Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Smoke and Steam

This is the image that I messed up in a big way in class, when experimenting with altering the surface of the support by adding tissue paper etc.. It really deserved to be painted better - so here it is.

The smoke should not have a hard edge like that, and the lighting is a little too subdued, but the composition and perspective work really well - IMHO.

Monday, 10 December 2007


The brief was to take a photograph and incorporate it in a still life. A photocopy of the photograph was then to be stuck on the paper and the rest of the still life painted around it. This was started in last weeks homework and finished off during class last week and homework this week.

I was very worried about the bottom left of the composition, but working on the texture and folds of the cloth, seem to have solved the "gap".

Half sheet of Arches in St Petersburg White Nights paints.

One of my better pieces this term - I think!

Saturday, 1 December 2007


The work from class last Wednesday was terrible. Using tissue paper and newspaper to change the painting surface. More like Blue Peter, and I was very bad at it.

To cheer myself up, this was painted in response to the reference photograph in the December Invitation to Paint on Wet Canvas. More my style, and as Jean would say "a proper picture".

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Drummers

This is finally finished. After all the preparation, it was very difficult to complete. The background worried me, and some useful advice was obtained from The Watercolour Studio on Wet Canvas. Maybe it was all because this was the first time I have painted on expensive paper - a half sheet of Arches Aquarelle - and I was afraid of wasting it. But don't the colours sing?

It has been well received at WC, let's hope it goes down well at college tomorrow.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Homework set 14 November 2007

" a figure pose set in an environment such as African and the landscape, colour of dress which tells a story."

"Think of it as an exhibition piece...."

This is the reference photo and some preparatory studies. The background still worries me. I would like to do some foliage set against a darker background, in the style of Bill Brydon, but we'll see.

Friday, 16 November 2007

French Window

This is my response to the November invitation to paint on Wet Canvas. It has been amazing to see the variety of submissions based on the same reference photograph. One painter even "flipped" the photograph though 180 degrees.

I'm pretty pleased with my version. The flowers were achieved by masking and painting in afterwards. The clematis and ivy foliage were painted in gouache - my first attempt in this medium.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Sarah returns

Sarah returned for another live portrait session today.

No chance for grids, just a pencil sketch, and on with the watercolour. It is not a bad likeness, although I may have aged her a little!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


Finally, this is the portrait based on the photograph used for the homework a week or two ago. I used a grid to make sure that the features were just right, and the likeness is pretty good. It has more life than I expected, but the teeth need to be toned down and formed a bit more. Still it has received quite good feedback.

Saturday, 10 November 2007


This was started in class last week and finished off this weekend. I have struggled to capture the likeness here, but enough is enough.

Thursday, 8 November 2007


Homework last week was to find a portrait from a magazine or other source that conveys a mood. Then practise elements of it.

The feedback from the tutor was that I handled the teeth well and the effect was very striking. One student thought that it was the tutor's work - praise indeed!

Thursday, 1 November 2007


Class last Wednesday focused on portrait work, using this live model. Three different views with less than 20 mins each view to capture the information you wanted.

My first attempt was in coloured pencil, the second watercolour with no pencil drawing, and the third watercolour with a preliminary pencil sketch.

Very difficult, and extremely rough, but there is a likeness! The pencil sketch is closest to the real image, but that's why I am attending watercolour classes!


The assignment for Half-term, was to consider the title "Holes".

This picture was based on a reference photograph found on the Internet. There were many times when I regretted starting it! Overall the result is OK, but there is much I would do differently, if ever foolish enough to attempt such a subject again.

It was quite well received in class yesterday!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


Back to classes today. The exercise was to create an ink and wash picture, but putting the first wash on before the ink. An interesting twist and it made it fun, but the finished product is not my best. Too much detail on the buildings and not enough on the COF the boats.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Invitation to paint - Mexico

Missed class last week. The invitation to paint for October on Wet Canvas was based on two reference photographs of Mexico. Great fun, but much more difficult than expected. I altered the image to give a view of the surrounding terrain through the arches, in order to add depth.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Paper Weights

No posting for a couple of weeks, as we have started classes again, and as Jean would say "haven't done any proper pictures" yet. After practising our drawing techniques and mixing colours wet on the paper directly last week, we applied that to a still life this week.

It is very loose and not all that representational, nevertheless I am quite pleased with it.Some of the colours are great, and no mud in sight.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Stanmer Park

The last Wednesday painting morning of the season was at Stanmer Park near Brighton University. An amazing place with a grand house, church and village. The weather was not kind and only 4 of us made it. After about an hour we had to run for the cover of the tea rooms. This was finished off at home.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Deer Island

We are off to Barcelona tomorrow until Sunday, so I shall miss the painting trip to Stanmer Park on Wednesday.

Of the dozens of paintings done over the last few months, very few are landscapes, and it was time to address this fear. A photograph by Sundiver from the Image Reference Library on Wet Canvas was chosen and this is my interpretation of the photo.

Now I know why I avoid landscapes - the level of detail I feel compelled to include means that they take absolutely ages. Some lessons need to be learned from my friend Reyma (aka Marcel) on WC who would have knocked this off in about 20 minutes!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Boxgrove Priory

Half a dozen of the class turned up at Boxgrove Priory yesterday. It was a lovely morning and there were lots of painting opportunities. The ruined cloisters drew me, especially the leaning column, but I took lots of photographs for future reference.

The painting was completed within 2 hours, with lots of stretch breaks in between. The lighting of the leaning column and the composition I am pleased with, but it is rather "rough". Depsite this I have decided to keep this version and not repaint it at home.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Swaledale Ram

The trip out to Kingston last Wednesday did not result in anything great. The painting of the church, including the Tapsell gate, was too similar to others I have done better. Still it was great to meet up with some of the class, the weather was good, and the "lemonade" at the Jugs afterwards was fun.

The September Invitation to Paint on Wet Canvas is Northern English sheep. This was painted from one of the reference photographs. The colours are deliberately wild and exaggerated, and a portrait was done, because I'm still not confident with landscapes.

Harry will like him - Baa!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Cottage at Amberley

Last Wednesday we were to meet at Amberley to paint. It was a foul day and I arrived 30 mins late, after baby-sitting Harry. No-one was around - they probably went home because the weather was so bad. I took a selection of photographs, and selected this cottage to paint when I arrived home.

The perspective drove me round the bend, but I felt that I had cracked it. However, Doug, one of the guides on Wet Canvas, pointed out that while the house looked OK, the front wall did not. He kindly checked it out, and it turned out to be because the photograph was tilted. Doug has done some excellent tutorials on how to correct perspective in photographs, so I am forewarned and forearmed for next time.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Sousse revisited

That lamp post with a palm shadow really bugged me. With the help of some very kind people at Wet Canvas, a solution was found. This really finishes the picture off IMHO.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Entrance to the Medina at Sousse

A meeting in London last Wednesday meant that i missed the painting morning at Burpham. This was, therefore, painted from a photograph taken on our holiday in Tunisia in June.

It is 29 cms by 39 cms.

Around the tower to the right, hordes of very pushy Tunisian stall holders lie in wait to be your best friend and sell you anything they can. This is the peaceful lull before you enter.

The shadow of the palm in the foreground annoys me. It was included for interest, but the tree is out of the picture, almost over the head of the viewer. The problem is that it looks as if the lamp post is casting the shadow of a tree!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Harry's Cat

My 18 month old grandson, Harry, is mad on cats. He is kind enough to share almost everything with me - his time, his half-eaten biscuits, and his cold - so I thought I should do something for him.

This was painted very quickly in St Petersburg paints and is approx 28 cms by 24 cms.