Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Watcher

The Watcher - an oil painting of a ginger cat in a window
This cat, watching from his vantage point in an abandoned building, appealed to me because of the contrasts: organic vs man-made, blue vs orange, dereliction vs life. It is also very typical of a cat, I thought, to find himself a nice discrete spot from which to survey the world. 
Painted on canvas board using an acrylic colour block-in as an underpainting, then in oils using a palette knife (except for the cat). My colours were limited to  blue, orange, black and white. You can make a lovely selection of greys from these colours. There was also a speck of lemon for the cat's eyes and a speck of alizarin (plus white) for his ears.

Friday, 21 April 2017


oil painting of Hound dog on a red cushion

A rare moment of contemplation for this hound dog, reclining in splendour on her red sofa. Warm shadows and cool light on the form of the dog. I enjoyed painting the curve of her body, pretending I was stroking her back as I applied the paint.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Bring Me Sunshine (2) and Happy Easter

painting of hound dog in play bow

Happy Easter! Here is a bonus painting for this weekend. I have been on a bit of a roll for the last week and completed 5 paintings. This one is on A4 MDF board - I bought a multi-pack from a new supplier on eBay and I am very pleased with it. I have gesso'd it myself with 3 coats of acrylic gesso.

Here are the two work-in-progress shots I remembered to take:
work-in-progress hound dog painting

The one on the top is the first stage: a rough drawing of the main features, position etc. Then I did a colour block-in. I am using watery acrylic paint for this: black, ultramarine, quinacridone nickel azo gold, burnt umber and sap green.

Once this was dry I started tidying up and adding a bit more detail. I used cadmium green pale and portrait pink to see if those colours would capture bright sunshine and concluded they did. I am still using acrylics at this point.

Once this had dried I switched to oil paint. For the sunshine I used lemon yellow, transparent oxide red, cadmium green light and a particularly virulent portrait pink from Daler Rowney, as well as white. For the shadows I used burnt umber, dioxine purple and ultramarine blue but pretty thin: lots of liquin.

Hope you like my playful dog -  have a playful Easter weekend yourselves. Thank you for looking at my paintings.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Bring me Sunshine

This painting of a tortoiseshell cat started off as an experiment. It was an experiment that ended well, a bit to my surprise. 
I used a previously toned board - it was a sort of peach-y colour - and I started drawing in the placement of the cat using a brush and some watery Raw Umber acrylic paint. Then I used some watery white and lemon acrylic to mark the patches of sunlight hitting the cat. 
Then I picked up an old friend I haven't used for a long time: Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, by Golden. This is the most luminous, fiery, coppery gold colour. You can see it in the cat's left eye and cheek in this painting. I have not been able to find a match in oil colour despite trying: much trial, all error thus far.
Anyway, having got to this point I began deeping the colour and adding more colour notes, thinking I would "finish" with oil paint. But I didn't. 
So this is the first acrylic painting I have made since switching to oils 4 years ago. 
I am not sure I could have done this painting in oils, not in a single sitting anyway. The acrylic dried so quickly on what was a very warm Spring day, I could start layering up immediately. Colours could also be placed side-by-side without creating mud. The corollary was that blending was very difficult. I had to either blend on the palette or create the colour I wanted by layering (glazing).
It is apparently possible to buy extenders that stop acrylic paint drying so fast. But since this was the property I actually enjoyed, I probably won't. 

Friday, 7 April 2017


Oil painting of a shepherd and lamb
You have two paintings for the price of one today. This is the second version of a painting I made of Henry in the lambing sheds. I made the setting less abstracted and more realistic, zoomed in on his lovely, hard-working face and totally invented the colour harmony of the lighting. 
I imagined this is what the lambing sheds might look like in early morning sunlight (or late afternoon). At the time I was in the sheds with him, we hadn't seen any sun for weeks and everywhere was dull and olive green.
This painting has just won a Special Merit Award from Light, Space Time Gallery in Florida USA 😊

Here is the first version of the painting. This one is a 12" x 16" on linen:
Oil painting of a shepherd and his lamb
This cool colour harmony is a more realistic rendering of the actual scene. There is more of the figure and also, of course, more of the lamb. In this one, I like the fact you get all the lamb's gangly legs. Bless him.
Maybe what I need to do is paint a 3rd one that brings together the elements of these two that I most like. What do you think?

By the way, if anyone also follows me on Facebook, I am presently taking both a personal and a professional holiday from Facebook, having unpublished both my page and personal profile. 
I might switch them back on, I might not. 
Facebook engulfs both time and mental energy. I was also getting rather too many weird visitors and comments. This, combined with endless demands from FB to hand over money to promote myself, decided me to take a holiday.