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22 December 2021

The Stade No 10 is another composition inspired by the 2009 version of Google Street View. But when I tried to make something of the bleak coach and car park where the Hastings Contemporary now sits I realised the gallery actually makes a better backdrop, its glass-like brick cladding (?) usefully closing off the picture with reflections.

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8 December 2021

Unlike earlier pictures in this series, the main reference for The Stade No 9 was Google Street View. There were seven years to choose from but in most the Google car came down Rock-a-Nore Road when the fishermen’s huts were deep in shade. I’ve gone back to 2009, when the driver got up early and the sun was dramatically striking the huts from the left, and when the new Jerwood Gallery (now Hastings Contemporary) was just a twinkle in an architect’s eye. It’s great to have the gallery, obviously, but it would compromise the view of the far hut in this picture and I can claim historical accuracy in leaving it out.

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26 November 2021

My wastebin is full of discarded yellow masking tape and the acrylic version of Rye Harbour No 25 is finally finished.

Click on the image for close-ups and further information. Also shown below is my original reference photo, taken from half a mile away. The wonderful Google Streetview was a useful supplementary source for architectural structure but the simplified detail and flattened perspective in the painting are features of the original viewpoint.

12 November 2021

Rye Harbour No 25 is essentially a close-up of No 17 in this series. The earlier picture shows five buildings in this row but this one focuses on the William the Conqueror pub, perhaps most famous for being where Eric Ravilious spent a few nights in the 1930s. While here he produced several paintings of Rye Harbour, including a view looking out of that big bay-windowed bedroom at the front.

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3 November 2021

The International Original Print Exhibition opens tomorrow at London’s Bankside Gallery (next door to Tate Modern), running until Sunday 15 October. I’m awed to have my digital print The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 2 included here in such an illustrious company of linocuts, screenprints and etchings, but hopefully this detail shows it is indeed an original print - not a reproduction of the acrylic version but a separate work in its own right, created in vector graphics and printed in a limited edition of 25 in stunning archival inkjet colours on chunky fine art paper.

Click on the image for the whole picture and further information.

22 October 2021

These rollered textures are hard-won, it’s difficult to get a foam roller to do things it wasn’t designed to do, but the acrylic version of Flagstaff Brow was relatively plain sailing. The only serious amount of repainting was for the coastguard cottages.

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15 October 2021

Flagstaff Brow is the fifth of the Seven Sisters cliffs (counting from Cuckmere Haven) and forms the centrepiece of this composition, with the coastguard cottages at Birling Gap and the Belle Tout Lighthouse visible in the distance. I’ve taken some liberties with the footpaths, but in time they do tend to fade away as here and meander absent-mindedly off the cliff edge as more and more of the chalk is surrendered to the sea.

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8 October 2021

The acrylic version of Birling Gap No 3 prompted a rethink of the path and wooded areas in this composition and, departing from the digital version, the curve of the path now echoes the flourish of the cliff face. The Belle Tout lighthouse and the doomed coastguard cottages remain the same.

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1 October 2021

The Stade No 8 is a seagull’s eye view of the huts shown in The Stade No 7. That was the view from halfway up the steep steps to the East Hill, but sometimes you just have to use a seagull … Either that or you have to hunker down and remap all the vanishing points.

22 September 2021

The day after the Masterpiece 100 exhibition launched with the acrylic version of The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 2 gracing the home page, I was pleased to hear that the digital version of the same composition will be shown at the Bankside Gallery (London) as part of this year’s International Original Print Exhibition. The show runs from 3 to 14 November.

The acrylic sold later the same day, so the print has a tough act to follow …

17 September 2021

The online exhibition from the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers returns today as Masterpiece 100. I was pleased to be invited to show two of my paintings again and especially pleased to see one of these, the acrylic version of The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 2, chosen to grace the home page.

10 September 2021

The Seven Sisters cliffs end at Birling Gap, where a row of coastguard cottages is gradually falling into the sea. Beyond this the chalk rises up in a magnificent wave-like flourish, at the top of which sits Belle Tout lighthouse, itself sadly also under threat.

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3 September 2021

Another landscape in portrait format, Hope Gap No 8, this one edging slightly closer to the abstract.

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26 August 2021

The fishermen’s huts at Hastings are famous for being uniformly tall and black … but they have a dazzling array of roofs. Some are red tile, some grey slate, some grey slate with red ridge tiles, all covered by a wealth of lichen in shades of orange and green – topped off by a generous contribution from the seagulls.

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19 August 2021

Two Sisters (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 70 x 4 cm) shows the western end of the Seven Sisters cliffs in East Sussex. When viewed from Seaford Head, almost at 90° to them, the line of cliffs seems to rear up rightwards into the sky.

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13 August 2021

This digital version of Hope Gap No 7 was effectively a byproduct of the acrylic, which is still awaiting a suitable sky for photographing under. The object was to do a landscape in portrait format, for a particular location. The end result may seem rather simple but the struggle to fit into portrait format what at first glance is crying out for landscape format (the clue is in the name) led to many versions and sub-versions.

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5 August 2021

The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 7 focuses on the right-hand section of No 2. The Victorian gasometer was actually one of a pair but I decided you could sometimes have too many gasometers. Sadly the owners seem to agree with me and both are now being demolished.

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29 July 2021

The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 6 shows the view from Scrubbs Lane Bridge on a clear December morning. It’s essentially a close-up of No 2, with some small changes for balance and extra detail.

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20 July 2021

The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 5 is the other half of No 4; the uninvited cyclist tootling onto the stage seemed to require a picture of his or her own. I think the brown flowers are faded buddleia – this is mid-December.

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5 July 2021

“February” is based on a pencil drawing which has been hanging around for four or five months now. The maple on the left has had a hard life and you can see the scars of regular pruning, while the smaller tree on the right is still traumatised by its memory of hurricane-force winds. The broken branch (which helpfully balances the composition) was actually cleared up long ago.

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19 June 2021

The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 4 was to be a slightly different viewpoint on the bridge featured in No 3, but in the event I became drawn to the bank beyond and went for a drastic crop instead. The canal boat flue was only brought in for balance, but I rather like its sinister aspect.

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4 June 2021

I’ve been trying to work out the composition for a large landscape acrylic in portrait format. As you can see I’m not quite there yet, but all the same I rather like this composition – so it’s Hope Gap No 6 (digital).

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23 May 2021

The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 3 is finished, I think. After much pondering I’ve cleaned up the graffiti and sunk all but one of the canal boats.

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8 May 2021

I’ve walked this coastal path between Swanage and Studland in Dorset, but you can only really see the cliffs properly from the sky. So Old Harry No 1 shows a drone’s-eye view, with the eponymous stump of chalk top right.

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28 April 2021

I rarely include figures in my landscapes but the empty canal path in The Grand Union at Kensal Green No 2 seemed to have a particular resonance when I finished it in March last year. I’ve now made various refinements so this is No 2 v2.

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21 April 2021

The Haystack and the Pinnacle (the two stumpy bits on the right) form a sort of curtain raiser to the better known Old Harry Rocks round the corner, not far from Studland in Dorset. My digital prints usually precede the acrylics but in this case it’s come 18 months later – partly because I didn’t know what to do about Bournemouth in the distance. I fudged it in the acrylic but you can’t really do fudge in vector graphics. I’m happy now with the solution.

Close-ups and more information here.

The acrylic version is

15 April 2021

In Rye Harbour No 24 a freely painted base layer of burnt sienna and red iron oxide was intended as an undercoat for the same sunny blue sea and sky as Rye Harbour No 23, remaining totally exposed for the mud beach only. But in the event I couldn’t bring myself to paint over the dark, moody cloudscape which emerged and adapted the rest of the composition to suit.

More info here.

11 April 2021

When you’re struggling to resolve a tricky composition there often comes a point where you have to choose between several options – unless you’re working digitally. With liberal use of Undo, Redo and Save As you can have as many versions as you want. So, following hard on the heels of Rye Harbour No 20 last week, Rye Harbour No 21 and Rye Harbour No 22 gradually widen the view, while Rye Harbour No 23 shifts the focus to the left.

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6 April 2021

The acrylic version of Rye Harbour No 20 follows the digital closely. It’s quite small, 30 x 51 cm, appropriate for a narrow 4° angle of view. Now I’m wondering about zooming in yet further for another picture; those six posts on the beach look quite interesting …

More info here.

2 April 2021

This WW2 pillbox is 200m from the red-roofed hut in Rye Harbour and 200m from the beach, but when viewed from half a mile away the three line up nicely. Rye Harbour No 20 shows a tiny 4° fragment of the view from the main jetty in the harbour proper.

Facts and figures here.

26 March 2021

I’ve taken hundreds of photos in and around Rye Harbour in East Sussex and have derived 18 compositions from these, but the reference material for Rye Harbour No 19 comes courtesy of the otherworldly wide angles of Google StreetView – plus a notional 8m ladder. The left-hand fork leads past the famous red-roofed hut to the beach, the right-hand to a holiday park with an always-open café where, in another life, you could sit in the shade and sip a cool ginger beer.

More info here.

19 March 2021

The acrylic version of Hope Gap No 5 (32 x 47 cm) swaps the yellow flowers in the digital for lots of texture and layering but I’ve kept the wavy line in the foreground, it balances the footpath top left and helps to reinforce the picture’s abstract credentials. That’s part of the Seven Sisters on the right.

More here.

17 March 2021

I was pleased to hear today that Tottenham Lock (acrylic, 55 x 65 cm) has been longlisted for the Jackson's Painting Prize. The shortlist will be announced on 31 March.

More on this picture here.

12 March 2021

The composition for Hope Gap No 5 (vector graphics, archival inkjet print in a limited edition of 25, sizes variable) was arrived at almost by accident while experimenting with something else. Sometimes it’s better not to think too much. An acrylic version is currently struggling but may yet emerge into the day. First I need to paint out the yellow flowers bottom left, which haven’t translated well into acrylic.

Facts and figures here.

2 March 2021

This acrylic version of Burton Down No 3 (35 x 46 cm) follows the composition of the digital closely, with the addition of lots of sanded texture and a challenging bright green base coat.

More here.

26 February 2021

The third composition in my Burton Down series tips the balance a little away from abstraction while still, hopefully, achieving the required flattening of space. Vector graphics archival inkjet print in limited edition of 25, sizes variable. An acrylic version is on my easel waiting for a bright cloudy sky to photograph it under.

More info here.

19 February 2021

After an awful lot of fiddling, particularly on the foreground, I think I’ve arrived – at Cocking Down, digital print in edition of 25, variable sizes. The key thing was to capture the way the areas of woodland on the far hillside float like giant schooners on a sea of grass. Sounds like there’s a poem in there too …

Facts and figures here.

11 February 2021

Moving on from Burton Down (see last post), Cocking Down was at the opposite end of our day’s walk along the South Downs Way in 2016. Four preparatory drawings taken from a growing pile show the steep drop down to where we caught the bus back to Chichester and the even steeper climb beyond which we agreed was best admired from a distance. Work on a digital print continues.

28 January 2021

Burton Down No 2 – the acrylic (46 x 54 cm). I took a chance on a bright green base coat, which seems to have paid off. It’s vibrating nicely in the freshly ploughed brown fields and the cornfield in the foreground – plus the sky, with a bit of help from a good sanding down.

More here.

23 January 2021

Burton Down No 2 (digital print, variable sizes in limited edition of 25) – another attempt at distilling the essence of this South Downs landscape of neat woods and fields. Work continues on an acrylic version …

Facts and figures here.

15 January 2021

New year, new subject – the South Downs in West Sussex. These rounded chalk hills spectacularly meet the English Channel in craggy white cliffs, but inland they are all rolling curves chopped neatly into woods and fields. This is Burton Down (they all have names), here seen from the top of the steep climb up the South Downs Way onto Littleton Down opposite. An acrylic may well follow this digital version.

More here.

7 January 2021

New year, new hope. This is Hope Gap No 4, the vector graphics version of the acrylic finished in December. That’s hope gap as in a gap offering hope (in this case, escape from the tides), an appropriate symbol in these troubled times …

More here.

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