Monday, 14 December 2015

A Solitary Neighbour and a Literary Masterpiece

"Cathy Come Home"

" 1801. - I have just returned from a visit to my landlord - the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with."                                                                                                                        With these few innocuous words the reader is invited into the pages of the most famous Gothic novel ever written - "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. The speaker is Lockwood and his neighbour......why none other than Heathcliff himself. The novel records the ill fated relationship between Heathcliff and his beloved Cathy and its effect on so many lives. This masterpiece of brooding drama, unrequited passion, complex characters and heartless revenge was written by a clergyman's daughter no less which is just one of the many surprising things about this famous story.
My painting had a few surprises for me too. It sort of took on a life of its own. It started life as a simple study of an abandoned farmhouse in the remote fells of the High Northern Pennines. I brought it back to life, set it in twilight, lit up the windows and there it was...Wuthering Heights. I could feel the presence of Heathcliff waiting at the window for the return of the ghost of his one true love and his plaintive cry. Will she ever "come home"? Incidentally 'wuthering' is a Yorkshire word meaning wild, exposed, storm-blown which summed up the real place perfectly.

Monday, 7 December 2015

My First Watercolour

My First watercolour
Here it is….my very first watercolour. I was pleased to find it after all this time. It looks better than I remember it I’m pleased to say. It was copied from a photograph as indeed were all my early efforts. I didn’t know what I was doing and used the watercolour paint very much as I would have used oils. There is very little water used in diluting the paint and the original has a very ‘chalky’ feel to it. The yellow added to the trees was done with no water at all, just paint straight from the tube giving the painting a textured surface. I grasped the idea of using the white of the paper for my highlights right from the word go so, all in all, not a bad first time effort. And here is my very latest painting - a sketch done for the very first time in my new studio. I hadn't painted for a while but this is the result of a happy couple of hours just messing about. I think you will notice I use a little more water now:
"Wander in the Woods"

Monday, 19 October 2015

Life's not always a beach!

"On the Beach"
In another life I ended up working for a Building and Construction agency. We were still living in Bristol then and I had been made redundant. With a wife, three kids and a very large dog to support it was imperative that I get a job - any job so I had signed up with this agency. To be fair I enjoyed my six months with them. I was young and fit, the work was varied, mostly outdoors, and the pay was good. I worked all over the South West on different contracts. One particular time I was working at Bristol Airport. It was being refurbished with Langs as main contractor. However there were only three men who were actually employed by Langs - the foreman, his assistant and a labourer. The rest of the workforce comprised agency workers like myself. I spent a lot of time working with the labourer who was called Jim Murphy. He was knocking on a bit and had been in the trade all his working life so he knew all the tricks despite which he was very well respected by his foreman. He was Irish so inevitably he was known universally as 'Paddy'. He was a genial, rather squat man with dark curly hair normally concealed under his hard hat which we all had to wear, and with the most striking blue 'Celtic' eyes. We spent a lot of time together and I loved to listen to his soft Irish brogue as he entertained us with  tales of life in the building trade and how much it had changed in his lifetime. Our work seemed to mainly consist of standing, brush or shovel in hand, just chatting away. But Paddy had 'foreman radar' and from whatever direction he came from he always found us hard at work sweeping or shovelling! Gradually as the job neared completion more and more men left until there was just the four of us. We were just doing a general tidy up before handing the site back to the airport authorities. It was late one Friday afternoon. Paddy and I were hard at it (!) shifting some sand from the front of the airport. The airport had remained open throughout the whole operation and throngs of people passed us  as they made their way to the main entrance and eventual departure.  As usual we were leaning on our shovels. "Strange isn't it" said Paddy " All these people heading off to Spain and such places. When they get there what will they do? Maybe relax in the sun under a blue sky and have fun on the beach playing in the sand with their buckets and spades....and pay a fortune to do it". He paused a moment and then continued with a twinkle in his eye "But look at us boyo. Here we are relaxing in the sun under a blue sky playing in the sand with our buckets spades....and getting paid to do it!". Great lesson in how to look at life from a wise and lovely man - fare thee well wherever you are my old friend.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Moving on...

"Approach to Kilham"
I am moving to a new home and studio in the lovely Yorkshire Wolds village of Kilham. This is the approach road to my new location. It is as lovely as it looks and we should be in our new bungalow by mid November. We will both be sad to leave Sewerby behind but it will only be eight miles away so we can still enjoy our cliff top walks with Dilly. I am looking forward to painting in my new studio and exploring fresh subjects to paint.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A painting that took a long time to paint!

"Twilight Settles on the Moors"
It can be very rewarding to take a fresh and honest look at your work every now and again.I began work on this painting two years ago. I framed it and it featured in two large exhibitions under the name 'Full Circle' I had named it thus because it was a return to the subject of my very first paintings - the North Yorkshire Moors. I was pleased with the result and especially liked the subtlety of the sky reflected in the moorland. However when it came back to me I began to have a vague unease about the piece. I hung it in a very prominent position where I could look at it frequently. Gradually it dawned on me that although very meaningful to me the painting had very few points of reference for anyone else, in fact not to put too fine a point on it - it was very mundane, even boring! Here it is though the photo is not quite true to the original:
"Full Circle"

I decided to see if I could add some interest to it so bravely took it out of the frame and taped it onto my easel. It was surprisingly easy to add the sheep. Because I only use transparent colours I could wash out the pale background and carefully paint them in. Then I highlighted the vivid purples of the heather so abundant just now and added a couple of flying grouse. Suddenly the painting came to life and became the essence of the fabulous North Yorkshire Moors. I thought it deserved a new title. Anyway if anyone asks me how long it took me to paint this I can truthfully reply..."Two years and forty minutes!"

Friday, 14 August 2015

I am doing a large watercolour as a wedding gift for a lovely couple. This is a preparatory sketch focussing on the sheep which are an integral component of the eventual painting. I wanted to work on the sheep but it always better to put them in the context of a painting so I can make sure they look right and what better location than the Yorkshire Moors in winter. Now the acknowledged master of sheep and snow paintings is one Joseph Farquharson. He was a Victorian painter who specialised in just that subject and also a bit of a character to say the least. He was a Scottish Laird who was very famous in his time and a member of the Scottish Royal Academy. But how the other half lives. He was a plein air painter but working outdoors in a Scottish winter was not going to be easy. However being a laird and money no object he soon devised a working method. He had a carriage made with a studio inside complete with stove and a copious supply of single malt to keep out the cold. He would be towed to his preferred site and could paint 'outdoors' in warmth and comfort. He even had life size models of sheep made so he could arrange them where he wanted rather than go to the bother of having to make quick sketches in case they moved! Whichever way you look at it I reckon he was a very cool customer. I haven't got a carriage or models of sheep so I will just have to make do with the single malt.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Hole of Horcum

"Hole of Horcum"

This engagingly simple little watercolour (15” x 12” approximately) has quite a tale to tell and also gives valuable insight into my early works. The origins of the painting were formed during a memorable visit to the Hole of Horcum one cold (very cold!) winter’s day with two artist friends – Tony Hogan and fellow exhibitor Rob Gobel. It was so cold but we parked up and crossed the road to paint “en plein air”. I remember I was wearing fingerless mittens and my hands were freezing. We shivered our way through a sketch and then incredibly decided to get the paints out. We were stood on the edge of the steep drop and people must have thought we were mad. The paint just would not dry on the paper so we abandoned the attempt and beat a hasty retreat to a warm and welcoming pub in Pickering. However the scene stayed with me and using the original sketch I produced this somewhat fanciful painting. The floor of the valley was lit up but I exaggerated the effect giving me a rather contemporary effect. This so called ‘contemporary’ effect enabled me to get into the prestigious Blake Gallery in York when I painted a copy of this but double the size and it eventually sold. Of the two paintings this is the best because of the spontaneity involved as I worked my way through what I wanted to portray. It contains lots of elements of my early style such as the very loose sky painted with the board on its side so the wet clouds ran in the direction I wanted. This then is a reminder of happy days gone by and I am very pleased to be able to include it here in the ‘Three Journeys’ Exhibition.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

An Optimistic Painting.....

"Signs of Spring"
This 20" x 16" watercolour will feature as part of my upcoming 'Three Journeys' Exhibition at Bridlington Spa from 1st August to the 2nd September. Like all my paintings it is based on a real place and in this case an old sketch of Skipwith Common in North Yorkshire. As the largest expanse of heathland bog left in the North it can be pretty bleak in winter. However this was always intended as an optimistic painting because even though it is clearly still very 'wintery' there are signs of warmer days for the discerning viewer. The snow is beginning to melt and the ice on the pool is breaking up so Spring is definitely on its way. Soon the silver birch will spring to life and the whole area will be transformed into a scene of warmth and colour. Isn't Mother Nature just fair grand (to be said with a Yorkshire accent please)!

"Three Journeys" - Art Exhibition at Bridlington Spa

Me, Penny and Rob
Three artists…. three mediums….three different journeys will be on show at the Gallery@theSpa Bridlington from 1st August to the 2nd September 2015. Appropriately entitled “Three Journeys” the exhibition will feature the edgy mixed media water based work of Rob Gobel, the sublime Scottish colourist style oils of Penny McLean and the distinctive watercolours of Glenn Marshall. All three are proud to live here in the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds but their art has travelled to admirers all over the world.
From traditional to colourful expressionism Rob brings life to the Yorkshire Coast, Wolds, Towns and further afield. Travelling widely, absorbing the light, space and colours of open landscape, he produces mixed media paintings mostly done ‘plein air’. This is easier in the warmer climates of France and Scandinavian summers than the challenge of painting the East Coast of Yorkshire in the biting winds of winter!
Penny studied at the Edinburgh College of Art before going into teaching. Inspired by the Scottish painters love of colour, texture and expressive brushwork reflecting natures natural rhythm in the landscape she realised the techniques could be applied anywhere from the clear light of the Mediterranean to the gentle light of Yorkshire. Even if a scene is not spectacular in the accepted sense Penny proves there is much to see whether it’s the mood, colour, light, patterns or textures all beautifully captured in her oil paintings.   
Glenn fell into art – literally. After suffering a life changing accident in 1999 he took up watercolour brushes mainly to pass time while convalescing. To his surprise he made rapid progress in developing his own style and by 2003 he was selling paintings all over Yorkshire in Galleries and Exhibitions. Since then he has exhibited in London, New York, Houston and Montreal and continues to work on his ‘paintings of light’ using his own unique watercolour palette. 

 Throughout the exhibition it will be possible to meet all three artists at different times to discuss their work, explain their methods and pass on the odd tip or two. Why not come and have a look for yourself at the exciting and innovative “Three Journeys” – you will not be disappointed. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Three Journeys

I am pleased to be exhibiting with two close colleagues this year at the Gallery@theSpa in Bridlington. The exhibition is entitled ‘Three Journeys’ and features the mixed media of Rob Gobel, the picturesque oils of Penny McLean and yours truly. The exhibition runs from 1st August all the way through to the 2nd September. The gallery is open daily from about 10.00 am to 4.30 pm and admission is free. At least one of us will be at the gallery most days but just contact me if you have a specific date in mind and I’ll try to be there to meet up.
From traditional to colourful expressionism Rob brings life to the Yorkshire Coast, Yorkshire Wolds and further afield. Travelling widely and absorbing the light, space and colours of open landscape he produces mixed media painting done mostly “en plein air”. This is easier done in the warmer climes of France or a Scandinavian summer than the challenge of painting the East Coast of Yorkshire in the biting winds of winter!
Penny studied at the Edinburgh College of Art before going into teaching. Inspired by the Scottish painter’s love of colour, texture and expressive brushwork reflecting nature’s natural rhythms in the landscape she realised the techniques could be applied anywhere from the clear light of the Mediterranean to the gentle light of Yorkshire. Even if a scene is not spectacular in the accepted sense Penny proves there is much to see whether it’s the mood, colour, light, patterns or textures all beautifully captured in her oil paintings.

Me…I fell off a ladder and paint watercolours!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Wet Road, Woldgate

Wet Road, Woldgate

I love Yorkshire and am proud to be a Yorkshireman. I was born in the West Riding, spent sixteen years in the North Riding and have now lived here in the East Riding for the past seven years. They all have their own attractions but there is one thing in common. Sometimes it rains. Yes I have to admit that the sun does not always shine on God's Own county. But of course rain does not mean an artist can't find some wonderful things to paint. Woldgate is the road made famous by David Hockney in his 'Bigger Picture' at the Royal Academy.I have travelled on it many times and it never fails to inspire. This was the scene between heavy showers when the overcast sky and reflections in the road transformed this fairly mundane scene into something special. I worked with a very limited palette and subdued tones to try and capture the sogginess of the afternoon. I think I succeeded and hope it encourages you to see things differently on your next rainy day.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Why Paint?

"North Yorkshire Moors at Twilight"
This is the introduction for my six week watercolour course for beginners called 'The Magic of Watercolour':
Why Paint?
"It seems to me that making marks or painting has been a fundamental part of the human experience since the dawn of time. Even the old caveman took time off from making grunting noises and dragging his wife round by her hair (do NOT try this at home!!!) to make exquisite paintings on cave walls that have survived to this day. Using basic materials and simple colours they recorded what was going on around them and the animals they depended on for survival. So people have always painted and always will I hope. In pre-camera times painters used to record events and places in paint but even back then the vast majority of people painted not for posterity but for enjoyment. Today more people than ever before paint for pleasure and you are now one of them. Obviously there are many factors but one of the main reasons for painting has to be that its fun. We are here to enjoy ourselves. Please, please promise me that you will never forget that. When all is said and done it is only a piece of paper. Winston Churchill painted for fun as a pleasant antidote to the weighty responsibilities he carried on his shoulders and he famously remarked – “I could shout at it, curse it, screw it into a ball, throw it in a bin and it never once did anything back to me…it is just a piece of paper!”. This is a very good lesson to remember unless of course you really want to live and paint in a cold attic, drink absinthe and maybe even cut your ear off to be a ‘proper’ artist." 
 I have reproduced it because I think it is so important to establish the 'fun' principle right from the start. If we enjoy doing the painting then people will enjoy looking at it. It is important to remember the principle when things don't turn out as we would like them to. It is all part and parcel of the process and providing we learn from our mistakes then we can still enjoy the experience. So whatever stage you are in your painting journey...relax and have fun!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bluebells in Sewerby Park

"Bluebells in Sewerby Wood"
I went for a lovely stroll this morning through the woods in Sewerby Park which is just across the road from us. We go there just about every day and it has been exciting seeing the walk change from week to week. We had an abundance of daffodils and wood sorrell but the aconite has had a poor year. Now though it is the turn of the bluebells who seemed to appear overnight. I have had a few attempts at painting this iconic symbol of spring but they are quite tricky to do justice to. Despite being blue and congregating in large groups they are well camouflaged under the green canopy. This is last year's effort painted just after they first appeared and before their proliferation. I concentrated on just a few in the foreground and did the rest of the painting in a loose impressionistic style. It's not bad but I still think I can improve on it. Happily today has inspired me to have another go and I will let you see the result in due course....maybe this will be the one I am finally satisfied with!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Light Out to Sea

Light Out to Sea from Sewerby Cliffs
Working with a very limited palette is a very useful teaching aid as you have to concentrate on getting the tones right to create the illusion of space and depth in your painting. This was one of the techniques I demonstrated recently at a workshop at Driffield Art Club. I have been several times and always enjoy it. They are a great bunch and very competent painters too so I have to be on my mettle. I used two colours for the demonstration – French ultramarine and brown madder – and completed it in about twenty minutes. That’s the joy of watercolour as it does most of the work for you. I masked the sea line and then worked wet in wet down to the foreground using different mixes of the same colours. When it was dry all I had to do was remove the mask and quickly work in the foreground and a nice little painting appeared – the magic of watercolour!

Monday, 27 April 2015

When I was Younger.....

"Lakeside View"
No we are not talking Estate Agent speak – this really is a lakeside view. The lake in question is actually a reservoir situated in the Yorkshire Dales and is called Grimwith. Do not let this rather forbidding name put you off. It is well worth a visit. This is another of my recently discovered paintings and formed part of a series of views around the perimeter of the lake. Back when I painted this I could easily manage a stroll round but although it is relatively easy it might be more difficult for me now. Never mind – thanks to this recent discovery I now have another aide-memoire for this lovely location. Wouldn't it be nice to stumble across some of the others? This is a simple though evocative scene and I painted it using my ‘rainbow’ technique. This was the name given by Merice to the paintings where I applied washes of yellow, red and blue (in that order) to create these lovely blends of colour. Now composition has never my strongest point, especially back when I painted this, so it must be based on one of Merice’s reference photos. It has always been a blessing for me to have such a talented artist in her own right as my wife. She has never charged me copyright fees either……..yet! We are planning to revisit Grimwith even though we are a lot further away now but I hope I will have many more happy memories soon ready to commit to paintings.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Solitude, Sunset and Survival.........

"Sunset on Rosedale Head"

OK - you have had plenty of practice at painting in your nice warm house where no one can see you but finally it's time to become a 'proper' artist and actually paint outdoors or 'plein air' as your "Watercolours in Easy Lessons" calls it. That was the situation I found myself in a good few years ago. The only problem is that I knew I wasn't very good at that stage so was a bit embarrassed about setting up to paint in front of other people. But a simple solution presented itself - find a location where nobody else would be. So what better than a remote part of the North Yorks Moors National Park. A quick tour lead me to a sign that read 'Dale Head Only'.....perfect. The road soon petered out to a grassy unused track and my confidence began to grow as my old 4 x 4 laboured on. Finally the perfect spot - miles away from anywhere and no one in sight at all. So I set up and eagerly set to work. I did my drawing and added a few washes but it gradually began to dawn on me that working outdoors was a lot different than working in a studio. Bits of grass and other debris kept landing on the paper which dried too quickly anyway with the inevitable result that instead of the envisaged masterpiece I had produced a complete mess. It was at this stage that a crowd of happy walkers appeared as if from nowhere. I say a crowd and I mean a crowd - must have been the annual day out for a walking club. Naturally they were curious and asked if they could have a look. Soon I was surrounded by a group of hikers pressing in all around me and my exposed easel. Fortunately - and I mean no disrespect to anyone - they were all English. Of course I knew it was rubbish and so did they but being English they were invariably polite and uttered phrases like "Looking good", "Coming along nicely" and the classic"I'd love to see it when it's finished". Thankfully the excruciating encounter finished and off they trundled leaving a very chastened painter behind. I could have been put off but it's part of the learning experience of course. The next time I went 'plein air' I was a lot more prepared. Gradually I built up more experience and more confidence and once you get to that stage painting on site outdoors is a marvellous experience that I still enjoy to this day. From my early experiences however I have developed a theory. If for any reason whatsoever you find yourself totally lost and cut off in a wilderness don't panic. Forget the fancy (and expensive!) survival kits - just get out your paints and paper and within minutes you are guaranteed to be surrounded by a whole bunch of would be rescuers! So please do not be put off - get out and paint - you will not regret it. 
'Sunset on Rosedale Head' was not painted outdoors and is an example of multi coloured layers to create the illusion of space and depth in the painting.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

'Heading Home' by Glenn Marshall

"Heading Home"

I painted this several years ago and to be frank I haven’t a clue what happened to the original so let’s hope it sold for a good price. You can imagine then how pleased I am to find this image to show you.  Regular readers will know just how much I admire the old Victorian watercolour painters and this scene would definitely have interested them as much as it interested me. In fact it could well be based on an old painting but I can’t remember which one for the life of me so any ideas would be most welcome. There is no doubt though that it is a typical Victorian composition and I have even included a ‘Grimshaw’ lady though for once she is walking in daylight and can see where she is going especially as she has that rickety old bridge to cross on her way home. It might be a traditional scene but I have used a few modern techniques to do it. There’s a bit of masking fluid, some flicking and scratching, and a bit of 'rainbow' painting out though the outcome has that old fashioned look I love.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

At last after a fifteen year wait, I finally got to meet face to face with the man who changed my life.  At the time he didn't even know it. So who is he and how did he change my life? He is, of course, Ashley Jackson the world famous Yorkshire watercolour artist. How then did he affect my life so much? In 1999 I had an accident badly injuring both knees. As a very active man who was still keen on sports this was a devastating blow. There was no way I could return to my former employment and I felt like my whole life had ended. Back then our only entertainment was the ‘telly’ and I spent hours idly watching while waiting for operations etc. One afternoon I came across a programme entitled ‘Painting with Ashley’. The painter was Ashley Jackson and the premise of the show was straightforward as Ashley would coax a different celebrity each week into producing a watercolour painting. He was so enthusiastic and inspiring that I got hooked. He made it seem so easy as if anyone could have a go. Merice picked up on my interest and one day returned from York bearing gifts. She had bought Ashley’s book “A Love Affair with the Yorkshire Moors”, a watercolour pad, some paints and a brush set. Now Ashley is a passionate Yorkshireman and so am I and when I watched him paint on the TV he only used four colours so that was all Merice needed to buy. The famous quartet was French ultramarine, burnt sienna, lemon yellow and Prussian blue. I spent many days looking at his book and trying to work out how he did it. Once I got a bit of mobility back we spent many hours in the Yorkshire Moors looking and sketching. I say ‘looking’ because I had now been introduced to a whole new way of viewing the world – really seeing it for the first time and admiring the incredible beauty all around us. However translating that view onto paper was a different matter. It certainly wasn’t as easy as Ashley made it look! Over the next couple of years I looked at different techniques and gradually developed my own palette and way of painting. However I never forgot my debt of gratitude for the inspirational example set by the great Yorkshire artist. I have visited his gallery in Holmfirth a few times but always just seemed to miss him though we eventually did meet up on Facebook. Imagine my delight then when I found out he was coming to Bridlington and I would be able to meet him at last as well as enjoy a three hour show of anecdotes, experiences, tips and a live demonstration. Happily both he and his wife recognised me from Facebook. They could not have been more charming and at long last I was able to thank him personally for giving me hope and purpose all those years ago. The show was fascinating. As well as many amusing anecdotes from a fascinating life, Ashley was also able to articulate what most of us feel about art today – he could never be accused of being politically correct! He talked more sense about art in three hours than I have heard during the last ten years. So once again I am indebted to this charming, enthusiastic, articulate and inspiring man for reigniting that passion that is so necessary for good art. As he explained –‘Anyone can paint a picture but only an artist can paint a painting. A picture becomes a painting when it becomes imbued with the passion and soul of the artist and his subject.’ So yes it is fine to be passionate about your art because it will show in the work and move the viewer. So once again may I say a big and grateful thank you to Ashley Jackson for inspiring me and so many others. So here's 'Full Circle' which I painted last year and is very much inspired by the work of this great artist.
'Full Circle' by Glenn Marshall

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Different Point of View.....

"Down the Tracks"
Strensall Common furnished yet another painting for me here. This is a departure from the usual scene I paint in this magical landscape. We were crossing the track that bisects the Common. It is one of those unmanned crossings with a little gate for pedestrians to cross. It bears the quaint advice to ‘Look both ways before attempting crossing”. Although I wouldn't advise doing a painting this near to the tracks, we had ample time for Merice to take a photograph. When I decided to paint the scene from memory using her photo for reference I made a slight change. The track actually runs in a dead straight line off towards Scarborough but I made it curve as it makes a better composition while still leading the viewer into the scene. After a bit of careful masking I was able to paint quickly and loosely. After a bit of tidying up I was well pleased with my efforts. Now for me this was a ‘happy’ painting – a memory of a happy day strolling about in one of my favourite places – but different people have different memories. It was hanging on the wall in my old Studio/Gallery in Old Town, Bridlington. A young couple came to look round and the lady shivered when she stood before the painting. I was intrigued and asked why she had reacted so. The couple had just come back from a visit to relatives in Poland. During their stay they visited the Holocaust Centre in Auschwitz. The unimaginable horrors there had impacted on her family and these things were still on her mind. She said the painting reminded her of the railway line leading into the camp and that was why she shuddered. So there you are – the same thing can produce a vastly different experience for someone else. I have to be honest and tell you that since that encounter I look at this painting in a different light. But there are some things that should never be allowed to be forgotten.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Conifers at Codbeck

Codbeck is a super little reservoir near Osmotherley on the western fringes of the North Yorks Moors National Park. It’s a little gem with picnic places and a lovely stroll around the perimeter of the lake. I have painted it several times but usually include the lake. For this painting though I was more interested in the view from the lake side up towards the conifer forest. The red veins in the single tree caught my eye. I painted little dabs of red round the tree trunk along with a stripe for the middle distance rosebay willow herbs. I painted the whole single tree red and then applied masking fluid to preserve the colours safely. After the painting was complete and masking fluid lifted I was left with reds and yellows painted first. It was an interesting experiment that worked well.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

"Sunset on Sledmere Road"

I am pleased to report that this painting is now adorning the wall of a friend and art collector from the USA. It makes a lovely background for my updated blogspot website so gives me another excuse to post it.

Strensall or Serengeti with Sheep!

"Return to Strensall Common" 
Strensall Common lies just outside York and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Strictly speaking the common is quite small but add the adjacent army training area and it becomes a large expanse of extraordinary and diverse habitats. The colours and wide stretch of heathland moor always bring the Serengeti National Park in Africa to my mind and I almost expect to see zebras being chased by a pride of lions rather than the peaceful grazing sheep. I have painted it many times and always enjoyed the experience whether outdoors or back in the warmth of my studio. This painting is a revisit to one of my early watercolours. The original was 30" x 22" and took a long time to do. The main attraction was the lovely yellow gorse flowers signalling a sure sign of Spring. However I had decided to use the painting as the basis for a workshop demonstration so had to work quickly for this one. To be honest I like this better than the original as I was able to tidy up a few details and add a bit more dramatic contrast with the dark shadows. Here's the original:
"Springtime on Strensall Common"
There is a lot more detail in this one but you will have to make your own mind up as to which you prefer.