I am currently working on a large commission, an acrylic painting of a garden in midsummer.
Over the last two years, I’ve worked mainly in gouache on paper with many thin washes overlaid to create a strong feeling of depth. Now to be working again in acrylic is different but I am trying to apply the same technique. This involves keeping the initial background very fluid and slowly building up the layers of vegetation, flora and wildlife.
The clients (who have commissioned several times before) were quite specific about certain plants they wanted me to include in this painting. They also wanted it to feature goldfinches. Fortunately, I have had many goldfinches in my own garden this summer, feeding on the cirsium rivulare flowers as they starting seeding.
I am so grateful to have this commission and it is a real joy on these dark November days to be immersed in a summer garden painting, full of colour and life. Here’s the work in progress.
Please note: I welcome commissions, not only of your garden, but maybe a favourite landscape or seascape.
Over the last three months, I have been working on a series of gouache paintings inspired by Brigsteer mosses. Visiting the moss to sketch in the early hours in early Spring has been magical.
One morning, as the sun rose, tinting everywhere ochre, the mist drifted across the moss pools, partly veiling Brigsteer wood. It softened edges, birds and trees, all appearing nebulous. Then, with the sun up, the early Spring hues of the wood appeared: mauves, greys, and (here and there) hints of yellow and green. Birds and trees became more focused, the air still, amazing reflections.
I have also recently started to revisit Morecambe Bay for inspiration. The soft layering of hues of sea and sand, reflections in the channels and birdlife offers so much. Working again in soft layers of gouache is a real contrast to the thick, textured acrylics of my Bay paintings of the past.
Some of the results of this recent work are now in my Gallery online.
Landscape, wildlife and flora together with the constantly changing light and weather are my inspiration. To paint out in the landscape is a wonderful way to connect with nature and can be totally absorbing. I want my work to convey the atmosphere and the sense of wonder that these places give me.
Inspiration is always close at hand in the garden, an untamed haven for plants, trees, and creatures. The beautiful countryside at the head of Morecambe Bay also provides a wealth of landscape and wildlife habitats, and during my yearly intensive painting retreats in Scotland I explore the magnificent habitats of cliff, sea, and mountain expanses.
Out in the field I make observations in a small pocket size sketch book. Sometimes I will make more involved studies in gouache and mixed media on tinted or heavy watercolour paper, working quickly to capture fleeting wildlife and transient elements. Recently I have been working directly from the landscape in oils on board.
In the studio, I enjoy the drama of black and white, making large graphite drawings, sometimes with just a hint of colour. Over the last few years I have painted mainly in acrylic and mixed media, building up images with texture and layers of colour. More recently I have been exploring the quiet, internal subject of still life, both in oils and gouache. Every flower is unique, I want to paint their presence and light.
In my work I like to paint wildlife, plant life, and human life as linked and inseparable. Through my art I hope to convey a sense of the interconnectedness of all life.