Saturday 31 December 2022

Nine Satisfactory Paintings of 2022


It’s been an unusually quiet year for me, but here are nine paintings produced in 2022, all of which satisfied me in one way or another.

Friday 23 December 2022

Merry Christmas 2022!


Late for the Match (Snow)
(Acrylic and digital colour)

This year’s Xmas card (also available from LoveFromTheArtist).

Merry Xmas and a Very Happy New Year to all my friends and followers! Thanks for your support.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Nine Textured Paintings


Nine textured paintings on a continuing, if occasional, theme of distressed doors and walls.

Sunday 4 December 2022

The Pontificator (and his Successor)


The wonder of social media! Someone in the north west has just posted on Twitter the first photo above. It’s a painting he bought in an antique centre in Skipton and it’s one of mine. Here’s the story: I painted the version below (later cut down for a smaller frame), but then decided to revisit the subject in a less descriptive manner. Ian Bambro, whom some of you may remember (he blogged as Will Barrow), bought that second version from me and following his death, I guess it was auctioned off by his executors. Haven’t seen it in years!

Wednesday 16 November 2022

alla prima 2022

Still Life alla prima
(acrylic on watercolour paper, 7x7 in)

One of the annual challenges at Gateshead Art Society is for everyone to paint, alla prima, from the same photograph. This is where I got in just over an hour last Friday, trying to share a photo with someone else. 

I can do better under less stressful circumstances, and this isn't how I might ordinarily approach the subject, but I'm not displeased with it. Indeed, I might go back to it at some point and make it more presentable. If you'd be interested in buying this work of art when it's done, please get in touch.

George and the Dragon (SOLD)


George and the Dragon (2004)
(Oil on canvas, 16x20 in)

Spent the afternoon parcelling up this painting so I can send it off to its new home in the USA in the next few days.

Friday 11 November 2022

Gateshead Art Society’s Xmas Exhibition (Part 2)

 Three more new paintings in Gateshead Art Society’s Annual Exhibition, opening on Saturday at 11 am:

At the Maritime Trust

(acrylic on canvas board, 12x12 in)

Horchata for Two

(acrylic and collage on board, 9x9 in)

The Last Ice Cream of Summer

(acrylic and collage on board, 9x9 in)

Thursday 10 November 2022

Gateshead Art Society’s Xmas Exhibition (Part 1)

Three new paintings in Gateshead Art Society’s Annual Exhibition, opening on Saturday at 11 am:

Flowers in a Green Vase

(acrylic on canvas board, 12x12 in)

Still Life with Presents

(acrylic on canvas board, 12x12 in)


(acrylic and collage on board, 30x30 cm)

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Aberdeen Trawler (WIP)

Aberdeen Trawler (WIP)
(acrylic and collage on board)

A detail of something new, almost finished - watch this space.

Monday 7 November 2022

Untitled (Bologna)

Untitled (Bologna)
(mixed media on board, 30x30cm)

I started these two Textured Wall Series pictures together in July and quickly finished the Bari painting below by August. The other fought back and it wasn’t resolved until Friday last.

Untitled (Bari)
(mixed media on board, 30x30 cm)

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Looking at Paintings

Exhibition time rolls round again, so I’m starting to look at paintings, some unfinished, to see what might be submitted where. I usually find this process kickstarts the creative process too (not before time!)

Wednesday 14 September 2022

From Odyssey Studios Balcony

From Odyssey Studios Balcony
(markers in A5 sketchbook)

It’s months since I sat down with a pen and sketchbook (I blame Covid), but today I made the effort. Obvious mistakes, but I’m out of practice. Still, I’m not dissatisfied.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Me in a Bar


Bewitched, Bothered & Bemildred. A pre-prandial Aperol Spritz, with some solid funk, in a bar round the corner.

From a Window


From the window at Odyssey Studios, Chania. Good to be just chilling out in such a lovely apartment, with wonderfully friendly hosts.

Saturday 3 September 2022

Back to Chania


It's four years since we were last in Chania; three since we were out of the UK at all. It's great to be back. Rather than choose somewhere to visit that would make us feel we'd have to explore, we decided to go back to Chania (definitely our favourite place) to just amble about and soak up the sun and atmosphere.

Thursday 4 August 2022

New Wall Painting (WIP 2)


Wall (WIP)
(Mixed media on 30x30cm board)

Despite a determination to make progress with this painting, I got caught up in the hectic “fun” of having a new kitchen fitted, and that inevitably definitely meant a delay.

However, yesterday I felt able to move along this textured wall piece with some watercolour paper, some paint and mark making.

Wednesday 27 July 2022

New Wall Painting (WIP)

Wall (WIP)
(acrylic and collage on board, 12 x 12 in)

It’s early days but I hope this start to a new painting indicates an end to the post-Covid malaise that hit me a few weeks ago. We'll see how things go.

Saturday 2 July 2022

Untitled (Bari)

 Untitled (Bari)

(Mixed media on board, 30x30 cm)

Now that the painting is finished, I find myself yet again surprised at the way a random layer of paint and torn papers can influence the eventual appearance of a painting.

Tuesday 28 June 2022

New Beginning


Prepared panel
(torn papers and acrylic ink over abandoned painting)

The recent unusual heatwave made it very uncomfortable in my attic studio and that, coupled with lingering Covid symptoms, precluded any real work. But there are always ideas struggling to surface and by today I'd prepared this panel so that one of those ideas (see photo below) could inspire some kind of creativity.

Friday 3 June 2022

At the Maritime Trust

At the Maritime Trust
(acrylic on canvas, board, 12 x 12 in)

This is a painting I’ve been working on over the last week or two. It’s based on a sketch I made on an outing with the Tyne & Wear Urban Sketchers in 2017 (see below) and the repeated circles fascinated me.

In the Shed 
(2B mechanical pencil in A4 sketchbook)

Thursday 2 June 2022

Still Life with Presents


Still Life with Presents
(Acrylic on canvas board, 12x12 in)

This has gone through so many changes. I initially followed the sketch I posted here, but as I suggested would happen, changes became inevitable once I began painting. The cup and chair vanished and the old sweet tin that originally made an appearance last Xmas, found its way into this picture. Finally, the chair returned to balance the composition (together with an escaped chocolate).

You might also notice my new stencils being used most obviously on the table, but also on the vase, in a similar way to the vase on Flowers in a Green Vase.

Friday 27 May 2022

Water Tower on Holy Island (WIP, second pass)


Water Tower on Holy Island (WIP)
(oil on canvas, 12x12 in)

A little more progress on this oil painting yesterday, mainly making changes to the foreground and developing the tree and foliage, but it feels slow.

Thursday 19 May 2022

Water Tower on Holy Island (WIP)


Water Tower on Holy Island (WIP)
(Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in)

An afternoon with my oil paints at the North of England Art Club, concentration only interrupted by a man installing a blind directly over my easel. 

Rooting around in my paint box, I uncovered a tube of Mars Red and have now remembered how pervasive the colour can be. I'll have to remember to exclude it when I return to work on this.

Tuesday 17 May 2022

Sketch for Still Life Painting


A pencil sketch, with some digital tone added, for a potential still life painting to follow on from the Flowers in a Green Vase. This is at least less busy than a previously discarded sketch. I might go with this one and see how it looks when the paint's applied, changing it as it progresses.

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Flowers in a Green vase

 Flowers in a Green Vase
(Acrylic on canvas board, 12x12 in)

Finding myself a bit adrift this year, I fell back on the old maxim, “When you can’t paint, paint something else.” I did a few very small still life paintings during the Lockdown and quite enjoyed them, but scaling up to even this modest size proved difficult. What I expected to take a couple of days or so has taken the best part of a week. I wonder if the next one, should I give in to temptation, will be so difficult?

Thursday 21 April 2022

Edinburgh Florist

 Edinburgh Florist
(Oil on canvas, 10x10 in)

Another day in good company at North of England Art Club and this painting is finished. Or finished for the moment. There’s always the possibility of a little glazing and tickling after it’s had time to settle. Another addition to my series of Shops and Stalls.

Sunday 17 April 2022

(Acrylic on board, 10x10 in)

Painting now complete. I’m always surprised at how the addition of a figure changes the nature, the concept even, of a particular painting. From a purely compositional exercise, this has taken on an added element of narrative.

Thursday 14 April 2022

Edinburgh Florist (WIP)


Edinburgh Florist (WIP)
(Oil on canvas, 10x10 in)

Nice to finally get back to the studio at North of England Art Club after a break of over two years and get some oil painting done. Of course, after a lay-off of over two years, it was a struggle to get the caps off the tubes of paint and I’d forgotten how messy my hands get with oil paint. Still, I enjoyed getting to grips with the old medium again, an experience made even better by amiable chat with members I haven't seen for a long time.

Saturday 9 April 2022

A New Beginning


Street scene (WIP)
(acrylic on board, 10 x 10 in.)

Yesterday at Gateshead Art Society, while everyone else was doing an exercise in alla prima, I began work on this new one. It's based on a photograph I took in Crete and I think it’s going well, but there’s a figure to be added which might give me bother. Watch this space.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal (2)


"Seaton Rose"
(mixed media on 7 x 6.5 in. board)

Intended for sale at £60 through the excellent scheme (see previous post), this one sold before I could post it online. The full £60 has now gone to the DEC Ukraine Appeal.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal


Boat Repairs 
(7x7.5 in, mixed media on board )

Like many, I wondered how I can help the people of Ukraine. GiveWith.Art is an initiative started by Mark David Haywood of and British Contemporary Art to help charities deal with the awful humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Artists and galleries pledge to give at least 50% of a sale to support Ukrainian relief. So I am adding this painting. 100% of the sale price of £65 will go to one of the charities listed  on the website

Item now SOLD and £65 donated to DEC British Red Cross Humanitarian Ukraine Appeal

Wednesday 23 February 2022

New Greetings Cards


Six new Still Life greetings cards, now available from my site at LoveFromTheArtist.

Monday 7 February 2022

Home Thoughts of Abroad


My first solo exhibition in eight years opened at the Alnwick Playhouse Gallery on 25th January. When I was approached to put on a show, I thought it might be only a small affair as, when I was last there, the gallery space was not large. However, I found that the gallery space has now moved upstairs and there are two long walls, each six metres long. This meant a complete rethink of what I might show: I'm not keen on simply putting up a set of unconnected work, but would always prefer a theme. Eventually, I came up with this as a working idea and indeed, this is the text used in the publicity: 

In his poem, Home Thoughts From Abroad, Robert Browning put himself in the position of one who has been away from home and is missing it dearly. Harry Bell has cheekily turned the concept around and named his exhibition Home Thoughts of Abroad. After two years of enforced isolation in the north east of England, this lover of European travel keenly feels the loss of strolling in the sun-filled streets of Greece, Italy and Spain, and even the chillier streets encountered on a visit to the Czech Republic. To ease that heartfelt need, he’s put together a collection of his favourite paintings of those places in the hope they’ll cheer us through the winter months and hint at what we might regain.

There are eighteen pictures in the exhibition which continues until 6th March.