Saturday, 10 April 2021

Still Life in a Cupboard

 Still Life in a Cupboard

(Acrylic and collage on board, 8x8 in)

A competition set for members by the North of England Art Club, helped me get out of a week of Empty Brain Syndrome. They asked for paintings on the theme of The Things in My Cupboard and I spent a happy hour or so assembling various objects inside an imaginary Photoshop cupboard.

When it came to start painting, I found myself doubting that the rough assemblage would work as a painting, but as is often the case, things can be made to work once you get going. In the end I rather enjoyed working on it, especially once I'd found a suitable collage piece for the orange jug to replace the pattern on the original.

It’s available for sale at £85, by the way, including P&P in the UK. Contact me through my website (see Sidebar) if you're interested.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Wok and Chair


Wok and Chair
(acrylic on board, 10 x 10 in)

Last week's challenge for Gateshead Art Society members was “Chairs or Chimneys”. My previous post showed how I tackled "Chimneys".

This week, old wok 'n chair’s got me (If I didn’t say it, one of you would, assuming you're familiar with the Hoagy Carmichael classic).

Friday, 19 March 2021

Staithes Chimneys

Staithes Chimneys
(acrylic on mountboard, 10x10 in)

The current challenge from Gateshead Art Society is to make a painting on the subject of Chairs or Chimneys. I decided I'd have a go at translating this sketchbook drawing from 2012.

As I worked, I was reminded how much I hate green, especially when set against red/orange, but I wrestled it to a satisfactory conclusion, I think.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Chinese Bottle

 Chinese Bottle
(Acrylic on board, 8x8 in)

Last week’s failed Whitby Harbour boat finally resolved into a still life. You've heard of a boat in a bottle, right? Here's a bottle out of a boat.

Friday, 5 March 2021

On the Rocks


This week’s plan to paint a boat in Whitby harbour foundered on the rocks. After gessoing with grey gesso and some scraping down, a new still life is crawling from the wreckage.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Daisies in an Alfajar


Daisies in an Alfajar
(Acrylic on mountboard, 20x20 cm)

A follow on from last week’s still life painting, this uses a lovely little jar I bought in Malaga a couple of years ago. "Alfajar" is the brand name. If you're ever in Malaga, do look up the shop - it's well worth a visit.

Thursday, 25 February 2021



(Acrylic on mountboard, 7x5 in)

This is a little painting I did recently for a friend’s birthday but had to keep secret until today. More than anything, I found the lettering the most challenging, but even the light within the bottle was difficult with acrylic paint. As well as this, photographing layers of acrylic paint is difficult, in that some layers are much more transparent through a digital lens than they seem to the eye.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Anemones in a Bayeux Jar


Anemones in a Bayeux Jar
(Acrylic on mountboard, 20x20 cm)

I find using acrylic on such small format boards and canvases, lends itself to these still life paintings. although I don't find it easy to find interesting vases or the bunches of flowers to go in them. This little jar is based on one I bought on a trip to Normandy many years ago, although the shape has been quite radically simplified.

This little still life took all week because of umpteen tonal adjustments: change one bit, another needs work. So it goes. I’m happy with the result, but if I want to continue the theme I'll have to hunt for a new vase or jar.

Friday, 5 February 2021

Paintings Sold


Blue Door
(Mixed media on board, 30x30 cm)

In Saltwell Park
(acrylic on board, 20x20 cm)

Two paintings sold and on their way to their new home in Gloucester.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

From My Malaga Window


From My Malaga Window
(acrylic and collage on watercolour paper, 10x10 in)

Painting on watercolour paper with acrylic produces a really interesting surface, somewhat leathery in appearance, and layering up with collage papers works pretty well. I struggle to get decent photographs of some of these, however. This is the best I could manage today.

Enough night paintings for a while, I think!

Saturday, 16 January 2021



Star Beetle
(Collage and acrylic on watercolour paper, 7x7 in)

Stone Beetle
(Collage and acrylic on watercolour paper, 7x7 in)

A Gateshead Art Society challenge on “Insects” set me off on a new idea this week, but before I start on a larger work, I decided I’d try out some ideas for single imaginary beetles. I rather like these and think they’d look good framed up. More to come, I expect.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Red Locker Door

Red Locker Door
(mixed media on board, 30 x 30 cm)

The latest addition to my series of weathered and distressed doors. My Regular Reader will know of my red/green eyesight deficiency, so using so much red on this painting was something of a high wire act for me.


Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Madonna of the Pots


Madonna of the Pots
(acrylic on mountboard, 10x10 in.)

This painting has been hanging around for a while, awaiting a resolution. Somehow it resolved itself, almost by accident. While it’s not what I expected it to be, I’m pleased with it and am offering it for sale under the Artist Support Pledge. It’s £200, including UK postage. If you’re interested, please leave a comment or email me.

Friday, 25 December 2020

Xmas Wreath 2020


Xmas Wreath 2020
(mixed media on mountboard, 27x19 cm)

Merry Xmas and Very Best Wishes to all my Reader!

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Evening in Lisbon


Evening in Lisbon
(acrylic on mountboard, 10x10 in)

Have you ever regretted starting a painting? I knew quite soon after beginning this one that it was a mistake but I was reacting to a prompt from Gateshead Art Society and didn’t feel I could give up. I think, in fact, that it’s turned out well if a little romantic (clue: we spent our honeymoon in Lisbon), so I shouldn’t moan. But something about the painting of it (the paint layer’s too thin for a start) meant that corrections were needed just about every day for over a week. However, enough hair shirt. Onward!

Friday, 4 December 2020

Whitby Harbour


Whitby Harbour
(Pilot disposable fountain pen in Pink Pig sketchbook)

On a cold and wet day, hat better way of passing the time than a little bit of drawing from a photograph taken in Whitby .

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Discerning Eye

 I have three paintings in this important national exhibition.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Malaga Patrol


Malaga Patrol

(acrylic on board, 30x30 cm)

I made a freely painted start to this new subject. I was uncertain about how it would develop, but that was an attractive prospect. The painting of it kept presenting me with umpteen niggles that demanded correction, such that I got really fed up with it, but I like it now it’s finished. My intention was to make this the first of short series, but the proposed second in the series looked so disappointing that I quickly covered it up with something more promising.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Tulips for Pat

Tulips for Pat

(acrylic and collage on board, 5x7 in)

Painted for my wife’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Pat, pet!

Monday, 14 September 2020

A Short Walk in the Ouseburn Valley

This post should have been entitled something like "Sketch Crawl: in the Ouseburn Valley" but things worked out differently. There was a time when Sketch Crawls began at a civilised time and lasted until it was time to go home for tea. Under more recent Tyne and Wear Urban Sketcher management they've become daylong events so I find that, if I don't arrive for the ten o'clock start, there's a danger that I won't link up with the other sketchers. 

And so it was on Saturday. I'm not an early riser; never have been, never will be, but the current Lockdown situation has made it more difficult than ever to get up and out early. There's also the fear induced by getting onto a bus without knowing if it'll be full of people without masks breathing the Deadly Virus over me.

As it turned out, there were only six other people on the bus, all wore masks and were sitting in appropriately distanced seats, so I felt reasonably happy when I got off at the Baltic and urged my knees, now very stiff from months of sitting in the house, to cooperate in the relatively short walk across the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and along the Newcastle Quayside to the Cycle Hub where it was all about to Kick Off. Or where it was due to Kick Off at ten o'clock, but now it was eleven o'clock.

I looked in the Hub cafe, I looked down into the marina, I looked up and down the quay, but no sketchers visible. Maybe they'd moved up the Ouseburn? There's always something to draw in the way of derelict buildings, boats and ducks, so I headed upstream.

As passed under a road bridge, I noticed what, for me, is a new addition to the local decorations.

I've seen Candyman, so there was no chance of my saying the word ESSALAMUS three times and I passed safely through and soon came to the first of the day's boats.

I liked them and there were jolly workmen doing workman-like things to them, but my knees were aching, there was nowhere to sit down, the path was narrow and people kept passing by doing their best to socially-distance but inevitably failing, so I decided not to attempt a drawing and pressed on.

By the time I'd reached the area of the Cluny and Seven Stories I was developing a fairly clear idea that sketching would not happen. I sat on a bench in the sunshine opposite the pigs in the city farm, out of the annoying wind, and watched the ducks on the river as I contemplated my place in the world. Yes, it was that kind of day.

Having reached an accommodation with the day, I thought I'd walk on a little further up the valley to see what I might see. Round the corner I discovered a curious structure that turned out to be the Culvert Bandstand. I wondered how many unforgettable performances had taken place there without my ever knowing of its existence. None in recent times by the look of it.

The Bandstand may be a bit lacklustre but its situation is striking, set as it is in the valley below the soaring arches of Byker Bridge, the Victorian Ouseburn Viaduct and the more recent Byker Viaduct

As I left the Bandstand I was struck by a piece of graffiti that stood out amongst the inevitable gaggle of tags and crude colourings. Short and to point, without being specific, it seems to sum up what a lot of us are probably thinking every day of this year.

I figured it was time to go back, maybe find the others at the Cycle Hub and perhaps have a coffee. But no luck. Shortly before the Hub I passed Bethan, who said "Hi, they're all Down There", nodding back at the marina. If that were the case, her Down There was not the Down There I looked about. 

Feeling tired after my unaccustomed walk, I headed back to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, pausing only to admire, not for the first time and I'm sure, not for the last, the wonderful view up the River Tyne to Newcastle and Gateshead, nestled in the Tyne Gorge and linked by a series of splendid bridges..

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Nine Doors and Walls


Nine Doors and Walls

Using an app, I've put together the nine paintings in the Textures Series, all mixed media on board, 12x12 in (or 30x30 cm).

I'm so pleased with the look of this arrangement that I'll be uploading the image to my Greetings Card collection.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Iron Box


Iron Box
(Mixed media on board, 12x12 in)

A painting laid aside some months ago when it went dead on me. Revived a day or two ago by adding layers of paint and paper collage, I'm much happier with it. I'll add it to my website and to my greetings card collection.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Secure Fastenings


Secure Fastenings
(mixed media on board, 12x12 in)

I felt I knew where I was going at the beginning of the year but somehow got lost along the way. In attempt to get back in the groove I began a new textured piece, laying down a base of torn paper and paint.

From there I began to layer with more paint and added texture with acrylic gel and some pieces of card, before going on to the final resolved work shown at the top of the post, including patterned paper and more textured paint.

Monday, 24 August 2020



One of the effects of working with collage, is that my studio is starting to resemble my desk. My mind is in a similar condition, so I need to spend time this week tidying up all three.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Big Green Tote Bag

Big Green Tote Bag
(Acrylic on board, 8x8 in.)

I went off the boil last week, so finishing off this little painting started last year will hopefully get me going again. Oh to be abroad again!

Available under the Artists Support Pledge scheme for £80, including postage in the UK. Leave a comment or message me if interested.


Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Bouquet for Kathleen

Bouquet for Kathleen
(mixed media on board, 8x6 in)

A little birthday present I made for a friend as a surprise. Now she has it, I can show it. I’d like to be able to thank the photographer who took the photo on which it’s based (I know she’s on Instagram) but I’ve lost her name.


Monday, 20 July 2020

Mondaymonday : Turret near the Maze


Turret near the Maze
(Markers in 21x26 cm sketchbook)

Another fine day with Mondaymondaysketchers in Saltwell Park. That's a very busy corner and people came by quite often, not always respecting social distancing. My drawing was inspected by a woman and her grandson and not found wanting. Her grandson, of course, is a very good artist.

Monday, 13 July 2020

"Frying Pan"


"Frying Pan"
(markers in 21x26 cm sketchbook)

After such a long time in Covid-19 Lockdown, it was good to answer the call from Colin and get together with the Mondaymonday Sketchers in Saltwell Park today. I settled on some of the mock fortifications of Saltwell Towers and drew one of the turrets that I still think of as "Frying Pans" - what I called them when I was a boy.

Sunday, 12 July 2020


Summer Stripes
(acrylic on hardboard, 30x30 cm)

I started this last year at one Club and finished it this week for a challenge from a different Club. Unframed, it’s available for £200 incl. P&P in the UK. Contact me to buy or ask for more information.

Thursday, 9 July 2020


The Ethnologist
(acrylic on canvas board, 8x8 in)

As an online self-challenge I've produced a new addition to my Major Players imaginary portrait series.