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New work, week 2. 11 Jan 2017

‘If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced’.  Vincent Van Gogh. This quote was on Instagram recently put up by another artist I follow, and it rang such a chord.   It was not so much that I was dissuaded from going to art college when I was young, as it was considered a second class career (!), but more the voice inside my head telling me I wasn’t good enough and believing that voice. Only very recently, a dear friend who I have known forever said to me about my art progression ‘ I didn’t think you had it in you’!  Sigh. Well I have indeed persevered and now paint each and every day following my true passion.   I love what I do and will continue until I physically can’t paint any more. So to week 2 of this work which I am enjoying working up.  The Ampersand gesso board is wonderful to paint on, giving a smooth finish.  Not sure how it would work for a large piece but it is great for smaller works to get the detail right.  Looking forward to…
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New Work, January 2017

First week, first underpainting of 2017.   I alternate between being excited when I start a new work and impatient to get down to the lights, darks and details which I know I have to wait for until the underpainting is done.  Catch 22. Two good friends kindly let me use their house as a backdrop to my next photo shoot with my model and I am hugely grateful for this.  Much as I would like to paint from life, in practice I have to work largely from photos, so every few months I will set up a photo shoot with a different model and take a load of images for future use. The lights work perfectly in this and the composition benefits from the wonderful abstract painting behind the model.  I am not usually a fan of green in my colour palette, but this time the colour of the sofa compliments the lilac Grecian style dress and also the cushions which will eventually be purple shaded. On a different note, I am absolutely delighted to have been given an Award of Merit in Manhattan Arts International ‘s New Beginnings Exhibition http://ow.ly/xOba307yJKd for this painting :- If you would like to…
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‘Pause For Thought’ completed and available

My apologies for being a bit late with the completion of this work and my blog update.  For various administration reasons, my website went down and it has taken the best part of ten days to sort; not perfect timing for this sort of thing to happen ! This is a relatively small piece , 30 x 25 cm, 12 x 9″ and is painted on Ampersand board which I really like for smaller paintings.  It will be up on Great White Art Gallery’s website in the New Year along with other work of mine so please have a look at www.greatwhiteart.com. Looking forward to starting new work as soon as 2017 is upon us.  Until then I wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas and may all your dreams come true in 2017. If you would like to be kept up to date with what I am up to in the next few months, please sign up for my Newsletter at the top of the Home Page. I will be sending out the next one early in 2017. Happy New Year.
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New work, week 3. 7 Dec 2016.

“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”  Vincent Van Gogh. This quote was completely right for this week’s post.  I was certain this morning that the painting would be finished today.   However, the more I painted in the detail, the more I realised I am still learning and that I have a way to go yet.  Each time I thought I had completed one area, I would look across and see another area unfinished.  I would work on that and then look back at the piece I had just been working on, and realised I still had more to learn.  But at least I am learning. I think with a larger canvas, an artist can be freer, more expressionistic in style, using larger brushes and being braver with colour.  With a smaller canvas like this one (10 x 8″)  however, one has to tighten up, smaller brushes, more detail, less room for mistakes. Both canvasses work for me, and I enjoy the challenge of both. So it will be one more week on this piece to get all the details and colour right.  Still not sure about a name yet either…
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New Work, week 2. 30 Nov 2016

Very much enjoying this smaller piece (12 x 9″) on Ampersand board again, which gives a smooth, controlled finish.  Not sure how it would work on a larger work as you would lose that control but for smaller paintings it is a great surface to work on. I apologise in advance that this young woman will be smoking a cigarette ( to be put in at a later stage when underpainting is completed ).  I was myself a cigarette smoker for years, and I am well aware of the health risks, hence giving up a long time ago. However, I do think it makes for a good composition and I feel the same about placing a glass of wine into a painting every so often; sometimes it just completes the piece. I haven’t decided on a title yet, but I feel this woman is thinking quite deeply about something; she is weighing up the pros and cons of something important to her and she has come out to the hallway to be on her own, have a quiet cigarette and just…….. reflect. The colours in the dress will be much more vibrant and jewel bright as time goes on and I…
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New work, week 1. 23 Nov 2016

I love starting a new painting, always so exciting working out the composition and the colours.  Sometimes I think I should leave a work at its first stages, as there is that loose impressionistic look to it which can be very appealing. However, the perfectionist in me then weighs in and I have to be very careful not to end up with a too ‘tight’ finished piece.  Wish me luck. The model I worked for this time came and worked with me one evening alongside a wonderful potter/sculptor who had some great ideas about styling and lighting.  We used his home as the backdrop to the photos and between the three of us came up with some fabulous images.  My model just seemed to know which poses to settle into and turned up with beautiful dresses and accessories.  I am delighted with the results as you will hopefully see in the next series of paintings beginning with this one. I went to see the ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ exhibition in London recently and yet again was overwhelmed by his use of chiaroscuro,  the lights and darks in the paintings and this is what I am aiming to achieve myself.  A long haul…
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‘Visiting Verona’ completed and available.

This was an interesting painting to complete as I wanted to keep a slightly impresssionistic feel to the work but also wanted to work up the detail on the two figures, particularly the lemon yellow dress.  If I had detailed the background too much I think that a) it would take attention away from the couple in the foreground and b) the work would become too tight and ‘chocolate box’ in appearance.  I am happy with the finished painting. Next week I begin a series of paintings using photos I took recently of one of my favourite models in a new setting.  I am hugely excited about this and can’t wait to get started.  Keep a check on the Blog for updates.  I am looking forward to getting back to interiors again. Great White Art gallery in Bristol (www.greatwhiteart.com) just completed a two week exhibition on Pop Art and several of my Line Art acrylic paintings were featured.  If you are in Bristol do drop by and have a look.  They are a sister gallery of Clifton Fine Art gallery three doors up on Perry Road (BS1 5BG). I have just sent out my latest Newsletter with news about two upcoming…
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New work, week 3. 9 Nov 2016

Beginning to work up the detail on this painting and I think it will be finished next week when I can get get down to the fine detail.   It is never easy  trying to get a balance between an impressionistic looser style of painting which  I want to get right on the background and a tighter more controlled finish on the girl’s dress and the skin tones.  We shall see…what I don’t want is to end up with a ‘chocolate box’ style of painting.  This can happen if the artist starts using smaller and smaller brushes, so I have resisted the temptation to go below a size 3 brush.  However next week may change that… I still haven’t got a title yet in my mind so if anyone has any ideas, please send me a Tweet. My Twitter followers haven’t let me down in the past!  The original photo was taken in Verona, Italy and the lovely building in the forefront is the Arena which is massive and still in very good condition.   I was totally blown away by Verona, stopping off there on my way through from Milan to Venice on the train.  It is a  truly…
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New work, week 2. 2 Nov 2016

I think this painting will benefit from a slightly looser style as I do not want to paint in all the detail in the background. Painting in the people, the shutters and windows etc will take the eye away from the main composition which is the couple, she in her brilliant yellow dress.   I will, however, put some more emphasis on the Arena as it is such a spectacular building. Shadows will be important and I am making use of the complimentary colours on the Colour Wheel used by artists everywhere.  So against the lemon yellow of the dress I will use my favourite shades of blue, purple and light blue for the foreground and the same in the Arena, although adding in a touch of Naples Yellow and Burnt Sienna here.  Michael Harding paints are so wonderful for this sort of work as the pigments are amazing, so jewel like in comparison to other paints. More expensive, but worth the layout. The view, by the way, is Verona in Italy where I spent a great couple of days on my way through from Milan by train to Venice.  I hadn’t planned to stop off here, it was an…
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New Work, week 1. 26 Oct 2016

‘Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.’  D.W.Winnicott I am driven by my passion to paint and I love putting up my works in progress week by week as I enjoy sharing the process whereby I get to the finished artwork.  BUT… there is the other side of being an artist whereby I not very forceful and spend a lot of time alone, by necessity, at my easel quite happily.   So yes….. tension! With this work, I was in Verona a couple of years ago, sitting on a bench in the sunshine with my camera to hand in case something caught my eye for a possible painting.   I suddenly saw this young woman in a lemon yellow dress and the contrast with the shadows of the ground and the Arena amphitheatre to me was perfect. Yellow and purple are opposites on the colour wheel and compliment each other, so I will be painting layers of purple and blue over the lilac grey of the ground and likewise on the walls of the Arena.  I think this composition will work. If you would like to be kept up to…
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