Monday, September 25, 2017



Priming cards

The cards are cut from mat boards. I prime them with a mixture of  95% linseed oil , 3% turps and 2% oil paint for the first layer, then leave it to dry for a week. I recoat the cards with the same mixture a fortnight later.

 I wait another month then coat it in a layer which is about 90% titanium white and 10% turpentine.

I let it dry for at month before painting on it.

I rarely have problems with either sinkage or cracking, and have been using this formula for about five years.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

A photo from Bucharest, becoming an artist


Bucharest, 2002

Here I am over twenty years ago twenty in Bucharest in 1992. I had graduated from Edinburgh University two years before and was teaching English in Bayswater, London.

I'd taken the decision not to continue making art but to focus on teaching to make a living and get on the career ladder That decision showed a failure of self-awareness on my part, albeit an understandable one: I can teach, and that offered a much more secure financial future, but it isn't a first instinct in the way making art is.

In addition, I thought that the pleasure I got from travel was merely a phase, and that I could happily develop a life in London as permanent fixed resident, with all the usual accouterments and relationships.

In both these decisions I was mistaken. And I compounded the effect of these misjudgments because instead of accepting my nature- that of a nomadic and creative individual- I waged a campaign against my instincts and tried to force myself into a condition I did not suit, throwing moralist arguments about the "better good of society" or, "duty" or "career" at myself. I had had some ideas that "happiness came not from pursuit of suit of self interest but in the fulfillment " of duty (which is not a direct quote from Saint-Exupery, but could well be).

In short, had thought that my enjoyment of making art could be relegated to the status of a hobby and I tried to suppress my desire to do so.

Eventually I came to my senses.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

View into a bedroom; Facebook page


View into a bedroom, oil on card, 12 x 14 cm

I have now a Facebook page specifically related to my artwork.

 I shall continue to put work on my personal page which contains pretty much the entire catalogue of pochades. However, it is recommended that artists create specific pages relating to work and here it is-


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Table, bottle, The Old Patagonia Express


Table, bottle, The Old Patagonia Express, plate, oil on card, 13 x 14 cm


Monday, September 18, 2017

A bowl on a tray and a plate with apples; painting in monochrome


A bowl on a tray and a plate with apples, oil on card, 11 x 13 cm

I had the idea that on one of the trips I should esshew colour entirely and just work with black and white,  or dark sepia, this sustaining a deeper understanding of this fascinating area.

I like the way subtleties of brush movement, or of texture or tone become highlighted and how using black and white tips one into abstraction. Perhaps London, already monochrome in Portland Stone and steel sky would be the ideal place to experiment?

Colour is heady and tends to obliterate appreciation of anything but itself. It's like a drug, and like a drug you need to take more and more for the same effect. That does you no harm, though appreciation of anything grows with its absence.

A puritanical, or perhaps merely ascetic, side to my nature, Scottish or Danish in origin, lends me to suspect any too easily won aesthetic pleasure.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

A bowl, a spoon, tomatoes, papers


A bowl, a spoon, tomatoes, papers, oil on card, 12.5 x 14.2 cm


Saturday, September 16, 2017