Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Silverdale Winter Sun

A bracing walk along the bay with my new app...

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Loose Lily

Finally made it back into the studio and got the pink paint flowing again!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Painting with Emily Ball & Katie Sollohub

I had an inspirational week working alongside a group of artists all looking to widen our artistic horizons on the Sussex coast. We were fortunate enough to be have a beautiful coastal house as a base for two days on location overlooking the Seven Sisters chalky cliffs. You can see how gorgeous it is  on their website
Using a combination of painted, drawn and written responses coaxed out of over those days we were able to conjure up the majesty of the place on our remaining days in the Seawhite Studio of Emily.
Here is a combination of painting and words which I hope convey the aspects of the setting to which I was drawn...

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


I have had a busy couple of  weeks since returning from Umbria with lots of inspiring activities and visits. After putting up the mixed exhibition at Plato's in Kirkby we had a bustling preview night with wine and nibbles courtesy of the restaurant at Plato's.
This was followed by 2 days carborundum and collagraph printing with Iain Sloane at the Brewery.  Having never done this type of plate making before it proved to be very interesting and productive as it offers the painter the opportunity to be quite painterly and intuitive. This coupled with the anticipation of the resulting prints as they are peeled off the plate makes the whole process quite addictive.
Here are some of the resulting prints...

A landscape which took on a life of its own

A lot of tile adhesive and carborundum grit
was used to get these textural marks

This is a print of the above onto gampi tissue interleaved
with my indigo dyed tissue papers.

I have also been adding to my bank of inspiration with visits to Tate Liverpool to see the Marc Chagall exhibition and London's RA to see their summer show. Along with a couple of friends we managed to spend nearly 3 hours in there as there was a lot of interesting work this year. Well worth a visit if you have a few hours to spare...

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Arte Umbria Experience...

I have just got back from a weeks mentoring at the wonderful Arte Umbria art school nestled in the countryside between Rome and Florence. Luckily for us we had good weather which got hotter as the week progressed and did mean we could jump in the pool to cool off by the end of the week.
Using our sketchbooks we explored the surrounding towns and villages as well as just enjoying the view and the beautiful flowers which surrounded the house. The roses were blooming everywhere we went and smelled gorgeous.

Here a few of the sketches I made to demonstrate my approaches to working quickly and on location. Just balancing sketchbook, paints, water and brushes is a major achievement in itself.

Many thanks to Jill, Sherry, Lynne, Sue, Eric and Helen for a relaxed and entertaining week. And of course a big thanks to our hosts there Sara and David for the warm welcome, amazing food and wine and for arranging some great trips out.

I have already said yes to a return visit in early September next year if anyone else is tempted by a relaxed week of sketching in the sun...

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


One of my favourite colours is Indigo. I spent today literally seeped in it as my friend Gill Ferguson, textile artist, showed me how to prepare an indigo bath before experimenting with dying fabric and more interestingly Japanese papers. I wanted to see if the gampi tissue would stay strong enough when wet to be manipulated and dyed. There were some failures but mostly successes... Here are some of the results and also a digital image of me incorporating the results into my watercolour work.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

My new palette!

The 'Craig Young' palette that Sean got me for Christmas had its first outing today. I didn't go too far - just out into my back yard...

Saturday, 18 May 2013


Yet more digital starting points for a painting, the dots suggesting pollen, a real problem for us hayfever suffering flower painters at this time of the year !

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Bluebell Journeys...

I have really enjoyed working from the digital collage I created the other day based on my bluebell sketches. Using watercolours and a lot of masking tape, to mask off each individual section as I go along, I have been layering up the passages of marks and colours in an attempt to re-create and develop some of the wonderful chance relationships between marks and passages of colour that occur when using layers in photoshop.
Here is the painting so far without the addition of the willow pattern elements that I have now decided to add using gampi tissue.

More layering in photoshop - the next painting?

My good friend Karen called in this afternoon for a cuppa and has got me looking the work of Jilly Edwards and Jo Barker whose inspiring tapestries appear to be inspired by a Japanese aesthetic and also the paintings of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. 

Jilly Edwards

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

Jo Barker

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Boro inspired... patchworked bluebells

I came across a wonderful website which sells old Japanese Boro textiles,

I am now really inspired to keep on with my current fascination with cutting up & collaging my paintings back together to make abstract pieces with the focus on shape, texture and colour.
I picked some bluebells out of my garden this morning to paint with my watercolours before digitally collaging and layering them up along with the addition of willow pattern extracts. I can't wait to do another painting working from this now...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


I bought some lovely flowers this week and was inspired to get my paints out! I now have the luxury of a month without teaching obligations ahead of me so I am hoping to actually get some serious painting done. This was a warm up for me using a full sheet of Saunders HP paper and a selection of my new Daniel Smith paints.

Friday, 29 March 2013

'The Artist' Has Arrived!

Here are a couple of pages from my first article to appear in 'The Artist' magazine. Its great to see myself in a publication that I have been reading for many years.
My local art shop, Youdells, is going to be displaying the final painting 'Pool Side' and my 'Lemons on China Blue' alongside the article from the end of next week. So if you are in or around Kendal during April do go along and have a look.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Artist Magazine Article

I am impatiently waiting for my copies of the May issue of The Artist to drop through my letterbox. Released on March 28th this issue has my tutorial article based around a painting which evolved from creative time spent next to the pool at Arte Umbria last September. There is a step-by-step demo alongside a little bit about my own working practice and approach to creating a painting. I hope you will find it engaging and interesting.
Here is an early sketch made on location. I brought together a combination of sketches for the final watercolour painting...

Here is my official portrait taken especially for the magazine.
Thanks go to Victoria Sedgewick for her patience waiting for a flattering shot!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Off to Lancaster...

I will be holding a mixed media workshop tomorrow with the Lancaster Art Society and today have been been working on a piece based on the estuary series that seems to be evolving at the moment. I have also done a digital 'cut out' of it which may spark another investigation... The painting shown here started life as a demo in Keswick. The digital piece reminds me of the enamel paintings that develop from the tracings made by the artist Ingrid Calame whose work I was fortunate enough to see at The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh.

I shall add another little piece that came out of a sketch I made in the warm (yes warm!) sunshine this morning looking over the fields to Morecambe Bay.

Friday, 15 March 2013

A Trip to Grange and District Art Society...

I had another enjoyable trip out yesterday extolling the virtues of Brusho inks. I had just bought some fabulous looking Amalfi lemons from Booths and they made a zesty subject. Here they are photographed (and digitally manipulated) on top of a piece of Bluebellgray floral fabric that I had bought that morning in Lancaster ...

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Finished Painting...

I have enjoyed using really saturated pinks and reds today as I tried to capture the intensity of the colour from the art bar and tissue collage studies ...

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Playing in Photoshop...

Working from an Art Bar drawing and a collage I have been playing in photoshop  - I like the idea of breaking the subject down into shape and colour as Ivon Hitchens did with his paintings. I am now going to continue exploring this theme and make some paintings from these digital files in various media...

                                                                    Ivon Hitchens "Two Poppies on a Blue Table"

Friday, 8 March 2013

Fun with Brusho's in Bolton Le Sands...

I spent an afternoon this week with the Art Society in Bolton Le Sands as we got to grips with the intense colours and character of Brusho Inks working with a landscape theme.
I had some time in the studio myself this week combining the inks with quink and bleach, working from my photos of Morecambe Bay.  I hope you like the results...
The bottom painting here is my interpretation of a painting by Johan Meeske. I love his intense colours, lines and shapes which make such a strong and vibrant combination.