Oil & water

I have started to try water-mixable oil paints, after seeing a demonstration one evening at the  Wolverhampton Society of Artists.  Earlier this year I bought a few tubes to make a limited palette for exploring them.

First ‘finished ‘ painting : “yellow fields” , approx 6 x 8 inches, canvas.


Earth and Fire and Water 

I’ve been on the long learning curve of pottery since starting in this job as a workshop technician in the school art and design & technology departments, just over 5 years ago.   I’ve found it fascinating and very satisfying to do,  though I get too little time to practice and play properly and develop my skills to the level I would like.  Still,  I try out ideas and absorb knowledge whenever I can.

Last week I retrieved some of the latest experiments from the kiln, which by the way I pay for, and this time I thought I’d share a few images of them:

It’s been a productive and restful Sunday, cleaning and necessary admin done this morning, family phone calls done, a short walk to the nearby park, cafe and wifi spot. Now, the cafe’s closing soon and I’m going home to do more paint studies while there is still daylight.

Tomorrow I’ll see how some other works have fared in the fire.

Rainy Sunday 

Rain all day, perfect for art exploration indoors,  acrylic monoprints, sponge & brushwork,  now coffee then trial of water-mixable oils.  Clay later. 

So far, fun but no great results, still, if you’re curious :

Ah, the oven is ready to bake the new bread too.. Coffee and fresh bread. . Mmm 

Scotland – storms and light

It has been a wild week: low cloud, strong to gale force winds, regular bands of rain or slushy snow,  punctuated by brilliant sparkling sunshine and, on the last day, luminous rainbows framing mountains that I have not made time to climb on this journey.

On the way north, I caught the last ferry of the day, just, to the isle of Mull, which was hiding under a thick grey winter blanket with a cold wind raising a small choppy swell.


I have achieved all but two of the main objectives that I had for this half-term break. I have spent time with friends not seen for too long, explored some new places, slept under stars and stormy nights in my oldest tent and on a boat, immersed myself briefly in the sea and made a number of paint sketches on most days. I had intended to paint more outside, but the general wetness of everything meant that the car was my main studio, if only to prevent the sketchbook from disintegrating.

Inspired by a recent presentation to the Wolverhampton Society of Artists, I had bought a brown card sketch book to experiment with painting quickly on a nearly mid-toned ground. I have enjoyed the results, in part because I  tried to loosen up my painting and catch impressions rather than details.


At one place, the enigmatic Clava Cairns near Culloden, I felt a figurative sketch wouldn’t work. Instead I followed a more expressive approach, a response to what I perceived in the place: the sense of the geographical location, the feeling of a flow of something through the site,  the sense of presence I felt standing near some of the cairns and upright stones.


I’ve been able to get used to using my reduced palette of acrylics in the outdoors or in the car, refinishing the logistics of deploying and stowing paints, water and a brush or two; all good practice for a possible trip further afield around Easter.

Inspirational Workshopping

Until yesterday, I had never tried the monoprint technique. I had not really understood the advantages and potential of this approach until the workshop, run by Art North Wales at the Trigonos centre in Nantlle.

We had a busy, productive and inspiring day, everybody producing very different and interesting work, with a vibrant atmosphere of playful exploration in the room as people rolled out ink and paints and experimented with paper, card, natural materials, collaging and more to try out new ways of image making.

For myself, I am trying to take a more free and loose style in my painting and drawing, especially in my landscape work.  After the first demonstration, I started to get a flood of ideas for possible ways of using this to achieve a shift in my paintings.

I started working on backgrounds, inspired by the wonderful autumnal colours that are persisting here and the layers of colours and forms in these Snowdonia valleys between the dramatic ridges.  Leaves and  stems from the grounds provided a set of printing medial to add layers to the pictures and I tried making multiple impressions, each one very different, as is the nature of monoprinting.  The results are below, I have been inspired and will be looking at how I can incorporate some of these methods into my work…


Autumn Change 1


Autumn Change 3


Autumn Change 2


Autumn Change 4


Ivy 1


Ivy 2


Ivy 3


Nantlle rain


Nantlle 1


Nantlle 2


In a time of change…


Seeds in the Wind – ink & acrylic – approx. 28 x 35cm

My latest new work, “seeds in the wind”, was selected to hang in this year’s exhibition by the Wolverhampton Society of Artists.  I entered it for the themed section of the exhibition: metamorphosis.

Walking in Bantock Park, considering my present and future, I noticed the thistles beginning to shed their seeds, soft and light, from flowers above tough, spiky stems and leaves. These hardy plants survive, colonise, resist, adapt, move into new ground with a stubborn boldness; qualities to reflect upon in the current climate.