Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Keeping it local

Recently I've managed to head out to a few local spots in and around my home town of Stony Stratford. At this time of year the days are short and the light moves fast so I don't want to be spending time faffing around and travelling miles to find subjects. Besides, it's quite interesting to challenge yourself to seek inspiration on your doorstep. It makes me look harder at the painterly potential of subjects and gets the art brain ticking a bit more :)

Here's one of a couple of ramshackle allotment sheds in Stony Stratford, bathed in a lovely winter light. It was pretty nippy but when the light's like it's as though almost anything can become a potential subject. Nice warm/cool contrasts to work with.

'Allotment sheds in winter sun', 12x16in - oil on board

I went back to Mill Lane and was tempted by the afternoon light. I was fortunate enough to sell this one to the owner of one of the houses on the left of the painting who passed me as I was working. I do like the way the orangey stonework in Stony Stratford glows when the sun hits it.

'Mill Lane with winter sun', 8x16in, oil on board

This little scene below was captured next to the allotment subject above but looking in a different direction. I'd already clocked the allotment for another day and decided with the light fading fast I'd be better off tackling something smaller and a bit simpler. 

'Stroll in the sunshine, Wolverton Road, Stony Stratford', 6x10 - oil on board

Below is an afternoon study, again in the winter light with a focus on the blue awning of the RSPCA charity shop and the vivid contrast with the orange brickwork of the sunlit buildings behind.

'Blue awning, Stony Stratford' - 10x13in, oil on board

The canal scene below isn't quite as local as the others but Blisworth is still only about 8-10 miles or so up the road towards Northampton. I caught sight of this view at a place known as 'Blisworth Arm' and it's essentially a canal junction with a large marina nearby. Straight stretches of canal can appear to have a forced perspective that doesn't lend itself so well to an interesting composition but this arrangement seemed to work quite well, especially with the late autumn afternoon sun to help things along.

'Autumn light, Blisworth Arm' - 8x16in, oil on linen

Hoping to work with some more local subjects when I get the chance, as well as further afield too.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Royal Institute of Oil Painters annual exhibition, 2015

Looking forward to attending the private view today for the 2015 exhibition with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. It promises to be a great show, as indicated by the work on display on the new Mall Galleries website. The show is on until Sunday December 21st and certain to be well worth a visit.

I'm pleased to have five paintings on display with a mixture of studio and plein air works:

'High Summer, Fowey' (15x28in, oil on board)

'Boats at rest, Portscatho' (20x30in, oil on board)

'Waves rolling in, Looe' (6x14in, oil on board)

'Happy boats, Polperro' (10x14in)

'Gothic Library, Stowe House' (20x26in, oil on board)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Norfolk trip (2)

On a particularly murky morning we all headed up the coast road to nearby Morston which never fails to offer up subject matter. I've never really had a go in overcast conditions so it was interesting to take on the mud and all the greys reflected from the foggy sky.

'Boats at rest, Morston' - 11x14in, oil on board

It's surprising the colours you find in these sorts of conditions and I wanted to make the most of the tonal range that was on offer. I drafted in some distant boats, taken from elsewhere, to aid the sense of depth. Note the hints of a Land Rover and someone on a moped on the distant bank, quietly suggested so as not to draw too much attention. The one below shows the same boats but I was perched up on the jetty behind, looking towards Blakeney church in the far distance. I felt in the mood for a bigger board but it was very cold and breezy and towards the end I started to feel a bit of a nip. 

'Grey day at Morston, towards Blakeney' - 12x24in, oil on board

'Wet mud, Morston' - 10x12in, oil on board

Roy, David and Karl lined up for action

There was a great little boat moored up on the bank at Brancaster Staithe and I think it has real personality, if a boat can have such a thing! I've painted this boat in the water at sunset on a previous trip but it was a different sort of challenge this time.

'Orange top, Brancaster Staithe' - 11x14in, oil on board

'Boats and buildings, Brancaster Staithe' - 8x16in, oil on board

On the final day we actually had some decent sunshine! Tim and I decided that a view from the house was too good to resist and since the wind was really whipping if made good sense. We had the window open to make it feel more like a plein air outing!

'Blowy day, Burham Overy Staithe' - 12x16in, oil on board

After the first attempt I decided to have another go and loosen up a little on a slightly bigger board. At one point we had a squally shower and we couldn't see a thing through the window but the rain drops soon got blown away. I might be tempted to use these as reference for a bigger piece in the studio at some point as the window was huge and I like the idea of re-creating that sense of a giant vista!

'Bright and breezy, Burham Overy Staithe' - 14x18in, oil on board

David Bachmann painting from a chilly perch at Morston

Karl, Tim, Roy and Tony painting from the back of the house

Careful when you take a step back Mike!

Tim, content with his masterpiece!