Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Bole Hill Quarry

This is the view from Bole Hill Quarry looking out over Grindleford. It is a popular Peak District location for rock climbers and I did this painting sat on a rock about 40 feet up. I had to laugh when a I saw a couple walking along the path in the picture and lady said to her partner "Look up there. There's a man on a Laptop!" - I suppose my pochade box is a sort of low-tech computer :)

Oil on Gesso'd board, 8x6

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Distant City

Here is a view from Ringinglow on the edge of the Peak District, looking down towards sheffield. On a clear day it is said that with binoculars you can see landmarks over 40 miles away, but the day I painted this it was quite hazy.

Oil on Gesso'd card, 7x4.5

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Holyhead Mountain

I've just spent a week on the beautiful Welsh island of Anglesey, with its mixture of rural and seaside scenary. It was a family holiday so I didn't really expect to do any painting. However, I did manage to sneak a couple in, whilst out walking the dog :) I took absolutely loads of photographs as well, to keep me painting when the weather is too bad to venture out.

oil on Gesso'd card, 7x5

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Dead Tree

I've not had much chance to get out and paint lately, largely down to the usual combination of work and rain. I've not been wasting my time, though. I've made a lightweight pochade out of a cigar box that I plan on taking away on holiday with me, in a few weeks time. Here's a painting I did, in between showers, to test it out...

oil on Gesso'd card, 7x5

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Country Lane

This scene is right on the edge of the Peak District National Park. It's one of my favorite spots, with beautiful farmland views on all sides, except just to the right of where I painted, you can see the city of Sheffield in the distance. There is a bench at top of the lane where I often sit when I need to do some thinking. Today, I just painted.

Oil on gesso'd card, 8x6

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Midday Shade

Just a quick one, today. I sat in the shade of some trees, surrounded by several clumps of nettles, to paint this. I had to work quickly as I was out cycling in my lunch hour, hence the smaller size. I'm thinking I'll probably stick to doing smaller studies for a while, concentrating on getting my values and colours right, without getting carried away with a full painting. I'll be able to paint more frequently, too!

Oil on gesso'd Jaffa Cakes box, 5.5x3.5

Sunday, 20 June 2010

View from Foxhall Lane

As my confidence in painting out of doors increases, I find myself sitting in less and less secluded spots. Today I sat on the grass at the side of a country lane, pochade in hand and painted this scene. It was a lovely day and I really enjoyed talking to the walkers and cyclists that came past.

Oil on Gesso board, 8x6.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Old Cricket Pavilion

It's been much too wet to paint outdoors, this week. Not wanting to the lose the momentum I'm building, I painted this one from a photograph. It's an old disused cricket pavilion, at the same location as my lost post. When I was a small boy, many years a go, it was used regularly but now it is fenced off; to protect it from the youth element and the youth from the asbestos in its roof.

The subject of the picture is quite different from what I'm used to and some months a go I probably wouldn't have attempted it. It was a great learning experience, although I'm not sure I've got the colours of the buildings quite right.

oil on gesso board, 8x6

Monday, 7 June 2010

Carterknowle fields

This is a school sports field not far from where I live. A lot of local people use it to walk their dogs on, outside of lesson times. The trees in the picture are on a banking that separates two football pitches. There were goal posts in front of them but I thought the picture would be better without them.

oil on gesso board, 8x6.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Limb Valley

For working hard all month on an important milestone everyone was awarded a free days holiday, today and what better way to spend it than cycling and painting in the countryside.

It took quite a while to find a fairly simple subject and I finally settled on this rather striking tree. I sat at the edge of a field will my small pochade box, painting while the sun burnt one side of my neck and small colony of ants tucked into my legs - it was worth it, though...

Oil on Gesso board, 8x6

Thursday, 27 May 2010


We've been enjoying a really hot spell here, lately. Knowing what I do about English weather, it was clear that it wouldn't last and it didn't. Before it ended, I managed to cycle out into the countryside and do a couple of 'plein air' oil sketches. Although I didn't do anything that I think is good enough to post, it did fill my head with new ideas about how to approach things and a renewed enthusiasm to paint.

Here is a slightly larger than usual painting, based on a photo of the woods where I walk our dog most mornings...

Oil on canvas board, 10x8

Friday, 30 April 2010


It's been an absolute age since I last posted, here. It's not that I haven't been painting, far from it. The trouble is I haven't been happy with anything I've produced. I've been really struggling with oils so much that it took a lot of the fun out of painting. I decided, for now, to go back to acrylic.

This scene is based on a sketch that I did whilst out on a bike ride. It's a quiet country lane not too far from where I live. The tree really stood out, being covered in Ivy.

Acrylic on canvas board, 10x8

Saturday, 13 March 2010

So cold...

Our boiler broke last week so painting chilli's seemed appropriate!

I've been having a hard time fitting any painting in, recently and an even harder time producing anything worth keeping. Still, it's all practice...

Oil on gesso board, 6x4

Friday, 5 March 2010

Normal Service resumes...

Deadline over! My free time is my own, once more.

I've been looking through a lot of my old art books this week, always nice to do every now and then, to see how your opinion changes over time. I was really taken by one I've got on Edward Seago - made me want to go and paint clouds!

Oil on canvas board, 8x6

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A Pair of Pears

I've got a really busy week at work coming up, so am happy I managed to squeeze this one in before it starts. I'm pleased too because it was warm enough to be able to paint in my fair weather studio (or shed).

I'm continuing to learn a lot from these little still life paintings, I found the subtle greens and rusty browns particularly hard to mix, at first.

Oil on canvas board, 6x6

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

More still life

Apples are two-for-one at the local supermarket, so I painted two instead of one.

I painted this in just over a hour, before starting work this morning. I learned a lot both in terms of studying the subject and starting to really get a feel for how oil paint behaves.

Oil on canvas board, 8x6

Monday, 8 February 2010

Pepper in a box

I'm still experimenting with my new oils. I've seen a lot of still life paintings of fruit and veg on blogs that I follow and so thought I'd give it a try. I struggled a bit as the light isn't always very good at this time of year, but it was a useful exercise nonetheless - one which I shall definitely be repeating. Despite all the usual grumbles.. too much detail, too small brush, etc. I'm pleased with my first attempt and am posting it mainly so I can look back on it, to measure my improvement in months to come.

Another plus. I don't get to use much red paint with concentrating mostly on landscapes, so it was a nice chance to mix some different colours!

Oil on canvas board, 8x6

Sunday, 7 February 2010

View from Houndkirk Moor

Another month means another pay day! This month as a treat I bought myself some oil paints. I decided to go for the Winsor and Newton, Griffin Alkyd, fast drying range and I've got to say I'm impressed. Having never used oils before I did a couple of small tests before deciding I needed paint something more substantial. It's going to take me a while to get used to how the paints behave and react, but already I'm loving the fact that colours I've mixed on the palette don't dry out, like they do with acrylics.

Oil on canvas board, 8x6

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Grenoside Wood

It was a lovely clear day, Yesterday, so I went out into the Peak District with the intention of doing some sketching. On arrival, I soon realised it was still far too cold to sit for any length of time. I settled for photographing the scenary, instead.

Today whilst going through some older photos I found a woodland scene that I took around 17 years a go and just had to paint it.

Acrylic, 8x6.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Bluebell Wood

This scene brings back happy memories of a walk I went on last May with my wife, Maggie. It was a lovely quiet, sunny day and the walk finished at a pub that served great food.

The painting was supposed to be a lot looser than my previous attempts and started off that way - but then I couldn't resist adding in the smaller details. Still it's a step in the right direction. I'm going to have to get somebody to hide my smaller brushes, next time!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

More Acrylic dabblings

Some more 8x6 practice paintings that I managed to squeeze in, in between work and everything else. the first two are based on photographs taken last summer and the third is my take on a portion of painting by Acrylic Artist John Hammond, from his excellent book 'free expression in acrylics'.

I definitely think I'm falling into my usual trap of cramming too much detail into a small space, so I'm going to concentrate on doing several faster, simpler and more painterly studies, next.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

A touch of colour...

One of my new years resolutions, if you can call it that, is to do more drawing and painting on location. I'm fairly happy with the way my sketching has been progressing but wanted also to be able to capture the lighting of a scene. I tried my hand at watercolour last year with some success but am still not sure if it is the medium for me and as oil paints sound quite daunting to a novice, I decided to give acrylics a go. After a couple of tests on paper I dived in with this painting, done on 8x6 canvas board with four colours and titanium white, using photos taken last summer for reference.