Saturday, February 18, 2017

DAVID PRENTICE 1936 - 2014

David Prentice, after retiring as Artist in Residence at Nottingham University settled in Malvern to draw and paint on the Malvern Hills. He was a painter who deserves the attention of a wider audience.

 The relevance of this post arises from a discussion I had with a friend on another Forum.  He commented, "Pretty much all of what I do now is landscape work.  But for me it’s all about being in the landscape and the starting point has to be a sketch or trial study rather than a photograph if the work is really to be convincing." He also expressed an aspiration to develop his work towards abstraction.
I suggested looking at David Prentice' paintings - he was a painter who followed a similar course. David Prentice' Gallery made a short video about him sketching on the Malvern Hills and his comments about his studio work.

There is video on You Tube  showing David at work on the hills.


It all came about because my daughter started painting in watercolours. She asked an artist friend Josephine Chisholm to give her 2-one off lessons to get her started and in passing revealed the web address of my Blog. Josephine apparently made some favourable comments so I feel duty bound to post a link to her website in return The link to her website is:-

My daughter has enrolled for a week-end course at West Dean College in Sussex. I think her interest leans towards Art Textiles rather than confining her creativity to painting. Bobby Britnell is a talented textile artist working in South Shropshire her website is:

She runs an impressive website which, in addition to details of her course and textiles, shows her drawings and paintings of the Shropshire hills. Some of these she transfers onto cotton fabric and develops with machine stitching.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


I've decided to introduce the New Year with some of my sketchbook studies. For quick sketching outdoors I keep things as simple as possible. I carry a Rotring Art Pen, Pentel Colour and wash brushes and A4/A5 cartridge paper sketchbooks. Recently I've started to use ZIG Art and Graphic Twin This drawing tool has well-pointed brush in one end and a fibre tip nib at the other. This makes the Rotring pen obsolete.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Digital Explorations

I'm posting digital explorations of two different subjects. They each started as pen drawings in and A5 sketchbook colour was added to both with painter 13 from scans. The first sketch was drawn in Le Cateau, the birthplace of Henri Matisse. The second is a view of the Beginhof in Bruges.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Decided to have a clean up in preparation for the New Year. This consists of transferring old image files to an external hard drive. Inevitably this leads to renewing acquaintance with old favourites. Here are two Watercolours of locations in Venice that I hadn't seen for a long time. I think they are worth sharing.
Guidecca waterfront: Venice
San Vidal: Venice

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Last year on the seafront at Ostend I encountered a small flock of 1st winter Lesser Blackback Gulls. It was bitterly cold and windy - not the weather for hanging about. I took several useful photographs.

I had enough material showing the birds in different poses the problem with photographic references is how to make use of them. Charles Tunnicliffe I know would compose an unruly flock into a carefully arranged design. That level of skill is beyond my reach at the moment. Lars Jonnsson however has made some delightfully simple paintings showing just two or three birds set against the sea. Lars Jonnson wins on this occasion!

I’ve chosen two of them to compose this picture. The gulls were scavenging on the promenade near the ferry terminal so a more natural environment was needed. The rocky motifs were taken from some pictures I took on a visit to the Farne Islands. I decided to place the background for this picture in first. The gulls winter plumage was quite subtle and delicate and I felt that a strongly stated background would be out of character.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


This is another reacquaintance with an Acrylic painting made a few years ago. The hills lie on the south side of the Arno valley near Pisa.



This is another version of a painting I posted back in November 2011 then it had a flight of oystercatchers over the Sound. I was never really happy with it so I have reworked it again. I repainted the Sound to hide the Oystercatchers. Ive reworked the sky because the overcast evening sky didnt work. Some tonal adjustments were made to the cliffs on Ramsey Island.

To create a new wildlife interest to replace the Oystercatchers I’ve attracted some Arctic Terns to fly in from the Farne Islands to complete the picture! All this is helped by the quick dryinf properties of Liquitex Acrylics.

I’m reminded of how Alwyn Crawshaw always ended his TV demonstrations with. "I’m happy with that." That sums up this post for me too.


Monday, August 25, 2014


I've prepared this blog for friends who have shown an interest in digital painting to help them get started. The simplest way is to use a graphics tablet like iPad. All of these quick sketches were done on an iPad but now cheaper android tablets are coming into the market with their own apps. I've always got on best with Autodesk software and android versions maybe available now.
Autoink This is a very simple drawing app. It only allows you to draw lines though thickness and colour can be varied. It simulates drawing with coloured ink but without the freedom to dilute - all marks are fully saturated.

All of the following sketches were drawn with Autodesk Sketch

This flower sketch was made from life and is essentially a first statement, Autosketch allows the use of layers to build up the picture. The colours were added on the new layer placed above the drawing layer.
I used one of my photographs for this study. It was created quite freely by making quick bold marks in different colours and blending them. AutoSketch allows the use of layers and I created a new layer for the owl taking care to get the shape right. Finally the linework was touched in with a fine 'brush'.

Here the landscape background was painted quite freely from memory. Autosketch comes with a whole range of brush settings which can be used for textural effects. These show in the middle distance  If I was taking this further the foreground would need some work. I'd also have to tidy up the Magpies - they need more careful drawing from observation.


 This is an imagined seascape. It was inspired by one of Fred Cuming's videos where - painting outdoors - he pushed paint about on a large canvas until he got the effect he wanted. I've done the same. I used a more advanced technique to add the oystercatchers using one of my watercolours.

I selected and made a copy of the flight of birds in Corel Photopaint and dropped it onto a new layer in Autosketch. Layers can be moved around and resized to get the motif in the correct position. The tricky bit is to erase the watercolour background from around individual birds.