Sunday, 22 November 2009

Butterfly photos

During the spring and summer I enjoy exploring the limestone hills close to home with my camera. The area is rich in wildlife and I particularly like photographing the butterflies some of which are nationally very rare now. I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Lancaster Canal near Galgate. Oil on card 6"x8"

Rising Tide on Glasson Marsh. Oil on card. 8"x10"

Motor Launch, Windermere. Oil on card. 6"x8"

I painted this at a busy location on the shores of lake Windermere. I tend to try to find quieter locations to work but I think it's useful to paint with people around and it's fun to get a response to your work.
You still don't see many plein air painters in the UK although I believe this is set to change. I detect a shift away from the artistic preoccupations of the last few decades and a return to what I for one believe are the real issues of painting which are about interpreting the world around us.
By that I don't mean politics or social commentaries. Nothing is more guaranteed to become irrelevant than art which focuses on 'issues'.
If you don't believe me just look at the explosion of interest in plein air painting in the states which is usually five or ten years ahead of us in most things.
Buttercups and Houses near Caton Oil on card 6"x8"

This painting came from the same photo source as the previous one. I cropped the image closer to select this chosen composition.
Buttercup Field near Caton. Oil on card. 8"x10"

On Farleton Knot Oil on card 8"x10"

Another plein air painting done quickly in fading light a couple of weeks ago. The sky was an interesting mix of warm browns and cool grays with occasional flashes of brilliant blue showing through.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Crook Farm, Lune estuary. Oil on card, 6"x8"

I often walk down here from home and it's a lovely spot to paint. The light on this afternoon was clear which isn't usually the case. As autumn progresses I'll paint this again and try to contrast the conditions. I use a very limited palette and it was interesting trying to get the subtle turquoise of the sky from ultramarine which is essentially a 'warm' blue. I found that if I added blue to a viridian and white mix I could get quite a nice turquoise, adding more blue as I moved higher.
Evening on the Lune estuary. Oil on card 6"x8"

Done on site recently in very rapidly changing light. The speed of the change was bewildering and I had to work quickly. By the time one area was finished and I moved to the next the values had completely changed.
Whitbarrow Woods. Oil on card. 8"x6"

This is a plein air study done recently on a hot afternoon near Witherslack in Cumbria.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Red Boat oil on card 6"x8"

Moored Boats, Glasson Dock. Oil on card. 6"x8"

Painted last weekend. I should use this venue more often for painting given it takes two minutes to walk down to the dock from home. This was painted entirely on the spot using my Pochade.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Stormy Sea
Oil on gessoed card, 6"x8"
After Glenn Dean

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Oil on canvas, 11"x14"

This painting was done as a commission. Not my usual subject but it's good to try other subjects and styles and I've certainly enjoyed the challenge.

Landscape Oil on gessoed card 6"x8"

In this painting I have simplified the elements into colour masses and restricted the range of tonal values. I have used a small painting by Glenn Dean as the starting point. He in his turn has been influenced by Edgar Payne the American landscape painter. I enjoyed using thick juicy impasto for this painting.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Dalton Crags. Oil on gessoed card, 6"x8"
Summer Stream. Acrylic on canvas board 10"x8"

Coniston from Blawith Common Oil on gessoed card. 6"x8"

Another of the small paintings I did at the time.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sunshine and Showers over Lake Coniston Oil on gessoed card 8"x10"

We spent a lovely week recently at Lake Coniston in Cumbria walking the hills and canoeing on the lake. I painted this view from the hills at the southern end of the lake several times. The day I did this painting had rained almost incessantly but in the evening the cloud broke up a bit and the light, when the sun shone through was amazing.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Moored Boats Glasson Dock. Acrylic on Canvas Board. 11"x14"

I thought I'd include this painting I did a while ago by way of contrast. It's worked up from a photo with a lot more attention to detail. Unfortunately the boat in the foreground is now apparently abandoned and looking in a sorry state now.

Evening on Glasson Marina.

Oil on gessoed card, 6"x8"

Painted Plein Air recently.

Still Life

Two Handmade Glazed Jugs. Oil on linen 12"x16".

Plein Air Sketch

Rushy Field in Grizedale. Oil on gessoed card. 6"x8"

This sketch was done very quickly after a long afternoon painting. I noticed the new leaves on the trees across the field as I was returning to my car. I also liked the contrast of the bright greens with the warm colours of the rushes. So I quickly unpacked my gear and did the sketch. I'm quite pleased with some of the value relationships.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Daffodils and Pots. Oil on gessoed board. 6x8"

This painting was done very quickly one Sunday afternoon recently on a trip to visit my mum. I was keen to record the warm/ cool contrast and the way the daffodils glowed against the dark background. There were an interesting range of greens all created with a limited palette that didn't actually contain green.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Scots Pine study. Oil on gessoed card 8"x6"

Cottage by the river. Oil on gessoed card. 6"x8"

This is the second of the two paintings I made yesterday afternoon. I have done a little bit of finishing mainly to clarify the forms and to regulate the values slightly. For example I had underestimated the lightness of the stony areas in the stream so putting in some lighter dots of colour have helped to lift them and render them more convincingly.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Cottage on the River Conder. Oil on gessoed card 6"x8"

Painted plein air, this subject was quite a challenge on such a small scale. I focused on the relationship of values around the white cottage as the sun cast a cool shadow under the eves and on the side wall. This was the first of two small paintings I finnished this afternoon.
On Foulshaw Moss. Oil on canvas board 9"x12"

Coming back from work one evening about three weeks ago I stopped in to Foulshaw moss. I had a little wander around and found four Adders curled up together in the sunshine.The painting was worked up from photos I took at the time. I was determined to keep it simple and try to treat the subject as if I were painting from life. This means simplifying masses, reducing detail and avoiding photographic copying.

Low Tide on the Lune

Low Tide, Sunderland Point. Oil on gessoed card 6"x8".

It's great to have some settled warm weather and time to get outside with my paints. This painting took about three hours and while seemingly a simple subject I found it very difficult to control all the values and keep the elements of the painting relating correctly. Painting from life is to my mind the most difficult discipline in painting and shouldn't be avoided. Even a relatively simple subject rendered correctly will teach more than a hundred copied photos. There are many great painters working today who do this with consummate skill such as Josh Elliott, Frank Gardener and Glenn Dean, to name just a few.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Birch Trees Whitbarrow

Birch Trees Whitbarrow. 
 Oil on canvas board.8"x10"
This painting was worked up from a smaller painting posted a few days ago.


On Dalton Crags

On Dalton Crags. Oil on canvas board. 9"x12".
This composition needed quite a bit of simplification in order to make it work as a painting. The human eye is able to make sense of complex visual scenes in a moment and the brain automatically filters elements that complicate perception. To make a painting that 'works' requires a conscious effort to filter unnecessary elements. If everything was included and if there was too much attention to detail the picture would become difficult to read and it would risk becoming overcluttered.
Dalton Crags is a large limestone area and part of the wider limestone outcrop at the head of Morecambe Bay. These areas are of national importance for their flora and fauna. There are many Scots Pines which take on beautiful shapes and colours as they mature.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Birch Tree Whitbarrow, Cumbria.
Oil on canvas board. 9"x12"


Whitbarrow is one of my favourite locations. It is a large limestone outcrop close to the head of Morecambe Bay in south Cumbria. It has a number of rare species of orchid present and is particularly good for butterflies during the summer months.

Birches, Whitbarrow.
Oil on gessoed card. 6"x8"

Blog now appearing in searches.

I wasn't sure if this blog was working correctly which is why I haven't posted for a few days. It looks as though Google's finding the web page correctly so here we go. I need to sort out a problem with one or two blogger gadgets but I'll get that sorted at some point when I've time to mess around with it.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Recent study

North Ronaldsay Sheep. Acrylic on gessoed card, 6"x 8" Paul Murphy, 2008

This is a painting I did a few weeks ago from a photo I took while staying on the Orkney island of North Ronaldsay. These sheep are deliberately kept along the rocky shoreline and have become adapted to a diet almost exclusively of seaweed. This is actually a small section of a much larger scene. I liked this little composition and there is enough here to convey what I wanted about this subject.
I do use photos as a source for paintings but still have the nagging feeling that it's cheating in some way. I believe that in order to really improve painting skills it is essential to paint from life and I do this now as often as I can. I have recently bought a Pochade, which is a small portable painting box and easel which is ideal for doing quick outdoor oil sketches. I'm hoping to really get into using it this year and will post the results as I go along.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

About this site

New Paintings is a sort of diary where I will be posting my most recent paintings. These are mainly small studies done quickly on the spot and more finished paintings done indoors. My interests are currently landscape, still life and portraits.

Evening Light, Glasson Marsh