Wednesday, November 29, 2023



I am still exploring ideas using mountains as a main theme hoping to recreate some of the scenes I saw in Alaska. Like so many of my experimental works, I kept this one small and concentrated on heavy side lighting that meant most of the mountainside was in shadow. I completely repainted the darker bluish parts of this painting twice as I wasn't happy with the contrast between these areas and the lighter rocks that were in sunlight. I think I got there in the end though. Size is 7 x 5 inches, acrylic on panel.

Thursday, November 23, 2023



I painted this small acrylic nocturne while looking over the boat marina next to where we were staying in Baltimore. I liked the way the lights of the huge Domino Sugars sign was reflected in the water along with the dimmer factory lights below. Various other lights appear amongst the boats giving a little more life to the work - I spent many happy hours out there observing and painting scenes like this. Never thought I would enjoy living in a city like this! Size is 5 x 7 inches, acrylic on board.

Saturday, November 18, 2023



After completing the rest of the basket lids, I completely repainted the background as I wanted it to be slightly darker and a little more uniform. When all the paint had dried for a couple of days, I began selectively darkening some areas and cleaning up a few more details here and there. Some of the shadows were also darkened in an attempt to bring the painting together as a whole. I think that I am mostly finished with this one for now but will as usual, put it aside for a bit then take another look and see if there is anything more I want to do to it. Size is 27 x 27 inches (69 x 69 cm). Oil on board.

Saturday, November 11, 2023



Having mixed up a wad of dark brown, I laid it over the whole of the background carefully painting around the baskets. This was extremely helpful as apart from covering the glaring white of the primed canvas, it also helped me to ascertain the values of each basket and to decide if they needed any further work. I think I'll wait until I have finished the basket lids until going back to the baskets. And after making a start on the lids, I am finally a lot closer to bringing this painting to a close.

Sunday, November 5, 2023



Finishing each basket took a while as I was trying to accurately guess the depth and tone of the areas in shadow while keeping the sunlit areas understated. I kept in mind how I first saw this stack of baskets in diffuse sunlight without that much contrast between the lighter and darker areas, and I wanted to have this effect in my painting. I added some almost pure black (mixed from burnt umber and ultramarine blue) to the gaps then refined my drawing of the basket lids which were stacked on top. I think that the drawing for this one is finished now. And I have come up with a close mix of brown that I want to use in the background (as this area is in shadow) so will be adding this next then seeing how that ties in to the painting.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023



Next to where we are staying is a restaurant serving crab (along with other dishes) and I walk past the rear of the building almost every day. So when I saw this stack of baskets in the weak sunlight, I thought about making them a subject for a painting. To do them justice, I wanted to paint them life size so cutting the largest board I had into a square, I primed the front using 4 or 5 coats of acrylic primer sanding between each coat. A single thick coat of black acrylic took care of the back. Positioning the baskets on the board and drawing them in detail took most of one day - I left some areas at the top blank as I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do there. Then starting in oil (which I hadn't used for some time), I began working on the lower slats of each basket trying to get close to the actual tone and color as I could but also realizing that the painting would need some adjustment later on. Satisfied with what I had done so far, I left this to dry off for a while. Next I'll finish the lower sections and begin thinking about the background.

Sunday, October 29, 2023



We don't always see Great Blue Herons down at our local lake but always look out for them as they are often close to the path that runs around the edge of the water. This allows a quite close approach and as they are usually used to seeing people walking by, I can be sure to get some excellent references as they go about their lives. This bird had taken a pause from fishing and was beautifully back-lit by the early morning sun. After a quick sketch, I began this slightly larger watercolor when we got back home. I used gouache for this study since I had the paints out on my desk but kept the washes thin so as to build up the correct tones. Being slightly more opaque than my usual watercolors, I found the color built up rather quickly so it didn't take long to finish. Size is 12 x 9 inches (30 x 23 cm).