Monday, July 16, 2018


Finally finished this one. Took a little longer than expected but I'm happy with the result. For the most part, I kept the painting where I could easily see it between stages so as to give me a better idea what to do next. Some areas needed darkening while I some others a slight lightening. The background was finished off with the addition of pale yellow grasses - this helped define the upper edges of the snow and also added a bit of perspective. I had to re-visit the grass in the foreground and played around with that area for awhile until I was satisfied. This painting is part of a long-term project so will be put away until I get closer to the end of it. When I have enough work completed, I'll explain in more detail, for now it's on to the next one!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Working on the details of the grasses took some time as I had to paint around most of the stalks and also suggest details behind the grass. Some parts are in shade so I used darker and richer washes for those areas. The lowest log was completed adding a few cracks and checks along with some annual rings etc. I may have to go a little darker on it but I want to finish the painting first then see. The snow had a few thin washes of purple added to take off some of the whiteness and some of the edges were further darkened suggesting a little snow melt - I also slightly darkened the snow shadows here and there. Getting close now so hopefully I'll be able to finish this one during the next painting session.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


Here I have built up some of the darkest tones and indicated some of the shadows within the painting. Most of the log ends are close to being complete but I'll probably have another go at them a bit later on when the painting is almost finished. I tend to let the work develop on its own rather than rushing ahead to get it done. In between, I can always work on something else and I check out the work from time to time to see what needs to be done next. I don't mind the painting taking longer than it should just as long as it goes just where I want it to. Next is probably the most difficult part - working on the foreground grasses. This and the shadows in the snow will hopefully bring it closer to being complete.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


With a start made on some of the smaller log ends, I began working on the two larger ones. Blending sepia with a little burnt sienna allowed for a few different color temperatures and to add variation to the ends. When doing the more recent studies on site, I noticed that the wood had bleached out quite a bit since from when it was first cut (these logs have been lying there for a few years now). As I continue defining the logs, I carefully paint around the snow areas as they will be mostly white paper with perhaps a faint purplish wash to tone down the starkness a little. The log on the lower left is where the root system was cut low to the ground and has many wonderful nooks and crannies. I'm sure this area will be quite difficult to paint so will get to that bit next.

Saturday, June 30, 2018


In my last post, I mentioned working on another painting featuring those snow-covered logs. Here is the beginning where I am establishing the darks and some of the mid-tones. Obviously with this view, I have drawn in for a much closer look at the end of these logs and found something I think is worth  exploring in a painting. I began with a basic drawing working on the major forms first then indicating some of the smaller details. I am still feeling my way here so am a bit tentative with the washes of watercolor but off to a good start I think.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Early one Sunday morning, I came across these logs over in the reserve near the white farmhouse. They had been cut from a large tree that had some decay in it and was in danger of falling. Stacked next to the road, I marveled at the contrasting textures and unusual composition they made lying there. Since it wasn't all that cold, I was able to do a few studies there and then from different viewpoints and angles. Later I rushed back to the studio to start work on a larger version and grabbed the first sheet of watercolor paper I could find (the back of a painting that I had done years ago). Unfortunately the painting soon bogged down so was relegated to the pending file folder. Time passed until recently when I began another painting of these logs drawn from some of my original references. That painting was going so well that I pulled this one out of retirement and after giving it look over, decided to finish it. Most of the logs were already completed so I mostly worked on the snow and grasses trying to create a rhythm amongst the various shapes and it was finally done last night. Size is 14" x 21" (36cm x 54cm) - watercolor on paper.

Saturday, June 23, 2018


I recently completed this small 5" x 7" oil of the sea at Shek O in Hong Kong. We had earlier walked the Dragons Back trail that takes you up over the mountain nearby then around the side and down to Big Wave Bay. From there, it is a short walk over to Shek O. The main beach there is not so interesting to me as it lacks character so we prefer the walk through the village to the headland where there are many amazing rock formations. This area is a favored site for wedding photos and we usually see small wedding parties there with various photographers in tow.
The waves can be quite spectacular in the bay (by Hong Kong standards) so apart from the small village charm, it can be a great place to visit and get some inspiration. We prefer middle-of-the-week visits as otherwise the place can be packed (especially in summer). So a great place to go for lunch, to swim or in my case, to draw and paint!