaped buildings went up the hill and around the bend. I didn't have time to paint it on the day so, I took a photo for reference. Unfortunately, as often happens, the photo was pretty disappointing and lacked atmosphere. Still, I had enough to go on and decided to paint the scene as if it were raining. I painted the reflections of the buildings onto wet paper, which gave the impression of a rain-soaked street.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

"Old Fergie"

The Watershed Studio, in St Osyth, Essex, is one of the venues where I run painting courses. Based on a working farm, there is an old Ferguson tractor just outside the converted calf shed, which now serves as a painting studio. Every artist, I think, who has ever run a course there, has painted this old piece of farm machinery. I've painted it several times myself, and this is the latest small watercolour. I love the rusty bits, which are very colourful to paint.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

"Ruins at Boxgrove Priory, Chichester"

I run several painting courses throughout the year at Earnley Concourse, Chichester. During the summer I run a week-long en plein air course in and around Chichester. One of our regular venues for outdoor painting is Boxgrove Church and Priory. There are many subjects to paint here and I particularly enjoy painting the ancient walls.

"London Bridge, Torquay"

This unusual rock formation makes a great subject. This small painting was done earlier this year, during the summer. It was a beautiful day with hardly any movement on the water. There is a footpath, which takes you as far as this view. If you want to get any closer though, you have to take the unofficial route, which involves climbing over the wall and then scrambling down the rocks. I decided that, with my paints and easel, this would not be a wise decision. Besides, from a compositional angle, this was the best vantage point anyway.
It's one of those views that would make a good subject whatever the weather. I shall return.

"Several not-so-careful Owners"

There was a Beetle rally on Paignton Green in the summer, which attracted bugs from around the country. They came in various colours and various states of condition. This forlorn specimen caught my eye and I felt that it would make a good subject for a painting.
Rather than paint the whole car I decided to opt for a close-up, the single headlight looking like one big, sad eye.
Lots of rust! Lots of Character!