15th April 2018 - 0 comments
I seem to be making a lot of birthday presents this year, planning photo shoots when the children are at home and Mum's away, and well enough in advance. It's like a military operation! Hopefully, between us, we can make it look easy. I'm always glad to have a dog in the picture. They mark the time so well and are such important family members - and I love painting them. Simba is looking every inch a Lion King.
This canvas is about half way through, I guess, and photographed to send to a client by way of a progress report. One month to go before the big day - Mum's going to be 50.

And here we are a week or so later.. Not far to go now. Every brush stroke is making a huge difference. The key will be stopping at the right time, keeping the paintwork fresh and avoiding it becoming overworked.

And here it is finished and ready to go. A huge pleasure to work on a large canvas. This is a meter tall so will make a real focal point in the room when it's hung.

The Old Ways
20th December 2017 - 0 comments
I have been neglecting my digital photography in favour of film. It's taken long enough, but at last I have moved on to colour, which I develop and scan at home. I have been shooting on the Grandfather of compact cameras, a delicious Leica iii from 1936, which I found with a 50mm lens, all black paint and nickel. After a lot of searching I was lucky enough to find a good condition 35mm lens for it, so along with the 50, 90 and 135 I have a comprehensive set, and the fun began. I fell in love with the low contrast images that the pre-war, uncoated lenses produce, and the idiosyncrasies of the all mechanical camera that Barnack designed around a 5 foot roll of what was motion picture film at the time.
It is a perfect antidote to modern life, and renders the world instantly nostalgic.

This is the camera

Here's the whole kit..

This was shot on Cinestill 800T, a tungsten balanced cinema film from Kodak that is treated and rolled into canisters by some American artisans.

Here's a painting I made from the shot.

And this is my favourite shot from the Goodwood Revival this year. It's a capable little camera, even after 80 years
Stained Glass Window
22nd August 2017 - 0 comments
I've been having great fun designing a stained glass window for a client in Surrey. It's been an unusual commission for me, not something I've done before and quite a learning curve, incorporating all the elements in a coherent composition that will transfer to glass... I'll put up some photos once it's been installed in the church.

04th June 2017 - 0 comments
My computer has fried itself. I'm left with a seven year old phone. Surprisingly, it works just fine. I can take a photograph with it and upload it to a blog post. It reminds me that paint and canvas are still relevant, at least they still serve a purpose. To me, they are unsurpassed in rendering portraits in the broadest sense. Doodles by humans. Landscapes and figure studies. I don't paint sports cars. I love to photograph them, and drive them, but they never turn up in my paintings. The medium just doesn't lend itself. Figures and landscapes. Limbs and teeth, ditches and far horizons, coloured oil can't be beaten.

Landscape in progress..
31st May 2017 - 0 comments
A customer has been in touch wondering if I have any large landscapes for sale, as the ones on my site are quite small. I tend to keep them small as the process is extremely fallible and it's difficult to control paint on larger canvases. I decided I would make an attempt at documenting the process, so here are some time-lapse videos and stills of the painting as it progresses.

Sure enough, I couldn't leave it alone. Here's a follow-up timelapse. As always happens with these things, there is a point two thirds of the way through the video where it all comes together nicely, and then I carry on and ruin it. It is ALL about stopping at the right time!

Balzano's Show
29th May 2017 - 0 comments
I've been waiting all year for my chance to hang prints of my portraits in Balzano's in Cambridge. It's such a lovely deli/cafe and being just up the road makes for a perfect venue for a bit of a show. Prints will be up for a month so please drop in to have a look, only be warned that the meats and cheeses, breads and pastries and all the rest will be hard to resist!

Buy one, get one free!
13th May 2017 - 0 comments
So I am starting a blog - hurrah! I hope it's entertaining or interesting to somebody out there. I've had the site for over a decade so it's about time.
Drawing commissions are a rarity for me, people tend to want paintings. The process is similar but differs in one crucial respect: Whereas with a painting, I can work for a month on one canvas and it will evolve, drawings, particularly of tiny children, have to happen quickly on the paper or they start to look overdone.
My most recent customer couldn't choose between two versions of his young daughter so I had two framed for him in return for some web development advice which was long overdue.
As a result I have a point by point plan for reaching more customers and he has a Christmas present in the bank, all framed and ready.