Wednesday, June 27, 2012



This is the final version of the ones shown in earlier posts. I'm making increasing use of acrylic in my watercolours - I like their strength and translucency. I've moved onto using Golden Open Acrylics almost exclusively they are never totally opaque. They do not flow freely like watercolours and I use them to soften and give 'body' to pale watercolour washes.

I suppose I prefer broadly stated paintings to precise detail - as Matisse said: 'exactitude is not truth.'

Monday, June 25, 2012


My favourite tool for sketching has been a Sepia Pentel Colour Brush. It had water soluble pigment which could be softened and blended with a Pentel wash brush. The range of Pentel Colour brushes seems to have been discontinued so I was delighted to discover an improved replacement in an Art Materials shop in Worcester last week.

This is the ZIG Art and Graphic Twin marketed by Their full range can be found on their website. I've been trying one out on a sheet of A3 Canson.

The drawing shows a sketch of a jackdaw but the brush drawings were made with the brush end of the A&G Twin washed over with a colour brush loaded with plain water. I've doodled with the rubber marker tip which gives a fine even line. These can also be softened and washed over to good effect.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Great Witley is a pleasant village in the Teme valley near Worcester. The Festival is an annual event held in aid of the local Scouts and Guides Exhibition and this week-end there is an Art Exhibition where I send in paintings. The exhibition is held in a large functions room in ‘The Hundred House.’  It’s a very informal affair - tables are arranged round the walls with chairs on top and in front. Other tables are grouped in circles again with chairs on top and in front.

On receiving day – which was last Friday – your entries are checked and you are given labels to attach to your paintings. Exhibitors are then free to place their paintings on the chairs for display. One old hand brought his own radial easel to display two large canvases but most of us are content with the upholstered dining chairs with the paintings leaning against the backrest. All very informal and seemingly chaotic – but it works.  I found myself a circle with 3 vacant chairs and placed my 4th entry on the table above. The thought occurred that as more and more artists arrived some rearrangement would be inevitable
My wife and I went on to Worcester for some shopping – she was looking for a summer dress and I was tempted by a showerproof jacket from the Rohan shop. Two hours later on the way home I decided to drop by the exhibition to see how things were going.  Sure enough I found that my pictures had been rearranged. One watercolour had been moved onto the table and the space was on the chair was occupied by two small watercolours. I found that the culprit was John Horton – a fellow TWASI member who paints beautifully crafted watercolours of birds. So I was quite flattered to be showing alongside a superior talent.
This year’s exhibition I was delighted by a rare surprise. On Saturday evening I received a telephone call from a man who told me he had purchased my watercolour of Mevagissey at the exhibition. He told me how much he admired it and I thanked him and said I hope the painting would give him lasting pleasure.  Not often that situation occurs.
 I will be setting off shortly to collect unsold work at the close of the exhibition.  I’m pleased at this year’s exhibition to have  met some nice friendly people and made a sale which will help pay for my Rohan Jacket.

Monday, June 11, 2012


This is another version of the 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. I’ve reworked the sky because the overcast evening sky didn’t 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. 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.

Friday, June 08, 2012


This is a half-sheet watercolour on Waterford NOT composed from an arrangement of the Yellow Eyed Penguin sketches. After the initial pencil drawing I dampened the paper and laid a light background wash. 

As the work developed it became a study in the attitudes adopted by the birds as indicators of their behaviour. One had a fish in it’s beak another was preening and the others seemed to be alert. More detail work needs to be done on the heads and I have to work out how to exploit changes in tone on the water surface to unify the composition.