My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Painterly passions

My idea of an idyllic beach is a deserted beach.  I’m told that, ever since being a child, I’ve always wanted the sands to myself.  Dominica’s popular Mero Beach is never deserted and it was especially crowded on Easter Monday. 

But diametrical opposites attract and it was the blaring music and multitude of revelers that aroused my painterly passion.  The only quite tone was my five-year old autistic companion for the day.  Like me, she silently looked on in wonder.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Capturing colour

As a painter I have spent a lifetime trying to capture colour.  In particular, I have endeavored to define the colours that are to be found in the skin tones of my models.  

My struggles with paint are equaled with my struggles in verse.  If you dip back into the archives of these diary pages to August 11th 2011, you will find my poem “The Colour Black”.  I wrote the poem in homage to Denise, my wife and model.  It contains the lines:

From the dark areola of her breast
Brown madder and yellow ochre merge. 
While sienna reds and blues subdued
In deep purple shadows converge…

More recently, a poem dedicated to Jessica, my current model, begins:

In mellow tones my muse awakes,
With subtle shades of amber glow

As a sculptor, I have tried patinating bronze to suggest the rich skin tones of my models but with limited success.  The sheen of the clay comes closer.  Sculptors from earlier times, referring to work in progress, had a saying that: clay is the life, plaster the death and bronze the resurrection.

I confess to a liking for the white purity of the plaster cast but alas, it cannot portray the dark areola or the amber glow.  Or can it?  By applying experimental washes to the cast, just as I apply washes to a sheet of virgin watercolour paper, I cry EURIKA!

Today’s picture shows the result.

Friday, April 11, 2014

In the heat of the moment

To my mind, water colours are best when thrown down in the heat of the moment.  A painting that takes longer than thirty-minutes is invariably a failure.  Let me clarify that statement by saying that it has taken me seventy years to say what I have to say in less than thirty minutes. 

On occasions, I still make the mistake of laboring too long.  But then, as I throw aside my failed painting, my model heaves a sigh of relief and stretches like she’s never stretched before.  It is then that I grab the nearest sheet of paper at yell: “Hold it there...please...just for a couple of minutes!”   

In today’s painting you have forever that rare couple of minutes.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Fountain of Youth

At the time when Columbus discovered these islands, it was rumored that there was a river, spring or fountain where the waters had such miraculous curative powers that any person who bathed in them would be blessed with everlasting youth. 

Jessica, my model and assistant, claims that the river that flows around the boundary of our land has these magical properties.  Hence she has named it, “The Fountain of Youth”.  At the end of each working day, we put the waters to the test and bathe.  This ritual serves not only as our Elixir of Life but it gives me practice in sketching the fleeting figure.   

The river is shown in today’s painting and the sketches are my most recent catch of bathing figures.