Monday, 25 November 2013


Dusk  36cm x 55cm  Watercolour
 I went to Amsterdam on a whim. Kate and I were staying in Belgium, where I was one of the invited artists at the 2012 International Watercolour Biennial, and had a few days to spare before the return crossing to Dover. I wanted to see the Jan Vermeer painting 'Het Melkmeisje' in the Rijksmuseum, which I did. Afterwards we wandered around the canals looking for a restaurant and found this. I had to go back in daylight to look at it properly. I probably left out more than I put in.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Night - 14 x 20 - Watercolour

I think of this as my Atkinson Grimshaw Rheinhart Payne painting. I was very young when I discovered John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893). He was famous for his townscapes and night scenes and these stayed with me as I grew up. I have been planning to do a night painting for a long time but to get really dark darks with watercolour is difficult so I kept putting it off. Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) was an abstract painter who was known for some 'black paintings' he did near the end of his life. I first saw these while at school preparing for 'A' Level art. I was very impressed especially by his slightly immodest claim that they were the end of painting. At first sight they just look like plain black canvasses but after a while the viewer can see that they are made up of geometric shapes in slightly different hues and shades of black. For this painting, which is probably an anti-Reinhardt painting, I didn't use black but variations on Paynes Grey, a mixture of indigo, sienna and crimson lake developed by William Payne (1760-1830). I also used another innovation credited to Payne which was to create highlights by taking out areas of paint by wetting the surface and rubbing it with bread or rag (or, in my case, with a brush).  

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Apple 16" x 12" Watercolour

This is the small painting I did as a demonstration in the Mall Galleries during the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 201st exhibition which is on until 18 April 2013. I say 'demonstration' but my kind of painting is not entertaining in the way that most demonstrations are. I just sit there and paint and as I am a slow painter most of the audiences' time is spent watching the paint dry while I try to decide what to do next. Even so there were some brave souls who stayed to the end. Eventually, when everyone had gone home, I ate the apple.