Oil painting on metal | December 2016
Since I decided to switch from the old faithful primed canvas to aluminium panel for a couple of new works, it has taken me quite a bit longer to finish each work. It might be the effect of the shorter days. It could also be the one or two differences I hadn’t fully appreciated before embarking on painting in oils on treated aluminium.
The surface is truly mesmerising to paint with, making your oil paint feel silken and luscious. I believe it can also be left bare too, exposing a matt metal finish which can almost act like another colour or dimension to your painting.
Once I’d built up the paint layers, I hardly noticed I was painting on metal, aside from the lack of flex when applying the brush.
On the flip side, it took me quite a few paint sessions before the oil layers started to work over each other in the way I prefer. The 40cm x 40cm aluminium panel I used is very heavy and cold to handle outside in the winter. The finished painting will need to be framed too.
Why go to the extra expense and difficulty over canvas? Well, you could argue that the metal panel will probably be more stable over time and will be a rigid support - useful for the thicker areas of my oils. They won’t perish due to damp etc.
By the tide, is one of my latest paintings explores the movement of nature and the atmosphere of the shore through textural form and colour. It is inspired by evocative views of the shore on a breezy day in winter. The afternoon drew to a close and the first colours of sunset appeared in the sky.
Seascape paintings | October 2016
I hope you’re Autumn has started well! In some ways there have been so many things to keep us occupied through the summer, with so many changes in the air. I’ve been keeping busy producing my fine art with visits to the coast and trips into the Cheviot Hills.
On visits to the sea, it is the visual beauty and the freedom you feel on the beach which is what I love to share through a visual medium.
You can often feel yourself getting closer and in more direct connection to the natural environment. Where you notice the visual patterns, rhythms and movements going on all the time, against slower moving backgrounds. These interactions are very beautiful to watch and I try to express their qualities in my seascape paintings.
Out to sea, Ross sands is one of my latest watercolour paintings, based on views by the shore. The water washes over the beach at a slight angle and breaks it’s sparkling waves over the undulating sands, making pools in the sand.
With this watercolour, I’ve used the beautiful natural qualities of watercolour and Arches paper to express the wonderful light, movement and textures of the shore.
Over the next month or so, I will be working on some new contemporary artwork.
Have a great October!
Oil painting Northern Shores | September 2016
This contemporary, modern oil painting is inspired by the soft, more autumnal feel to the northern coasts of late and the beautiful sense of light and movement over the ocean.
With this oil painting, I’ve chosen some beautiful new colours, including an intense prussian blue and paynes grey, two lovely blueish blacks. I’ve also used a warm white which tend towards cream to create a sense of light in the painting.
There is a rich pattern of textures in the painting which come from the range of brush sizes I have used, from 2.5 cm to 6 cm.
I’ve used the finest handmade Michael Harding artist paints on a favourite, beautifully made gallery canvas by Pintura.
Autumn landscape paintings | September 2016
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on a series of more autumnal watercolour paintings. They bring to mind the dawn sunrise and have been inspired by atmospheric views along the river Tweed which wends its way through the countryside here.
I’ve introduced warmer colours into these paintings and adopted an earlier method of mine using a painting knife to expand the range of marks. Light on water is an attractive thing to paint, whether it is the sea or a river in the landscape and I’ve often been drawn to its beauty.
Early summer seascape paintings | June 2016
Having finished a large oil painting and waiting for it to dry, I’ve been painting watercolours through June. Trying to capture the qualities of the coastal landscape, the beautiful skies, light and open space.
There have been two watercolour paintings that have emerged as part of the current collection, Bright shore (shown above) and Last light.
All the paintings are painted on small/medium sized thicker paper by Arches which (although machine-made) has a particular textural charm and is a very robust paper.
The sea and it’s natural movement, the light in the sky and its moods are beautiful things to paint and are an inspiring subject.
In addition, I’ve been working on a request for a larger colour drawing on smooth watercolour paper this past week. Slightly unusually, I’ve combined a light wash of watercolour paint as a foundation for coloured layers of pencil on-top. It is almost like having a free choice of coloured paper to use and seems to permit a greater control over colour.
Into July, I will be starting a new oil painting on a 40cm square canvas — another voyage of discovery.
Painting in oils | May 2016
For me it is a fantastic but unnerving journey while painting. For all it's certain end results, there is a great deal of uncertainty and freedom surrounding the act of oil painting. It is a compelling, absorbing and nerve-driven process to direct the painting in the right direction.
It is seemingly open to unlimited ways of changing it. The choice of colour, texture, layering and the kind of marks you make seem endless. You react to the situation as best you can, aiming for a cohesive whole as it is worked on.
There are also many constraints that can affect you such as have you enough of the right kind of paint? Is there enough light in the day left for you to identify colours correctly? Is it peaceful enough to concentrate?
Once you get involved with the painting, hours can pass by without you really noticing. It very often takes me longer than I think to achieve a balanced, whole picture and it never comes easily.
The painting evolves in ways that cannot be foreseen and each painting session is a one-off process when you paint wet-into-wet. It can be urgent and frantic because you are keen to move the canvas towards a meaningful end result.
Artists such as Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff's working methods influenced my early works and the way I work now but with much thinner paint. All my oil paintings are completed within one or two painting sessions but I never know how many oil painting sessions I will go through before I come across the finish line.
While I write this, I am currently choosing the right underpainting colour for a new oil painting. Most of the time I start with a coloured underpainting although I have worked straight onto the white canvas.
This can have a big impact on the final result. Traditionally, many painters have used an earth colour or the complementary (opposite) colour of their intended overall colour scheme to start the painting. Once these few layers are established I will go straight into painting.
Beach paintings | May 2016
This month, I’ve been visiting the beach regularly, with the brighter weather bringing out some of the beautiful colour and light in the coastal landscape.
Calm seas and Over the tide are recent paintings I’ve been working on this spring. They are inspired by sunlit views from walks over the sands at Ross beach, Lindisfarne on the Northumberland coast.
Each visit to the beach invites exciting possibilities about how to put into paint the beauty of natural form found on the beach and in the sea.
Over the next few weeks, I will be busy with an exciting commission for a large oil painting of the coast and I will display a picture of the finished original painting in due course.
Painting the sea | March 2016
As wintery weather keeps a check on the rise of spring, many of the views I've experienced at the beach have yet to feel spring's presence.
The atmosphere of the coast still works it's magic for me though. The visual patterns in the sea and it's ever changing forms underpinned by a natural order still fascinate and surprise.
I've turned to watercolour, as a favourite medium of mine to express the feelings of the sea. The light, textures and atmosphere of the watercolour painting suit depictions of the coast and landscape very well. J.M.W Turner or Thomas Gainsborough (also signed TG) paintings are perfect examples of this.
Artists naturally interpret the subject in different ways. Over the last few years I've steadily tried to add originality to my watercolours. Some of these touches include minimalism, abstract colour and gradients to express feeling in a contemporary way.
In many of the paintings I've also used opaque white in places to add an extra dimension, feeling and texture to the painting (opaque white is often difficult to control in combination with water and transparent colours, hence a source of anguish when painting!).
As you can see, I am not aiming at a full visual representation of what I see out on the sands but a compression of feelings and observations into a single painting. Balancing the real and abstract.
In recent work I've introduced Daniel Smith watercolours as an experimental addition to my regular slightly habitual use of Winsor & Newton watercolours. They seem to work fine in my paintings with lovely deep Cerulean and rich ultramarine blues to add to cobalt and manganese blues. Expressing a wonderful range of tone and colour found in the sea.