Three paintings and picture frames…

Can’t speak for all painters, but for myself thinking what frame will be used for a painting is not top of my list of concerns when I’m painting  – but it’s important, get it wrong and it can kill a picture, colour, width or style all have what is probably an unconscious affect on the viewer…..

For me the simpler the better, it does not distract from the painting and fortunately less costly!….any owner can of course change a frame if they want to….

On the subject of displaying paintings in exhibitions, it always amazes me how some high profile exhibitions will have paintings displayed on red or other strongly coloured walls!…..crazy in my opinion as a red background to a picture will accentuate all the greens in a painting, not what the artist would have planned, and one of the first things you are taught at Art School!

Keep it white, grey or black….




London 12 canvases – blocking in the colour…

Spent today working on the 12 London canvases, blocking in the colour for each of the months. Was a bit like working on one large canvas divided in to 12, will let these dry before working any more on them and adding any detail.

Over the 12 canvases I’m dividing the colour spectrum starting with blue for January and dark purple for December. Each month will have the respective key colour as a highlight. I’ll probably add other visual links between the months.

Full list below plus progress during today (left to right and down):

January: Piccadilly Circus / Blue

February: Sydenham Hill / Light Blue-Green

March: Kenwood House Highgate / Green

April: Buckingham Palace / Yellow-Green

May: Columbia Road / Yellow

June: Green Park / Yellow-Orange

July: Thames at Windsor / Orange

August: Lords Cricket Ground / Orange-Red

September: Crossing Blackfriars Bridge/Tower Bridge / Red

October: Hyde Park / Red-Blue

November: Houses of Parliament / Purple

December: Trafalgar Square / Purple/Blue





Rain and ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ paintings….

Overcast this morning, with rain coming in, but I managed to start two new medium sized canvases both of the view across the Mersey.

Decided to have one focused on the Roman Catholic Cathedral which went pretty well. Hope Street in Liverpool is one of the very rare roads in the world that has a cathedral at either end!

Interestingly the Roman Catholic cathedral was designed by I believe an Anglican and the Anglican cathedral by a Roman Catholic, which certainly adds an interesting balance…

The Roman Catholic cathedral is affectionally known by Liverpudlians as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ for obvious reasons….

The Roman Catholic cathedral, ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’


Rain coming in


Blue North Wales Hills…

Another early start with work on a few canvases next to the Mersey first, had a late breakfast and then drove up to Storeton and worked on Storeton 3 canvas for a while then shifted the view 45 degrees to see across the same fields as last Friday, and started a new medium sized canvas in portrait format.

The light was very different today and you could see the hills and mountains of North Wales way out in to the distance.

Great to paint as were the clouds, which after 6 weeks of painting made a nice change as its been mostly been either completely overcast, mist and fog or bright blue sky most of the time.

Todays work:

New Storeton view of North Wales in the distance



Liverpool Skyline – 8:00am



Storeton 3 – 1:00pm



Small sketch: 10.00am Liverpool skyline


Columbia road, flower market, sketch for London 12 series….

Spent a few hours this morning in the Liverpool library working on the London 12 series of ideas. Great place to quietly work surrounded by a lot of great art books.

Off now to get some paint and canvas boards for next weeks work and then ‘switching off’ for the rest of the day.

Below is an early sketch for London 12 – May  – Columbia Road, if you’ve not been there in London, go on a Saturday, be prepared to move very slowly but its a great place to visit, more colour than an explosion in a paint factory!

‘London 12′ – May – Columbia Road – sketch


Distant light blue green fields and canvases that act like sails…

Another great sunny morning in the North West which most bode well for the Grand National not that far away at Aintree.

Meanwhile in my field in Storeton the wind that was not there yesterday was back with a vengeance  today and I had to keep one foot on the easel to stop it blowing away as the canvas made a very good sail….

The painting went well in particular the second canvas I worked on ‘portrait blue-green’ that was great to paint, with the narrow horizontal strips of fields in the distance getting progressively more blue as they went out to the horizon. The far woods were a pale blue along with the evenly spaced electric pylons making great markers to work with. This painting the best worked on this week, down to better drawing foundation I think.

Just enforces my opinion that any painting has to be based on a strong drawing as a solid foundation.

Portrait blue-green



Storeton canvas 3




Liverpool skyline and Storeton third canvas in 20 degrees!

Warmest day of the year, must have been up to 20 C this afternoon, worked the same pattern as yesterday with Mersey paintings starting at 8:00am and then moving across the Wirral to Storeton and working on the third of three landscape canvases.

After meeting the ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ on Tuesday, I’m taking an extra interest on the dogs that cross the field in front of me, the last of a series today was some sort of lap dog that can’t have been more than a few inches high, I hope the owners stuck to the path that cuts diagonally across the large field as if the dog went off in to the field they would never see it again!

Two medium Mersey canvases and Storeton third canvas from today.





Early morning April sun on the Mersey…

I started on two new small canvases and two medium new ones, all four views across the Mersey and of the Liverpool skyline. The last time I worked on small canvases it was so misty you couldn’t see the buildings!….. but today there was bright clear sunshine.

Got those started, had something to eat and then drove across to Storeton and continued on the third of the three country paintings.

All five below:

Small canvas 1:



Small canvas 2:


Medium canvas 1:



Medium canvas 2:


Storeton canvas 3:


Painting Fog…

Early start with the three country landscape canvases in the car and over to the Wirral where the fog and heavy mist made for an interesting view from my chosen spot in the field.

The fog was so heavy I decided to work on the third new canvas as a view that included the heavy fog, and wait for the fog and mist to lift before working on either of the other two canvases.

One thing that is always wise when painting with oils is to avoid too much white paint, adding white does not equal a lighter version of a colour, having said that painting fog does mean it’s very difficult to avoid a lot of white paint – but just as the sea is not blue, fog is not white (or grey for that matter)!

As it was the fog stayed for nearly 2 hours and when it lifted, did so in 20 minutes, great to watch, very difficult to paint!

Got to meet during this mornings painting a big dog too, it probably belonged more to the ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ than in todays painting, I love dogs but this one according to the owner did not like anything new on his daily walks, humans were OK I was told, but new posts etc were a big threat and my easel looks like a post….fortunately the smell of turpentine put the hound off getting too involved with any painting…!