Saturday, December 22, 2012


Having just returned from holiday, I don't have that many finished paintings at the moment so here are a few slightly older works. The first three are oils, the last a watercolor - most of the paintings are in the 9" X 12" size range. More images later of more recent work when I have some time to do a proper post.
Wishing all a wonderful festive season and a joyous New Year

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I posted this image some time ago and after having it sit in my studio for awhile, I decided to do some more work to it. Mostly this included darkening some areas such as the inside sun-lit wall on the right, then adding final details to the old tractor tire and the dried leaves on the ground. The outer wall of the barn also had some smaller details added and darkened in a few places especially on the upper section and on the left where the wood had become weather-stained. When I first saw this barn, I became fascinated with the shadows and how they brought the outside to the inside, also the patch of sunlight in the back of the barn from an opening on the left (outside of this image). Looking through the gaps of the some of the boards at the back we can see some branches as actually this barn is situated in the middle of a small wood - a place I love visiting! I am finally calling this one finished and it will be shown with other new works of mine at Berkley Gallery in Warrenton, Virginia.

Friday, November 2, 2012


I started with this series of wave paintings almost 20 years ago and it is still going on. This one was done in watercolor and is hanging alongside other work of mine as part of the recent exhibition at McBride gallery. There are more of these in this series that are yet to be completed, others are just an idea in my head or a simple notation in my sketchbook. Next up, a series of landscapes in oils.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Before working on the previous Gryfalcon watercolors, I did this graphite drawing to help me understand the structure and plumage of these birds. Apart from sketchbook work I will on occasion do finished work like this in graphite and I find after drawing something, I know so much more about the subject than when I started. Perhaps I'll do more like this but have been busy lately getting work finished and framed for the Autumn Celebration of Art opening today at McBride Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland. The group show runs until Nov 18th so please stop by if you are in the area. The above drawing is about 5" X 7".

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Working with thin washes as is the usual process for me, I bring the painting to completion. In this case it was adding some finer details and tonal values that helped with the overall feeling of the work. I also dropped in some slightly darker washes to the background which helped further define the shape of the bird. Taking care with some subtle painting in the shadows of the breast helped give a sense of light which is becoming ever more important to me as an artist and giving what I hope is an added dimension to my work. I'll leave the painting as it is for awhile but give it a look over from time to time to see if there are not one or two small areas that need a bit of attention, but for now I'm happy that it's finished.
I really do love the power of these large falcons which is amply shown in the size of the head, beak and breast. I'm sure also that I'll do more of these magnificent birds trying all the while to show what I made of my experiences with them. Size is 15" X 11.5" - watercolor on Arches paper.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


With the work coming along the way that I had hoped it would, I start to think ahead and about how I want the finished painting to look. I had the idea to sort of have the bird emerging out of the darker tones of the painting so I began using thinner washes as I moved down the breast and wing. I'll continue this more as I go along but I think it is going to be a case of simply building up tone and details until I am happy with it. The hardest part was getting a good drawing in place before I even started thinking about adding any paint. Sometimes the work goes so well it feels like I'm doing a paint-by-numbers!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Following along with my falcon series, I have started a new gyrfalcon painting - to be shown in a series of posts. Here after a careful drawing indicating the bird's outline, I washed in a greyish background then when that was dry, started laying in a few lighter tones around the head. I then focused on the eye bringing it almost to completion. Some work was done on the bill and breast of the bird then the painting put aside to dry for awhile - a good start I think.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Another in the series of falcon paintings that I have been working on lately. I was fortunate to see this bird at a falconers meet some time ago so did a few sketches and studies of the bird right there and then. I followed this up most recently with a graphite drawing head study last month then painted this one in pure watercolor on smooth Arches watercolor paper. As usual I started with the eye then slowly built up the tones and details using thin washes of color.
I would have loved to have seen this bird after it had moulted into its adult plumage of pure white with black markings (which are mostly concentrated on the back, wings and tail). One day I hope to do studies and paintings of adult white-phase gyrfalcons but for now will have to be happy with this one. Size is 14" X 11".

Sunday, September 16, 2012


A painting I did awhile ago just trying to capture the mood of a late winters' sky. These evening and morning scenes are something that I never tire of observing and am always inspired by what I see, then to capture the experience into a painting. I'm most happy doing these sort of paintings in oil as often there is quite a bit of tonal adjustment etc to get them right. Size is 16" X 20" - oil on canvas.
Other news is the opening today of The Best Of The Chesapeake exhibition at McBride Gallery from Sunday Sept 16 to October 7. I'm delighted to report that I won the Heritage Award for my watercolor painting 'Abandoned Barn - East View' posted earlier on this blog. This group exhibition features a wonderful array of art from around the country featuring the diversity of the Chesapeake so if you are in or near Annapolis, Maryland, I hope you will stop by and see for yourself.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Peregrine Falcon study: SOLD

Young Peregrine Falcon study: SOLD

Three of my original watercolor paintings are being exhibited at the International Hunting & Equestrian Exhibition in Abu Dhabi this week. Their website is Organised by the Emirates Falconers Club, this large exhibition attracts many visitors each year from all over the globe.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Often our evening walk takes us past this lake (and another slightly smaller one) through the reserve and back around to our home so I see this lake in all seasons. I often paint here so can partake in the ever changing days of spring, through the hot and humid days of summer, on through fall til winter comes around again. In this painting, the heat of the winter sun is barely felt although the lake has yet to freeze over and so still reflects the evening light in its calm waters. The sun will set in a few minutes then changing the landscape once again to something more mysterious. This is the time I most enjoy, being out in the late evening to witness the closing of another day. Evening at Beaver Lake is an oil on canvas, 8" X 10". SOLD

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Finally I think this one is finished! I had put it aside for a few months like so many of my paintings so that I could come back to it with a clearer eye, this way I am much more likely to see if there is anything else I need to do to the work. I felt the need to work a little on the dried leaves of the foreground and also take out some of the lighter areas inside the two darkest rectangles as these seemed to be a bit of a distraction. I feel the work reads a little better now. Incidently, this scene is very much just as I found it with the large bucket sitting in the morning sun on the upper level of the barn like that. I went back for another visit recently and as it was the middle of summer, the place has a very different feel to it. I'm sure that there are a few new paintings to come from this subject, perhaps a view from the inside looking out - I'll have to see but for now I have work to finish for an up-coming exhibition - more on that later. Abandoned barn is 22" X 15", watercolor on Arches.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I found this stone along a rocky shore in Maine a few years ago and became fascinated with the whorl patterning and texture. I collected a few others when I was there (as I do when I go to other places around the world) and completed some paintings of them too. Although this one looks to be a very simple study, I wish that it had been as easy to paint! Done life size in watercolor on smooth Arches paper, I had to go slowly layering many thin washes to build up the desired tones. Actually the shadow was the most difficult part of the painting! I would like to do more like this but am a bit leery of the thought of copying Alan Magee who has done a wonderful series of such paintings both in watercolor and acrylic. Size is about 7.5" X 11".

Saturday, July 21, 2012


It has been so hot here lately with records being broken all over the place! Working out of doors is now a distant memory as I relish the cool of my studio. Painting this small study helped on a subliminal level to keep the heat at bay and I was left feeling somewhat refreshed (even if it was all in my head). All this hot and humid weather has been somewhat unbearable at times, still I can't believe I am saying this but for once, I am actually looking forward to winter! Hopefully then to get outside with a small box of paints and do more scenes like this. Snow and Shadows is 5" X 7", oil on canvas.

Monday, July 9, 2012


This is another painting that had been hanging in the studio for awhile. Occasionally it would catch my eye and I would feel that perhaps it needed something extra (always a tricky thing to re-work a painting). After some time, a decision was finally made to do something so it was placed on the easel (still in the frame) and I got busy. Reworking didn't take long (I did post the original on my blog some time ago - if you can find it - good luck!) and comparing this final version to the earlier painting, I can see that there isn't much of a difference! Mostly a subtle lightening of the yellow and orange areas of the sky and some work to the foreground. Still, I think it is better for the redo and I'm happy at last! I have recently finished another similar painting so will probably post that one next. This oil is 7" X 12" and can be seen along with other paintings of mine at McBride Gallery in Annapolis, MD.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Sometimes a quick study or plein air painting like this can be the motivation for a whole series of  new paintings.  Each time it is a little different and as my eye drifts over the forms and undulations of the land, takes in the weight of moisture-laden skies, a new feeling comes over me - a kind of joy that inspires my painters' heart. Exploring and working along the Eastern Shore like this has been for me a continued experience of discovery and joy. Even going back to some of the same places reveals new ideas and I am nearly always faced with exciting images from which to work. One of these days I hope to take a month off and spend the time painting along the coast - always a major source of inspiration for me. There is always so much more to see and my eye is eager for the next experience. So much so that I could spend the rest of my life working this way without ever coming to an end. This small oil study is about 5" X 7".

Monday, May 28, 2012


Once again, sorry for the lack of posts lately, we have just got back from Spain traveling around the Andalucian region. Quite a trip! Starting from Madrid, we went on to visit many of the most important cities and towns of Southern Spain and saw many monuments, castles, churches etc. One of the many highlights was an early morning visit to the Alhambra and many pleasant hours were spent walking around there. I even managed to do some sketching and painting along the way so I'm sure that many of the places and people that I saw will become paintings in the not-too-distant future.
Far away from sunny Spain is one of my favorite places on the Eastern Shore of the US - namely Blackwater wildlife reserve. In the above painting, the sun has set across one of the many bodies of water there creating interesting cloud patterns in the sky. This one was completed for a client who wanted an evening sky painting and I am delighted to say that she was very happy with it. This oil on canvas is 27" X 40". SOLD.

Monday, April 16, 2012


On occasion, I'll come across a painting that has been put away in some corner or other of the studio and having had the chance to look at the piece with a fresh eye, one can sometimes make some changes. In this case I cropped off quite a bit at the bottom then worked on some of the more subtle tones within the dark mass of greenery. I also worked on the sky and water a little too (just about the whole painting then!). Unfortunately this one has proven to be extremely difficult to photograph correctly even though I tried many different lighting conditions. It then had to suffer some editing in Photoshop - mostly to no avail. I'll try again later and if I get some better results I'll re-post the pic. This is one of a group of paintings that will be heading to McBride Gallery in Annapolis MD soon. I have some larger works on the go but they are really taking their sweet time! I had hoped to post them before now - hopefully in a week or so. Evening Sundown is an oil on board - 4" X 8".

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


In the nearby reserve, this particular view across a small valley is a favorite of mine. From the top of the hill looking in a westward direction, one can see miles across the varied landscape. Most of the open fields are behind me while more smaller areas of grass and shrub run down to the river and beyond. Tall trees on the right shelter a disused farmhouse while both lakes are in view from up here. On my right is a small white pine forest that gives way to larger oaks and sycamores and a smaller line of pines makes an effective wind break on my left. It is a wonderful place to sit and while away the hours observing wildlife, the clouds and in this case, a colorful sunset. I have painted here often and never seem to tire of the many and varied views through the seasons and feel privileged for having the opportunity to do so. This study in oil is a 9" X 12".

Thursday, March 29, 2012


This study was painted, like so many of mine, as a way of discovering a subject before making a larger version. I don't usually copy my smaller studies exactly as often there are things I wish to change within the context of the work and besides, its not as simple as just expanding the smaller painting. Each work takes on it's own life as it were and for me there is this sort of continual back and forth dialogue with the canvas. I'm constantly asking myself things like "how well is this section working in relation to the 'whole' of the painting" and do these tones need to be darker etc etc. Standing well back helps, as well as squinting - I do this mostly to check on the values and overall design of the work. I do love these atmospheric studies though and am still experimenting with different designs and compositions. I don't think I will ever tire of this kind of subject.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Lately my studio has a lot of small oil studies lying around, all recently completed but nothing that I'm completely happy with. Most of these studies are landscapes so feeling rather frustrated, I decided to do something a bit different instead. I have quite a nice collection of small bottles and jars at home here and have been waiting for the right opportunity to do some paintings of them. So deciding to start of in a really simple manner, I picked up my oils and painted this small jar on a gesso-primed panel that I had lying around. I was quite captured by the structure of this jar and the way that the sunlight reflected and refracted through the glass. Most of the color in this painting comes from the lid (which is a bright brass color) and the small section of the label on the right. I oriented the jar this way as I mostly wanted to paint the effects of light bouncing around inside. I kept the background subdued in the hopes of allowing this idea to be more effective - I think it worked out okay but perhaps the jar is a little too bright against the darker background. Maybe I should have painted it when it was still full of honey! Oh well, that could be a project for my next study. All in all though, I really enjoyed working on this painting and am looking forward to doing more!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Some time ago I spent a few days painting in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Wonderful landscape and really inspiring views for the tops of some of the mountains that I climbed. This scene was on one of the many inland lakes just before sunrise. A truly magical time and the haunting song of a Hermit Thrush singing in the forest nearby really brought the experience that much closer to heaven. This oil is 12" X 16". SOLD

Friday, March 2, 2012


I was working late last night (after 12:30) on my computer and heard from outside my window the wonderful trumpeting of wild swans. I quickly ran outside and stared up into the night sky, the quarter moon had risen giving some light but it was quite dark and I couldn't see them. Still, as I stood with a sense of wonder listening to their calls slowly fade into the deep of the night, a wonderful feeling came over me and I smiled, feeling blessed to witness such an event. This is always the case with wild things and I consider times like these quite magical. Occasionally they migrate slightly lower and can be seen faintly in the reflected light of suburbia. Other times I have seen them by day passing high overhead - Tundra Swans in a deep V formation - but it is always their call that alert me to them. With the memory of wild swans still in my head, I'm posting this small watercolor of a Mute swan that I did awhile ago. I was happy with the way it came out and I plan on doing a larger version of it in oils one of these days. This study is about 5" X 7".

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I completed this watercolor some time ago as a study for a larger painting. The statue is situated in downtown Washington DC and is a favorite of mine. I first saw it on one of my many walks around the city and was really taken by the light and shadow along with all the intricacies of the work. After finishing a small on-site study, the painting was completed in the studio. Unfortunately this is not the best pic of the finished painting but it is the only one I have. I am unable to take a better photo of it as I have since lost sight of this work - if anybody knows where this painting is, please let me know, thanks.
Statue In Mid-day Sun is 11" X 7.5".

Friday, February 17, 2012


A few years ago I spent some time with a friend driving about the South Virginian waterways looking at the sights, exploring backwaters and painting. It was a memorable time and important for me as it made me appreciate the Eastern Shore and brought an understanding to my work that hadn't been there before. This is one of the paintings to come out of that trip and I remember some amazing sunsets that has inspired me to paint more skies. In this work, I have concentrated more on the reflection of the late evening clouds and kept the colors reduced to a limited palette. For me, there is no better experience than being out in nature seeing things first-hand and now that the weather is beginning to warm up, I'll be out painting that much more. This oil is 9" X 12". SOLD.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Well here is my first post for 2012! I have been away for an extended holiday and unfortunately wasn't able to post from where I was staying. So I wanted to take this time to wish my followers and friends a very belated Happy New Year!
I have a lot to catch up on with much news and new paintings so here to start is an oil that I did last year. This one started out as more of a study than a finished painting as it developed from an idea that I had in my head so had to rely on my memory for most of the details. I wasn't sure if it would work out so at the beginning I started in quite roughly laying in the sky and lower clouds. When I could see that something close to my expectations was emerging, I slowed down and using more paint cleaned up the painting and added more detail. The work all stemmed from a short photography trip that I took with my friend Paco late last year. Looking at his beautiful and somewhat unusual photographs over the years, I have been inspired to try harder with my own photos. It was only when returning from the trip that I happened to look back and saw this view. I distinctly remember a deep vibrant red across the horizon with purplish clouds above. My camera's CF card was full so couldn't even take a photo of it and had to rely on my memory. I feel I did come close to what I saw in this work but may still do a little work on the foreground but I'm quite happy with the painting as it is. Size is 18" X 24".