Painting in 30 Deg C Heat

I am off work this week so planning to go out every day with the paints.  As the week has gone on the heat and the dust as gradually bleached out all the colours.  I have never been to the South of France but I assume the air is much clearer so the colours remain.

The photo below is one I did early morning before the the sun really came up.  I could not find any shade to paint the second one so the colours are a bit out. However as a bonus I met the famer who kindly gave me permission to paint elsewhere on his land. Appreciated!

Saturday Knapwell



Still Painting

It has been rather a struggle to get out painting over recent weeks.  The rain does not normally worry me, but the general greyness does sometimes dampen my enthusiasm. Any hint of the sun and I am off!  Over Cambs

I have been tempted to try painting a few sunrises/sunsets. I alway thought they look rather naff, but by the time I am home from work it is that time of the day anyway. Looking at some of painting by Roos Schuring has changed my mind.  There are lots of challenges, both artist and practical which means it will be a while until I post any.

I am not a fan of the blue skies that we were treated with a few weeks ago.  I felt sorry for the artists taking part in the first Cambridge Paint out who had to deal with scorching conditions in the city centre.  At least I was near some water.



Cambridge Open Studios

A busy time at the moment, preparing for Cambridge Open Studios , the fifth year I have been involved in this excellent organisation.  I am currently preparing the twenty or so extra picture frames that I have ordered, and selecting pictures to hang.

The most enjoyable part of the weekends is talking to visitors and demonstrating my approach to oil painting. You would be very welcome – see My studio

The Last of Summer

Although I enjoy painting Autumn and Winter I have been out making the most of the last of the summer weather.  Below is photo  of  sunrise painting – luckily finished by 7am when the fishermen arrived.St Ive sunrise

The colours are not a garish as in the photo, and once the tree line sorted back in the studio I was pleased with the result.

A few weeks ago I needed to be in London to visit family so took time out to paint on the Thames near Kew Bridge.  New experiance for me, and I struggled with the bright sunlight people taking my photo every few minutes. However after a fair bit of work later I think at least one will be worth framing.  I plan to go back to the Thames later in the year when the light is more interesting, but the weather colder.

Strand on Green

strand on the Green 2

Finally last week I went down to Mersea Island for the first time. A really interesting place to paint, in fact rather overwelming  so I spent more time walking around sketching rather than painting,  It is great that it is still a working harbour rather than a fossilied tourist trap. Of all my recent trips this was prehaps the most rewarding as a place to return to.

Mersea 1

On the way back from Mersea Island I stopped to paint a view I knew of Manningtree.  Apart for being rather blue the result was worth framing. However it was not particularly enjoyable as this chap decided to talk to me, or at me, for the whole 40 minutes or so.  I normally quite like some interaction with people walking past but this guy could just not take the hint that I was trying to concentrate.

Manningtree SunsetI hope this blog gives you an idea of some of the places I visit to paint. However most of my painting are still done within half an hour of home.  With the days getting shorter I have to plan carefully and paint quickly to complete a painting before of after work.   The paintings that I think work best are of places I know well but with an interesting light.  I sold a painting at the Cambridge Open Exhibtion this weekend of an allotment I drive past everyday, but one morning the light was just special.  I also have some paintings in the East Anglian Landscape Exhibition   which are similar.




I am still here

Not posted anything for a while; getting out painting always takes priority.  I am not a fan of that all over blue light during the hot summer, but it did mean long evenings with that special golden light as the sun sinks.   Autumn is my favorite time for painting, especially when the Rivers and Fens flood.  I have been evaluating my paintings, and my approach, comparing them with artists I admire, past and present.  I can see things I would do differently, in particular with compositions and brush strokes.  It will be a while until changes are apparent, but I am really motivated to push on.  I was up at 5am this morning to paint the dawn as the weather man correctly predicted rain at 9am!  I will post the image soon.

I have invested in a French Box Easel as an alternative to my current plein-air painting set up.  The main reason being that it will allow me to paint a wider and larger range of paintings on location.  It is pretty heavy when fully loaded with paints so might be a challenge to run fast when cows chase me, which in not unknown.
I have has some paintings selected for a regional show East Anglian Landscapes  in Bury St Edmund’s. It is a large show so it will be interesting to see how it is hung, but it is excellent to have another professionally run Open exhibition in the area.

Below are some selected images from recent months – all painting I have fond memories of battling with.

BranksomePike and EelNear Eastcote


This is Not Cambridgeshire

I recently took a week away to paint on the Isle of Skye – very different to Cambridgeshire.  Obviously there are more mountains but there is also more water and more midges. I went well prepared and had a great time. It took time to get used to judging the height of hills and getting mountains to look solid whilst also distant.


I spent a fair amount of time sketching rather than painting, and then using them for oils studies back “at base”  when “Storm Hector” kept me in for a day. A couple of examples below.

I came home with about a dozen almost completed paintings, but more importantly lots of material that will keep me busy for a while.

I have already booked to go back next year, this time in October.  That might mean more rain, but also more colours apart from the sometimes very dominant green. Since returning I have still found painting in Cambridgeshire intriguing.  I once heard a quote from someone from round here  ” the trouble with mountains is that they get in the way of the view”.