Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Oars Number Two

Seafront II  6" x 11"  Acrylic on Paper

 This is the second of the two paintings of my set of oars (see previous post). The oars are in exactly the same position as in the other painting.
 The oars were for Kate's boat, a two person inflatable dinghy designed for use as a tender for getting to and from a yacht but used by us for messing about on the rivers that surround Rye. I bought the boat on the internet. It being too big to post I arranged to meet the dinghy's vendor in the car park of a vast shopping centre near the Dartford Crossing in Essex, a half way point for each of us. When the hand-over was completed the seller asked me, "What boat have you got?" (meaning what sort of yacht, etc.). Not thinking I replied, "This one!" pointing at the inflatable he had just sold me. He turned around, got in his Range Rover and drove away without saying another word.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Oars Number One

Seafront I  6"x11"  Acrylic on Paper

 This is the first of two paintings of a set of oars. They are my oars, I had just bought them and wanted to paint them in all their aluminium and plastic glory they also just happened to fit well with the stainless steel railings in the picture.
 I bought Kate a boat for her fortieth birthday, an inflatable. When I collected it, it had everything apart from oars. The first oars I bought were wooden and beautiful but too heavy and not very efficient. These were the second set which I found on the internet. They are very light, fit neatly in the boat and are very handy when the battery of its electric outboard fails.
 Of course it is really a homage to Paulo Uccello.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne Castle II 10x14 Acrylic on Board

 I had wanted to visit Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle since seeing 'Cul-de-sac' the 1966 film by Roman Polanski which was set here. The island is separated from the mainland by a causeway which is under water except at low tide. I have done several paintings of the castle. This one is from the harbour. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Abandoned Croft

The Abandoned Croft 9"x10" Acrylic on Board

 Another painting of Sandaig/Camusfearna in the North West of Scotland. I worked on this in the studio, painting from a series of drawings and photographs. When away from the subject I find it better to work from several versions of source material rather than just one. More than halfway through the painting I realized that the design I had planned did not work and I had to make some alterations. No matter how carefully I plan a picture it almost always changes as I work on it.

Thursday, 10 April 2014


Fishing 10"x14" Watercolour
This painting is based on Padstow Harbour in Cornwall and connects with a childhood memory of fishing with my grandfather.
Steven Wright the Comedian said, “There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.”
I've never caught a fish. My grandfather was a keen fisherman and sometimes took my brother and I with him. He said that it was easy and that anyone could catch a fish, successfully demonstrating this using only a length of cotton, a bent pin and a piece of bread. He was wrong.
Despite the lack of early success I persevered, occasionally sitting on a riverbank with rod and line - plenty of time to think but no fish. In fact I sometimes omitted the bait in order to guarantee thinking time. I needn't have bothered, the fish had other things to fry. Latterly my daughter discovered an interest and a gift for fishing and I would dutifully sit beside her quietly amazed at the vast shoals that would by-pass my hook in their haste to swim directly on to hers.
However I don't regret any of those hours spent beside rivers and seas - fishing without success has given me lots of useful thinking time and as Steven Wright also said, "You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Secret Pond

Secret Pond 10"x14" Watercolour

I discovered this place on an outing to look at and draw something else I had in mind for a painting. It is on farmland in a bowl scooped out of a field on the side of a hill surrounded by trees. From a distance it looked like a copse and even close up it only revealed itself as a pool at the very last moment, hence the title 'Secret Pond'.

Thursday, 6 March 2014


Camusfearna 9"x11" Acrylic on Board
Camusfearna is Gavin Maxwell's name for Sandaig on the mainland just across the water from Skye. It is where he wrote 'Ring of Bright Water' and it is an atmospheric place. It was a perfect Highland Autumn day - warm, dry and calm - even the midges were taking a break. I did a quick watercolour sketch and took some photos but it was too nice to work so I ate my lunch and lay on the rocks and looked at the side of Kate's face as the sunlight came streaming across the water and thought would'nt it be great if it could be like this all of the time.