Saturday, August 30, 2008

Struggle is Progress

Painting is difficult, depressing and annoying. It should be. The day it becomes easy, the day you become pleased with a painting, is the day you reach the top, the day you stop learning and become stagnant. On that day, retire.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Underpainting to Three Graves Complete

The underpainting to Three Graves is now complete. It's an unusual style compared to my normal paintings and is perhaps most like my Iran/U.S.A. painting. I've also signed Sun on a Chain, a sister painting to the sunset I've recently completed. The liquid details in the canyon floor looked, in inky ghostly style, like Dali's warring figures or Nowakowksi's dramatic clouds and rocks. The technique I used amounted to a mini discovery of how simply the apparently complex paintings like Dali's Spain were probably painted.

I should have time to do the primary glaze to 31st Century Crucifixion before Art Support returns on the 10th of September.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Five Days of Wasp Painting

The Stone Wasp underpainting took longer than expected and so my schedule was set back by one day. It's a tiny picture but has already taken five full days, including the preparation work, and completion of a earlier test version. No commercial artist could afford to invest such a time on a tiny panel painting like this. Today I've completed the glazing to Sun on a Chain, a beautiful painting about a heavy heart and passion restrained.

The entry form for the Stoke Open have arrived and I'm sure to try something for this juried exhibition. With luck my recent sunset will be dry enough but I'm not sure. It's unfortunate that the Open was announced just three weeks before the submission date, hardly enough time to dry a wet oil painting, never mind paint one.

Next up for me; The underpainting to three graves which is my last big and spectacular one of the year. After that I must glaze the one for Sue Ryder, and get to work on others in time for Keele. No matter how fast I work, things are always just ready in time. Perhaps I'm fortunate though. Most oil painters who paint in layers work hard to produce ten paintings a year and I'm doing nearly fifty in just the summer months.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'm working on some pleasant smaller paintings over the next few days, and also framing some older work that has become depressed and unhappy on its own in a drawer. A stone wasp in a mountain lake was mostly underpainted today and will be concluded tomorrow. Then, a sun on a chain will be glazed (hopefully tomorrow afternoon) before doing the underpainting to an unusual bit of surreo-abstraction, a geometric interpretation of Eve eating the forbidden fruit (in this case, a perfectly square apple).

Once those are completed I'll start the underpainting to my last big painting of the year, Three Graves.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Sunset glazing, complete! Hurrah!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Colour Study for Three Graves Complete

A colour study for Three Graves, my last of the "big" paintings of the years has been completed today. It's a surrealist-cubist sort of picture but rather complex because it includes ink-blot like figures. I'll begin glazing the first big one tomorrow, Sunset with Petalliforms which should take 3-4 days. I've just heard that the Stoke Open is on this year so I'll enter something for that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Painting Away

Uranos and Helios is now underpainted. I'm unsure about the results because I had intended to paint this alla-prima and so chose some of the more transparent pigments. For the past two days I've been underpainting the Sue Ryder painting, currently entitled Insecurity Grasping for Freedom. At the moment I'm waiting for the mordant to tack on the gilding for 31st Century Crucifixion which will, soon, include 24kt. gold.

There's only about six weeks left of my painting season and I'll get back to music then, and planning for my first solo exhibition which is pencilled in for June 2009 in the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe. I probably won't do any painting in the last quarter of this year.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Death of Socialism

The underpainting to The Death of Socialism is now complete, in record time considering the size of this one. Next up; the landscape for Urenco and the Sue Ryder picture.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Albion Underpainting Complete

The underpainting to the large Albion painting is now complete. The five large, and hopefully spectacular paintings of 2008 are now well underway. They are "Two Roman Legionaries Discovering The God-King Albion Turned Into Stone" (now underpainted, this will need at least three subsequent layers for special effect reasons). "Sunset With Petalliforms" (underpainted, awaiting primary glaze). "31st Century Crucifixion" (underpainted, awaiting gilding and first colouring layer; this picture includes both gold and will have a few layers of jewel-like colours like pure ultramarine). "The Death of Socialism By Its Own Hand" (to be underpainted over the next few days). "Three Graves" which is prepared but untouched. The last one is sort of surrealist-cubist and might be delayed due to more urgent work.

I've spent the last few days planning and preparing more ideas too. I hope to submit a painting into the annual Sue Ryder charity auction and have planned a picture specifically for this. If it doesn't work out beautifully I'll submit something else. There's also a competition for uranium enrichment company Urenco's calendar. They want a pretty landscape and I'm sure I can do one (but of course I'll make it a little bit unique, a bit different from any other entry... the fact that Urenco enrich uranium for atomic devices inspired me; but I must ultimately paint a pleasant pastoral landscape). One for next year's Derbyshire open is pending too. These competition ones must have priority. I have about five other paintings waiting too.

I'll need to work non-stop to do all of these by the end of September. In October I want to do music, and I need to get some sound effect work done.