abstract still life – warm up exercise

I’m developing on the last project (still life). My aim is to produce something non-representational; I’ve been inspired by a recent exhibition of work by Ivon Hitchens at the Goldmark Gallery in Uppingham.

The starting point is an enlarged section of a charcoal sketch of the still life. Today I did a series of small sketches in acrylics as a ‘warm-up’. Not sure where this is leading at this stage, but I’ll ponder on them tonight and decide what works best.

still life project

Here is some of the work I’ve done relating to a course taken at Embrace Arts, Leicester. The topic was still life. We were asked to select unimportant objects. I explored a few different selections including things from the garden shed, small items taken from my mother’s desk and some pots and a bottle.  I discovered Morandi, I thought more about Bonnard and use of shadows, and explored using cool and warm colours together more. I’m pleased with what I’ve done during the course and I began to stray out of my comfort zone a little.



Lime Trees and Autumn Leaves

I photographed some leaves and then painted  a colour grid. Thought the colours were surprisingly spring like!

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

colour grid

colour grid

leaves on the grid

leaves on the grid

messing about with colours

messing about with colours

Autumnal lime trees have a wonderful contrast between the dark branches and yellow leaves. Particularly striking against the blue sky. So I took a few photos….

lime 007

lime 009

Also did several pastel sketches and watercolours – trying to capture the intensity of the leaves and branches.

autumn leaves 005 autumn leaves 001 autumn leaves 002 autumn leaves 003 lime 02 lime 04 lime 03


St Andrews Church project

Here are various sketches made in our local church in Aylestone. The sketches were in charcoal and pastels. I’ve developed some images using the shapes of the arches.  I’ve tried to learn from the current Paul Klee exhibition at Tate Modern.  The image I like best is the last one, which is a collage.

 st andrews 01 st andrews 03st andrews 02

st andrews 04st andrews 06st andrews 05

st andrews 08  st andrews 11  st andrews 13

St Andrews 10st andrews 12

st andrews 14

project 6 – Manet late flower paintings

I’ve looked through a book of flower paintings by Manet and used these as a starting point for some collages:-

Now I’ve just finished an oil sketch of some flowers from the garden. My aim was to paint fairly swiftly and capture the intensity of the colour (hence the dark background) and suggest the shape of the flowers.  

oil sketch - flowers from the garden, 16" x 12"

oil sketch – flowers from the garden, 16″ x 12″


To conclude (for now anyway) being inspired by old family slides, I have painted in oils a copy of a slide of me, Mum and my brother Paul. We are sitting on the sea wall at Sutton-on-Sea. I think it’s 1958. My intention was to capture the quality of the Kodachrome colour and the brightness of the sun. Comparing the two images below, I see I could have used more contrast in my oil painting.

This is the slide I worked from:

Sutton-on-Sea 1958

Sutton-on-Sea 1958

and this is my effort:

kodachrome 003


Walton ’63

I’ve been making digital copies of family slides using Veho software and scanning device. I’m particularly fond of the snaps of our family holidays in Walton-on-the-Naze back in the 1960’s. But it’s the nature of slides that they stay hidden in boxes for most of the time. I wondered about using these images as material for some paintings, and if they worked, they could be on display, rather than tucked away.
I chose three quirky snaps, of Mum, Dad and one of me and my brother standing on a breakwater. I decided to keep the wonky horizons and washed out colour and used watercolour as this would capture the brightness of a slide transparency.

Next, I’m either going to re-do these as a triptych,  including painting the slide frames so they are all in one picture, or I’m going to use another holiday snap of me, my brother and Mum, which was taken using Kodachrome and has fantastically rich colour.