Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Associate Membership of the ROI

I'm absolutely delighted to have been made an Associate member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters! Standards are very high so it's a real honour to be elected. I'm really looking forward to being a part of the society. The annual ROI exhibition is always a great spectacle and this year was no exception. So many great paintings on was a real treat. The ROI paint evening is held during the exhibition and provides the opportunity to paint portraits with members in the main gallery. Many people come along to watch the artists in action and enjoy the atmosphere. It was a great night and I enjoyed painting the ROI president Peter Wileman who was one of the sitters.

Below are my 4 paintings that were accepted into this year's exhibition, along with a few of shots of the paint evening held during the exhibition. Looking forward to lots more painting action in 2012 :o)

Punt Station, Magdalen Bridge (Oxford),  oil on panel - SOLD

High Sun, Sennen Cove (10x13, oil on panel)

Sunrise, Onley (6x8 - oil on panel)

Kelling Birch (9x10, oil on panel)

Action from the paint evening

Tim King paints alongside members Lucy Mckie and David Curtis

Adebanji Alade, enjoying every moment!

My portrait setup, flanked by newly elected full member Tim Benson (left) and David Newens

My finished portrait of ROI President Peter Wileman!

Monday, 19 December 2011


I've recently returned from a fabulous few days painting with friends in Venice. We were there for 5 nights and there were 11 of us hitting the streets. It's an amazing city and I very much hope to return for some more easel action. To be honest, almost everywhere you look there's amazing subject matter. The architecture, light, water and general atmosphere....all incredible!

We were quite lucky with the weather. A bit of rain here and there but not too bad considering it's December. It seems a good time of year to visit because there are less tourists. In the hot summer months with crowded streets and bridges I can imagine it would be much more difficult to find a painting pitch. You soon get used to the idea of using boats and footpaths to get around. In fact, it's suprising how normal it feels after a few days. Certianly didn't miss the presence of the motor night there's a blissful silence in the air...just the sound of lapping water! Speaking of the water, it has a unique milky green colour (as described by fellow painting friend Tim King). Even on grey days it veers towards this green. Lovely!

Anyway, here are some of the studies I made. I'll call them studies because some appear quite sketchy. With the weather, light and crowds there's not much scope for doing anything too detailed. I was more interested in trying to get the basic tones and colours to work rather than getting hooked up on architectural detail (much easier said than done!). That said, the architecture does demand a lot of focused attention and subjects like the Basilca (St Mark's church) are a real challenge at 8am in the morning! I found my new Open Box M kit very easy to use and it's very lightweight for carrying on the plane (we had a 20kg weight limit to hit). I had some hassle at airport security getting my paints through the hand luggage checkpoint, despite having a letter of clearance to do so from Easyjet. After a rather heated exchange with the airline my paints were eventually checked into the hold, along with the rest of my hand luggage. Lesson learned.....never take paints in the hand luggage...whatever the airline tells you!

I'll post a few more paintings and action shots from the trip in the near future. I did 14 panels in total. Some need a bit of tidying up but I don't like to fiddle with them too much in the studio. I'd rather start a new study and use the original as reference.

San Giorgio chuch from Dogana

St Mark's in the rain

St Mark's, cloudy early morning

La Salute, across the Grand Canal from the Gondala station

Colleoni's statue, against teh light

La Salute from the foot of the Accademia bridge

La Salute, from the Accademia bridge

Grand Canal, from the foot of the Rialto (where Sargent stood!)

San Giorgio and Doge's palace, rainy morning

Painting on the Accademia bridge

Sporting a Scott of the Antarctic look in St Mark's Square