Wednesday 31 December 2014


I love this time of year, especially when we get lovely bright, crisp mornings, and since getting our little schnauzer, Maggie May I have found some lovely new painting locations, I'm now just waiting for some snow!
I find I return to my favourite subject in all weathers, the allotments, although I have recently found another two in the village so there will be more subjects to inspire coming up soon!

I decided to share with you this final painting of 2014.

I like to begin with a coloured canvas, sometimes its multi coloured, perhaps swirls and blocks of colour using up paint already on my palette, then I get down to blocking in what is actually there using a dark colour. The advantage of this, is that I can block in the colours I actually see, rather than just an overall colour.

In this case however, as I was taking my canvas outdoors, I pre-painted it all over in an ochre colour. You can usually spot these pre-prepared canvases as the ground is always the same colour all over rather than multi coloured. 

Once I have established the overall shapes and values I begin to add blocks of bolder colour. I usually only use about 6 - 8 colours in any given painting, sometimes fewer.

It is my intention to paint the 'feel' of the subject and gradually 'bring it into focus' as I go along. 
I can never understand how other artists paint a tiny detailed area leaving the rest of the canvas untouched, then slowly extend the detailed area until the entire canvas is filled. 

I need to see the 'whole' so that I can tell if my composition is going to work, the total balance and finally the colours. I tend to work from the back to the front as I build up the details, so for example, once I am satisfied with the background I then add more tree branches and twigs. Then I find the need to plunge in with the bright colours, I just block them in. I love it when they 'zing' against the background, the blue water pots almost pop out of the canvas! and the little blue cart is in the perfect spot.

As it happens, this little cart was not here at all, it was more to the right, out of view, but in order to make the composition better, I moved it into the picture. That's the joy of painting, being able to change things!

Of course, you can't just move something and paint it exactly as you see it unless it is fairly close to where you want it, otherwise the lighting is different. If I had to turn around to see it, the lighting would be totally wrong, but just mentally moving something a few metres is what I like to think of as... 'tweaking'

I suppose that is the difference between painting exactly what you see and using artistic licence, at the end of the day, who cares? The only person that knows is me... and now of course, you!

I am looking forward to painting more in 2015.

If you have enjoyed reading  my blog, do let me know. Tell me what you like to read about and I shall try and do a a little more next year. Meanwhile, I wish you the very best for 2015... happy painting!

Monday 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Today is the final day before I engulf myself in Christmas. I have been painting each day this month to complete a series of paintings for Galleries and today the final group will arrived all beautifully framed and ready to hang. Its so exciting to see a painting framed, and I have to say, it is with a little pang of sadness coupled with excitement that I wrap them up to hang on someone else's wall. They will all go to loving homes and give pleasure to others and surely, that's what painting is all about.
I get so much enjoyment from painting so its perfect that someone else gets enjoyment from living with them. 

Many of you are probably well organised for Christmas, all our gifts are wrapped and under the tree but the fridge is looking pretty bare and as the family all arrive tomorrow I had better get my skates on! I did however make the cranberry sauce yesterday afternoon and collected our turkey from the farmers market. There is not a mince pie in sight though!

So to all of you who enjoy painting and take the time to read my very infrequent blog, have a very Happy Christmas and a healthy, happy 2015 :)