Shadow Blossoms March 2017
My daughter scattering cherry blossom petals beneath an ancient overhanging cherry tree, at a friend’s house near Wraxall, Bristol.
The petals were so plentiful it seemed impossible to distinguish between fallen petals and the pinkish reflected light.
Oil on canvas, 90cm x 60 cm
Watercolour, September 2017
At the foot of the Llanberis Path is a very welcome pub, with open fire, tea and cider. This is my wife and daughter relaxing.
A fairly rapid watercolour sketch, about 1 hr. Tried to keep it relatively simple with colours pure. Trying to abbreviate…
Another Norfolk landscape watercolour. Luminous alexanders brighten against a threatening April storm.
Pheasant at Ridlington, Norfolk
Spent a few days before Easter with my sister near the Norfolk Coast. Managed this small watercolour.
Nov 2016 oil on canvas
My daughter Anna. Again, I used a traditional palette for flesh tones and tried to keep the planes clean and free. Sargent says study Frans Hals if you want to learn everything about portrait painting. Top advice from a master. How to achieve credible flesh-tones from a few basic colours, and how to just ‘find’ the picture pushing the brush around in the paint, without the constraint of under drawing. The background – random point – happens to be a quote from Hals’ gipsy girl.
My son Will posed for this on a baking day in Algonquin Canada earlier this year. I tried to capture something of the contrasting warmth and coolness as the sunlight saturates everything but parts of the boats and Will. I used cool violets in the shadows to suggest the warmth reflecting all around.
I like playing with the composition so, e.g. there is a triangle of primaries to anchor the picture (grass, cap, shoes), and the shape of the canoes are reversed in the distant tree line. As ever, it is deliberately loose and impressionist.
Will ‘collects’ rocks. Is he going to keep it or throw it?
This is a composite portrait, derived from drawings and photos, of one of our regular models. It started with an initial 15 min sketch of the pose with beret. The scarf idea came later. It allowed me to use the full tonal range with its black lace, and Autumn colours and made me think of the black veil in Goya’s Dona Isabel.
I also tried to start introducing more daring colour to this traditional palette and there is an experimental play with violets and yellows throughout.