Oil painting Twilight seas | June 2019
Throughout June, I’ve been creating a new series of oil paintings. Having finished Over the shore, I’ve been working on a new oil on canvas board. I went through many iterations over a number of painting sessions, perhaps as many as for a larger canvas.
Twilight seas is a painting of the colours, light and movement over the seashore during late sunset (being on the east coast, the sun sets somewhat behind the beach at Ross sands).
I’ve expressed some of the intense colours found behind the setting sun. The beautiful pinkish and yellow tones. As well as cooler blues and purples, and calmer mid–tones of orangey and greeny browns.
There are traces of the painting process through trailing brushmarks – indicating the movement, dynamism and change in nature. This artwork uses pure brush–marks in a semi–abstract style. I use impasto methods, creating the finished version of the painting in a single sitting (or in my case standing).
Twilight seas is modern, minimal and brimming with dynamic movement. As the oil painting is 20.3 cm square, it offers a lot of potential for hanging in a variety of spaces. Whether you place it within a larger (possibly glazed) frame for more of a statement, or you place it in an intimate, smaller space, it will always remind you of nature and the sea.
The attraction of the open seashore is something which many of us appreciate. When you look over the coast anew, you see new forms sculpted by the light, weather and the tide.
Places which are once part of the land become part of the sea. The mood of the sea transitioning from one hue to another.
The different gradients of light, texture and colour are moving. They capture your attention in a quiet way. The seascape is unlike anything else we know and to be reminded of it regularly is something precious.
I enjoy it when I have the chance to look out over miles of space and water. Breathing in the fresh air and watching the mesmerising movement of the sea in all its forms. Often you sense the rhythms of nature in the background. The space of the shore, opening wide before you. Inviting you to take it all in.
It’s lovely to be standing on the shore, the boundary between the unknown and the familiar. The watery mirror of the sea revealing its beauty beyond the hard sandy ground we know.
When you look out to sea, nature speaks to you quietly and to your heart, like a conscience. These encounters frequently stay with me and often feed into my artwork - creative pictures of the ever-changing seas.
Sketching then painting
Looking out over the shore, you see the principle lines, structure and forms before you. Then you notice the symphony of natural movements as you look around. The repetitive and the gradual changes in one direction which forms the content of the 2D picture surface.
I usually photograph or sketch these important lines of composition. The drawings are made in a semi-abstract, dynamic way illustrating what I’ve seen. Sometimes I write descriptions of where I am. Or I write down a particular visual quality I’ve seen and want to include in the painting.
The initial sketch or photograph offers a personal record which jogs my mind when putting paint to canvas or paper. I often much prefer drawings to work from rather than photographs. They contain a lot more personal reaction and guidance. Although they do not reveal the colours, textures and detail of a photograph.
The sea is a wonderful subject to paint in an abstract way. The fresh changes brought by a new day and a new tide reveal the different qualities of nature. Looking out over the shore is a wonderfully affirming and peaceful experience. It can reconnect you to nature and the elements. It captures your attention and lets you reflect on the wild beauty of nature, making you pause and reflect upon yourself.
I’ve found over the last ten or fifteen years of painting professionally that the sea always attracts me as a subject, with so many ways in which you can express it.
There are certain physical similarities between paint and water. Paint can often be made to flow like water and its fluidity mirrors what you find in life – the same way that the tide washes over the sands, sculpting the beach. The continuous movement of the elements mirrors the gestures an artist makes with their brush or tool. It means you can paint in a very abstract way but also stay connected to a real–world subject. It is one of the attractions seascapes hold for me as an artist.
There are also the physical processes of nature, it’s patterns and rhythms which are interesting for an artist. The way wind, rain and the sea have sculpted the coast can be mirrored in the way you apply paint to the paper or canvas.
The varieties of light you find on the beach create different atmospheres and feelings which can be explored through art. The light on misty winter days compared to sunny summer days makes the coastline seem completely different. The light cast over the sea is particularly beautiful. The changing quality of light over different distances is something that inspires me to pick up my brushes and paint.
The strength of the wind also affects the coastline’s appearance. It makes it feel very different, with much more movement over the seashore. The waves and clouds appear much more active.
With so much scope for creativity, it is no wonder that the sea is a subject artist and collectors enjoy.
In my paintings, I aim to introduce minimalism and abstraction into scenes I have experienced and plan to paint, using sketches or photographs to recall the views seen out on the beach. I then choose particular brush–marks, sizes of brush and speeds of painting while I work.
I enjoy using colour a great deal. It can be quite a challenge to create a balanced painting with refined colours. Sometimes I select pigments which you do not normally expect to find out in nature and enjoy exploring the emotional qualities of them through my paintings.
I find working with colour is very rewarding but it often takes up a great deal of nervous energy. It is a necessary and fairly intense process when you are aiming to create both harmonious and contrasting colours – especially when working with the immediacy of impasto oil paint or with watercolour. Each stroke has a final and irreversible impact on the outcome of the whole painting.
For me, the sea is an important subject for my abstract oil paintings and watercolour paintings. It allows me to have a connection to the real world while grappling with the structure and colour of the painting process. It also allows me to reconnect with nature and feed my love of the sea, the beach and the coast.
Oil painting Over the shore | June 2019
Over the shore is a new oil painting inspired by the wonderful open views from the sandy beach out over the open shore. It explores some of the natural qualities of the coast at Ross beach, Lindisfarne in Northumberland.
Seeing the northern light over the sea is lovely - the way colours are muted and softened. You can see beautiful, atmospheric lights and darks are in the sea and the sky above.
Over the shore oil painting explores the light and movement found in nature through a semi-abstract painting process.
The painting has a minimal composition, with unified forms and heightened surface tension. It explores the feeling of scale, space, movement and calm when out in nature.
I’ve infused this artwork with a unified natural light throughout the canvas. Light catches the energetic, fluid movement of the clouds, under the open, calm North sea and it’s shoreline.
Unlike some of my previous paintings of the northern light, which mainly used cool colours, Over the shore also includes warmer colours like cadmium yellow, Naples yellow, Italian raw sienna and Michael Harding’s lead white replacement. As with all the contemporary oil paintings in the gallery, the final version was painted in one long session.
The painting is ready to hang on the wall as it is, or you can also frame and glaze the painting if you prefer. The canvas has primed white edges.
Over the shore is an evocative fine art reminder of nature and the open sea, and is currently available to reserve by contacting me at the fine art gallery at or telephone .
Inspired by the seashore | May 2019
I’ve been working on a number of watercolour paintings through May, inspired by the seashore at Lytham St Annes in Lancashire. They explore the light and movement over the sea through textures and mark-making in watercolour on paper.
Light out to sea, Lytham St Annes is my latest artwork, capturing the sunlight as it catches the undulating waves over the shallow shelf of the sandy shore.
You will be able to see a new oil painting on canvas (40 cm x 50 cm) I am releasing soon (it is a work-in-progress at the moment). I've given oil paintings a bit of a break recently but it is nice to return to working with this especially rich medium. More details to follow, please stay tuned!
Painting the seascape | April 2019
The attraction of the sea for someone who grew up on the coast can be very strong. If you’ve ever moved away from a particular place you have a strong connection to, you might recognise those feelings.
For me, when the beach and the sea is absent I start to feel like something is missing. So, I’ve found it’s a subject I turn to first to paint or photograph.
There is so much there to explore through my art. Nearly every visit to the beach reveals a new arrangement of sea, sand and sky. You also see the beach in different light each time. You notice the mood and configuration of the waves which suggests new forms and compositions.
With visits to the same beach, the interest for me is in exploring feelings from all the information I’ve experienced, to create a new painting. Using the colours, textures and contrast on the canvas or paper.
It is great to be reminded of the sea and the sense of open space, the colours and the movement of nature on a grand scale.
St Annes-on-sea beach paintings | April 2019
Heading into April, I’ve been working on a new range of beach paintings in watercolour. I’ve chosen to explore the light and atmosphere found at the coast at St Annes-on-sea in Lancashire. Many of these paintings are based on sunset views and my most recent being Serene twilight, St Annes-on-sea.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, I love the sense of peace and calm that surrounds sunset over the sea. Since I first visited the beach as a child, it always seemed to me a magical time of day. When the sea transforms into a glistening areas of light and dark. With the white of sunlight and the full display of intense colours.
Many of my walks to the shore over the sands at St Annes-on-sea have been peppered with the sound of seabirds, usually the gull or sometimes the soft call of sanderlings.
I often include sea birds in my beach paintings as a way of suggesting scale and to offer some further focal points or changes of rhythm within the space I paint. Very often I find them flying about me when I am on the beach as a matter of course, or over our garden in St Annes.
Space, light and the beautiful colours of sunset are expressed in Serene twilight, St Annes-on-sea. Calm waves catch the golden light of sunset as they fall away to the soft sands of the shore. The density of nearer clouds reveal richer tones and colour against the high blue sky away from the horizon.
This new watercolour painting uses Daniel Smith professional paints with Winsor & Newton on Royal Watercolour Society paper. It is ready to frame and would make a lovely fine art reminder of a refreshing, serene twilight by the sea.
See Serene twilight, St Annes-on-sea watercolour painting in the gallery.
Twilight skies, Eckford | March 2019
Over recent weeks, I’ve been working on a series of watercolours based on views of the sea and also of twilight views of my local landscape.
I’ve incorporated some of the techniques Turner and others used to create their skies. With large amounts of water used in a series of layers, letting the paint bloom.
I am always amazed by the intensity of colours displayed during sunset and have tried to show this in Twilight skies, Eckford.
The painting uses a range of earthy oranges, yellows, pinks and purples. For some of these colours, I’ve used Daniel Smith watercolour paints instead of purely Winsor & Newton.
One of the main challenges of displaying artwork is that of showing colours correctly. Something which is difficult even with professional level photographic equipment. Some artworks are harder than others to photograph and this one seems to be quite tricky to get right as there are some subtle shades of red, pinks and oranges within the painting.
Evening skies, Eckford | March 2019
Into March and having focussed almost totally on creating seascape watercolours so far this year, I’ve also been working on a some new landscape watercolours.
Evening skies, Eckford is my latest artwork, inspired by a magnificently colourful and atmospheric twilight I witnessed, with some unusual skies. The hills are those which surround Eckford, along a ridge.
Evening skies, Eckford is now sold but if you’d like to see more details, please click through to take a closer look.
Watercolour Painting Additions | February 2019
Following the introduction of my sunset watercolour paintings exhibition, you can now see a new painting, Sunset out to sea, that I’ve been working on recently.
It is inspired by the soft winter light and colours of sunset out to sea from the shore at St Annes-on-sea in Lancashire, England.
It is a modest sized artwork but once framed, it would work particularly well to bring an atmospheric reminder of nature and the sea to a smaller space.
Exhibition of Sunset Watercolour Paintings | January 2019
You can now see a new collection of sunset watercolour paintings I’ve been working on since New Year.
The new watercolour paintings are filled with the light and colour of the winter sunset. They are based on observations while walking over the sands at St Annes-on-sea.
The winter months often seem to bring low tides and a long walk out over the sands. Often revealing the immense scale of the space occupied by the sea and bringing nature and the weather into focus. With your environment changing from urban to simply being land and the sea, while you face the fresh air and the sun.
The inspiration, for me, comes from the beautiful quality of light over everything during the winter. With the sun remaining low in the sky and with the cold weather, it creates a wonderful atmosphere and infinitely soft tones and colours. The light and colour can also be intense during the climax of sunset.
The new paintings capture a variety of conditions in and around sunset and would make for an atmospheric and colourful reminder of sunset over the sea.
The original paintings are all available for sale now in the gallery (unless shown otherwise) and you can view more details here.
Painting over Christmas | January 2019
Over New year, I’ve had to take an enforced break from painting after succumbing to a bug and I hope to back to form shortly.
Just before Christmas, I had a few chances to see some of the winter skies that formed over the coast.
It is always a fascinating time of year for land and seascapes. The beautiful, low sun and haziness in the atmospheric creates some lovely views.
I also spent some time finishing a couple of landscape watercolour paintings based on views of the River Tweed I started before Christmas.
Looking further ahead, I am looking forward to bringing you some exciting new paintings as we go into the year.
Have a good start to 2019!
Sunset serenity original painting | November 2018
During the last month or so, I’ve continued to paint the sunset, including a number of more colourful watercolour paintings based on the reds, oranges and yellows of the low sun as it vanishes beyond the horizon.
My latest painting is Sunset serenity, reflecting the intensity of light as the sun crosses over the horizon of the sea.
You can imagine the actions of nature, with the shifting broken clouds and the natural rhythms and actions of the sea. One of the beautiful things you sometimes see during sunset or sunrise is the emerging of a wide spectrum of colours.
With this painting, I've suggested cooler shades of pink which transform into yellows and then the fiery yellow and oranges of an intense sun passing under the horizon.
You can view more details in the gallery about Sunset serenity.
Twilight out to sea watercolour painting | October 2018
As we move further into Autumn, the low light and shorter days bring us some dramatic sunrises and sunsets more. Looking out of the kitchen window recently, I’ve seen some beautiful displays of pink, red and yellows flooding the sky as the sun sets.
I’ve also turned to exploring the light of sunset in my latest watercolour Twilight out to sea. This painting, which I featured in one of my email newsletters, is based on atmospheric views out to sea at sunset, from the sands at St Annes-on-sea.
I am currently working on a small series of sunset watercolour paintings and will be using some new paper I’ve never tried before from the Royal Watercolour Society.
I hope your Autumn is going well and if there is any information or questions you have about my art please feel free to get in touch.
Skies over Lindisfarne oil painting | October 2018
Over the last month or so, I’ve been working on a series of new beach paintings and in particular a new oil painting titled, Skies over Lindisfarne.
With Skies over Lindisfarne, I've continued to explore the movement, dynamism and light of nature's elements as they change over time.
I've used texture and speed of semi-abstract brushmarks to show nature's dynamism in the skies over the sea - it's complex movement of air and the changing light sculpting it's forms.
You can also see I've also chosen semi-abstract contrasting colours. With airy blues and violets working against soft pinks and browns.
The painting feels contemporary and minimal, suggesting universal motion and beautiful sunlight over the sea.
Skies over Lindisfarne oil painting is now showing in the gallery.
New sunset watercolour paintings | September 2018
Through September, I’ve been working on a new series of watercolours, celebrating the atmosphere and beauty of sunset over the seashore.
This new collection of work expresses the light and natural movement over the coast during sunset.
The paintings use a subdued and natural palette of colours, some beautifully soft tones and subtle textures which come with using watercolour as a medium.
The sunlit tide watercolour painting | August 2018
Over the last few weeks, I’ve turned my attentions back to painting watercolours. My latest original artwork is The sunlit tide, where I’ve aimed to paint the soft colours and light of sunset over the sea.
It is strikingly beautiful at sunset on the sands. You see the different movements of water in the sea, the shimmering horizon, the slowly shifting waters and the washing of waves over the sand.
You can see this new painting in the gallery here. If you’d like to talk to me about this new artwork, you are welcome to e-mail me at .
Over calm waters oil painting | July 2018
As the warm summer continues, I’ve been busy creating oil painting Over calm waters. It is a continuation of my current series of abstract oil paintings exploring light and movement over the seashore.
I’ve expanded the number of blue colours I use and introduced more yellows into the painting too, creating a bright, fresh palette for a summer painting of the seashore.
Over calm waters oil painting is now available in the gallery.
Through the warm summer month of July, I’ve again turned my attention to watercolour paintings of the sea, with Sunset by the shore, St Annes-on-sea being my latest artwork.
This painting uses more natural, softer colours and shows the busy build up of clouds against the yellowing light of the setting sun. Light stretches over the shore and the horizon, making sparkling areas over the sea.
You can see Sunset by the shore, St Annes-on-sea in the gallery and if you'd like to know more about this artwork, please get in touch.
Breaking waves at sunset watercolour painting | June 2018
Through June, I’ve been exploring the light, movement and atmosphere of the coast through a series of watercolour paintings.
Breaking waves at sunset is my latest addition. I’ve used some cooler reds and yellows of sunset, I’ve also explored some of the beautiful paint textures that can appear when you use smooth paper.
I’ve tried to keep Breaking waves at sunset as fresh and alive as possible. Showing the wonderful quality of light as the waves land on the shore and the coast is bathed in the ethereal colours of sunset.
You can see this new painting in the gallery. If you’d like to talk to me directly about this new artwork, you are welcome to e-mail me at .
Oil painting Open seas, Lindisfarne | May 2018
Through the beginning of May, I’ve been revisiting the coast near Lindisfarne in Northumberland with its broad shoreline and open skies. With the Spring-like sunnier weather, mixed with a cool breeze, I found changeable skies and light conditions over the seashore.
The painting reflects the natural dynamism and energy found at the seashore. The strong breeze morphes clouds into and around one another over the wide open seas. And the soft sunlight masked by higher cloud waxes and wanes over the seashore.
It explores natural dynamism through space using semi-abstract brushstrokes with numerous layers of rich oils. I’ve sought to develop immediacy and a sense of nature in action within the painting.
Strong planes of heavily pressed brushstrokes co-exist with soft, graduated tones and areas of unique texture. Representing the quiet as well as the swiftly changing parts of the seascape.
The colours range from warm creams and pale yellows and orange through to cerulean blue, ultramarine and purple mixes. I’ve also used a lead white alternative by Michael Harding, replicating the original paint very well with its dense, beautifully rich qualities. The canvas I’ve chosen is Belle Arti’s best oil primed linen, which provides a wonderfully stable, oil based foundation for the painting.
You can see more about Open seas, Lindisfarne oil painting in the gallery. If you’d like to talk to me directly about this new artwork, you are welcome to e-mail me at .
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 watercolour paintings 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.