Wednesday, 18 March 2009


The next couple days are going to be spent sketching, as I'm still waiting on the canvas delivery (which grew in my renewed enthusiasm into a canvas, paper, oils, acrylics, brushes and graphite delivery.)

This painting is the result of an afternoon last week, sat by the river Wye in Bakewell. Initially it was an overly detailed acrylic, lacking in colour and movement.

Its progress was greatly aided through the couple more hours spent in a warm studio with oils and tea! This is an important aspect for me; to come away from the scene and let the impression of a place grow in my mind, and develop on the canvas.

I've not worked on a lot of river scenes in the past, and I'm enjoying the challenge of less horizon and smaller focus. In contrast I spent the day on Curbar edge yesterday; all birdsong, distance and barren moor... that might fend off the river scenes before too long!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Day 1...

I’ve just reached the end of a full week; painting, working, gardening and friends, and now I’m attempting my first blog.

It’s taken me a while to come around to this idea. I love the new way we perceive each other’s lives through photo sharing and the status update. I’m just still trying to work out the exact purpose of this more time-consuming communiqué.

So, news.... I’ve been out painting around Derbyshire – such a beautiful area – with fellow artists, Mark Preston, Colin Halliday and Julian Mason, and a
m hoping to go out sketching with my close friend Heather Duncan this week. It’s been invaluable, connecting with other painters. I’ve tended towards isolation within the artistic side of my life, as in other areas, and I’ve missed out on the benefits of sharing the highs, lows and other developments... Thanks to the organisational intellect of another artist friend, Gareth Buxton, we get together once a month at the Hollybush Inn in Makeney. I’m not sure quite what happens or what we talk about but I always come away feeling happy and encouraged!

Over the last two years, my work has been developing into more of an emotional response to a captured moment. I don’t want to leave this behind but am hoping that my accuracy with colour and paint evolves alongside it. I went to see a David Tress exhibition up in Manchester this week and found his work exuded exactly that – abstract expressionism but with such an accurate use of colour that his experience of a place, visually and emotionally, was communicated perfectly. And some on such a huge scale – it was fantastic.

His sketch above is of Loch Kishorn, in the Torridon area of North West Scotland, a sublime location... A couple weeks back Matt, the girls and I stayed in a loch-side cottage up there for our yearly wilderness fix. It is a spectacular place. I would love to live there, with the rain and midges. It was the perfect holiday, nestled under the mountains; sipping morning coffee whilst watching the girls beachcomb in pajamas and wellies. We tramped through the landscape, had fresh seafood looking out to Skye, sipped whisky, read books and spotted deer, dolphins and eagles.

Next we’re off to Devon, where I’m hoping to use some of the oils and thirty six small canvases I just ordered. Leaving behind the large scale beasts for now... I’m looking forward to painting the sea again. In May we head off to Alderney, with Heather and family, which will be a celebration of sand, sea, path, food and pub. Can’t wait.