Watercolour exercise

•November 17, 2016 • 4 Comments



An exercise for some in the Thursday gang. A twenty minute watercolour portrait.

Demo – town centre

•November 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment


irvine-coop-building-demoA demonstration today for HAC class.

This is an exercise showing perspective, enhanced colour and simplification of detail.

Demo time was restricted to 2hrs but probably I had 1 1/2 hours of painting. The idea was to show a sketchy, almost cartoony style of painting which is decorative and not beholden to photographic realism. I painted a similar demo a couple of weeks ago shown in an earlier post. I wanted to bring the style into the town, an ordinary town and make a colourful image from an urban photograph. Most members of the group paint from photos so this helps to see a photo as a painting, I hope.

This is Irvine on the south west coast of Scotland.

Book Covers

•October 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment


I was looking for something to read when I came across these old things.

In the 80’s I was a graphic design student before coming to the conclusion I was more suited to being a penniless artist. It’s the money I am averse to!

One of the briefs was to produce three book covers as part of a series of Fontana publications. Each one representative of a title within the science, philosophy and literature sections of the series.

Here are my efforts from back then. I am still fond of these mock ups.

Hidden under the mock ups are the real books as follows; The Outsider by Camus, The Present Age by Kierkegaard and Once Upon A Planet, an anthology in aid of Friends of the Earth.

In the style of…

•October 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment


Yesterday, I demo’d  this painting from a photograph that one of the Monday group provided.

It is fairly common for students to pour over detail and produce a painting that flatly copies a photo and loses energy or vitality in the translation . The beauty of a memorable spot seen on holiday can be captured by the camera but back in the studio it becomes extremely difficult to add or maintain life in the painting.

In this style above, I have simplified the detail by using a bigger brush which cancels out any attempt at small stuff; I saturated colour and chose pastel colours instead of natural hues (darks become purple and blues); I worked quickly to maintain spontaneity; Also, I removed any distractions (in this case, figures) to simplify composition

Looking again, I should have been bolder with shadows under the trees.



From the train – charcoal revisited

•October 17, 2016 • 3 Comments


A charcoal study looking at a view somewhere along the Glasgow Irvine line. I forget exactly where but if I need to I can find out fairly easily!

This is from a cold January, same as the last post. Actually from the same journey. I could produce a whole lot of work from that one journey. Snow, bare trees, industry and fields aplenty.

From the train – coming into Irvine

•October 8, 2016 • 4 Comments


Back to landscape to try and get a handle on direction. I have been gradually getting bolder, looking for the time when I think it is far enough away from straight depiction. I thought that when that time comes I could start to paint a small body of work on a particular theme from landscape. This one is closer to my vision of that.

The image is seen from a train on the end of a return journey and is just outside Irvine. On a cold crisp January afternoon.

Still a few things to sort out in this style.

Questions I might ask myself:

All wet in wet?

If not, which elements to layer?

How would I like tones to come together along the edge of the tone? Blended , adjacent?

Anyway, quite happy I can see some development.





Big Heid II – stages

•October 3, 2016 • 6 Comments


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