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, January 30, 2016

Boys on the Beach

Today’s sketch dates from 1989, the year that the figurative began to be the main theme of my work.  Islanders relaxing on the beach gave me the practice I needed in capturing the fleeting figure in a matter of seconds.  Scores of these sketches laid the foundation for future work. 

I am more likely to part with a painting than with a sketch.  As English landscape painter John Constable (1776-1837) said, I don't mind parting with the corn, but not with the field in which it was raised.

But there are exceptions.  And one such exception happened a few days ago when a wonderful Canadian couple, Helen and Peter Bunn, visited my studio.  I am proud to say that my sketch Boys on the Beach is now part of their collection.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage Mrs. Worthington

If Noel Coward were to give advice to a present day Mrs. Worthington it could well be, don’t send your daughter off on an arts degree course.  As much as I encourage talented students to pursue art, a Master’s Degree does not necessarily related to artistic ability. The only art paper qualification of real worth, is that upon which there is a good drawing. 

The painting below outshines the work of many of those that have an MA in art. It was painted by my daughter Tania when she was three years old. Regardless of fatherly pride, I nevertheless took Noel Coward’s advice and she’s now doing very well in sales and marketing. 

Incidentally, another of my daughters is a chartered accountant. Goodness only knows how I of all people brought chartered accountants and marketing executives into the world.  Where did I go wrong!

While you muse on that one, enjoy Tania’s painting to the stains of Noel Coward at:   

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Freedom vs. constraint

If the medium of water colour could speak, it would surely say: for God’s sake, set me free! By its very nature water colour defies control.  A thunderous wash has a mind of its own and invariably runs run amok. This attribute attests to the saying, that a water colour can’t go right until it has gone wrong. Why then, do the vast majority of painters do their utmost to restrain the medium’s most valuable asset? Moreover, why do they paint from sterile photographic references, rather than life itself?

To illustrate the virtue of freedom, I have taken a detail from a painting I made over twenty years ago of the pregnant nude. My wife Denise was the model and the verse is from my poem The Colour Black.

                Bold washes from her shoulders run
                To trace the curve of her spine,
                Elsewhere they accumulate
                To hide a forested secret that’s mine.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Modelling isn’t easy

I am forever searching for a model that is not a model and a pose that is not a pose. It is easier to find the regular concept of beauty than it is to find the everyday figure that I need for my work. Equally, it is difficult to get everyday figures to be themselves. It can take weeks before the two of us, artist and model, are able to sing from the same hymn sheet. Modelling for the kind of beauty that I want to portray isn’t easy! Mind you, the end result is worth all the failures along the way.

True to form, this was the last of three paintings that I made of Tashani yesterday and hurriedly thrown down in the last 15 minutes of the session.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Last but not least

I seem to be making a habit of making the final painting of a session the best. It is in the last few minutes that both model and artist put aside restraints and take a chance.  My model inspires and miraculously lines and washes fall into place. Thank you Ryta for making the session exceptional. 

Once again the computer screen reduces a 16" x 20" water colour to the size of a postcard and so much is lost.  Hence the detail below...and even that is small in comparison to the original. Rather than a reduced image, it is more effective to enlarge to the size of a cinema screen.  Then one discovers paintings with paintings.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

To push on with passion

Today’s title is taken from one of Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo and it can stand as my New Year’s resolution.

Once again I have to thank my models for their part in the creative process. The Christmas messages that they sent me spoke touchingly of their commitment and belief in my work.  I can add to that a five word message from a model in the States that reads: I just love your work!

I’ll open the New Year with the painting that earned the above response.  It dates from 2010 and the model is my wife Denise.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Every child is an artist

Picasso claimed that it took him four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.  He also maintained:  Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. 

Last year the Achievement Learning Centre, a school for children who learn differently, asked me to paint a mural along their school wall.  Regardless of my reservations about community murals (see my diary page for 17th October 2015) I was willing to help.  However, emergencies meant that, for my part, the project had to be postponed. 

Me stepping aside was the best thing that ever happened, because a few weeks ago the children themselves created the mural.  And let me tell you, it is a hundred times better than anything I could have done!  Red Mango Studios deserve credit for their role in directing the project.

Here are just two of 14 paintings that make up the mural.  


Incidentally, Shallah is the six year old daughter of my model Jessica.  Whereas I am dyslexic, Shallah is autistic.  Hence, we both have similar abilities!

Well done children, I’m proud of you…and I’m sure that Picasso would have been equally impressed.