Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Answering The Call...

I've been working up a few sketches for my next batch of paintings. Here's one of them that has been given the go-ahead.
Now you know what an old Dennis fire engine would look like on a rally course

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

'Evening On The Lake'

I managed to finish this watercolour, 'Evening On The Lake', last night. Having said that when I got into the studio this morning I realised I had missed some whiskers for the characters in the immediate foreground.
That toad has just failed his driving test.
As you can see, I have included lots of overlapping elements in the painting in order to give a sense of movement and watery chaos. Based on their current positions I think just about every boat has the potential to crash into another vessel and not every person at the helm is paying due care and attention. There are also ducks and geese swooping in-between the maze of sails and steaming funnels - I find birds incredibly useful in breaking up a composition.

The overall colour gradually became very N.C Wyeth, not by design, the background just seemed to demand a rich golden haze as I started to build up the fells and tree lined banks. This did mean I kept washing varied amounts of cadmium yellow and yellow ochre continually on top of one another, which made the soft pencil on the top edge slightly bleed into the sky. Next time I'll go back to the trusty 3H made by Derwent (how very appropriate).


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Evening On The Lake WIP

I'm currently working on my third large animal painting. Below you can see the rough sketch and three shots taken with my phone in the studio over 3 days.

The first painting day I finished a very basic underpainting, sepia in the foreground and cobalt blue in the background hills. For days two and three I have been glazing the background very carefully and started to flesh out the local colours in the foreground boats and figures. All the time I'm battling with warm light and cool shadows which is hard enough when painting from life, never mind making it up!!



Thursday, 8 January 2015

'Knitting Circle'

Knitting Circle
Watercolour & Gouache
24 x 31cm

This one was finished over the New Year break (no rest for the wicked). I thought I was going to have an absolute nightmare with making the blanket look woollen but it turns out my continual glazing technique works really well when it comes to soft fuzzy texture. At some stages I even just brushed clean water over the top of the blanket squares just to soften edges when drybrush wasn't working.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

'Knitting Circle' WIP

What better way is there to see in the New Year than chatting with friends over a nice cup of tea and some knitting needles?
The first day of painting.

Friday, 12 December 2014

'Air Mail'

Still catching up with my art back log. Here's another painting for you:
Air Mail
Watercolour / Gouache
24 x 31cm
Again these two characters feature in 'A Quarter Past One On Platform Ten' in the top left swooping under the arched station roof. I'd like to think there are different birds used to deliver post depending on the destination, maybe seagulls for the coast, an albatross for long over sea journeys (especially in the North) and an owl for night dispatch. Ravens and crows are without doubt the early morning delivery fleet.

Monday, 8 December 2014

'Catching Butterflies'

I now realise I have a back log of artwork to post! Firstly I had better tie up the lose end from my previous WIP post. Here is the, now complete, painting called 'Catching Butterflies'

Catching Butterflies
Watercolour & Gouache
24 x 31cm
I used three distinct techniques to paint this whimsical image of a stoat chasing butterflies. The first was to work wet in wet to build up the soft trees in the background, I had to be very careful not to encroach on the hat and net. The second technique was to use masking fluid with a toothbrush to speckle the field with lots of wild flowers and seeds, that way I could easily work up the greens without worrying about losing the bright flowers. The third technique was glaze very thin applications of paint over the shadows on the stoat so even in darker areas there would still be a nice interplay of cold blues and warm greens.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Cheese Delivery


Cheese Delivery
Watercolour / Gouache
24 x 31cm



My latest painting, 'Cheese Delivery,' was challenge to paint because I decided to use a very restricted range of colours or, as James Gurney would say, a narrow colour gamut. My influence behind colour mixing was 'Saying Grace' by Norman Rockwell. I leant heavily on yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber and sepia throughout the whole process and only went to ultramarine, prussian blue and cadmium reds halfway through and even then they were always mixed with a brown.

Hopefully the whimsical story of the smelly cheese being delivered by an otter, with a peg on his nose, has come across in the finished painting. Nevertheless I had a lot of fun painting the crazed mice, especially the two young mice raiding the new cheese delivery.

By the way, Stenson (shop name) and Hartley (delivery van) are two surnames that feature in my family.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My Art Turned Into Cross Stitch

Paine Free Crafts are converting a selection of my artwork in cross stitch charts and kits! The first image, 'Autumn Scribe' is up for sale. Click here to visit painefreecrafts.com.
Those owls are being stitched up good and proper!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Massive Fantastic Interview

I have recently given a 10 question interview, courtesy of Eric Millen, for his superb blog 'Massive Fantastic. You can read it here.

Make sure to have a browse through the archives, there is an especially good interview with James Gurney where Mr Gurney turns the tables on Eric and asks about the fate of his old brushes, Eric had previously traded new brushes for James' used ones!