Into the blue oil painting | April 2018
I’ve been at the easel during April, creating a new oil painting called Into the blue. Having enjoyed a few excursions to the Northumberland coast, the sea has featured foremost in my mind when it comes to new paintings.
The painting reflects the play of light, the colours and movement over the coast. The blue of the sunlit sea is a beautiful mixture of cerulean blues with French ultramarine.
Linear textured brushstrokes describe the sunlit horizon with its beautiful subtle tones where the sea meets the sky.
Lively movement and depth in the sky is explored through layers of textured angular brushstrokes, with interesting mixtures of pinks, light yellows, greys towards pure cerulean blue.
Into the blue uses professional oils made by Williamsburg and Michael Harding on an artist canvas of a traditional depth of 2 cm.
If you’d like to see more details of this oil painting, please view Into the blue in the gallery.
Watercolours and the sunset | March 2018
Into March now and with patches of snow still around up here, we are still waiting for signs of the warmer Spring-like weather. I am continuing to explore the beauty of sunset over the sea with a number of smaller sized watercolours. You can see the latest paintings in the art exhibition section of the gallery.
The paintings reflect the winter light, its intensity and the contrasts between the sky and the shore. The quality of light and the marvellous colours which emerge during sunset are a challenge to create, especially with the unpredictable and fast-moving medium of watercolour.
The artwork is based on atmospheric views at Lytham St Annes beach in Lancashire, in particular from the flat open shore at St Annes-on-sea, with its impressive skies. A familiar place and subject for me but I always enjoyed painting what I’ve seen and remembered there.
It can be surprisingly beautiful and peaceful when you are there, absorbed in watching the sun sink into the sea.
Light before rain | February 2018
As the cold weather continues into February, the landscape has felt very wintery. One thing that I love about this time of year are the skies, with the winter sun creating wonderful light. Here in the north, by the Cheviot hills, I've been out looking in the winter landscape and have created two new original paintings from these experiences.
The latest of which is Light before rain. As you can see, it is semi-abstract but based on a view of the surrounding hills near Eckford in Roxburghshire. A short walk from my studio.
Light before rain is filled with the light of the winter sun as it shines through the clouds and over the hills. I've used expressive marks and textures from a painting knife to capture the beauty of the light over the landscape, the contrasts and the constant movement of the elements.
For these new paintings, I've chosen to use a fully opaque way of painting with water-based mediums, watercolour and gouache and a painting knife. It has a delicious richness and pigment power, not to mention the beautiful textures on Clairefontaine artist paper.
It has taken me a few tries to get used to this way of working for these recent paintings, as it handles differently to standard watercolours - like an oil paint but quick drying and reworkable with water. Yet, it has been an enjoyable process!
You can now see Light before rain in the gallery and it is available online now.
Light over the hills | January 2018
I hope you’ve had a great start to the new year!
Over the last couple of weeks, with all the snowfall and wintery weather, I’ve used this as a subject for a number of artworks on paper, using watercolour and white gouache. The latest painting in this series is Light over the hills.
I’ve tried to capture the energy, movement and mood of the winter landscape found recently. Inferring a landscape of contrasts, with bright, sunlit snow over the windswept, thawing earth.
Semi-abstract it is created with raw watercolour paints and opaque white gouache on thick Arches paper, to create rich textures and varied, unique marks.
Sunset by the sea oil painting | December 2017
Sunset by the sea is the second of two smaller oil paintings I’ve completed recently. It celebrates the colour, light and movement you find by the sea as the sun sets. I've always found it a calming, quiet time, with the sun setting, the light changing and the colours intensifying.
It is based on sunsets you find on the east coast of England, with the sun setting over the hills behind the sea but affecting the colour of the sky and the horizon.
I’ve kept the marks raw in the painting. You can see the immediacy and sense of movement the alla prima brushmarks create. As with all my recent oil paintings, I’ve used texture in a descriptive way to help me suggest movement and the material quality of the land, sea and sky.
The oil feels minimal and I feel, invites you to simply enjoy the sensation of inferred space, movement, light and colour.
You will find Sunset by the sea oil painting now showing in the gallery.
Oil painting Serene waters | December 2017
Serene waters is a new adventure for me, being the smallest canvas I have worked on. It is also enjoyable to paint on a square canvas because of the visual tension it creates over the flat picture plane.
Given the modest size of the painting, I’ve found myself using plenty of paint, working expressively and freely to show the light and movement of the sea. I’ve based this painting on recent trips to the beach during the cold spell of weather in November.
Over the last few years, I’ve gravitated towards using more earth pigment based colours in my seascapes. Like umbers, siennas and ochres chosen for their subtlety. In Serene waters’s case, I’ve used Williamsburg earth colours.
You can see this new oil painting in the gallery here.
Serene horizons oil painting | November 2017
Serene horizons is a new oil painting inspired by calm views over the seashore. The peaceful, slow moving seas are surrounded by beautiful patterns in the clouds.
I’ve tried to show the quality of light found at the seashore. Light catches the shallower parts of the sea and a hazier, softer light is seen out over the distant seas and to the horizon.
Movement is shown through varied brushstrokes at different planes to one another. I’ve used abstracted but natural colours with cool pinks, warmer Italian ochres, Raw Sienna and Naples Yellow with tints of cadmium yellow against ultramarine blues. I’ve also used Prussian blue and Ultramarine blue in the sea.
Serene horizons oil painting invites you to explore the magnificient coastal light and the gentle, constant movement found out in nature. It has a contemporary, minimal feel with space and scale explored through semi-abstract marks. A peaceful contemporary painting of the sea and a reminder of the beauty of nature.
If you'd like to be the first to hear more about my fine art and to see my work on a regular basis, please join the gallery mailing list. I send an e-mail update, usually every Friday, showing you my latest fine art.
Alongshore oil painting | November 2017
This month, I’ve been working on a number of watercolour paintings as well as Alongshore oil painting on linen. It is inspired by open views along the shore at Ross sands beach at Lindisfarne. Even though it is a relatively small canvas, I think it shows some of the dramatic scale, light and movement found there.
I’ve used a painting knife to introduce more textural variety into the painting. With some lovely abstract marks over the linen. It feels quite a minimalist and modern painting, with a simple composition brimming with natural movement. You can view Alongshore oil painting in the gallery.
During November I will be working on a new 50 cm square oil painting on canvas, with some all new Williamsburg artist oils, which I am eager to try.
I've also been working on a new printed fine art calendar available for 2018, containing six oil paintings and six watercolour paintings reproductions in a wiro bound A4 vertical format.
As the festive season is nearly upon us, I have curated some fine art gift ideas in the gallery. So if you'd consider giving or having a fine art present this year you can see some ideas there, in addition to my regular collection of fine art in the gallery.
Sunset watercolour paintings | October 2017
This month, I've been concentrating on creating a series of sunset watercolour paintings based on views from St Annes-on-sea beach in Lancashire. The artwork shown above is Twilight, St Annes-on-sea.
The magical colour, light and atmosphere of sunset is something I enjoy painting, especially in watercolour painting. I think the medium lends itself well to the delicate colours, tones and textures you find during sunset by the seashore.
With sunset over the sea comes beautiful graduations of colour, soft light in the skies and contrasting light from the sea's varied movements, surfaces and depths. Also the sparkling light over the shore and where wet sands meet the sea.
Inspiration for the new sunset watercolour paintings has come through the beautiful light and atmosphere of sunset, found from wide open views from the sandy beach. The solitude, the sense of peace and experiencing nature's rhythms are something that I find special and are reflected in my paintings.
They are calm, serene paintings reflecting the light of sunset and the movement over the shallow shore at St Annes with its miles of sands at low tide.
I've kept them simple and minimal with the figurative element of flying seabirds to suggest scale. Textures are created using the natural surface qualities of Arches Aquarelle artist paper along with varying amounts of water.
The smaller size makes these watercolours ideal for displaying in modest sized spaces and they stand out with their lovely range of tones and colours. They are beautiful fine art reminders of that most precious sense of peace and calm which we all need.
Into the sunset oil painting | September 2017
During the first weeks of September, I've been working on some smaller watercolour paintings and my latest oil painting Into the sunset. This oil painting is based on the view out from the shore during sunset at Lytham St Annes beach in Lancashire.
I love the movement and light over the sea, the passing clouds, their interesting shapes and tinges of colour during sunset. The oil painting has quite a layered, textured feel and I've used the painting knife to create a rich variety of marks.
Ultramarine and Cerulean blues makes an appearance in the sky along with purples (a mixture of Napthol red and Ultramarine blue) and a variety of soft yellows (Cadmium yellows, Naples yellow) expressing the sunlight. I've painted Into the sunset on an Italian linen canvas with oil paint based primer for a first class support, with a traditional 1.8 cm depth.
You can view Into the sunset oil painting in the gallery.
Infinite seas oil painting | August 2017
Continuing my series of oil paintings on canvas over the last few weeks, I've just finished Infinite seas oil painting. Capturing the sense of light and movement you experience when looking out from the beach.
I've used minimal shapes to express movement and dynamism over the canvas. So this artwork has a more minimal, modern and abstract feel about it than others I have painted recently. I intended Infinite seas to be a celebration of space, light and the movement of the seashore.
As with all my oil paintings, I've left traces of my painting method through the marks created and there are interesting textures created within the work. The thicker areas of paint are the areas of pure white which occur when you paint from dark to light.
The colours in this artwork are a real treat, with a rich range of tones created from pure cerulean and ultramarine blues shaded into yellows and whites over a Venetian red foundation.
For a few years now, I've been using titanium white with safflower oil for whites. Using safflower oil based titanium white should lead to less yellowing of the white over time, as can happen with linseed oil based whites. On a similar note, I've been lead-free in my paints for quite a few years now. Although I miss the painting sensations and the creamy textures!
Infinite seas oil painting is now showing in the gallery.
Out to sea oil painting | July 2017
I've finished a new oil painting Out to sea which explores light and movement over the sea. It is inspired by summer views of the Northumberland coast - one of my favourite coastal subjects. The view is of a changeable day with sunshine coming in and out through the windswept clouds. The sunlight also catches the white of waves breaking over the beach.
The ever-present movement over the coast is shown through broad, directional brushstrokes of different speed and texture. The patterns and unique directional marks created adding to the sense of movement.
I've used some fantastic handmade Williamsburg colours for the first time, Naples yellow - a lovely clean earthy yellow and Ultramarine together with Michael Harding colours. The painting is ready to hang and has white edges 4.3 cm deep.
Out to sea, would make a perfect feature oil painting if you love nature and the sea. You can view Out to sea oil painting is now showing in the gallery.
Silent seas oil painting | June 2017
Silent seas oil painting is based on views from earlier trips in the year, when I've been out on Ross sands as the sun has started to set.
It is beautiful to see the colours and soft tones as the sun starts to set behind the Cheviot hills. The sunset filling the clouds with colour and the horizon illuminated with soft light. A feeling of calm and serenity spreads over the landscape.
This painting is a reflection of those experiences and I wanted to show the sense of peace as the light changes and it becomes twilight.
I've used cooler blues in the sea with Prussian blue mixed with Payne's grey to express the lower light levels. Napthol reds mix with Ultramarine to create the soft reddy purple tones of sunset. I've also used shades of cadmium yellow and warm white together with bright titanium white highlights. The painting is ready to hang and has white edges 4.3 cm deep.
You can view Silent seas oil painting in the gallery.
Oil painting Offshore, Lindisfarne | May 2017
Offshore, Lindisfarne is the latest in a series of modern seascape oil paintings I've created this year.
I've used the sea, sandy beach and fantastic open skies at Ross in Northumberland as inspiration. The wonderful interplay of movements in the sea and sky over the sandy beach are explored in this series of oil paintings.
Offshore, Lindisfarne expresses the sense of light and movement on an sunny, cloudy day. The light catching the waves and the water at different depths. The sunlight warming the colours in the sea, bringing out every rich sea blue and turquoise as well as whitening the sands. The dense clouds in the sky, their unique patterns and shapes lightened by the sun.
I also wanted to show the natural movements of the seascape. The gentle waves breaking over undulating sands, distant tidal movements, the transition between sea and sky and the dynamic of ever-changing windswept clouds.
The painting uses the full spectrum of marks, from two and a half centimetre flat brushes through to painting knife and rag. I started painting with a traditional foundation of earth colour applied with a brush and rubbed into the oil primed linen with a cloth. You can still see some of this layer as orange reds in the painting. Then starts the build up of layers of colour and working lighter colours in with them. Building up a cohesive, unified image with rich colour.
In this artwork, I've used a whole tube of genuine Cerulean blue by Williamsburg, an opaque mid blue and added cobalt turquoise for the sea greens. Cooler blues were made by the addition of ultramarine to the mix. Napthol red and cadmium yellow light were also used along with Michael Harding's lead white alternative and titanium white. I also use his excellent painting medium which adds flow to the paint.
You can see Offshore, Lindisfarne in the gallery.
Oil painting light and movement in the landscape | April 2017
Over the last few weeks, I've continued to paint in oils, working on more oil paintings that explore the qualities of light and movement inspired by trips to the beach on the Northumberland coast.
Painting on aluminium panel in this first painting, I've created Over the shore. It reflects the Spring weather, with clouds moving rapidly over the seashore and sunlight bringing out a magnificent range of warm and cool blues.
I've used Prussian blue for cooler areas of blue, moving towards pure Ultramarine for the saturated blues of the sky. Soft, natural yellows are used (Michael Harding's warm light yellow) to create fresh, warm sense of light when combined with white. Touches of cadmium red push the ultramarine blue into purple greys.
The aluminium panel, which is surprisingly weighty, will require framing in order to hang on your wall, but should be more durable than canvas. The oil painting is signed, titled and dated on the reverse. View Over the shore oil painting in the gallery.
I've also been at work this last week on a new artwork called Shore, Ross sands. It is also inspired by recent views from the beach in Spring weather. A larger canvas than I normally tackle, it expresses the light and atmosphere of open views over the sea. Where clouds form and rise up over you in the sky and sunlight catches the clouds.
Dynamic and alive, full of energetic brushstrokes, Shore, Ross sands sands aims to communicate the vast movement and energy present in nature and the landscape. You can see some of the energy I've used to create the oil painting, with loaded brushstrokes of rich oils left as they are - immediate and lively, bringing the painting to life through texture, light and colour.
The colours, particularly in the sky are varied and expressive. This oil painting starts off with an orange under layer. I've used a pinky red called Napthol Red, together with cadmium yellow light and warm light yellow (as I used in Over the shore) in the sky. Three blues, Ultramarine, Prussian and Cerulean are used throughout the artwork.
The oil painting is signed, titled and dated on the reverse of the canvas and the edges are left unpainted, so they are white and ready to hang straight away. You can view Shore, Ross sands oil painting in the gallery.
Oil painting Calm seas | March 2017
Calm seas is inspired by the the natural beauty of the seashore, its wide open spaces and fantastic skies in the Spring sunshine over Ross beach near Lindisfarne in Northumberland.
I've used expressive brushstrokes and rich textures to reflect the sense of nature moving - the vast movement of the sea and the clouds in the sky.
Wonderful shades of blue (Ultramarine, Prussian and Cerulean) together with cadmium reds and touches of cadmium yellow and indian yellow reflect the serenity and the calmness of this coastal view.
You can find Calm seas oil painting displaying in the gallery.
Oil painting Open seas | March 2017
I’ve been working on small but beautiful paintings, with new modern works of the sea painted on traditional linen.
Open seas, Ross sands is my latest original painting and I’ve used the qualities of oil paint to show the life, movement and atmosphere found out on the sands. The oil painting is inspired by a recent visit to the beach during the afternoon.
In Open seas, Ross sands oil painting I’ve used cadmium deep red, Venetian red, light yellow, Emerald green, Ultramarine blue, Prussian blue and titanium white with safflower oil. The Bella Arti oil primed linen canvas has a wonderful fine grain surface to create heightened textural contrast. The edges of the work are painted and the work is ready to frame.
As I am painting, I look to create an energy, a tension, even in calm subjects. Showing the movement of life and it’s natural rhythms.
The sea’s directional movements create particular beautiful lines and patterns, and the skies have their own magnificent, other-worldly shapes sculpted by the air. The weather and light, also inform my paintings.
On the easel
Over the next few weeks, I will be starting work on a new modern oil painting of the sea on a 50cm x 60cm gallery canvas. I will keep you posted!