Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Plums, Hellebores and Muscari

Plums, Hellebores and Muscari 8" x 8" oil

This is about the last of the Hellebores and Muscari so I thought I'd better get another one in quickly. I must remember to start painting them earlier next year. They are so delightful to paint in fact I think I will plan ahead and plant more.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Workshop at Morston

Morston Quay

As part of Norfolk Open Studios this year I am running a one day Plein Air workshop at Morston Quay.

Friday 9 June, 10am - 4pm
Cost £45

10am: Start in the hall, with coffee and oil demonstration,
11am - 3pm: Paint on the Quay,
3pm: back to the hall for a critique of the day's work.

This workshop is suitable for Watercolour, Acrylics and Oil

Individual tuition given throughout the day


 Venue: Morston Village Hall & Quay

The hall is available throughout the day for tea, coffee and conveniences. Also in case of bad weather.

Booking required
Contact: Email

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Helebores & Lime

Helebores and Lime 8" x 8" oil on canvas card

Helebores are amongst my favorite flowers and I have been meaning to paint these beauties for ages.
I missed the white ones again this year, must make more of an effort in future.
I also love painting (and eating) figs so snuck one in for fun.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Blue Bowl & Fruit

Blue Bowl & Fruit 8" x 8" oil on canvas card

 Another painting that I started at the Norfolk Creative Arts. I didn't get as far as putting a pattern on the bowl so found a bowl a similar size in the studio, set up to create the same light effect and finished it off. I have to say that the pattern has made all the difference as you can see from the original below.

Unfinished - Fruit and bowl

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Workshop at Norfolk Creative Arts, Grimston

 Fruit in Blue bowl - 8" x 8" oil on canvas board

Last Friday my lovely painting pal Penny German came to stay over en route to her painting workshop in Norfolk. The plan was to get a bit of painting in but I just happened to mention that we have a very good retail outlet nearby - need I say more??? We did talk a lot of arty stuff later over a few glasses of wine, which was great.
I asked if she minded me joining in on the workshop which was on still life painting - no problem , so I packed my gear and we set off in convoy the next morning.
The Norfolk Creative Art centre is very well appointed. Hans had provided easels, lights, paints and brushes . the building is an old school so the room is spacious and very light. We were welcomed with a delicious fresh coffee while Penny set up the still lifes.
Once the group had arrived Penny demonstrated the technique of grisaille - a method of painting in grey monochrome. very useful for sorting out your tones in a still life. I enjoyed working this way and couldn't wait to start putting the colour on. 
Lunch was a delicious home prepared meal provided by Hans followed by pudding and all dished up in the spacious dining room/gallery.
The whole group really enjoyed the day and everyone including a complete beginner produced some great work under the guidance of Penny.

Penny German
Norfolk Creative Arts 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Demo of Using The Zorn Pallet

River at Dedham Painted using the Zorn pallet

Zorn Pallet Demo painting
The Zorn palette is named after internationally successful artist Anders Zorn  (1860 – 1920). He is well known for using a palette of only four colours
Yellow Ochre
Cadmium Red

There has been a lot of debate as to which Black Zorn used but it is believed to be Ivory Black, which is the colour I used for the painting ‘Zorn Palette demo’. Ivory Black works well as a blue but possibly even better is Winsor & Newton’s Blue Black. Blue Black is a colour I recently discovered and use a lot in my sky paintings now.
It is possible that the red may have been Vermillion; you could try this as an alternative. The white I used was Titanium white but back in Anders Zorn’s time it is more than likely to have been Lead White.
It might at first strike you as an odd selection but the main three colours are just the earthy equivalents of the three primary colours Black being the blue.

cropped sketch

 I was working from a photograph that I took in Dedham last year. Having drawn the sketch I decided that it would be a better composition if it were cropped to a square.

stage 1

First sketch in the main lines with black and red diluted with turps.

stage 3

 Mix the dark cloud colour starting with white and adding black until you have the tone you want. Make sure you mix plenty and then split it, add a little red to one part and then a touch of yellow to another and some with both. This will give a variety of hues within the cloud.
For the blue-sky area, start with white and add a little black. It may not look blue on your pallet but on the canvas next to the other colours it will, you may even want to add some yellow to take the colour down a bit.


Make sure your brush is clean when you mix the light colour near the horizon with white, yellow and a touch of red. The colour here needs to be fresh.
The distant trees are a mix of white, black and yellow; they need to be dark enough to register against the sky but not too dark that they jump forward. In front of these the distant fields are white with a small amount of yellow.
It is very important to make sure there is no trace of white in your brush when you mix the colour for the dark trees. Even a trace left in the brush will make your colour ‘milky’. Painting in the reflections at the same time. The water should reflect the sky colours; paint this around your reflections. The meadow area is yellow with varying amounts of black and, in some places, red added.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Oil Demo at Castor

Sunset Over Moulton 14" x 18" oil painting on board

Last night I headed over Peterborough way to Castor art group. I have been a couple of times in the past so there were a lot of familiar faces to greet me. They are a great group to demonstrate to as there is lots of feedback, questions and  - the obligatory banter.
I decided to replicate a painting I did during my 30 days of painting in January. The original of this was 10" x 10" so 14 x 18 was a bit of a challenge, for a start the proportions had changed completely.
Even for an experienced painter it can be a bit nerve racking painting such a big picture in front of a crowd - you just never know if it will work. Of course there are probably demonstrators that paint the same thing all the time but to be honest - I couldn't do that. In my mind all freshness would be lost and it would be boring.
As luck would happen - this one worked, I was quite pleased with the reaction when I popped the painting in the frame at the end.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Thirty Paintings

30 Paintings in 30 Days

Well in spite of a few set backs in my health and care for my Father - I did it!!
These paintings plus another 200+ paintings and illustrations will be published in my forthcoming book Paintings Skies in Oils published by Crowood Press later on this year.
I will let you know more details when I have them.
Thank you to those that have followed and commented throughout this month. Your encouragement and support means a lot.

Thank you to Leslie Saeta for throwing out the challenge again. Over 1000 artists took part and you can see all their paintings at

Back to the computer now, I still have more to write for the book.

Monday, 30 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 30

                                       Sunset at West Beckham 14" x 18" oil on canvas

My final painting for the 30 in 30 challenge. I think I have learned a lot about colour mixing for skies which is as well because - I have been asked by Crowood Press to write a book on painting skies in oils. I wasn't sure at first but having spoken to a few artists that have been published I decided to go for it.
Most of the last 30 paintings will be  featured in the book along with step by step demonstrations. In all there will be over 200 illustrations and I am delighted to say that some of my favourite artists have contributed to book and I will be featuring work by Roos Shuring, David Simons, Mary Gilkerson, Mari French, Louise Balaam, Peter Barker, Brian Ryder and John Stillman.
I still have a few thousand words to write but I am getting there and hope to send the draft off to the publishers next month.
No doubt I will let you know when it goes to print

Sunday, 29 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 29

Ludham Sunset 8" x 10" oil on cotton covered card

This was painted from a photograph taken by my friend Kate in Norfolk. It is another example of a graduated sky. The colour changes were so subtle yet there was so much colour in the sky. You could hardly tell where the colour changes occurred. Unfortunately I decided to put in the tree thinking it would give more depth but I ended up loosing one of the best parts of the painting.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 28

Cloud Study 10" x 12" oil on canvas board

Sometimes its useful and time well spent doing a few cloud studies. This enables you to experiment with colours and techniques without the worry of spoiling a painting.
In this study I used Cobalt Blue, Mussini Bluish Greys 1 & 2, Cadmium Red, Titanium White and Cadmium Yellow.
The Blue area was painted first using Cobalt and a touch of Blue Grey 1. The background cloud was a mixture of Cobalt, Blue Grey 2 and a touch of red. It was lightened at the edges with Blue Grey 1. The lightest area is a mix of white with Yellow and red added to warm it up and finally the darkest cloud was scumbled over with Blue Grey 2 and Cobalt Blue and Cad Red

Friday, 27 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 27

Cloud perspective, Pin Mill 8' x 10' oil on cotton covered card

Phew, got back into the studio today, again, didn't have much time as I had visitors, went into town to choose a carpet and shopping and then a couple of visits to Dad.
This is only a small painting but it was painted with a small brush which is why it probably looks a bit busy. I was fascinated by the way the clouds receded into the picture giving strong lines of perspective.

30 in 30 Day 26

Clouds at Happisburgh 16" x 20" oil on canvas

Another from the archives. Couldn't even get at my brushes yesterday. Frank was painting my studio, bad timing but it had to be done. Just had a new window put in (double glazed 😄) At least I was able to get into the office which is where I spent the day in between walking dog, appointment, shopping and visiting Dad .
16" x 20" oil on canvas
East Runton

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 25

Cumulus at Burnham Overy Staithe 14" x 18" oil on canvas board

Well, we've had thick fog all day, plus I have been rather busy with my project. (to be revealed at the end of the month)
So, I have dipped into the archives for this one which will be part of the project.
I love these big fluffy clouds, so sculptural.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 24

Sun Rise & Frost 8" x 12" oil on canvas board

The sun was an intense red this morning. I painted it as I saw it but then modified it as it looked so wrong. The reflected light in the greenhouse was a lovely bonus.
There were loads of vapour trails from passing aircraft. I reduced the number of those by over half as it would have looked too busy.
I had been hoping for fog again this morning but on reflection, this was better.

Monday, 23 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 23

Frost & Fog 8" x 10" oil on cotton covered board

I loved the colours this morning as the fog rolled in across the field.
I've not tried painting fog before. I have to say it was a bit of a challenge. I hope it is foggy again tomorrow as I would like to try this again, don't think I quite got it.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 22

Mare's Tails, Happisburgh. 8" x 10" oil on linen covered card

This beach on the North Norfolk coast is actually pronounced 'Hazeboro' . yes, I know - go figure.
Anyway, it makes a good subject. The wispy 'mare's tails' were blowing towards me and reflecting in the sand.
I dipped into my cache of paints and pulled out an old favourite Unbleached Titanium. This I used for mixing the sand colours and found it to be a good mixer with Kings Blue Deep for the sky colour. It was also with white for the clouds, especially with Permanent Rose for the cloud shadows.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 21

Sun Setting on Moulton Mill 12" x 10" oil on cotton covered board

Yes, it really was that dramatic!!
We have the tallest windmill in the UK by our house. The chestnut to the left is in our garden. From my kitchen window I can see the mill which acts as my own personal weather vein. At the moment the top of the mill doesn't turn as the tail fin has had to be removed for repairs. We had just had a terrific storm and the sun came out illuminating the mill and emphasising the dark of the passing clouds. I liked the reflection of the mill in the wet ground.

Friday, 20 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 20

Warm Sky, Cley 12" x 12" oil on canvas board

On this particularly cold day the aeroplane vapor trails were very prominent in the sky. In spite of the cold, the sky gave off a warm glow as the sun sank down behind Cley Windmill on the North Norfolk coast. The strength of the light from the sun, threw the mill into a dark silhouette which adds to the drama of the painting.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 19

Late Summer, Pin Mill 12" x 12" oil on canvas board


This was painted over an older painting that had been sanded down.
The cloud shapes were painted first using Bluish Grey and Old Holland Blue Grey. The blue of the sky was painted with the Old Holland Blue Grey with a small amount of Brown Grey mixed in with it Titanium White was added towards the horizon.
Take care to leave a space between the blue of the sky and the dark of the clouds as you do not want to pick up any of the dark paint , it would mix in with the blue of the sky and muddy it, you want to keep the blue clean. The gap that was left is now painted using warm light yellow brown grey to tint Titanium white this is applied quite thickly. Using a small number to flat brush now blend the two colours together. Taking the white into the grey and vice versa you will probably need to use your finger for the softer blending
The foreground was painted with bluish grey and the walkway, Yellow Ochre was added to make the darker green.
Blue Gray was used for the highlights, the lightest area being at the back of the barge to give good counterchange.  
The lighter green was Blue Grey and Yellow Ochre
The dark of the barge is Ultramarine and Cadmium Red with the smallest amount of Yellow Ochre to stop it looking purple.
The mast was painted in with the use of a piece of card. Run the card through the dark mix make sure there isn't too much paint or it will smudge and carefully apply the card to the painting and give a small downward movement and then lift off. The same method is used for the rigging; make sure the card is the right length.  It is useful to have several pieces of card of different lengths available to you.
There was on the day a lot of reflection on the mud but I kept the light areas and a few flicks of light to the center of the picture and the foreground remains dark to focus attention around the barge.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 18

Barge at Pin Mill 12" x 12" oil on canvas board

This painting took about an hour. I wanted to work quickly to avoid the temptation of blending too much. The photo reference showed the strong outlines and structure of the clouds and I wanted to capture this with my brush strokes. I used a flat no.6 brush from the Rosemary & Co Ivory range for most of the painting, this again inhibits the temptation to fiddle. The limited pallet creates a harmony within the picture.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 17

Sunset at Moulton 12" x 12" oil on canvas board £190

The sunsets in Lincolnshire have been amazing the last few days. I was lucky to catch this one.
The water standing in the fields perfectly pick up the sky colour helping to tie the painting together.
I don't often put in telegraph poles but felt that in this instance, they were essential to the painting and do help to give a sense of perspective.

Monday, 16 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 16

Late Afternoon, Moulton 12" x 12" oil on canvas board

Another tricky one today. I am enjoying the challenge to capture these sunsets. The light behind the clouds certainly has been a challenge as has been, finding the right colours for the glow in the sky. My new favourite colour is Cadmium orange. The has been used in all the mixes for this picture.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 15

Suns Rays, Moulton 12" x 12" oil on canvas board

This was one of those skies that you couldn’t stop looking at. It changed all the time and with my camera I was able to catch it at its best.
To make this painting work a really dark sky was needed. Old Holland Blue was chosen for it’s deep rich colour. The cloud cast shadows making the suns rays radiated out in to the sky in a fan like pattern

Saturday, 14 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 14

After the Spring Tide, Blakeney 12" x 12" oil on canvas board

The sky was an incredibly deep blue at Blakeney on this day. Usually when I use Ultramarine, I tend to knock it back a bit with either Yellow Ochre or a touch of red. In this instance I just used Michael Harding's Warm Light Yellow to lighten the blue.
 The same yellow was also used for the clouds as pure white would have been too cold. The pattern of the deep puddles left by the high tide were the perfect shapes for this composition. It definitely a scene waiting to be painted.

Friday, 13 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 13

Hidden Sun 12" x12" oil on canvas board

Another little back lane, only 1/2 mile from our house. The sun had just slipped behind the low clouds. The puddle in the lane just picked up the reflection of the clouds which were turning a wonderful golden orange.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 12

Puddles on the Back Lane 12" x 12" oil on canvas board

There are a lot of little lanes around our village. This one is a favourite with dog walkers as it is little used. Maintenance is not great hence the grass down the middle and the deep potholes. The dykes along side can get pretty full after a heavy rain (very popular with water loving dogs!)
It does make a good subject, especially if you are after painting skies.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

30 in 30 , Day 11

Cloud Reflections, Cromer 10" x 12" oil on board

I painted this from a photo reference taken last year. Memories of summer and things to come.
I loved the strong light on the distant sandy beach which gave a strong contrast to the dark shadowed cliffs

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

30 in 30, Day 10

Evening Sail, Blakeney, 10" x 12" oil on canvas board

Following on from yesterday where I blended the colours, I decided to go for a more colourful subject. Still blending , I used a lot more colours. I liked the colours I was able to mix using Michael Harding's Brilliant Pink

Monday, 9 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 9

Moulton Sunrise 10" x 12" oil on board

Up with the sparrows this morning to get this one done. I enjoyed the challenge of mixing the colours and blending them. Not a technique I normally use, I learnt a lot from this one and will have another go at a similar subject soon.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

30 in 30 day 8

Broken Sunset Vapor Trails 8" x 10" oil on board £90

There is still some work to be done in the foreground of this painting. I loved the colour of the vapour trails left by the passing aircraft, the purpley blue looked magnificent against the orange of the setting sun 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 7

Blakeney Sunset 8" x 10" oil on board £90

 I kept the foreground down to simple dark washes for this picture. Not really finished but it is as far as I can go on this, a rather busy day.

Friday, 6 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 6

Sunset Over the Fens 10" x 12" oil on board

PHEW! Struggled with this one!! I do like a challenge   😝

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Day 5 of 30 in 30

Orange Sunset 8" x 10" oil on linen panel

Been playing with colour today and also trying to capture the feeling of intense light as the sun sank quickly through the sky

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Day 4 30 in 30

Pink Sky and dark Clouds 8" x 10" oil on board

I was in the studio at 7am this morning and did this from an old photo. Wasn't entirely pleased with it and intended having another go but events of the day rather took over so here it is - no. 4

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 3

Back Lit Clouds, Pin Mill 8" x 10" oil on cotton covered board

From a photo reference taken last year. The clouds were perfect for painting and I did several studies while I was there but needed more time to capture their form properly so worked this on up in the studio today. It may well become a larger painting at some point as I enjoyed the challenge of capturing the feel of the day. This picture took about 1 1/2 hours to complete.

Monday, 2 January 2017

30 in 30 Day 2

Lincolnshire Sunset  8" x 10" Oil on linen covered board

This one was a bit of a challenge! I love the skies we have in Lincolnshire, the sunsets really can be very dramatic. What makes them so good is that we can actually see them as the landscape is so flat.
The wet road leads us nicely into the picture. I feel this may make a good large studio painting sometime.

30 in 30 Day 1

Hazy Sun & Snow 8" x 10" Oil on muslin covered board

It's that time of year, 'Thirty paintings in Thirty Days'
What better way to kick start a new year of painting?
For my challenge this year year I intend painting a sky a day.
This one is from a photo reference from two years ago. I am hoping we will get snow this year so I can get out there and paint from life.

Each year artist Leslie Seata throws out 30 in 30 challenge for artists to join in. Participating artists then share their blog or web site with their daily painting to Leslie's own blog. This year over 1000 artists have signed up.
To see the paintings go to Leslie's blog