‘Make Bristol Shit Again’. Nearly done. 20/7/17

I have changed the title to this piece from ‘Bristol Shitty’ to Make Bristol Shit Again’ as I felt it gave the impression Bristol is a bad place to visit or live in.  Far from it.  Bristol is a vibrant, buzzy city full of artists who come up with tongue in cheek posters like this one in Stokes Croft. I have had a few queries from people who follow me on Twitter from abroad who think I am mocking Bristol.  Far from it again.  The Brits have a self-deprecating, laid back sense of humour, hence this poster and why I like it so much. I am nearly done with this work, but need to tone down the background a little more to make the red poster and the woman stand out more, hence no visible writing on any of the other posters.  I also need to refine the lower part of the painting more, the legs, pavement and bricks.  I just got too tired last night, so another couple of days. My aim is to try and preserve in my paintings some of the stunning street art that is around in our cities, because of course street art /graffiti is…
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‘Bristol Shitty’. Work in progress. 12/07/17

I saw this red poster in ‘The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft’ in Bristol recently and it made me laugh out loud.  Bristol is a GREAT city and full of great scenes like this, so I felt a painting coming on.  I am painting a series of artworks involving street art and graffiti all around Bristol, but always with my trademark woman somewhere in the foreground.  I shall also be painting local iconic backgrounds such as the wonderful BearPit Bear.  I am excited. In fact I got so excited, I went in search of fluorescent oil paints for the posters on the wall behind the woman.  These do not seem to exist in the UK,  so have spent all my worldly wealth on 5 tubes of brilliant colours from America which look amazing.  However  I will now have to tone down the colours, as the woman risks being swamped by such bright zinging tones. I will only be painting in the detail of the Make Bristol Shit Again poster to create emphasis and will leave the other posters indistinct. I will eventually get the lettering right, so please bear with me. The shoes are based on a fantastic pair of…
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‘Rendezvous At The Labia’. Completed. 05/07/17

This is, for me, a larger piece at 76 x 76 cm ( 30 x 30″ ).  This is because it will be going to Cape Town when the paint has dried and South Africans prefer larger artworks in their lovely, sunny, high ceilinged spacious homes.   State Of The Art gallery is taking it ( and I look forward to seeing it hanging in their new permanent space at 50, Buitenkant.   This gallery is first and foremost an online gallery, but has had gallery space in Shortmarket Street for the last couple of years. I look forward to seeing the new gallery opening in August. I intend to paint a series of works depicting local scenes with my trademark woman in the foreground somewhere.  I am interested in street art and graffiti, and would like to preserve them in my paintings, as of course by their very nature, graffiti/street art regularly gets painted over.  There is a wealth of talent in and around Cape Town, particularly in Woodstock and I can’t wait to get started. The Labia in this painting is South Africa’s oldest working cinema, much like the Curzon here in England in Clevedon, down the road…
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‘The Hare, North Street, Bristol’. Work in progress. 28/06/17

Another painting to drive me mad with patterns to paint, much as in ‘Bristol North Street Blues..Reds & Oranges’.   I don’t think of these  little problems when I set up a composition.  Once I have seen what I want to paint,  I tend to jump in and photograph it without heed of the consequences… My problem is that I am far too impatient to be a truly realistic figurative painter; I used to want to be, but now accept that it’s just not me.  So with the panelled glass of the window of the pub, I am going to attempt a more impressionistic interpretation and let the eye of the viewer make up the rest.  At the moment I feel the glass is too bright for the rest of the painting, so will paint a glaze over it next week when the paint is drier. The Hare is a lovely little pub on North Street where I live.  It is a darker green than painted here, so I have used some artistic licence to liven it up a bit. I find I often use the Colour Wheel for deciding colours without realising it (Google for more info).   Green…
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‘Rendezvous At The Labia’. Work in progress. 21/06/17

This is a larger work than usual for me, 80 x 80 cm (32 x 32″) and is one of a series I hope to be sending off to Cape Town gallery, State of The Art ( which is an online gallery with a permanent presence about to open at 50, Buitenkant in August, moving from Shortmarket Street. I have in mind to paint pictures using iconic Cape Town backgrounds, much as I am intending to do with Bristol at Great White Art gallery, (  These backgrounds could be recognisable like the above, or involve street art and graffiti.   The paintings will always have my trademark woman somewhere in the composition. The above work is so called, because this girl is sitting just outside the Labia cinema in Cape Town, South Africa’s oldest working cinema so I am told.   People smile at the title, but said cinema was opened by Princess Labia in the 1940’s. I have been adding in much more colour than is in the original composition as I felt the painting was getting a bit sombre and I am in the mood for brighter colours, so will probably add in more next time when I get…
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New work in progress…The Hare on North Street. 14/06/17

I am working on a series of paintings at the moment with my trademark woman in front of an interesting and recognisable Bristol backdrop.  I have taken a lot of photos of North Street, the street where I live, as it provides  a centre each year for Upfest,  a street art festival held in July. Graffiti and street artists from all over the Uk  and Europe descend on North Street and cover virtually every available space with some pretty spectacular art. I have also been roaming around the ‘people’s Republic of Stokes Croft’ which is a myriad of wonderful paintings, murals and street art as it is a hub for artists, much like North Street.  I am very excited. Further afield, I have been wandering around the streets of Camden and Kentish Town in London for the same reason and in the future hope to paint several paintings featuring some amazing backdrops for my woman sliding past, and no doubt including Amy Winehouse somewhere, as she and Camden are synonymous. I plan to do the same with Cape Town and my ‘Don’t Be A Dick’ was the first painting I did which gave me the idea for all of the…
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‘Rendezvous at The Labia’. Work in progress. 07/06/17

Strange title possibly ?! The Labia is South Africa’s oldest working cinema and is such an iconic place.  It was founded by Princess Labia around 1945 I think, and is one of my best go to places to visit when I am in Cape Town.  It is a small theatre but has four screens and has a small bar with snacks available, both of which you can take in with you to see the film.  The usherette is a fabulous local who has been at the Labia for as long as I can remember and you can get home made popcorn which always smells delicious and costs a fraction of the stuff you buy here in England. It’s a real favourite with the locals and shows all up to date films plus more arts based ones.  I love it. I came out from the film and saw this young woman on her phone. The lighting, the pose, the colour of that wall – my favourite shade of blue – all conspired to make me feel a painting coming on. I will be adding in more zestful colours as I go along and need to accentuate the lights and darks more…
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‘Bristol North Street Blues…Reds & Oranges’. Completed. 01/06/17

This is a wonderful piece of street art which I felt would really compliment one of my paintings featuring my trademark female.  The colours are so vibrant and alive, although the painting of the geometric shapes proved very taxing for this impatient artist.  I like the result at last. It was a cold morning in April when I set this up and am indebted to the model as she braved the east winds of Bedminster to slide past this street art.    She attracted many an admiring glance in her high heels and red dress as the rest of the population on North Street wrapped up in scarves, hoodies, gloves et al. I always have mixed feelings about street art.  I love the immediacy of it all, and can stand watching for ages as these artists produce such wonderful imagery with their aerosols and paints, usually using a small postcard as a guide to the finished large piece.  I say mixed feelings, because sooner or later the said piece is destroyed by a new work being painted over it!  This is particularly true of here in North Street where we welcome Upfest every year.  This is, I think, the largest…
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‘Bristol North Street Blues…Reds & Orange. WIP. 18/05/17

A painting I never wish I had started 🙂 It’s a great subject, full of colour and a lot of time and thought went into the composition for what would be a square canvas work.  But oh those patterns !  I do not want to fall back into painting too tightly, too realistically, as I believe I am too impatient for that; but how does one achieve these geometric shapes with all their beautiful angles, colours and tones ? Answers please, on a postcard to…… The solution possibly this time around is going to have to be a fairly realistic take on the patterns, but go more freely when painting the woman and the foreground. Will be interesting to see how this one pans out. My aim is to paint a series of Bristol based works with recognisable backgrounds for the trademark woman in the foreground, and then in similar vein for Cape Town which I know pretty well now and have a deep abiding love for.  Both series will involve a lot of colour 🙂 I am thinking about adding more words to some of the paintings, along the lines of ‘Don’t Be A Dick’ as this brought a…
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‘Dont Be A Dick’ completed. 10/05/17

‘All students need to know about color is the basic color wheel and complimentary colors. There are many books on color theory; do not waste your time and money’. (Sergei Bongart) I don’t know this artist, but his quote about the colour wheel is spot on, and something which I find myself doing without thinking these days.  Red always compliments green as can be seen in so many portraits painted by many artists.  Green is nearly always used as an underpainting before the pink and red tones are painted on of the skin. Blue and orange are my personal favourite and I use these colours a lot, as shown here in the front of the cafe. I could have gone for the original brass finish and darker browns and golds, but to me that is too boring.  Colour brings life to a painting.  These two colours are very Mediterranean and symbolise warmth and sunshine. Lastly, purple and yellow, again a Mediterranean feel to these two colours.  If I need to shade down yellow in one of my works, I rarely, if ever, use brown to provide shade.  A touch of purple does the trick. So this painting is finished and…
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