Wednesday, 10 September 2014

London in the Rain!

It's probably about time I posted some pictures of the London paintings I created after a visit in May...

The weather was not on the side of someone taking photographs but I bought an umbrella and explored some favourite sights: Tower of London, Big Ben, The Gherkin, Westminster Bridge. 

With the streets covered in rain I played around with composing reflections. One good thing about wet weather is that you are never short of light. 

Once I'd painted the images and had them at the editing/combining stage I experimented heavily with skies. The effect of combining photograph with paint has in these pieces had some energetic results. 

Also, just for fun, there's an animal hiding in every picture. Enjoy! 

#45 View of Tower Bridge, London

#46 On Tower Bridge, London

#47 Big Ben in the Rain, London

#48 30 St Mary Axe, London

#49 View from Westminster Bridge, London

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Gateshead and South Shields

Here are four images I created on recent travels in South Shields and Gateshead. In #41 Marsden Rock the layering of the original sky over the painted layer has created a subtle yet dramatic effect. Also here you will see I've brought in some wildlife photographed in the region as a small compositional element.

The Marsden painting shows nature in a picturesque way. In #42 Angel of The North from the A1 I took a different approach - showing the landmark in the not so aesthetic way you would normally view it. Traffic crowds the image and the statue itself only occupies a small part of the frame.

A major focal point in #43 The Lakeshore Railroad, South Shields is the miniature train and driver of the foreground. Station platform, trees and smoke cloud recede into quick flourishes of paint.

Probably the most successful of this set is #44 Portrait of Ruby at Gibside, Gateshead. As the trees loom overhead and the perspective draws the eye inward a small figure runs into the foreground. Despite her size in the image the space around Ruby gives her real presence.

# 41 Marsden Grotto, South Shields

#42 Angel of the North from the A1, Gateshead

#43 The Lakeshore Railroad, South Shields

#44 Portrait of Ruby at Gibside, Gateshead

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A Portrait Request

I was approached to create a painted portrait by someone who'd been enjoying the landscape work posted on my Facebook page ( The challenge of a portrait was different to that posed by the prior work - maintaining a loose feel to the brush work but still retaining facial details was to be tricky. However, having painted the image and scanned it in I was able to use many layers to achieve the desired combination with the original photograph. As usual the image was printed to canavs at 60 x 40 cm and the customer was very happy with it. Particularly pleasing was that friends who also saw this portrait made some requests of their own - I'll be posting these once they've been given as gifts.

#40 Portrait in Durham


In York the intention was to create views that featured the famous historic architecture as seen from the reality of everyday life. Most successful in this set are probably #36 and #39 - both paintings show you a glimpse of iconic architecture amongst shops, pavement and even a bus stop.

#36 York Minster from Low Petergate 

#37 York Minster from Duncombe Place 

#38 Rowers under Lendal Bridge, York 

#39 York Castle from Tower Street Bus Stop

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Prices for Canvas Prints

A few people have asked about prices for canvas prints so here's a breakdown:

30 x 20 cm - £20
40 x 30 cm - £25
60 x 40 cm - £35
80 x 60 cm - £45

Postage is available and will vary depending on order. Details available on request.

DON'T FORGET: Any request for personalised artwork will be considered be it portrait or landscape!

Friday, 11 April 2014


A striking and historic market town, Hexham provided the basis for some quite energetic pieces. Each of these images shows stonework in saturated colour, buildings benath dramatic skies. Focal points lie in the ornate windows of the Abbey, the dramatic arch of The Moothouse and a weighty stone park entrance before Queen's Hall.

#33 Hexham Abbey 

#34 The Moothall, Hexham

#35 Queen's Hall from Hexham Park


Capturing Tynemouth proved more difficult than anticipated. Large and historic architectural forms seem tiny against expanses of sky, sand and sea. Interiors are busy and complex, full of detail and contrast. With so much subject matter to choose from I'll definitely be returning here.

 #29 Tynemouth Longsands

#30 Tynemouth Market

#31 Tynemouth Priory and Castle

#32 Beaches and Cream, Cullercoats

Trams and Trains

Perspective plays a large part in conveying the impressive nature of this subject matter. Trams in their depot at Beamish Open Air Museum glimmer with history while the bold form of The Mallard shines before The National Railway Museum Shildon. The success of these images lies in the contrast of the man made forms against expressive use of paint and colour.

#27 Tram Depot, Beamish Museum

#28 The Mallard, National Railway Museum Shildon

Hadrian's Wall

Three views of Hadrian's Wall focus on different aspects. One is a wide view showing the wall rising and falling over rugged terrain, another gives you a feel of being stood close to it and the other sees the dip of the landscape frame a famous sycamore. This latter image is titled 'The Robin Hood Tree' in reference the Kevin Costner scene filmed here many years ago.

#24 The Robin Hood Tree, Hadrian's Wall
#25 View of Crag Lough, Hadrian's Wall
#26 View to the East, Hadrian's Wall

Back to the NewcastleGateshead Quayside

Winter sunlight played an important role in creating a strong atmosphere within these images. A reasonable area has been given to depicting figures, this too helps give character. As with the Durham set there are famous structures throughout but there is also a depiction of everyday elements such as signage on the road or a lampost that obscures the view.

#21 Under the Bridge, Newcastle
#22 Quayside Sunlight, Newcastle

#23 View from The Baltic, Gateshead

Around Durham

With this set I wanted to capture the Cathedral in the way it is most often viewed, incorporated into the background of other scenes. In #19 and #20 the perspective of various architectural forms leads the eye into a fairly distant Cathedral view. This idea of showing a popular landmark within the more everyday surroundings is something I'd like to explore more.

#18 Durham Cathedral 

#19 Durham Cathedral from Owengate

#20 Durham Cathedral from Framwellgate Bridge

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Sunderland Air Show

Another shoot that I've been meaning to use was taken at Sunderland Air Show last summer. I've only chosen to paint two of the images. In the first I've tried to convey the movement of the Vulcan as it flies in from the coast and swoops round over the beach. It's a stunning sight as the force of the massive plane can be felt by everyone on the ground.

In the second image a figure in the foreground stoops to photograph one the planes from the Red Arrow display team. A contrast can be seen between the impressive mechnics of the machine and the everyday houses and buildings of the seafront. Most of the colour focus is on the red of the plane but some abstraction has been introduced in the sky. I'd like to continue adjusting the colour palette in the next few works.

#16 Vulcan Approach, Sunderland Air Show

#17 Red Arrow, Sunderland Air Show

New York City Street Scenes

In recent weeks I've dedicated some time to using the New York City street images I captured last summer. Consisting of five works, this set was probably more challenging than previous work due to the highly complex nature of the architecture. Combining the realism of the orignal imagery with the abstract qualities of the paint was quite complicated and I think most succesful in the Apple Store image. It is here I've revived one of my old favourite techniques of splattering the paint on the surface, injecting an energy or dynamism.

#12 Times Square Studios, New York City

#13 West 34th Street, New York City
#14 United Nations Flags at Rockefeller Center, New York City

#15 Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, New York City

#15 Times Square Sidewalk, New York City

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Edinburgh Work

After a recent visit to Edinburgh I created these two works depicting Castlehill and Edinburgh Castle. In particular I think the Castlehill image to be successful for the atmosphere and sense of place. Being a wintry and rainy day, the cobbles reflected the light and contrasted with the towering silhouette of the spire.

#10 Castlehill, Edinburgh

#11 Edinburgh Castle

Praise from The Great North Museum: Hancock!

Had some great feedback today from The Great North Museum today, along with some really positive comments about the work:

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Numbering Artwork

I've decided to number the artwork I'm creating so as to give a sense of the chronology of it all. If you can immediately see that two paintings were painted consecutively it should be simpler to compare or read the entire set. Also it means that anyone new to seeing the work can know there must be others to see!

With that in mind, here is the latest one:

#8 Monument from Grainger Street, Newcastle.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Traditional vs Digital Media

When I painted the 20 Zone image of the Tyne Bridge I was primarily focused on achieving detail through painting, creating photorealistic effects.

Working with photography to create the images that I would paint, I visited a number of cities in different countries with my wide angle lens. The photographs were great images and in painting from them I found I actually wanted to get the best from each medium: detail from photographs, abstract elements from paint.

That's when I remembered a process I'd started to try years ago. Combining the painting and the photograph in layers using both traditional and digital media. I'm enjoying making the images, they are a great way to get the effect I've been after. The question is, if you paint a picture, then scan it, use Photoshop to add some extra detail, then print to a canvas and paint further, what do you actually have? It IS a painting: it's got paint on it. Most of what people see is paint. But the word painting is not really enough. I suppose mixed media might cover it. Maybe 'Mixed media with acrylic/oil on canvas'. It's a bit of mouthful though, not very snappy!

Either way, for now I'll continue experimenting with it. Here are a couple of the latest mixed media artworks I've created.

 Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

Central Station, Newcastle.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

New Work for 2014

Recently I've been experimenting with combining a variety of different media. Using photographs taken around my local city of Newcastle, I first create an abstracted version in acrylic paint on paper. Developing the image before taking it to a canvas, the next stage is to layer the painting with various elements from the original picture.

Being a new process, I'm still working on the finer aspects. As painterly scenes of urban landscape I think these work well.

20 Zone

Just a quick post to show where the 20 Zone painting went. Though it's not in a finished state yet, I've been reasonably pleased with the realism in parts of the image.