Category Archives: Diary

The rivals

The rivals_edited-1In the winter of 2011 during the very cold weather, I watched Red-breasted Merganser males displaying in a corner of Langstone harbour. I hope this conveys the half light of a very cold winter morning, against a semi-industrial backdrop. I have included just enough of the detail of the birds to recreate the overall experience of being there. It was re-created from a couple of very quick sketches made with very few lines to convey the posture of the birds.


The crab apple raiders 2

Crab apple raiders 2_edited-1This is much bigger than the original, (about 36 inches by 24 inches) and is a move towards cutting out everything that doesn’t contribute to evoking the experience of observation. I seek to create memorable images that convey the deep enjoyment of the visual experience of nature. The part of our field of vision that is actually in focus is a fraction of the overall visual experience. The rest contributes colour, rhythm, movement- all of the things that malke up our sense of being alive.

The Portsoken Volunteer project (2)

The Portsoken volunteer small fileBrian is now a very good friend, and I have made a lot of drawings and a couple of paintings of him to date. The project is not by any means over yet, and I expect that this work will feature quite a bit in my end of year show.

The latest drawing is pretty well life sized. here is a small section of it showing the developments in my technique that have taken place in the last six months. It has been reviewed by Robin Lee-Hall, Tanya Russel, Rob Pepper and Brendan Kelly, all of whom have had positive but critical remarks to make. It is a great privilage for me but to have this standard of input but, well, more work required.

Portsoken volunteer project

Following on from the charcoal drawings that are already on mu blog. I am now working on two oil paintings. One of them is still at the planning stage but is based on one of these charcoal drawings. It is up for critical review on Wednesday 5th Feb by Rob Pepper and Robin Lee-Hall.Portsoken Volunteer No1

“The flush”

I continue to try out many styles and themes related to my twin obsessions in art. One is nature based themes, and the other is painting people. These themes are not as far apart as may appear to be the case and I am using techniques that can be adapted to both. Gradually, they are converging on a settled overall style, but it is a really slow job. I have decided , for the moment, that I need to continue to pursue a fairly broad approach.

The flush_edited-1

Here is a sparrowhawk which I painted onto a heavily textured surface that evokes the random foliage to be found on the edge of a wood, where the effect of the wind and light are more important than depicting detail. I have often introduced a small amount of highly figurative detail into semi-abstract landscapes. I have experimented a lot with figurative detail in this space and made several efforts to get it right. Here is the overall space which is about 60cms wide.

My fellow students think I need to try to position people in these spaces tather as I have positione birds and animals. This may be the next step.

The bluebell wood

This was painted several years ago, and the lady who purchesd it has recently been in contact to buy “the lookout”. She sent me a photo to make sure the frame matches reasonably well. I decided to post a copy for you to see. The grey partridge painting called the lookout is an oil about 16″x12″.

The bluebell wood

Subtle Christian insights in Art

Although Rembrandt was a child of reformation Holland in the 17th Century, and despite the fact that he painted literally hundreds of pictures with biblical themes, there is much dispute about whether he was a Christian or not.

In the attached essay, I have explored the question of whether he really understood the deep psychological insights that Christianity offer to the world, through one of his paintings, made near the end of his life. The Return of the Prodigal Son

CO of the Portsoken Volunteers

The Portsoken Volunteers is part of the City of London  Home Guard formed in the late 18th Century to defend London against a Napoleonic invasion. This Company still exists today and the Uniform is the same as that used in the time of King George III, though they are now

CO of the Portsoken Volunteers

only deployed for ceremonial duties.

The CO asked me to do a portrait of him for part of my final year’s work, which is rather fun, but will be a long, multi-stage job.

Here is a  drawing I did of him relaxing, in his splendid uniform.

Jean is Interested – the value of critical appraisal

It is a priviledge to have very very talented tutors to look at one’s work. Here is the latest modification to Jean’s portrait.

Underlying abstraction

In the quest to get to grips with how important abstraction is to true expressiveness in my art, I experimented with a painting based on some sketchbook images I made of goldfinches feeding on thistles in my garden on a bright windy Autumn day. In the process, I think I have started to really understand just how brilliantly innovative JMW Turner really was. Not that I am setting myself up as a rival you understand. I have called it “the Charm” after the Victorian collective noun for these birds.