Thursday, 31 May 2007

Jacqui reading

Made this painting about two years ago now of Jacqui sitting out in my studio reading a paper. It was painted 'alla prima' within about 30 minutes - thats about as long as J would sit for me without a cup of coffee in her hand! I was pretty pleased at the time and on re-viewing I find I am still happy with it withiout needing to add anything else. The reason I was looking at it again was as part of an ongoing discussion with an american artist friend, Mary Ann, on Yahoos' photosite Art-Drawing and Painting. We have a lively discussion going on regarding favourite artists and in particular portrait painting. Yesterday I posted four pictures by my superheroes William Gillies, Joan Eardley and Anne Redpath.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Wedding Group

This surprised even me! It's exactly the kind of work I want to do. I made this small oil (35x50cm) with a greater confidence than I have yet known. The paint did what I wanted it to!

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Female Figures Composition

These are the two figure drawings I'm using as the basis for this figure composition. Both are of Holly.

Stage 1: On a blank canvas, 55x75cm, drawing and blocking in with thin washes of blue. This sets the tone which will generally be cool.

Stage 2: Beginning to lay in some complementary colours, but still keeping it cool. Not much more I can do at this stage with the first washes being so wet. I'll wait till tomorrow when it has dried off a bit before adding fresh layers. It's amazing what a bit of confidence can achieve, confidence which comes direct from my activities in Flickr's Art-Drawing and Painting Group Site and the positive feedback I am getting for my art.

Monday, 28 May 2007


Changed direction with my submission to the Stewarton Gallery Competition. Now, instead of the pastel sunset, which will probably be fairly common, I have changed to this figure drawing which I hope will be more rare.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Enter the Dragon

James again, this time from the rear with his wonderful tattoo of a serpent dragon climbing up his back. I gave him red hair for the dramatic effect.

I'm having to re-photograph almost all of my paintings again, firstly because I have this new camera which is helping me take better quality pictures, secondly (and more importantly) because I want to publish them on the internet, they need to be smaller and lower resolution. So each time I take a photo, I take two: one at high res and large file size for photo quality prints, and one at web quality. During my search for some paintings and drawings I came across this one which I call 'Fighting Men'. It comes from two individual drawings which I combine to create a more dramatic effect.

Saturday, 26 May 2007


This is James. Lean and muscular, he took up some great poses. Good to draw.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Bold Lisa

This is the original drawing of Lisa made at LDG last week. Her torso is twisted round and her head is almost obscured with her left breast and her right hand.

This is Bold Lisa, reworked in acrylics and turned 90degrees. I like the abstract quality of the figure and the blank space around. It's as though the figure is freefalling through space!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Holly's back again

Struggled in the studio today. Too many interuptions early on, couldn't get my focus properly. This is from LDG a few weeks ago which I worked over to strengthen the light and shade. I'ts better than it was.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Orange Shadow

Started to work this up in oils. I'll need to sleep on it to know if it is going in the right direction.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Potential painting

Tonal study: Two figures from LDG (Life Drawing Group) in interior setting.

Colour Study 1: Cool blues and purples with complementaries.

Colour Study 2: Warmer colour scheme with Shell Poster backdrop. I'm good at doing all these studies but need to follow through to a completion.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Red Lisa

Now I know I might be flogging these drawings to death but it was too good a day to work in the studio so I worked in the garden. In any case the work I did at Life Drawing Group on Friday kind of used up all my creative energies for a wee while. I am so pleased with just about all of the drawings I will probably post one each day till I've none left to show.
When I'm drawing at LDG I like to try to spice things up a bit and try something different. Even tho' Lisa's hair is dark, almost black, I try working with a single strong colour. This is pastel.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Lisa again, and again

This is the full size pastel drawing of Lisa part of which was posted last night. Usually when I get home I work over the drawings to 'improve' them or, at least, strengthen them in some way. These two just seemed complete in themselves.

This is probably my favourite from last night, but whether it was the inspiration of the model or simply that I was working better than normal, I came home with twelve satisfactory drawings.

Friday, 18 May 2007


A fantastic night at Life Drawing Group. Lisa was a joy to draw - perfectly formed with gently curving, sinuous lines - I could draw her every night of the week. An artist herself, presently taking some time out from her art studies in Sweden, she understood when I talked of Klimt and Schiele, and gracefully took up the slightly twisted poses of those artists, naturally. Tomorrow I will post some more but for tonight I am exhausted standing for two hours solid drawing with focused intensity. Buona notte!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Blackbird singing.... the dead of night. This is one of a series of collages I've been doing trying to capture something of a male Blackie singing his heart out at three o'clock in the morning. Doesn't he have a warm bed to stay in with a nice lady-friend to cuddle? Instead he sits right above our bedroom window on the TV aerial announcing the new day, and all I can do is lie and admire.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Web Site Now Online

At long last, after 5 days 'pending' my website is now floating around the ether bringing joy and happiness to all who stop by for a look. Anyone can find it at: , so if you like give it a visit and let me know what you think. I know it's not perfect - I built it myself using Yahoo's Sitebuilder (an enjoyable and relatively easy process) - but I consider it a project for further development as I get the hang of having my own virtual gallery and know better what is needed. My thanks to Yahoo and to the following artists whose websites gave me inspiration: Elaine Pamphilon, Eleanor McGowan, Christopher Wood, Keith Salmon, and Jamie Primrose.
Next week I propose to have a Grand Opening when you are all invited for some canapes and wine, both of which I will virtually supply!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

A Good Days Work

Finished with this piece, above; a passing dark cloud in the shape of Australia above one of my Birch trees coming strongly into leaf.

I should probably go further but the day is looking good and I need to get out of the studio.

Started the day with some collage. Sometimes I'm not ready early in the morning to start painting so I start with cutting up magazines and re-assembling as an abstract. Then I try to make something of what I have done, like above.

Monday, 14 May 2007

In the rhubarb patch

Another fine day for painting in the garden. The rhubarb is putting out loads of stalks but as yet still too green for eating.
Got a call from my picture framer to collect two pastel paintings he was framing for me. Both are views of sunsets over Arran seen from Troon beach. He's done a great job, again, with a natural beech frame and wide white double mounts. I will be putting one of these into the exhibition at Stewarton Gallery next month. If I don't sell them then I will hang them in my Dining Room.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Swimming against the tide

A small oil painting created from two mackerel about to be eaten for dinner. I would like myself to be more rebellious but that requires a couldn't care less attitude which I don't really possess. I just content myself with portrayals of rebellion, happy to be different from others, while being fundamentally the same.
An unusual day today. While visiting Paisley Art Institutes' annual exhibition, I met, for the first time, one of my favourite artists, Eleanor McGowan, whom I recognised from her own website arthoose which I had been looking at only yesterday. I enjoyed the opportunity to have an interesting two-way conversation with a professional, working artist. Now that's unusual!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Tomassino del Gatto (aka Leo)

Sleeps all day, hunts all night. This is him in preparation for the his nightime exertions which no doubt I'll find the results of on my back doorstep tomorrow morning.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Calum Longshanks

Life Drawing Group tonight. Calum is a very tall boy and, as usual, it's very difficult to get him all on the sheet. The top one at least he is going away from me and I get both legs in, but in the lower one, one foot has dropped off the page. So long as it's only his foot he'll be all right!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Figure Colour Studies

Still experimenting with abstract shapes to determine which is best for a full size painting. The lower one is simpler and more satisfactory.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Colour Study

Made this colour study of Figure Group using Neocolour to determine what colour mood the painting should have. Not convinced yet - the B&W study had more power.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Jacqueline reading

Doing a major search just now looking for drawings and paintings suitable for the new website I am presently building and this one struck me afresh as a favourite drawing of my wife reading. She doesn't often sit for me, especially without a cup of coffee in her hand. This time she still needed a book as a diversion while I worked away trying to capture the moment.
I am building the new website myself using Yahoo's Sitebuilder, and though I say it myself, it's lookin' good. It will be another couple of days yet before I am ready to publish. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Figure composition

Compositional idea using figures from life drawing group. I see this about 2m high and 3m wide. Perhaps I'll paint it on my Dining Room wall!

Crouching Man

Spent part of today working up this drawing from life drawing group two weeks ago. Sometimes it's easier to see and develop a stronger image later than at the time of first drawing. Of course the opposite is also true - the first marks are often the most powerful. I'll use this drawing as part of a figurative composition sometime soon.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Christmas Cactus

This schlumbergera doesn't know its seasons properly! Its flowering profusely now in May as though Christmas has come early. Soon there will be decorations going up in June!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Holly's back!

Another drawing of Holly, this time in pastel. I like drawing this way, directly with colour blocking-in the structure and form with broad strokes of the pastel stick then working around the edges to define the shape, finally working over with other colours modifying the first layers. I find I can be more expressive in this way.

Friday, 4 May 2007


Life drawing class. First time I've drawn Holly. A lovely lass, tall and good looking. A joy.
Still experimenting with file sizes and resolution for the internet. These look OK at 640x480, standard quality, normal sharpness, and normal saturation. They have however been improved with Photo Fix.

Cherry tree syncopation

Trying to express the way I feel about this beautiful cherry tree as it dances in the breeze and sheds it's blossom like confetti. Joan Mitchell eat your heart out!
Also experimenting with more mundane subject of file size and resolution to see if there is picture quality loss at lower settings before I use up all my monthly allocation before the next new moon.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Blossom on my lawn

Still fascinated by the Cherry tree but soon the show will be over for another year. The blossom is falling like a blizzard and covering my lawn.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Flaming Cherry

This Cherry tree is consuming me just as it consumes itself. Every day I am astonished.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007


Always trying to get a strong image, something that jumps off the wall and grabs you by the eyeballs.