Category Archives: painting

Square Two.

Resisting the urge to go for a walk onto the gloriously snowy Ochil Hills today, the second small painting has emerged from sketchbook onto canvas.

Ben Cleuch, highest of the Ochil Hills, from my upstairs window.

I am remembering a walk on the beach at Scheveningen, Den Haag, after a refreshing swim by the pier. Finding a café table, sheltered by glass panels from the wind, sketching people on the sand. This girl caught my eye, absorbed in her sand sculpture despite a strengthening wind, embodying the essence of one of the great joys of childhood.

Square Two:

Girl playing in the sand on a windy beach.
On the beach – square two. Oil on canvas board 10 x 10cm
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Square One

I bought a few very small canvas boards, while my car was in a garage in Glasgow. I plan to work on a selection of sketchbook material on them. Sketches of people, singly or in groups, transient situations and relationships in composition and implied or inferred between the subjects.

Today is a good day for painting, it’s damp and chilly outside, sleet has given way to snow and now slow rain. I’m enjoying getting used to the feel of the oils too.

Square One…

Summer day in West Park, Wolverhampton, four people sitting in the shade.
Square One – West Park.
Oil on canvas board 10 x 10cm

Oil and water..

Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year?  Probably, especially as the harsh realities of national and international events loom large in our attentions, nevertheless, if this is the first visit you are making here since Hogmanay then I send you good wishes for health, happiness and genuine wealth of the kind that cannot be stolen..

I am becoming very busy with non-art matters, to do with work and starting the steps to making a change to an area of paid activity to which I wish to return in order to feel inspired rather than required.  This is, naturally, slowing my art productivity but is essential to it; I have found over the years that I need to feel able to relax and have my basic needs met in order to experience the artistic urge.  I do not resent this shift of focus, it is both necessary and in any case enjoyable in its own right, though my fingers twitch when I see art that I like.

My exploration of oil paints continues, at least with the more practically usable water-mixable oils.  I like the medium.  I have continued with the painting I began in my last post, back in December I think, and have, more or less, finished it.  I’m happy with this one, at the moment anyway.  I’ll let it settle for a bit before deciding whether it’s ready to sign and find a name for.

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This photo’s not the best, the light wasn’t good and the lamp makes reflections off the brushstrokes, but you can get the gist of it.  It comes from a moment of clearing clouds on a windy, dramatic day on Ben Vorlich, the western one on the edge of the Arrochar Alps, at the north end of Loch Lomond, back in the Autumn.  I went up with a friend to whom I am grateful for revealing this superb mountain.  The canvas is roughly 35 by 25cm, canvas on board, a nice surface to paint on.

I have other photos from that day to use as starting points for paintings, also from more recent, subsequent hill days, inspired by moments of light on dark, contrasts, shapes of sunlit land or water and cloud.  And the snow and ice are returning, while the days begin to lengthen.

Work in progress.  Perhaps also progress in work.

More in a bit.

Misty Sunday

It’s been a cold, damp, misty day, good for staying indoors and painting. .. so I did.

A fresh air walk to the river this morning gave me some warm-up inspiration, a couple of quick sketches, then back to start on the next version of a painting from a dramatic day on Ben Vorlich, near Loch Lomond.

I’m trying oils, new for me, and beginning to like the feel and extended workability of the paint. A small detail, here:

Tomorrow’s forecast may tempt me out onto the hills, as I have a day’s leave, but it’s a good feeling to have a clear focus for some artwork.

More soon. Have a good week.

Autumn Grazing

It was a pleasant cycle trip to Kincardine and a lunch of coffee, pancakes, bacon and maple syrup at Marko’s Kitchen.

Fuelled by food and exercise, another study inspired by my weekday commute past the fields and farms to Bannockburn. Sheep are in charge of the fields just now, grey-white ovals on warm orange, cool grey skies, muted light. Oils on brown paper.

Autumn Grazing study.

Time for evening soup.

Sunday morning

It’s showery outside today, my mind is distracted with diverse matters and the mood to paint, something, anything, even just some blobs and smears to show myself I’ve lifted a brush.. this urge has been an insistent presence in the argumentative board meeting in my head.

Well I’ve made a small sketch in oils on brown paper, another evolutionary step for this subject,

I plan another study on return but now my body is itching for activity, a shower has passed and it’s a good time to make a visit over the Forth on my bike to a cafe in Kincardine.

Ah, sunshine!

Have a good day.

Restless…

I feel a restless energy, this evening, it’s still windy outside, I should be going to bed now but the urge to paint again is returning, after a long period of observing, reflecting, sketching, seeking inspiration from others in exhibitions, doing other things..

The most recent catalyst was spending time in the Van Goch Museum in Amsterdam, including a painting workshop, about which more in a subsequent post.

Since returning and diving back into a very busy time at work, with its own circumstances to drive my restlessness, I managed finally to start some acrylic sketching on Sunday night; just acrylic on brown parcel paper, the tone and texture of which are perfect as a mid-tone.

This evening, a quick and rough self-portrait study in a small mirror by poor light and using up the last paint in the palette …

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I feel like something’s going on, a step forward, it feels to me…

Time to sleep, while the wind blows.