Monday, February 23, 2009


pencil, about 18cm wide

Quick drawing of a plant done in the last hour after a painting day.

The healthy open leaves have come out not badly, but the light ran out before I had pinned down the dried out-shrivelled ones.

Quite a good exercise in tone and organic forms.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Portrait exercise - An Ex-Soldier

oil on card 15x20cm

This is a quick one-day piece done last week from a photo in an Observer magazine. Now dry enough to scan.

It’s a bit of a breakthrough piece for me. I had decided to spend a far greater proportion of time on looking and checking before applying any paint, and as a result, my drawing here was much more accurate and informative.

It seems as though my ‘looking muscle’ is showing signs of its former fitness. Still a lot of hard work to do, but at least this little sketch was a bit of a reward on the way.

The subject is Duane Telfer, who served in the British Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he suffered a nervous breakdown after his friend and colleague was mortally wounded and died in front of him.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Window and Floccus

oil on canvas 25 x 31cm SOLD

Some inner debate as to whether this is finished or not. The earthbound bits are blocked in quite heavily, while the airy elements are progressively applied in thin blended layers. Finally decided not to take the buildings any further.

This painting was always going to be about the clouds, with the odd angles of the window and roofs purely providing a heavy base.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tank and Teapot

oil on canvas 51x51cm

This painting was finished in December, so this is me catching up a bit.

I was getting a bit fed up with a palette of blues and buffs and wanted to get to grips with a good blaze of red. In this particular case a strong light red with a touch of alizarin crimson layered on with loads of medium. Very glossy, but very rich, and quite enjoyed doing it, though had a bit of trouble telling how the horizontal creases around the tank work.

The tank itself is a plastic model of a Panther tank I made years ago, with the camouflage lushed up a bit. The teapot is part of a full tea-set. It has an almond section, not round, reminiscent of the 15th century breastplates designed to deflect blows, in the same way that the sloping armour of this tank was designed to deflect anti-tank rounds. Incidentally, for those who care, the colour of the teapot is just about the same as ‘Panzer Grey’, the factory finish of German tanks up to about 1942. Which is a coincidence.

There is, of course, an overall similarity in the two shapes, with smaller echoes within them. Their functions, whether one reads the tank as a small model, or as a huge, noisy, dangerous machine, are entirely different.