August 07, 2017

Painting a sunset on the grass plains of Qinghai, China at 3110m above sea level. 






May 02, 2017

24x24 Oil. Zhaosu, Xinjiang, China.

Just finished this 24" x 24" oil. I did the first version (60cm x 80cm) plein air in Zhaosu, Xinjiang, China last fall (sheltering in the shade of a tree in front of their house, hence the wall shadows!). But I re-thought the composition and did this one in the studio, this time adding the two children to give the painting a story.

April 05, 2017

Imprimatura on the Canvas

I am experimenting with a technique of creating the imprimatura on the canvas 'as you go' rather than pre-prepared. Also having a different imprimatura in different parts of the canvas. There seems to me to be a warm underlying light in a rainy English winters day. So I tried a warm imprimatura in the mud area.






PS The photo of my painting is not accurate. I took it hastily under interior warm light. The actual colors are much truer to nature. But of course even though the photo is warmer, all of the internal relationships are accurately picked up by the camera.

December 21, 2016

Esedra Giulio, Borghese Gardens, Rome - 9in x 12in - Oil on Linen - 2015



I painted this in the gardens outside the Villa Borghese in Rome. It is a beautiful museum to go to if you get the chance, with some wonderful sculptures by Bernini. In this painting I used the key discovery of color pairs

December 01, 2016

This is the plein air painting setup I was using on my recent painting trip to Mauritius. I am using a Mastersen seal palette box mounted onto a tripod using an Easel Butler. I put the palette in a big freezer overnight to slow down the drying of the paint. This system gave me much more palette mixing area to work with, which I find helps with finding a good color harmony.


October 27, 2016

Moody Evening, Garrapata, Big Sur - 16in x 20in - Oil on Canvas


This is a plein air painting I did on my recent trip to California and the Big Sur Coastline. This was one of my favorite places to paint during my time living in California. I was originally hoping for an evening of shimmering light on the water, but the actual evening developed in a very different direction. There was a faint sliver of light on the horizon where the sun was setting beneath a band of clouds. In the end I liked this effect since it let me concentrate on the emerald green hues in the water and their contrast with some of the rich oranges in the foreground vegetation.


If you look closely at the painting, you will see that I am using a combination of watercolor techniques such as thin washes, as well as impasto oil painting techniques. This is something I have been experimenting with in some of my recent work. It may have some relation to my exposure these days to the work of several traditional Chinese painting masters during my work in China.

December 30, 2015

The sunsets on the grass plains of Zhaosu in Xinjiang, China are amazing. The grasslands are 5000 feet above sea level and the light here is very intense The surrounding snow covered mountains add to the light drama. You have just a few moments to capture the light before it changes.


A painting from the grasslands near Xiata in Xinjiang. It is fascinating to see first hand the life of the sheep herders here, living a simple life in sheepskin yurts on the plains, surrounded by this magnificent scenery. The colors on the grasslands at sunset are rich and varied. 



For a very brief moment a dramatic light falls across the grasslands and creeps up the side of the Tian Shan mountain range. You have to work quickly to capture these effects when painting plein air. Painted near the village of Xiata in Xinjiang, China.