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”.



Hot Day Holywell

Just had to get out painting yesterday although not a fan of blue skies. The painting turned out to be rather a “green monster” but plan to add a couple of figures and maybe sort out some of the tones once back home. Surprisingly few people around with the normal problems with out of control dogs, and people asking ” if I stand here will I be in the painting”.  However the most surprising people often  ask intelligent and thoughtful questions, which helps make the experience enjoyable. I plan to be out painting most evening for the next few weeks to make the most of the weather.Holywell 5 may a