Ken Howard at Troon Art Club

•November 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

ken howard


A special guest, Ken Howard, visited Troon Art Club last night for a great evening of stories and paintings.

He was very entertaining, relating a life in the field as a plein air painter and one who always paints from life. He revealed he was a half Scot having a Scottish mother. I should have asked how he would have voted in the referendum!

He has always been a favourite of mine. Painting the light rather than surface; what he sees rather than what he knows; getting to know, really know, a subject by revisiting the same scene.

Thanks to Bobby Johnstone, the club programme director for luring Ken all the way from London.

One Day in Class

•November 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment


A day in the life of the class. Three seascapes, a seated figure and a portrait of two parrots!

Irvine Harbour Margaret

Lyn - Kate reading

Jean seascape

Sandy's parrots

Seascape by Mary

Alex Salmond portrait

•November 14, 2014 • 2 Comments

anna mcguire salmond opt


My friend and ex-student, Anna McGuire, had her portrait of Alex Salmond, the outgoing First Minister of Scotland, presented to the very man last week. He very kindly sent her thanks and this photo.

Anna has been a supporter of the SNP for years and is so pleased to be also offered an exhibition of her work at the Scottish Parliament.

Irvine Harbour …one more time

•October 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

irvine harbour iii

A scene exactly the same as yesterday This time with the benefit of having done it already , I could afford to go quicker and more assuredly.

I changed the colour of the water to a blue with less yellow in it. I think this one is cleaner too, not by much, but enough to notice.

I had to redo the boat, the first attempt was atrocious! You know the moment you start to fiddle on a part of the painting such as this, it’s time to scrape back the offending bit and do it again.

Irvine Harbour Demo II

•October 23, 2014 • 4 Comments

irvine harbour ii


The second demo in oils of a harbour, this time with a solitary boat.

I used photographs taken at the weekend when the weather was bright and breezy, a little clear blue sky among the clouds. I found I had to lighten my photos afterwards as the sky was exposed fine for colour but the land became very dark underneath. So, working from two sources caused a bit of trouble, but solved after a few goes at putting in the sea colour.

Again, looking at the same artists as below , not so much as trying to copy them, but trying to see what they might see in a landscape using a photograph as reference.

Irvine Harbour Demo

•October 22, 2014 • 6 Comments

Irvine Harbour 1


A demonstration oil painting of Irvine Harbour. I was highlighting the styles of current painters in the west coast of Scotland like Robert Kelsey, James Orr and a few others. All have distinctive mark making technique without being a million miles apart.

Common among them is the seemingly carefree,  dashing brushstroke. Opaque paint applied with a swoosh and a “hit and leave alone” attitude.

Variation includes angle of attack, round brush/flat square brush, each have their own palette of colours ( all use colour saturated and heightened, they sprinkle a dash of primary colour here and there)

My biggest challenge here was making Irvine Harbour look attractive!

A much younger Kate / Mary

•September 30, 2014 • 6 Comments

Kate oil on canvas 30 x 30


It is interesting to see Kate as a 5 or 6 year old to compare with the 17 year old portraying Mary. It is her ability to look straight down the lens with that relaxed gaze, even at this early age, that I knew I could rely on that same look  to show the calm, humble, accepting Mary in the painting below.

I will show the two paintings together at the studio this weekend before they part and lead separate lives. ( Open Studios weekend at Courtyard Studios, Irvine) I hope to put together a storyboard of sorts, to show the development  from idea to the final image, via studies, photo shoots, conversations and inspirations.

It will be thrown together but hopefully it will deceive as a thoroughly considered project!


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