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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Salon des Refusés

For ten days my “Nude Seated in a Cane Chair” has been out on the streets a begging.  For a good cause she was prepared to sell herself for a song.  But alas, she now hangs in Dominica’s equivalent of the Salon des Refusés

Perhaps she would have found a client had her breasts not suckled five children.  Perhaps she would have been more sexually alluring if I had shown her temptingly veiled.  Perhaps I should have kept her indoors and put the chair out alone.  Perhaps I’ll never learn!

Today’s sketch was made forty years ago.  Perhaps it comes nearer to convention's dull restraints.

Friday, June 19, 2015

In one way or another

Over the last fifty years my paintings have help others, in one way or another. 

They have been auctioned to raise funds for sending children from the Caribbean overseas for surgery. They have helped to rehabilitate prisoners.  They have rescued those suffering from depression.  They have given fellow dyslexics confidence to develop their own creative talents.  My on-line diary pages have introduced thousands of school children to painting and sculpture.  They have given my models pride and confidence in their own identity.  They have calmed those who are disturbed and disturbed those who are calm.

During the coming week the painting that illustrates today’s diary page is being auctioned to raise funds for the Dominica Cancer Society.  To find out more go to:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Better never than late

I paint in water colour directly from the live model - and that’s about as demanding as it can get.  I can only maintain the intense high that is needed for a little over one hour.  However, it takes me an hour beforehand to mentally brace myself for the ordeal that lies ahead.  And let me tell you, balancing one wet colour against another is an ordeal.

At the end of the preparatory one hour, I’m all keyed up and ready to go.  That is assuming my model has arrived on time! 

Being on time is important.  When my studio was in the England, the prompt arrival of my models was as good as a time check.  One of my UK models applied to join the armed forces and put my name down as a referee.  When the form arrived from the recruiting office I was at a loss as to how an artist’s model could qualify.  Then I had a brainwave and wrote: “If battle commences at 12.00 hours you can be assured she’ll be there on time!”

Alas, Dominicans are not the world’s best time keepers and many sessions end before they begin.  To save my frustration I tell my models, it’s better never than late.

Today’s abortive modelling session gave me time to complete repairs to a 75 year old mantle clock.  The clock was brought to my workshop some weeks ago.  Many parts were either missing or damaged and I almost gave it up as a bad job.  But clock-making is in my family’s blood and I doubt if my grandfather Enoch would have forgiven me if I had thrown in the towel.  Thanks to his spiritual guidance from the next world, aided and abetted by my father Albert alongside him, the clock is now ticking and chiming to perfection.

Incidentally, for the benefit of any clockmakers who might read this entry, I made a replacement pendulum-suspension-spring out of a Wilkinson Sword Edge razor blade.  I bet that’s never been done before!

Today’s picture shows the clock mechanism before work commenced.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Now you see it, now you don’t

Today’s painting of Naomi continues the theme of the suggested, rather than the defined detail.  The left hand that rests on the model’s waist doesn’t leave much to the imagination.  But the right hand is yours to interpret as you may!

The American painter and writer, Charles Movalli has this to say about those of us he terms as “painterly painters”.

The painterly painter uses the viewer's experience to give life to the work. Instead of being a passive receiver of information, the viewer becomes a participant.

Painterly painters believe that an abbreviated style is best suited to capturing elusive effects. But although they consciously strive to develop a rapid execution, their detractors often criticize this characteristic, dismissing their work as little more than sketches. 

The painterly painters labor under a disadvantage, since their idea of finish is not that of the general public.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Nothing to lose

During the last three weeks and with the help of three models, I have been desperately trying to re-invent my passion as a painter and to break new ground. 

After a lifetime of painting, fertile new ground isn’t easy to find.  I keep telling myself to be more daring, to take more chances, to break down more barriers.  After all, I’ve nothing to lose.

Yesterday, with the help of my model Naomi and working on my largest sheet of water color paper, I took courage and threw down washes regardless.  

Today’s picture shows that, at last, I am getting there!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The devil is in the detail

In my style of painting, the devil is in the suggested detail. 

Rodin in later life said that he no longer had to count fingers to define a hand. Likewise, I no longer have to count toes to define a foot.  Today’s pictures illustrate the point.  The detail is from the foot on the left of today’s painting.  The painted toe nail gave me the excuse for a splash of cadmium red.  Your imagination can paint in the remaining toes.

On the subject of colour, I have used the last of my last tube of sepia and without it I’m at a loss when it comes to capturing the subtle tones of “the colour black”.  Last year, with my model Jessica being very light skinned, I never noticed its absence.  But now my models are of darker hue.

In the Caribbean art shops are few and far between and I can’t just pop into town and buy a couple of tubes.  Here’s a deal: if anyone in the UK or the States can send me down a couple of tubes, in return I’ll send a little of it back to you in the form of a painting.  The picture below gives the details: Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colour “Sepia”, either two 5ml tubes or one 14ml tube.  If you can help please e-mail me at: