Sunday, 23 March 2014

Lower Weald

I've not been able to get out to paint much recently, one reason being the return of the 'whirling pits' (vertigo) which I won't dwell on! Onto a couple of pieces I did in early March when the sun was shining. First up is 'Little Weald', less than a mile from where I live in Stony Stratford and I've always wondered about having a go at this view. The light needs to be in the right place to make it work and fortunately on this chilly morning it was ideal.

'Saturday cyclist, Lower Weald' -10x14in, oil on board

I took a few liberties by moving the buildings about a bit to try and get a composition that worked for the board I had. The building just creeping in on the left was further over but I wanted it in as a useful 'stopper'. I liked the the damp patches in the shadows on the road but it was quite tricky judging the relative tones and temperatures as there was a surprising amount of quite subtle variations. I was conscious of not muddying the colours too much in the shadow areas. There were loads of serious cyclists riding through the village (they set out from Stony on Saturday mornings) so it seemed appropriate to sketch one in. I had my anti 'chocolate box' sensors set on maximum to try and avoid doing anything too twee!

Another one from an allotment site at New Bradwell. I arrived a bit late for this so had to work quickly before the light faded. Just enough time to try and make some sense of the jumble and get an indication of the colours down. It could perhaps benefit from a figure on the left but I didn't want it too cluttered. Hopefully there'll be some new growth in the allotments soon and some opportunities for further studies. I do enjoy painting allotments although I might need to bring my earplugs back to this one as there is a resident cockerel that drives me nuts!

'Early Spring, New Bradwell allotments' - 10x13in, oil on board

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Brief winter outings

It's been a while since I posted anything so time to remedy that! It's generally been a pretty wet January but there have been the odd glimpses of sunshine which I've tried to grab on a couple of weekends. Nothing too ambitious, keeping it local as the days are so short and I don't want to be travelling too far.

This was a broken tree I glimpsed late one afternoon near the village of Nash and the sun was shining fully onto the exposed 'innards' of the branch. HAD to try and capture something of that. I parked up and got to work as the light was changing fast. Within an hour it would almost be gone!

Broken Ash - 9x14in, oil on board

I'm hoping to attempt a larger version of this in the studio, perhaps with some compositional tweaks. Quite a tricky one to scale up because there are a few areas that lack definition in terms of tone/colour/detail. I must admit I quite like the idea of making sense of a sort of visual tangle, trying to create shapes and rhythms that capture the essence without getting too fussy (no time to be fussy anyway!). I find this sort of subject much easier to paint on location than I do in the studio. It's all those little pieces of information that you notice there and then that help along the way.

Next up, a very quick 9x7in done as the light was fading. This is the meadow and river just a few hundred yards from where I live. As a result of working so fast, the paint application was quite forceful in parts but I actually quite liked seeing a few ridges of paint!

Winter light, Passenham meadow - 9x7in, oil on board

Finally, this one from a spot near Castlethorpe was done on a cold day when I'd forgotten my gloves. It took a couple of hours for my hands to come back to life afterwards! I was interested in the unusual rhythms of the branches and the winter light added a bit extra.

Rhythmic branches, 8x16in, oil on board

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

ROI annual exhibition 2013

Just returned from the private view for the 2013 annual exhibition with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters at the Mall Galleries in London. Great to see everyone there and chat with fellow members, friends and visitors. It really is a superb show this year and I'd thoroughly recommend a visit (runs until December 21st).

The exhibition was offiicially opened by ROI President Ian Cryer and Dr David Starkey.

Dr David Starkey giving his opening speech to a packed out gallery audience

I have five paintings on show, as shown below.

'Punt station, Magdalen Bridge, Oxford' (22x28in)

'Mill Lane, Stony Stratford' (11x14in)

'Royal Palace of Alcasar, Seville' (12x16in)

'Barge at Heybridge', (12x16in)

'Blue boat, Brancaster Staithe', (10x8in)