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.

Friday, September 23, 2016

From a different perspective

Before a line or a wash goes down on paper, I have a vision of what I am after. As the painting progresses I become doubtful that my first intentions are being fulfilled. Watercolour is the most demanding of all painting media: what goes down stays down, highlights have to be jealously safeguarded and washes have a mind of their own. In thirty minutes scores of things can go wrong and it is often the last brush stroke that does most of the damage. On completing a painting I am rarely satisfied.

It is not until later, after the shock of seeing from a different perspective, that I realize that what I originally perceived as a failure might have the makings of success. In the old days I would place the painting flat down on the floor and view it from all directions. Now, the image on the computer screen allows me the same detachment.

Today’s painting is a case in point. Immediately on completion I thought all was lost and that my model had needlessly endured mosquito bites. But now, viewing it hours later in a different format, I realize that our labors were not entirely in vain.

The only flaw with using the computer screen is the reduction in size. Even the detail shown below is smaller than the original 22" x 13" painting. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Black, Brown and Beige

The Duke Ellington composition from which I’ve taken the title for today’s post dates from 1943, the year I was born. It has been described as:

An enigmatic and complicated work, made all the more difficult to fathom by the disarmingly comfortable tonal palette and rhythmic flow…

My most recent painting of Annabelle fits the colour scheme and might be considered by some to be equally difficult to fathom.

Friday, September 9, 2016

A wake up call

Weeks have passed without me being able to rekindle my mood for painting. Today would have been no exception had it not been for a message that simply said: this afternoon, okay! It was from Annabelle. If anyone can shake me out of my mood of despondency she’s the one to do it.

She arrived an hour earlier than expected, so it was a wake-up call in more ways than one. I doubted that I could do good work but once started, the lines and washes miraculously came together in gay abandon. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cars and Canova

While searching for a way forward with my own work I am immersing myself in the work of others. Thanks to the internet I can do this from my studio in the Caribbean.

A case in point is Antonio Canova (1757 -1822) an Italian neoclassical sculptor, famous for his marble sculptures. I’m not a lover of marble, nor the work of Canova, but by chance I came across this image of one of the sculptor’s clay marquettes. In these embracing figures there is warmth and life.

But while my paintings and sculptures have taken a back seat, the restoration of my 45 year old Land Rover has gathered momentum. Between other jobs it has been a four year labour of love. Here she is, in concourse condition, ready to see the light of day.