Check out my YouTube channel at

Monday, 21 December 2009

'Brean Down' 8" x 6" Oil Painting on Canvas Board

I thought I'd try something a little different and painted this one with just a palette knife.  We spend a fair amount of time in Brean over the summer months.  I painted this one from memory.

Using just a knife dramatically reduces the amount of gear you need to carry around with you when painting.  I can fit pretty much everything in my little pochade box.

Painting is available at

Thursday, 17 December 2009

'Mountain Summit' 12" x 10" Oil Painting on Canvas Board

I made this one up as I went along.  I hope you're not getting bored with all these mountain scenes.  I just can't resist doing them and find them very therapeutic to do.  The closest thing to me in real life would be the Lake District.  We went there a couple of years ago and it was fantastic.

This painting is available for sale through my store at  10% of the sale goes to Cancer Research UK.

I'm trying to showcase my artwork through Facebook.  It's certainly a great way of reaching fellow art enthusiasts and the feedback is great.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

'Cooper Landing, Alaska' 12" x 10" Oil Painting on Canvas Board

As much as I try to find local subjects to paint, I cannot escape my fascination with the Alaskan landscape.  I saw a photo of Cooper Landing in Alaska and couldn't resist having a go at it.  A fear of flying means it could be some time before I get to see these places first hand.  On the plus side, the power of the internet allows us all a glimpse of just about anywhere, whether it be this world or beyond.  This painting is for sale at

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

'Lakeside Retreat' 12" x 10" Oil Painting on Canvas Board

This is another one I made up as I went along.  It represents my idyllic weekend retreat.  It's for sale at

Thursday, 3 December 2009

World War 1 Wooden Automata Model Video

This is the World War 1 wooden automata model made by my dad.

It took him about 2 months and a lot of patience to build, especially when you consider the ammunition belt for the machine gunner alone contains 120 handmade bullets.

There's very little friction when you turn the handle, itself a large calibre bullet with the gunpowder removed.

He wants to make another one, so if anyone has any thoughts on what the theme could be please let me know.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

'Peaks at Sunset' 12" x 10" Oil on Canvas Board

I thought I'd use some brighter colours for this one as many of my recent paintings were beginning to look the same.

I used a sunset photo as a colour reference and then just made up the landscape as I went along.

Automata video should be coming soon - delay due to a 'messy shed'!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

'Loch Lomond' 8" x 6" Oil on Canvas Board

I know the idea of a pochade box is to make it easier to paint outdoors from real life but while I get used to the smaller format I thought I'd try a few in the comfort of my own home.

I painted this picture of Loch Lomond from a photograph.  I'm quite pleased with the result and think I'm now ready for a bit of plein air painting!

Going to see the finished automata tonight so hopefully video will be on here tomorrow or Friday.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

World War I Automata - Week 8/9

Completion edges another week closer as more of the background ruins are painted in.  Patience has been the keyword this week as dad handmade 120 individual bullets for the ammunition belt that will run through the gunner's (bottom left) machine gun.

He says it should be finished this week.  If you can all contain your excitement for just a few more days, I should have a video of it working on here sometime soon!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Craft Fair at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Had a nose around the craft fair yesterday at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  I felt a little sorry for one woman trying in vain to sell her artwork.  She had paid £60 for a stall and sold practically nothing.  I know from my own limited experience how difficult it is to sell at these fairs.

Looking around the other stalls, most of them were selling items for less than a fiver; I think that's about as much cash as the public intend to part with at these shows.

This is another painting I made up as I went along.  For some reason I couldn't photograph it head on as the light kept reflecting off the paint even though it was dry.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

'Mountain View' 12" x 10" Oil Painting on Canvas Board - Video Demonstration

Here's the video of me painting the picture in the previous post. In past videos I've split them up into parts but this one I've speeded up so you see the whole painting in about 6 minutes.

'Mountain View' 12" x 10" Original Oil on Canvas Board

Here's another in my imaginary mountain range series.  I filmed myself painting this one.  Once I've finished editing I'll post it on here.

Monday, 16 November 2009

'Reflections' 12" x 10" Oil on Canvas Board

I painted the sky from a photo I took travelling through France on our way back from Spain.  The land I just did off the top of my head. 

Looking at it now I've noticed I forgot the put any mountain reflection in.  Hopefully no one will notice!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

'First Snows of Winter' 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

I painted this watercolour a while back and have dug it from the archives.  I must confess I copied the composition from a book (Frank Halliday I think).  I know it's cheating but it was such a nice scene I couldn't resist it!

Off to the craft fair at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Sunday week in search of some inspiration.  I've no stall, just browsing.  Should be well worth a visit for anyone in the area.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

World War I Automata Week 6/7

Most of the mechanics are now in place and it's time to start on some of the finer details.  The brickwork looks quite effective and the background ruins are being painted in.

Once it's finished I'll post a video and show it in all its glory!

Monday, 9 November 2009

'The Boathouse' 12" x 10" Oil on Panel

I painted this one from my imagination. I'd love to live somewhere like this, taking the boat out each day for a cruise amongst the mountains. Maybe one day!

Friday, 6 November 2009

'Evening at Riverside Cottage' 12" x 10" Oil on Canvas Board

This painting began as a local scene along the River Cole in Kingshurst but I went off on a bit of a tangent and although it looks nothing like the actual view I'm still quite happy with it.
My pochade box arrived today so I'm preparing myself for a little plein-air painting.  It takes 8" x 6" boards, a bit smaller than what I'm used to but I'll have a go.
I'm going to target the Coleshill and Shustoke areas next.  Hopefully I can find some nice subjects to work with.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Mudeford, Dorset Watercolour in a Driftwood Frame

I painted this watercolour earlier in the year and then asked my dad to make a driftwood frame for it.  It's probably my favourite painting that I've done.

However, after 6 months on eBay I just couldn't get what I wanted for it and ended up giving it to my sister as a gift!

I think one day soon I'll try something similar and get my dad to make another driftwood frame.  I do like the driftwood effect though rarely see these sort of frames in the shops or galleries.  Maybe it's just me and they're not actually that popular.

World War I Automata - Week 4/5

The project's really starting to take shape now.  I mentioned to my dad that my only reservation is that most of the mechanics of the thing are going to be hidden from view.  I think it's a real shame that people will see very little of what's driving the machine.

Personally, I think watching all the cogs and levers moving is just as fascinating, if not more so, than the animations themselves!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A Day in Barcelona

It had been 5 years since my last visit to Barcelona and I was eager to return.  Before disembarking at our main hotspot at Las Ramblas, we paid a short visit to the Olympic Stadium at the top of the hill.  As I stood with my camera it dawned that my first visit here was before this stadium was built.  The main thing I remember from those '92 Olympics was Linford Christie's gold in the 100m final.  I tried to imagine it full of screaming fans as the fastest men in the world stretched for the tape.

Before long we were in the cauldron of Las Ramblas and the hustle and bustle of the crowds.  Pickpockets are rife in this area so I set off with hand firmly on my wallet.  You can buy just about anything you can imagine along this stretch, providing you don't mind paying over the odds.  £8 for a coke and coffee was a little over the top I thought.

The most memorable part of Las Ramblas for me however are the living statues that spring to life once you've made a deposit towards their keep.  The time and effort that goes into some of their costumes is staggering.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Babbs Mill III, Kingshurst 12"x10" Oil on Canvas Board

Here I was stood on the eastern side of Babbs Mill Lake looking across to the west. 
The island here in the middle is a wonderful sanctuary for the hundreds of birds that live around the lake.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Babbs Mill Lake II, Kingshurst 12" x 9" Oil on Canvas

This painting is from the south-eastern corner of Babbs Mill Lake in Kingshurst, Birmingham just before you reach the football fields.
It was an overcast day and had just finished raining as I reached this point.  I've tried to liven it up a little more with a bit of blue in the sky and water.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Babbs Mill Lake, Kingshurst 12" x 9" Oil on Canvas

I recently walked along the River Cole from Stechford to Chelmsley Wood searching for painting subjects.  As I reached my old domain, Kingshurst, I saw this view for the first time in about 25 years.  As the memories began to flood back I suddenly realized I was surrounded by potential painting subjects right here on my doorstep.
I'm very grateful to Keith Tilley for encouraging me to find local scenes to paint.

World War I Automata Week 3

What a miserable week it's been with the weather.  Overcast and constant drizzle hasn't offered much opportunity to get out and about this week.  I'm hoping the weekend will bring a little more sun.

The automata is slowly beginning to take shape with the gunner taking his place on stage.  My dad's finally managed to suss out how to get the ammo belt revolving constantly through the gun, so it should look good.

Hoping to get a little more painting done today - I've been slacking a bit the last few days.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

'Cafe de Flore, Paris' 12" x 9" Oil on Canvas

Saw a photo of this place on the web and felt I had to have a go at it.  I wish I could have got some more contrast between the 3 sides of the building.

Monday, 12 October 2009

River Cole, Kingshurst 12" x 9" Oil Painting on Canvas

I must have walked or rode my bike a million times past this part of the River Cole when I was a kid. This bend in the river is just before you get to Cooks Lane heading towards Chelmsley Wood.

I can't wait until the snow starts to fall so I can paint this again as a winter scene. There are some lovely little river bends along here and towards Babbs Mill lake.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

'Corporation Street, Birmingham' 12" x 9" Oil on Canvas

I thought I'd try something closer to home and in a completely different style to what I'm used to.  To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to make of it.  It's the first time I've tried oil painting with just a palette knife.  The only brush I used was a rigger for the two figures.
I quite like this style but I think a little more practice is the order of the day.  I'd like to try another like this.  I'm waiting for the next really sunny day so I can try and catch some strong light and shadow in the city centre.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

World War I Automata - Week 2

Another week on and all the cogs and things are beginning to take shape. It all looks a bit complicated at the moment but will start to make sense once some of the other bits and pieces are fitted.

I'm told the big wheel is for the flying fighter planes. As for the rest of it, I'm as clueless as everyone else!

Monday, 5 October 2009

'River Cole, Coleshill' 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

This is a loose impression of the River Cole that flows through East Birmingham and out to Coleshill.  I've a lot of childhood memories of various locations along this river.
Recently the council have opened the Kingfisher Country Park that basically allows anyone to walk alongside the River Cole for its entire length.  The plucky volunteers help rid the river of shopping trolleys and other unfortunate items that end up partly submerged in its flow.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

'River Wye in Winter' 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

I've used just the 3 colours again here - Raw Sienna, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber in this watercolour.  Painted from Ron Ranson's original, I love the way he simplifies everything and uses the fewest strokes possible.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

'Long Walk Home' 12' x 9' oil on canvas

This was based on an old black and white painting I saw in a book.  I've tried to keep the colours as subtle as possible, again using just Raw Sienna, Vandyke Brown and Phthalo Blue.
The scene reminds me of somewhere around Coleshill, about 15 minutes drive from where I live.  It's inspired me to drive up there and see what compositions I can find.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Kirkcubright Wood Mill in Oil

I love the moody look you can sometimes get with a limited palette.  I only used three colours for this painting - Raw Sienna, Vandyke Brown and Phthalo Blue.  I think there's a little more atmosphere in this one than in some of the previous.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

New World War I Wooden Automata Project

This is the beginning of my dad's new wooden automata project. This time the theme will be World War I with soldiers, machine guns, fighter planes and anything else he dreams up.

His aim is to have it finished by Christmas though don't hold your breath as these machines require infinite patience. The gears, cogs and levers are all designed and made to fit as the build develops.

To get a flavour of what these automata machines are about you can watch his previous creation 'Cowboy Serenade' at

I'm going to post a photo each week to see how the thing grows. When it's finished I'll post a video on here to show it in all its glory!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Derwent Water, Lake District National Park in oil

Inspired from a photograph on Panoramio by steandeb this is another oil painting of Derwent Water in Keswick.  I only painted it this afternoon.  It's so difficult to get a good photo when it's still wet.  I have to shine a bright lamp at it from the side and then hold the camera about 3 feet from the canvas and take the picture with the flash off.  It's then only with the benefit of a photo editor I can get it to look pretty much like the real thing.  I suppose I could wait for them to dry but I like to get them on eBay as quickly as possible (not that much ever comes from that).

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Grasmere in the Lake District in oil

I love the Lake District.  I painted this one from a photograph I found on Google Maps.  Rather than waste the excess paint on the palette I used it all in the foreground shore.  I'd never thought of doing that before.  I'm not sure if the blue bits look right though.

I'd like to fit in a tour around the Lakes sometime next year and build a library of my own photos rather than rely on Google all the time.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

River at Drayton Manor Park

We were lucky enough to get free tickets for Drayton Manor Park recently and so last Sunday off we set for a day of fun and frolics.  I used to love the white-knuckle rides but these days tend to steer well clear.

Late afternoon duly arrived and whilst crossing the small bridge to the car park I was greeted by this delightful view of the river that borders the park and zoo.  I took a photograph and then painted it in watercolour when I got home.

I used to think inspiration could only come from glorious vistas such as the Lake District and similar.  I'm slowly beginning to realise that potential painting subjects are all around us regardless of where we live.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Newcastle docklands, Australia in watercolour

Preoccupied with oils, I hadn't got my watercolours out for a couple of months and was beginning to miss them!  A fear of flying prevents me from getting anywhere near Australia so when I saw this picture in a book I felt I had to have a go at it.
Recently I've only painted tranquil landscapes so it was a nice change to paint something busy such as these docklands.  I'm getting into practice for an assault on my home town of Birmingham.  Having such an ugly reputation with the rest of the nation I'd never really thought of Brum as potential subject matter.
To be fair though, a lot of money has been spent on the city centre in the last couple of decades and Birmingham is slowly beginning to gain a better reputation as a tourist hotspot.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Derwent Water in the Lake District

I painted this same scene in watercolour from a photo I found on Panoramio taken by Jeff Coates.  I thought I'd try it again, this time in oil.
I'm quite pleased with the result.  I love the Lake District.  We stayed there a couple of years ago in Grange-over-Sands Haven and it was one of the best holidays I've ever had.
My favourite part was on the way to Ullswater and driving through Kirkstone Pass.  There's a pub on the right as you drive up in the middle of nowhere.  The remoteness is fantastic.  I can't wait to go back.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Blue Cross Craft Fair in Catshill

This is a picture of my stall at the Blue Cross craft fair and fun day.  Though I only sold one painting it was an enjoyable experience and I'm glad I did it.  I think next time I'll try for an art show or something similar.  I had lots of compliments but after a while it gets a little frustrating without any cash exchanging hands.
There was another man further along the marquee selling his watercolours.  Instead of using easels he displayed all of his paintings on a large screen.  I think I'll try that next time as he could display much more work than I was able to on my small table.
My dad had a little more success than me, selling a couple of his driftwood clocks along the way.  Overall I enjoyed the day, but left feeling a little flat at the lack of sales.  Never mind,  hopefully next time will prove more fruitful!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

I've decided to go for it and get a stall at a local craft fair

Next Exhibition: Blue Cross Fete,Craft Fair & Fun Dog Show Sat Aug 29, 2009 From 12 noon till 4pm

Would you prefer to see my paintings in the flesh?  Then why not visit my gallery display at:

Blue Cross Fete,Craft Fair & Fun Dog Show

Blue Cross Wildmoor Lane Catshill Bromsgrove Worcestershire B61 0RJ

Sat Aug 29, 2009 From 12 noon till 4pm  Addmision £1  For more info call 01214533130

I'll have all my recent oil paintings as well as some lovely driftwood clocks.  So why not come and join the fun!

If there's anyone out there who would like to attend please feel free.  I may need all the support I can get!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Strolling on Weston beach

I'm off to Brean in a few days and looking forward to getting the oils out on the coast.  I'm going to be forced to paint outside as I can't risk getting paint all over the mother-in-law's caravan!

This photograph I took on Weston beach last year.  You can see Brean Down in the distance.  There's an abandoned old fort at the bottom that would make a great location for a short scary film but that's another project.

I rode my bike up to the top one evening a couple of years ago and there's a tremendous feeling of solitude.  The first stars were just coming out as the wind rattled through you.  The view was tremendous, stretching for miles and miles.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Why are there no craft fairs in Birmingham?

I've spent countless hours recently trawling through the listings on Google trying to find craft fairs in the Birmingham area with very little success.  They seem to be everywhere if you live in the north or south but for some reason the West Midlands is a no go region.

I'm trying to find a regular local craft fair where I can exhibit my stuff and hopefully sell a few but as yet I've had no luck finding anywhere.  For the time being I think I'll just have to continue with eBay.

This painting I did following one of Bob Ross's TV shows.  I'm very pleased with the result.  One of the things I like about oils compared to watercolour is being able to take your time doing the sky.  Watercolour skies for me were a mad rush to get it all in before it dried.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

My first attempt at oil painting

Having only used watercolours I felt the time was right to have a go at oils.  This is my first attempt.  I followed the TV lesson presented by the late Bob Ross and was pleasantly surprised with the finished painting.

I loved working with oils.  There seems to be much more freedom than with watercolours.  I just wished I'd tried it a lot sooner.

I can't wait to get outside and have a go at real life.

Friday, 3 July 2009

"Sailing Home" watercolour painting

I made this one up as I went along.  Unfortunately I forgot to put in the reflections for the boat and house.  Oh well, never mind!  I'm trying to develop a rougher, more loose style.  Perhaps I should have put a boat on the foreground beach.
I'm still waiting for my Bob Ross starter kit to arrive so I'll have to plough on with watercolours until then.  I'm quite looking forward to trying oils.

Monday, 29 June 2009

"Snow Tracks" winter scene watercolour painting

With the current hot weather getting me all hot and bothered I thought a nice little winter scene would help cool me down.  To be honest, I actually prefer winter to summer.  I don't really mind the early dark nights and I like to look at the stars.

This one came from a Ron Ranson book.  The bottom of the sky is a Raw Sienna / Lemon Yellow mix with Ultramarine at the top.  The clouds are a mixture of Paynes Grey and Alizarin Crimson.

I love to paint wide expanses of land where you can see for miles.  In hindsight, I think a little figure by the gate may have enhanced it slightly.

I never did any painting yesterday.  You can blame Xbox Live for that.  It's so easy to get distracted!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tuscany in watercolour

Such a beautiful part of the world Tuscany, I'd love to go there one day.  I've managed to keep the foreground uncluttered for a change.  It's so easy to overdo it.
Looking at the blogs of all these oil painters, I think I'll have to invest in some oils soon and finally have a go.  I've only ever painted in watercolours before, mainly because it's so cheap to set up.
Must dash, I'm off to the International Food Fair in Brum for dinner!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Driftwood clock I made

I thought I'd just put this on here for the hell of it.  This is a driftwood clock I made recently.  Every time my dad visits the coast he goes beachcombing for driftwood and anything else the tide has washed in.  You can see some of his stuff if you scroll to the bottom of this page.

I made this clock from some pieces I found drying out in his greenhouse.  The wood is simply nailed together and then it's just simply a hole through the middle for the clock movement I bought cheap on eBay.  I'm hoping to sell them at the car boot alongside some paintings.

Ossaia, Italy in watercolour and Bob Ross DVD

I finally managed to get hold of a Bob Ross DVD from my LoveFilm subscription - I was only on the waiting list 12 months!  I have to say though it was well worth the wait.  I've never tried oils before but he makes it look ridiculously easy.  He's also one of the nicest blokes I've ever seen.  Such a shame he passed away so early.
This painting I found in a book.  I have to admit I've never been to Italy.  To be honest though, it actually reminds me of Somerset.  The hill could be Brent Knoll.  All that's missing is the dirty great M5 motorway running alongside!  I'll be in that neck of the woods soon, scampering around Brean Down.  I may take some paintings with me to the Brean car boot and see what happens.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

"Flooded Fields" watercolour painting

Yet another painting that I copied from a book - I really must get out there and start painting from real life rather than books and photos all the time.  I'm off to Brean for 2 weeks in August and must take the opportunity to get plenty of sketches of the Somerset coast and countryside.

I quite like the sky in this one and the distant trees though I'm still not happy with middle distance trees with plenty of branches showing and little foliage.  I find it a lot easier painting summer trees, putting in plenty of foliage first and then using a rigger for the branches in the gaps.  I suppose I need to study tree shapes a lot more and stop shying away from them.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Is it worth trying to sell paintings at the car boot sale?

To date I've only sold my paintings on eBay and frankly, as with anything else you try and sell on eBay, you only get the bare minimum price for anything.  At a car boot I thought if I sold them unframed to keep the price down, and just had them in mounts then I might just get enough cash to make it worthwhile.
Anyway, with the summer fast approaching and the blue skies hopefully here to stay I may just give it a bash and see what happens.
This watercolour I made up as I went along.  To be honest, I made a complete hash of the original sky and so rewet it and started again.  It's meant to represent somewhere in the Lake District though really could be anywhere.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Crummock Water watercolour painting

I painted this from a photograph kindly sent to me by Keith Tilley.

A winters morning in watercolour

I filmed myself painting this one.  You can see it at my YouTube channel. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Watercolour painting "Winter Farm Track"

The sky here is my usual Raw Sienna wash with some Ultramarine blue visible through the clouds.  The only thing I did different here was to take out some more clouds with a scrunched up tissue just above the horizon.

I think one of the easiest ways of ruining a painting is simply overworking it.  One of best pieces of advice I heard was don't paint over a previously painted area unless you have a specific reason for doing so.  Every stroke of your brush should count for something.  The temptation to do too much can sometimes be overwhelming.

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