Friday 29 April 2016


Lindisfarne Boatshed
(Oil on board, 8 x 8 in)

Coves Haven, Lindisfarne
(Oil on board, 8 x 8 in)

On Monday I went back to my old studio, unpacked the oil paints and finished off these two paintings over two days. There was always going to be the problem of drying, but a judicious mix of W&N Underpainting White and Liquin helped them dry by Thursday, when I handed them in at the North of England Art Club in Newcastle.

After handing them in, I made a final attempt to find my lost pencil case. The only place I hadn't checked was the Discovery Museum where we held our February Sketch Crawl, so I asked the nice man behind the desk if it had been handed in.

He was very helpful, even reading out some of the items that had been handed in.

"A ham sandwich and a bag of cash?"

"No", I said.

"A wallet with £100 in it?"

"Yes, that's the one!" but he was having none of it, and didn't find any mention of my pencil case either.

Monday 25 April 2016

Sketchbook Circling

While I'm waiting for the two small oils to dry (water-mixable oils don't seem to dry much faster than ordinary oils), I have some time to get on with Becca's sketchbook for the Sketchbook Circle

As always, I can't reveal what I'm up to until Becca herself gets the book back, so this teaser will have to do for now.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Water and Oil

I recently agreed to take part in an exhibition by the North of England Art Club at the Bondgate Gallery in Alnwick, the theme of which will be the rather vague "Northumbrian Scenes". There are two restrictions: the paintings must all be 20x20 cm and must all have a fixed selling price of £50.

Having agreed to get them ready by 12 May, I was dismayed to find that the date for handing in has changed to 28 April to allow for their framing. So the last few days have seen me hunting for images to fit the brief and suitably sized boards on which to paint them.

The studio still isn't really set up for oil painting, so I'd have preferred to work in acrylics, especially as I've just invested in a new set of Atelier Interactive Acrylics and would like to see how they perform. But the boards I found already have old oil paintings on them and acrylic over oil paint isn't a very good idea.

Another problem: most of my oil paints are still in the studio at my old house, so I found myself painting with a set of 8 Van Gogh water-mixable oils. Inevitably the colours aren't really those I would have chosen but they provided me with enough colour to cover over the old paintings.

This is where I got today with my two images which are, incidentally, scenes from Holy Island.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Sketchbook Circle : My Seconds Out

Time to reveal the additions and responses I made in my sketchbook sent this month to my Sketchbook Circle Partner, A. The first set of three are pages I prepared last time; A chose not to work on these (there are no rules), so I've added something of my own to them.

The next three are pages started by and added to by me. 

[Later: At her request, I've removed them]


This third set shows a response by me (the matchbox) to a page by (the matches), followed by some additions by me to her pages.

[Later -  here I've again deleted all of A's images, with the exception of the spent matches, which I feel are important to my own contribution]


Finally, we have three new pages by me. I don't regard most of these as being complete in any way, so if A does nothing to them (she can, of course, simply respond with images of her own), I'll be working on them again when the book returns at the end of the month.

Technical note: in working on these, I used black and coloured markers, watercolour, gouache, acrylic paint and coloured pencils, as well as collage, of course.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Sketchbook Circle: Second Round.

I've received Becca's sketchbook this week, so my thoughts turn to additions and responses again. The first image below shows Becca's additions to one of my pages in her book, and the three after that are her new pages.


Sunday 3 April 2016

Mail Art Envelopes

I'm about to send out my Sketchbook Circle sketchbook to my Circle Partner A, so that she can begin her second round of additions to it. As soon as she's received it, I'll show you what I did in it over the last month.

In the course of unearthing suitable material for the sketchbook, I came across a cache of Mail Art envelopes. I've written here about my short involvement with the world of Mail Art and while these envelopes are far from being works of art in any way, they do demonstrate the sense of fun, anarchy, serendipity and plain silliness the movement embraced. Circulating these through the post was our way of bringing art into everyday life.

Look for collage, rubber stamps, photocopies, magazine cuttings, drawings, marker pens and fake postage stamps.