This week saw the beginning of a new term at art group. I must admit to missing it greatly over the summer. Somehow I find it difficult to paint at home in the evenings and weekends. Life seems a bit busy and all the other members of the group seem to have the same problem. Not a good plan if I am going to try and paint for a little profit in my retirement. I have a little time to improve J

I have decided to enter an acrylic stage. Watercolours are great but they do frustrate me at times as they don’t want to do what I want them to. Acrylics on the other hand are great when I make a bit of a mistake. I do need to get my pallet arrangement sorted though as clearing up is a bit of a bugger.

The painting here was done from a photo taken on holiday in Santorini. I must say after a while of no activity, I am pleased with the result. I am rejuvenated.

We have recently returned from a week on the beautiful island of Santorini. This was our first visit and it will not be our last. I was determined to do some sort of artwork on the holiday and to that end I packed some watercolour pencils and some water brushes, these are synthetic brushes with a built in water reservoir. I have never used this kit before so the experience was a bit of an experiment. The pencils were fine, but I found that I couldn’t get the intensity of colour I can with watercolour tube paints. However I did enjoy the experience and the relaxed experience of painting in the sun. My main problem with this was the water dried on the paper almost as soon as it touched it!

My best two images are shown here and as ever, thanks for looking.



Last weekend we visited Preston for a spot of shopping. This gave me the opportunity to make my way to the station with a view to finding a subject to paint. There was an organised train spotting group at the station so I didn’t feel that out of place. I would like to state here that I am not a train spotter nor do I own an anorak!

Parked up at the end of the station in a siding was Virgil Tracy, a class 57 loco. I subsequently looked it up afterwards. It just shouted out to be photographed and painted. I had to wait until the train spotters had left it alone as it did seem to excite them.

The resulting painting is shown here… I am trying to paint at home as the art group has now finished until the middle of September. 

As I mentioned I have researched the loco and the link HERE will take you to a video of the train in action. A bit sad I know, but there you go.

As ever…. thanks for taking the time to look.


I have just discovered a brilliant and free piece of software called MyPaint. This allows for a very good painting experience with a wide range of pens and brushes with loads of options for customising these. I have used ArtRage before which is a great piece of software, but I just feel the simple interface and the wide range of features, particularly with watercolours, which ArtRage tried to include, will lead me to use MyPaint more.

The image below is my first attempt and I do expect to get better, but the result is better than my first try with ArtRAge.

The hard thing I find with this sort of painting is getting the colours right. However the spin off is that there is no clearing up afterwards.

As ever thanks for looking.


This week at the Art Group I attempted a watercolour based on a photo I took in Wetherby in Yorkshire. I liked the view because it posed a perspective challenge, and it was a very sunny day with some very dark shadows.

I used to use trace down paper which basically lets you trace the picture before painting. However I have dumped this and am enjoying freehand drawing before beginning my paintings. Overall I was happy with the effort even though it does look a bit off centre. I didn’t rotate the picture in photoshop before posting and my camera skills are a bit lacking!


This morning we had an extra session which was a life class. This is the first time I have painted a life model and to be honest I, along with others in the group were a bit nervous, much more than the model who is very used to this.

I made lots of sketches throughout the morning with the model in a variety of poses. The morning culminated in a 45min pose which turned out to be my most successful drawing and is shown here. The difference with life drawing as opposed to landscapes and buildings, is that on a building it doesn’t really matter if a window is not in the correct position or the right size. But get a foot the wrong size or a limb out of proportion on a person and the whole thing is messed up.


As ever…thanks for looking.

This week at art group I thought I would have a go at a self portrait. The first version was a pencil sketch. The outcome is not that bad even though it looks a bit grainy as it was done on watercolour paper. This only took about half an hour so I attempted a watercolour version with just one colour. As a first attempt at a watercolour portrait I must admit to being happy with it, even though it makes me look a bit mean. Finally and to use up my paint at the end of the evening I completed a quick ten minute watercolour sketch of some unknown girl. This came out better than I expected as I did work really fast.

All this was done in preparation for a life model we will be drawing next week. I am looking forward to this experience even though I am a bit nervous about it. Results to follow….if they are any good!

As ever…thanks for looking.

Self Portrait

Unknown Woman

This painting was done at art group this week and is a view in Manchester City Centre from St Anne’s Square towards Harvel Nicholls. I took the original image on my phone, uploaded it to Flickr to enable me to get it from the computer easily for printing.

My aim in this painting was to try and produce a very loose watercolour that was applied on top of a pen sketch. I made sure the perspective was correct before drawing then produced a 15 minute sketch. The colour was added in about 45 minutes to give a very quick picture that hopefully the viewer can add the details for themselves.

The group finishes for the summer in a couple of weeks which is a little devastating as I do find it hard doing things at home. I am determined to ensure that I do something at least weekly. If I don’t the blog will be a bit pointless.

As ever…thanks for looking.

From St Anne's Square in Manchester

It was art group last night. We meet at the Civic Hall in the centre of Whalley Village in Lancashire. There are only about ten of us who meet each week and everybody does their own thing in different media. This free approach makes the meetings interesting as we don’t have to follow a teacher. We do have half an hour to learn new techniques at the beginning of the session, but after that we get on with our own thing.

This week we had to choose one word from a list we were given, then produce a quick sketch representing that word. The word I chose was ‘Peeping’ and the resulting 10 minute sketch is shown below.


Once this exercise was over I started on the main subject of the evening which was a watercolour of Rye in East Sussex from across the marshes. This was completed in about an hour, and to be honest I am quite happy with this one and the new larger format I am working in seems to fit a more loose style of painting. I am sort of beginning to get a style and I don’t really want to get into a deep comfort zone. The result is shown below.


As this only took an hour to complete, our tutor Jean, took me out of the comfort zone and gave me an image to reproduce. I eventually want to get into portrait painting and the picture below is a watercolour sketch that only took about 15 minutes including the initial sketch. I was amazed by the outcome. Working quick and in one colour really worked and made me use dark colours to get the shadow atmosphere.

Once again… thanks for looking.


This watercolour is my latest effort done at art group last night. Once again I painted this in a larger format (16″ x 12″) and it gives the opportunity to use big brushes and lots of paint. The painting only took one hour to complete including the initial sketch. I find that if I take any longer I over work the painting and it starts turning out like mud. If I was to change anything I would make the distant hills more blue, but to be fair the original does look better than the photograph which seems to draw the life out the picture.

As ever thanks for looking.

The Seven Sisters East Sussex

This painting was done a couple of weeks ago and is a reworking in a larger format of a smaller painting. As with every painting there are things I like about it and things I don’t. Tree continue to be my nemesis and I just can’t seem to get them right. I tens to overwork the foliage and this has happened to the tree on the left. It looks a bit smudged because I tried to take some out with a wet brush. I was close to ruining it. Since doing this painting I have done a lot of research into painting trees so I hope subsequent efforts will begin to see improvements. We will see tonight at art group.

Thanks for looking.

Windmill with reflections