Norway, fjord – coursework – soft pastels – large!

At long last I’ve completed my fourth assignment for POP1 (Practise of Painting), I am now heading into the final stretch and the bit I’ve been most looking forward to, so whoopee doo for me hey!?

I decided to do a large (the brief was for something about 90x60cm) soft pastels landscape (that was also in the brief) and chose as my subject a scene from a trip I did to Norway a couple of years ago. This is how it ended up:

‘Norway, fjord’ soft pastels on 100cmx70cm Pastelmat

I ordered special paper from Clairefontaine in a sienna tint for this work and it’s really quite large. I have had quite a fight getting quotes to frame it that are below £200 – most of the framers I’ve spoken to want up to £300 to frame it, which is a bit much. Anyway, I’ve found someone in Norwich and hopefully going to take it there soon, it will still cost me over £100 to frame but I think will b e worth it. I will take a photo when it’s on the wall with furniture so you can get the idea of scale.

Gnarled old trees – soft pastels

I love Wales! I go there as often as I can to visit my aunts and uncle, cousins and assorted hangers on. I’m not Welsh (at least I don’t think there is any Welsh in my immediate past) but I adore the place. This little sketch was inspired by a memory I have of walking about ‘on the top’ of a steep sheep covered hill, coming across these two old trees huddled together against the wind.

‘Old Gnarled trees on a Welsh hillside’ soft pastels on Pastelmat about A4

It’s in my shop over here

Be your easiest self

‘Be your easiest self. My work isn’t angry or shocking because I’m not.’

Brian Rutenberg. From his book ‘Clear Seeing Space’ page 288 – Meetings

For many years I’ve had the misconception that in order for my work to have any degree of artistic merit and clout, it must be dark and angry, which is why I have battled to find my own voice – that’s not what I’m about.  I’m not a cynical nihilist (a la Gerhard Richter), I don’t have a cross to bear or a point to prove, I’m not out to save the world.  I just want to paint. I want to feel the paint or any other art medium on my hands every day, I don’t want to do anything else, never have.   I want to paint things that make me happy and in turn make the people who view them happy too. 

I like creating non-representational paintings, many times they end up being a big mess.   Is that then how I was feeling that day?  A big emotional mess?  I have had days, sometimes running into weeks, where everything I painted was a waste of time and effort (at least I thought so at the time).  I’ve struggled with something just there at the edge of my grasp, battled to pull the truth out of what it is I’m trying to convey and it’s felt like I was trying to ram the proverbial square peg into a round hole.  But this is not lost effort, I’ve come to realise that now.  It’s experience, it’s learning, it’s the wonderful job of being an artist.  

When you create a painting, no matter whether it’s a drawing or a painting with actual paint, you are projecting your history, your knowledge of the world, your feelings about the world and your fears of the world into that painting.  Whether you like it or not, your subconscious creeps in and forces you to make little signs.   You might not ever even see those signs but when someone stands in front of your work, they are witnessing first hand how you were feeling when you painted that picture.  They are picking up on all the little hidden signs and messages that your subconscious self has forced you to include in the artwork.  It’s a bit like magic, almost smoke and mirrors really.  With your art, you are transmitting a message to the world, no matter what the subject matter of the painting or drawing is, a part of you is reaching out and trying to touch another person, another mind and trying to make a connection on some deep primordial level. 

And you just thought that drip you made with the cerulean blue was a slip-up.

Brian Rutenberg’s book on Amazon:

Light at the end of the lane – Soft pastels

I took inspiration for this little study from an image I saw on the Internet, it’s not from my own source photos. I used Sennelier, Rembrandt and Art Discount soft pastels on Pastelmat for this one:

‘Light at the end of the lane’ Soft pastels on Pastelmat about A4

WIP x 2

I’m busy trying my very best to do art every day at the moment, it doesn’t always end up being anything I can display on here but I’m working, that’s the main thing. in any event, I am busy with these two pieces at the moment, they are both about 50cm x 40cm on repurposed stretched canvas (that was a process in and of itself let me tell you!).

‘Out there somewhere’ WIP 50x40cm mixedmedia on stretched canvas
‘Out there somewhere 2 WIP 50X40cm mixed media on stretched canvas

I have used acrylics, pastels, inks, alcohol, red tissue paper collage. The tissue paper was used by OCA (Uni for Creative Arts) to package up my coursework manual. I knew i’d find a good use for it one day.

No Middleman Art Gallery

I’m really pleased to announce that the No Middleman Art gallery, which is a project of Edge of Humanity magazine, is now featuring a selection of my work in their Portfolio section. Here is the link

Er …

Sorry to annoy my subscribers with the constant site changes, i am just in the process of editing the pages etc as i am aiming to pitch my work to interior designers in my area and have been told to make a few changes. Once I’ve done it all, I will delete this post. Just by way of explanation … 🙂 Scusie me …

Paintings for sale – presentation on YouTube

Edit: this video has now been removed from YouTube. I will be putting up another one in the New Year, with work that’s currently available.

Glenfinnan monument – soft pastels

I was in this beautiful spot last year and have many reference photos. I decided to do a study in soft pastels yesterday, as I received some new Sennelier landscape colours and had to give them a whirl!

Red Kite – Soft pastels

Another small painting done today, this time I used watercolours, soft pastels and tinted charcoal pencils for this study of a Red Kite, also available from my shop:

‘Red Kite’ watercolours, soft pastels and tinted charcoal pencils on Pastelmat card +- A4

Poppies – soft pastel

I’m really loving Pastelmat card/paper. Here’s a small painting I did yesterday but forgot to upload! This is also available at my shop:

‘Poppies’ soft pastels on Pastelmat +- A4

I used various soft pastels makes for this little painting but I do find that the Sennelier brand is becoming my favourite.

Soft pastels on Pastelmat

I got me some Pastelmat paper this week and a few new soft pastels (budget brand – Art Discount, they’re not bad though). Did some plein air work (as part of course exercises) today – a scene in our local wood, very early morning. Obviously wasn’t going for realism, just an impression of the atmosphere of the place.

Early morning wood – soft pastels on Pastelmat paper – +-A4

Skimming the Surface

Decided to do some abstracts over the weekend, as I am doing a lot of landscape work in oils and other medium at the moment for coursework and the acrylics were getting a bit neglected. I tried out working in a series – doing two paintings on a similar theme/colour palette.

Skimming the Surface 1 – acrylics on paper – =- A3

Skimming the Surface 2 – acrylics on paper +- A3

Both available on my shop over here

Brush pen work

I’ve been interested in brush pens, ever since I got the ‘greys’ set of Tombow pens for coursework a while ago. I obtained a Pentel Pocket Brush pen (comes with 2 refills) yesterday via uncle Amazon and have been fiddling around with it.

Tombow and Pentel brush pens on scrap Clairefontaine paper

I wonder if anyone else in my circle of WP mates use brush pens and if they know anything about the ARTEZA brand? Tombow are a bit expensive (I was going to get a range of colours to take with me on holiday soon for sketching purposes). ARTEZA brand products keep popping up in my search results for brush pens and I’d be interested to know if they are any good?

Keep safe peeps

River light

Inspired by a photo my grandson took on his holiday yesterday … they are in the Peak District. I was trying to go for a very loose style with the brushwork and lots of water mixed in with the paint.

River Light

Acrylics on stretched canvas.

50x45x1cm or +- 19x15x 1/2″

Not for sale.

Rape Seed, Tyrell’s Wood

Been itching to do a study of this scene for a while now, one of my favourite places hereabouts.

‘Rape Seed, Tyrell’s Wood’

Acrylics on stretched canvas. 60cm x 45cm x 1cm +- 24″x18″x1/2″ ready to hang

Available to buy on my shop here.

Some advice?

I was contacted by the curator of an organisation called ‘Edge of Humanity’ magazine a while back and was asked to contribute a series of images of my work for their ‘No Middleman Gallery’. I am so suspicioius these days of anything that may or may not resemble a scam but from what I’ve been able to see online, these establishments seem to be genuine. Has anyone in my circle of WordPress friends come across this lot before, could you offer any comment that might help me? The scope and standard of artwork in this virtual gallery of theirs is mindblowing, can’t imagine why they would want my stuff!!! 🙂

Surf’s Up

‘Surf’s Up’ 7″x5″ Encaustic wax medium on Encausticbord

This little piece was inspired by the wonderful Norfolk coastline. I used superior grade encaustic beeswax and damar resin medium (sourced and imported from the US), as well as resin pigment inks and encaustic paints. The wave effect was produced using a thin application of imported shellac which was then heated to produce the delicate lace-like patterns as seen in the close up image below.

close up of texture effects

I am falling for this encaustic technique – so will be working on some more pieces this week, while I have the house to myself!

You can find this piece in my shop. I. don’t charge for shipping or packaging.

Kelp – work in progress


Acrylics, inks, collage and gels on large stretched canvas 120x100x4cm


‘Kelp’ in a room – for perspective

This has ended up being a bit of a work in progress, I am doing some more tweaking on it and will publish the final piece soon.


I have set up a small shop here and will be adding selected paintings to it on an ongoing basis. I am pleased to announce that I sold two paintings yesterday!