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.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


I don't know of a waterproof ink that you can use with a fountain pen like the Rotring Art Pen. But that isn't a great problem you can create washes from the pen lines with a Pentel wash brush or a wet watercolour brush.   

Although a pen is best for sketching buildings I much prefer to sketch directly with a brush for street scenes. I drew the sketch of Napier with a sepia Pentel Colour Brush. The brush marks can treated with a wet watercolour brush to create washes.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

TINTED SKETCH with a Pentel Brush Pen

This sketch was drawn with a Pentel Brush Pen in an A5 sketchbook. The Pentel Brush Pen has replaceable black ink cartridges. The Brushmarks are waterproof when dry.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


 The following sketches were posted to supplement a tutorial given to a local
Art Group.
A Rotring Art Pen was used to create this line and wash sketch.

Anyone brave enough to develop this sketch further?

Print off this ink line drawing to add washes

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


I made this study of a Little Owl at the ICBP at Newent - I used Autodesk Sketch Book Pro.

 At the end I thought it a bit overworked so I decided to strip off the colour layers and develop the line work. I feel this simpler treatment gave a better rendering of the Owl's pose and character.

As a final touch I dropped in a new colour layer for a background. I may decide to print it as a notelet.