Tuesday, June 18, 2024

ICELANDIC WATERFALL

 



Iceland has many waterfalls, some extremely impressive. This is one is less so but still, I enjoyed watching the heavy stream of water flowing around and over the submerged rocks creating a foamy pool just below me. Started from a quick sketch I did on site, later when I got back to my room, I would paint from these sketches perhaps also using some video that I took. When I got back home to the studio, I was able to go through the series of paintings I did there touching up as necessary but without doing too much to change each one. This painting is in oil and done on canvas - size is 8 x 10 inches.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

FLOODED PATH

 


Early morning mist was beginning to clear by the time I reached this place that leads to a hidden lake. I wanted to explore there but heavy rains had flooded the path. I was standing on a rough piece of ground next area to the railway tracks painting - the reserve is off to my left, and I tried to capture the thinning mist and atmosphere of that morning. I painted as quickly as I could before the scene changed too much adding to the painting a little when I returned to the studio. It was a memorable morning and I'm glad I made the effort to go out painting. Size is 10 x 8 inches, oil on board.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

EAGLE SCULPTURE

 



 

I saw this sculpture outside a wildlife rehab center when we were travelling in Ireland. Not having much time for myself (so what else is new!) I did a quick sketch before we left and later, did this painting using my sketch as a base and also referring to some video I had shot. Often when travelling, I am able to paint in the evening when we have returned to wherever we are staying, especially when I have a particular image in mind. I did this one purely for myself trying to capture this unique sculpture. I'm sure that when I am settled I will create something like this myself for my own collection. Size is 10 x 8 inches, oil on board.

Friday, May 31, 2024

MID-MORNING SUN STUDY

 



While living in Baltimore, we often walked down to Locust Point and on to Fort McHenry - the scene of an important battle in the war of 1812 when guns from the fort successfully defended the approach to Baltimore harbor from the British warships. I did a lot of painting there as apart from the historical pentagonal fort, there were many wonderful views in and around especially when looking across the water. Here I am standing under shadowed trees looking away from the fort to the distant headland. The effects of light and shade were exciting to explore as an artist and wonderful to paint! Size is 8 x 10 inches, oil on board.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ROCKS NEAR SHEK O

 



Shek O is one of our favorite places to visit on Hong Kong Island. Not only a beautiful beach but many interesting places to explore. This is where most of Hong Kong newly-weds go to take their wedding photos - not surprising really as some of the views from the surrounding rocks are spectacular. There is usually quite a lot of wave action here (and in some of the surrounding beaches) which is a plus for artists like me - rocks, waves and water - a perfect combination. This oil, 8 x 10 inches.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

MORNING MIST STUDY

 


It was very misty the other morning so I went out to see if I could find something to paint. At times the mist was so thick I couldn't see much but later it thinned a little and I came across this scene. Here I am looking across an overgrown meadow to a small copse of distant trees. A little creek flows through the middle but is mostly hidden by all the grasses. It is with paintings like this that I find I am beginning to approach something closer to my heart - closer to what I want to say about my life and my love. Oil on gessoed board, size is 8 x 10 inches.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

GREEN HERON

 


I had been hoping to get some better reference of a Green Heron as usually they are a little shy and don't allow a close approach. The few times I have been found one nearby, I had been without sketchbook or camera. Fortunately this time was different. I first noticed the bird when it gave its characteristic call in flight just a little way away then it turned and landed out in the open. I slowly walked directly towards the bird stopping every few meters or so while doing a quick sketch etc. Then when I could see the bird wasn't worried about my presence, I slowly moved a little closer.




Amazingly I got to within 2 meters or so and still not much reaction from the bird. I marveled at the plumage in the bright sun especially the almost iridescent green on its back. Still sketching, the bird stretched its neck upwards and appeared to be peering towards the sky - I think there could have been a raptor above but I didn't want to take my eyes off it. Then after a min or so, it shuffled out its plumage and gave a quick shake settling all its feathers back in place again. I think it couldn't quite make out what I was as it then started to display erecting its neck and head feathers.




Then it turned and slowly walked away while keeping its neck stretched upwards. Unfortunately a loud sound nearby frightened it and the heron took flight circling the marsh once before flying off. It was an amazing experience to be so close to a wild bird like this. I did these paintings in my sketch book mostly from my drawings and added watercolor trying to capture its somewhat complicated plumage. They say that all good things come to those who wait, well that was certainly true in this case! Sketchbook size was 12 x 9 inches.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

MARSH MORNING

 



This is my favorite time of the day! Early morning and the promise of a new day. Here I am in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in NJ. The reserve was only a few minutes drive from where I was staying and this scene is looking north along the treeline. To my right are acres of open marsh and I had just missed a very close encounter with a harrier when I saw this but plenty of osprey's along the way made up for it. Since all places are different and each have their own special character, I keep these early paintings small when I work as a way of easing myself into the newness. Once I gain a bit of confidence, I can then start to work larger. This one though is another 8 x 10 inch oil on board.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

MORNING SHADOWS

 



A few weeks ago, I travelled to the eastern shore of New Jersey and stayed in a quiet condo. My main reason was to explore the area and catch up on some of the early bird migration as well as doing some painting when I could. Going for a walk the next morning, I found a well-wooded place nearby where I saw this scene so did a quick painting of it. There was a hint of moisture in the air which I tried to show by keeping the background a little soft then worked on the shadowy trees and the foreground grass. It was the effect of light and shadow that initially attracted me to this little scene and I enjoyed working on this piece. 8 x 10 inches, oil on board.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

WINTER MARSH

 



I painted this painting 'en plein air' working from a vantage point overlooking an inlet into the marsh. It was cold and windy so I didn't spend too long out there! At first, I wasn't that happy with the painting when I got it home but after some time, I realized I did capture something of the character of the place and now I like it a little more. Over the past few months I have been working on smaller oil studies. Towards what, I'm not really sure but I do feel that it is there somewhere in front of me and if I do enough of these paintings, I'll hopefully discover what it is I am searching for. If not, I'll go back to working on other sizes - probably large sky paintings. This one is another 8 x 10 inches, oil on board.

Friday, April 19, 2024

ADVENTURE BAY

 


This view on Bruny Island off the coast of Tasmania looking along the beach was one that took me to a very special place. We spent time exploring and after making a few sketches, we drove down to the end of Adventure Bay and walked the trail to Penguin Island - what an incredible experience! In reflection, I'm surprised I haven't done a lot more paintings of this area - I'm sure I'll get to them in due course though. Frankly, there are so many images in my head that I want to translate into paintings that I'll probably never get to do them all. Oil on board, 8 x 10 inches.

Monday, April 15, 2024

PHILLIP ISLAND SURF

 



When we arrived on Phillip Island, the wet and windy weather moderated slightly. The sun broke briefly through the scudding clouds and we were met with a double rainbow as showers drifted off away across the sea. The wind was certainly bracing and the surf was some of the biggest I have seen! Huge surging waves full of spray and spume rolled in and one could clearly see the incredible power behind each one. Many gulls were offshore and amongst them I could see a few albatross along with smaller petrels etc. The visit was to be a very short one and soon we were off again - this time to see Koala Bears! This painting is an oil on gessoed board, 8 x 10 inches.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

BY THE ROADSIDE II

 


This study was an attempt to do a better job of my first painting of the scene. I am going back quite a few years ago now to when I made a painting trip to Canada. After a long walk, I saw this scene looking across some fields and kept the sky simple in this one as it was one of those rare days when there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I also tried harder with the greens mixing them myself instead of using one out of the tube. I think it captures the day better than the earlier version and I find myself doing many smaller studies often as an experiment but also the fact that I am simply painting my experiences. Another 8 x 10, oil on board.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

ACROSS THE WATER

 


I this small study, I tried to capture the emerald-green water that I saw in Costa Rica. Clouds were slowly building in the background of this rather simple scene but it brought back many memories of my time there. This one, like almost all of my studies these past few months is sized at 8 x 10 inches, oil on gessoed board. I cut and prepare these boards myself giving them 4 or 5 coats of gesso and also priming the edges along with a coat of black acrylic paint on the back in an effort for permanency.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

CHURCH STEEPLE

 


One day when walking around Baltimore City, I happened to notice this church and something about the way the light caught the edges made me pause and take a longer look. I managed to do the painting looking up from the street at the back-lit building and arranged the composition to focus mostly on the sun-lit areas. I struggled a little with the correct tones especially the white of the turret which had different shades of warm and cool greys against the deeper blue of the sky. Like most of my plein air studies, this one is 10 x 8 inches, oil on canvas board.



Wednesday, March 27, 2024

PEAT FIRE

 


While travelling in Ireland, we tried to experience as much of Irish life as possible. So when we visited this traditional white-washed cottage complete with a peat fire burning in the hearth, I was happy to spend some time exploring the interior. First though, I was aware of the rather strong smell of the burning peat turves and sat for a while staring at the fire thinking how this must have been for so many through the years. Especially in winter when the dark comes early, the welcoming warmth and light from a fire was at least something to look forward to. I kept the tones in this painting quite subdued as I wanted to capture how it would perhaps have been on one of those dark, wet and windy nights in Ireland. Oil on canvas board, 10 x 8 inches.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

ALONG THE COAST

 


I liked the way your eye was drawn into the distance when looking along the coast in this scene. Walking the beach in Portugal was always going to be a thrill and I had lived the moment in my mind many times before finally making the trip over. There was a continued sense of wonder and excitement as I drove from place to place especially in the Algarve. We spent a few weeks there and although winter, the weather was as close to ideal as we could have wished it. There were many paintable subjects and so far, I feel that I have only scratched the surface. Like most of the other studies posted here lately, this oil is an 8 x 10. 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

RAVINE STUDY

 



When we visited Madeira, one of the things we did was to drive to the peak of Pico do Arieiro (1862m - almost 6000 feet!). Mostly we were driving through mist and light rain but nearing the top, everything miraculously cleared up as by that point, we were above the clouds and into brilliant sunshine. Views were incredible to say the least and I remember looking down this wonderful sun-filled backlit scene thinking I had to do a painting of it (along with many other scenes that day). Managing just a small study on site, I did this painting as an experiment later on and kept it small as I was thinking of how exactly to capture what I saw and felt there. This oil on board is 10 x 8 inches.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

ISLANDS END

 


Another scene from Hong Kong. This is just the kind of place I loved to explore, clambering over rocks, skirting the edge of the sea, often splashed by errant waves but having the time of my life! Deeper water has a different wave action than that closer to shore - one often reads about 'the hump of the sea' and I have experienced it many times. I tried to get some of that feeling in the painting - mainly deeper water where the rocks fall away suddenly. I also kept certain values in this piece light so as to better indicate bright sunlight. Size of this oil is 8 x 10 inches (20 x 26cm).

Monday, March 4, 2024

DISTANT SAIL

 





I saw this scene while I was back in Hong Kong a while ago. I love views like this of distant islands and in winter, when the sky is clearer with less haze, there is a purity of the light that I really enjoy. I tried to capture this feeling in the small painting done here with sunlight reflecting not only on the sail of the distant boat but also across the sea. This one is 8 x 10 inches, oil on board.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

GREY SKIES IN JAPAN

 





We were driving along the shore looking out to sea when I saw this scene. Heavy clouds that almost touched the water looked like rain but was actually snow - a dusting could be seen on the headland and in some places close by. There was no place to stop so I worked from some of my video trying to capture the almost bleak feeling of the day. This is a small 8 x 10 oil on canvas.

Monday, February 26, 2024

CLOUD MOUNTAIN STUDY

 



 Another painting from our Alaskan trip. Here I focused on clouds surrounding the mountain peak - a mystifying sensation for me. The idea of this particular idea touched something deep inside but I couldn't explain what it was. This month I have been working almost completely on landscapes revisiting some of the places I have visited over the years and pulling out some of the work done back then as well as painting new ones. There are a lot more paintings to come and I am hoping to cover almost all the places I have been to during my travels.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

BEND IN THE RIVER STUDY

 



After moving to Wilmington, I have fallen really behind with posts on this blog! I think it has taken me a little longer to settle in even though we have stayed here before. Finally I am fully set up now with my studio overlooking the Christina River and points beyond. The large windows faces East so I get to see the sunrise each morning and can easily go to the pool deck to see the sunset so very happy with that! This small study done in my sketchbook was painted looking out and down to the river just as it was getting dark. The barge Catherine (New York) was docked against three steel pilings just on the inside bend and made an interesting counterpoint to the flowing river. A few days after I had painted this, a tug and a smaller riverboat pushed it out to the Delaware river and disappeared downstream. Size of this watercolor is about 5 x 7 inches.


Saturday, February 10, 2024

GRASS ISLAND, HONG KONG

 


One of my smaller works from the Hong Kong series of paintings that was started many years ago. I preferred to get away from the city and often took boat trips to some of the out-lying islands where I would find solitude enough to set up and paint. I love this kind of view across the water at some of the many islands in and around Hong Kong. Here, on a hazy day, I am looking across a channel at some of the uninhabited islands with a hint of distant mountains in the background. The day is well progressed and about now, I would be thinking of retracing my steps back to the ferry pier and to start my journey back home. Size of this one is 8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

AVENGING ANGEL

 



During a trip to Italy and while in Rome, we visited the Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) where I did some sketching. The angel statue on the top was a center of focus for me and I did a few different views of it while walking around. The statue was done in 1753 by Peter Anton von Verschaffelt and apparently depicts the Arch angel Michael. I did a few other studies of the castle and also the various bridges and river nearby - all in all, well worth the visit! Size of this one is 11 x 8 inches, watercolor on paper.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

ADULT RED-TAILED HAWK STUDY

 


Going back to painting one of my favorite subjects - raptors! This is something that I never tire of and I am fortunate to have seen many of different species all over the world. Although I prefer to see them in the wild, almost all of my paintings are head studies done in watercolor such as this one. Size is about 9 x 8 inches, watercolor on Strathmore paper.

Friday, January 19, 2024

ARCH IN ITALY, PART 5



I had to work on the plant for a lot longer than I thought as the stems are quite delicate and the leaves quite complex. There were a number of greenish washes used to slowly build up the color being careful to preserve the white of the flowers. I also had to keep darkening the shadows below the plant and painting in a little more definition to some of the bricks - a few of which were darkened slightly. In the end, I was happy with the painting as it stands but will take a look later on to see if there is anything else I want to do to it. Size is 30 x 22 inches (76 x 56 cm), watercolor on Arches paper.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

ARCH IN ITALY, PART 4

 


Slowly getting there now, mostly this stage has been about selectively working on different areas trying to bring it all together which will hopefully match the idea I have in my head. The insides of the arches have received a few more darker washes carefully painting around the stems and flowers of the plant on the upper one. Most of the ladder has also been brought to where I want it although I will still need to work on the sunlit areas a bit. I hope to do that and finish the plant with its intriguing shadows in the last part.

Friday, January 5, 2024

ARCH IN ITALY, PART 3

 



Having worked a little more on the wall, I added darker washes to the lower arch before filling in most of the upper one. I left a lighter area above one of the rungs of the ladder as I was thinking to put in a dove sitting there but not sure if I will go ahead with that idea. I also added a bit more definition to some of the cracks as I wasn't quite happy with them - I think I'll still have to do more to get a better  distressed look along with some added texture, that should be next.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

ARCH IN ITALY, PART 2

 



Easing gently into the painting process, I started by adding large washes of color directly over the bricks but leaving some areas a pure white of the paper. The lower arch had some darker washes over the shadowed part which I slowly intensified adding more paint after each layer had dried. I also made a start on the upper arch carefully painting around the old ladder and the plant that had taken root just inside. Some of the gaps between the bricks were lightly indicated with a warm grey while the lower shadowed cracks went in a lot darker. So far so good, next I'll bring the overall tone of the bricks closer to what I had intended then continue refining the upper arch.