Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Vertical Buildings

These two small paintings in progress are both finished pieces in their own right and studies for future paintings.

I am interested in the idea of perspective and using it at a street level looking up so as to give a sense of alienation. Figures will be distorted, and with one person on a separate perspective to add to the sense of disorientation. The paintings are also studies for future paintings in that I would love to produce them on a much larger scale, say a metre by 80 cm or bigger still and on copper or steel. In that way the perspective would have a greater effect and the metal would act as a ultra smooth surface for me to play with subtle textures on.


A work in progress I started in Wells, Somerset. Someone commented that it looked like a Munch painting, this happened quite by accident as I was painting this completely free hand with no particular thoughts as to style rather simply the composition of figure in foreground leading to the stand of trees above.

Cheddar Gorge

Some more works in progress, I am working on a whole load at once at the moment. Nothing to radical here.. This work was inspired by going to Cheddar Gorge. The cliffs were amazing and I took inspiration from the woods which clung to the steep hills. The boulders and rocks were covered in moss and thin scraggly branches of trees.

Forest In Progress

A few blogies ago I posted a picture of a finished painting of a forest, it was inspired by the time I spent in Cornwall and in Wells were it was finished. I am currently working on a second one started in Wells and inspired by the forests around there.
These are a couple of images of how its going, I am trying to get the sense of light and dark. The psychological feeling of being in the forest is important to me too.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Stone Carving

Just a quick update. I was in Wells Cathedral the other day and saw some very beautiful, ancient stone carvings. They are effigy's of the ancient Bishops of Wells. The carving of the figures is exact, the detail and elegance of them was striking. Their age was amazing as well, some over 500 years old.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Old Artworks

Here are some old artworks I have made over the past few years and given to my parents. I was interested how they had been framed and how this had really made some of the pictures into something quite different. I have never really thought about framing, it always seemed a little fuddy duddy to me, it does however make some things I have done (particularly the ones rough around the edges which with some older things I have done is most...) look a lot better.

Hard Ground etching on Hannemule paper. Early 2008 I think.. The date's on the back under framing! I like the colour of the frame matched the ink used in the print. It's of a forest near where my parents stay in Cornwall called Tehidy Wood. It has some very unusual snake like coppiced trees growing there. I think this was the third print I ever made, it's interesting how your style changes.

Grandad (2007) a picture of my Grandad for my mum. The crazy colours above Grandads head perhaps a sign of something to come. Again it's interesting how as an artist your style and competence develops.

Forest path 2007. The technique I used to make this painting is one I have used on others in subtle areas and it's one I like. Without getting into unnecessary detail it involves paint and varnish.. There, no unnecessary details. The subject is a forest path near Dundee with sharp contrast between light and dark. I really like the framing, I picked it and never saw it after I left Cornwall that summer so last week was the first time I have seen it in over a year. I will definitely remember this method of framing for the future.

Ardnamurachan 2007. Acrylic on board. Done after visiting the place that year, very beautiful I remember it from when i went there first time.

In case you are worried I have given up my older subjects and interests for woodlands from recent posts, fear not! I always seemed to make these paintings of more 'natural' subjects over summer to augment my other painting interests. I suppose they are more personal, I don't think I have ever showed these in public. Regardless I have so many, so many, so many ideas most of which are ludicrous and massive which I plan to make once I have a studio/metal/cogs.....

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Wells Update

I am still in Wells, it has been great so far. I am using my time to document what I see and try to do as many paintings as I can (out of a suitcase that isn't always easy but it is fun). Anyway here are some pics I have taken in the past couple of weeks

Thursday, 15 October 2009


I post from Wells, Somerset.
Not having none of the internets floating around the pub we are staying in to hijack I am forced to write from a Starbucks.

Thought I'd share a couple of photos I and Roz have taken of the place, it is very beautiful. I like all the medieval buildings there are around, although I am not hugely into religious buildings the ones here are very impressive.
I have also been working on some paintings but thanks to not being able to find some acrylics I am using oils.. I like the oils when in a studio but a little more frustrating when sitting in a bog. Even so I have been using the slow drying time to work on several things at once. The idea being I can return to the same spot several times to finish a drawing/painting and see how that changes over time. Nothing spectacular so far but I think I will use the drawings in future paintings.

Wells Cathedral, medieval sculptures on the outside. The sculptures are really beautiful, it's quite amazing to see so many figures on the outside of the building which are so old. I have a deep interest in the medieval so the strange poses and faces of these figures are fascinating to me.

Ye olde gateway, leads to the main entrance to the cathedral (this pic and one above courtesy of Roz McKenzie!)

The forests around here are really fantastic, very inspiring. Having been in Edinburgh for so long I forgot just how much I enjoy walking through mud and branches and leaves in the cold. The autumn is undoubtedly the most beautiful time in the 'wild' for me.

A view of the cathedral at night, kind of reminded me of Caspar David Friedrich's paintings. Although not what I would normally paint I appreciated the view all the same.

The forest is about 2 minutes walk from where we are staying. I took this photo at around 6pm when the sun was going down. I have been enjoying sitting in the woods with paints and drawing in situ. The different moods and light on the trees have been inspiring. I plan to make a load of paintings from sketches when I get back to Edinburgh as well as finishes works made in the forest. Very exciting!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Works in Progress

Hello! Sorry for the long absence between posts, between moving flat, working full time and getting logistics ready for our 12 months traveling it has been difficult to do much painting! Despite my excuses I have been working on a few paintings, 3 of which aren't far on enough to warrant being posted on here just yet..

It's always interesting I think to look at your/other paintings in progress, for example I saw a painting at the recent 'Spain' exhibition in the Nat Gallery Edinburgh (whose title escapes me) which I thought looked very good (if not better!) for not being finished. It was also very interesting in a historical sense as you could see how the artist built up the layers of the painting.

Here's a work in progress, probably 80% finished. Very precise percentage I know but thats how I roll..

The painting is part of a series I am doing on forests, a subject that I have always loved. I think I share Max Ernsts interest in the forest, their enchantment and the strong sense of place that I feel from them.

With this painting I am interested in trying to capture an idea of 'Night and Day' in the forest, one third bathed in sunlight the other two thirds in darkness. The idea came about from a couple of ideas, firstly my own experience investigating forests in Scotland and throughout Britain. The way in which the trees can create a sort of nighttime feel during the day under the canopy. It also came from fairytales, I was interested in the way stories throughout history have portrayed forest as being 'dark' and 'light'.

Another unfinished work, this one also looking at the forest. I am only just starting to build up the layers of trees in this one but I will again be looking at aspects of light in the forest.

Saturday, 25 July 2009


Blurry photo of me standing in front of 'The Day Dream' by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.. Just getting in a bit of culture in in the V & A!

Colonel Mustard

Here's some pics of the Colonel Mustard show at the Scottish Arts Club.

The wall my framed prints were hung on.. hanging all 8 as a set worked out well I used the similar idea I had used in an exhibition previously in the year. The prints were all based on small drawings I had done of elements of architecture and the city. Some were transposing drawings into print form and using the textures of soft ground as well as elements of chance to create textures, some were made up on the plate using imaginary elements I drew automatically.

Other works hung, including Catriona Simpson, Scott McCracken & Allan Robertson. The club's decor and atmosphere are very traditional however they let us hang there!

Another view of the framed prints. Titled 'Concrete Geometry' as a set

View along the wall of the club opposite my works, with paintings by Scott McCracken and Allan Robertson.

The chairs in the club are quite peculiar... The artists enjoying some drinks

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Colonel Mustard!

I have an exhibition currently on at the Scottish Arts Club on Rutland Square called 'Colonel Mustards Tea Party'. It showcases new, old and degree show work by 5 artists.

The show runs until the 20th of July, please do try to get along!

I am exhibiting with fellow artists Scott McCracken, Catriona Reid, Allan Robertson and Catriona Simpson.

(Contact Details)

Scottish Arts Club,

24 Rutland Square,

Edinburgh EH1 2BW

Tel: (0) 131 229 8157

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Tube

'The Tube' (Unfinished state) (27/5/2009) Dimensions 8ft x 8ft. Oil and acrylic on board.

A massive painting (certainly for me) which hangs opposite the 8 'War on Terror' paintings. The difference in scale was important to me, I wanted the viewer to see the small paintings and this large one and draw comparisons

I can smell ammonia..

'I Love the Smell of Ammonia in the Morning...' (May 2009) Dimensions 250 x 70 x 2.4 cm. Oil and spray paint on copper.

This big painting represents the city, how buildings connect in an abstract way, and how despite this beautiful geometry citys can be alienating spaces.

War on Terror Part 2

'Tanguy Underpass' (14/4/2009) Dimensions 20 x 15 x 2.5 cm. Oil on patenated and incised copper.

'Kennel Club' (22/4/2009) Dimensions 20 x 15 x 2.5 cm. Oil, gouache and acrylic on patenated copper.

'Double Yellow' (March 2009) Dimensions 20 x 15 x 2.5 cm. Oil, gouache on paper and patenated copper.

'Terror' (28/4/2009) Dimensions 20 x 15 x 2.5 cm. Oil and acrylic on patenated copper.

All 8 of these paintings are part of my degree show. My works aim to convey the idea that the threat of terrorist attack, however vague or unsubstantiated is often used as an excuse to remove the liberty of a minority of people, and how this inevitably leads to it being used on the majority of people. By juxtaposing large, almost overwhelming paintings of ambiguous architectural spaces with titles such as ‘The Tube’ which suggest a sense of danger, against much smaller images suggesting the subtle everyday effects of the ‘War on Terror’ as well as its darker heart, the works try to convey the underlying issues which I want the viewer to think about. In these paintings I also wanted to look at modernist, futurist, brutalist even corporatist architecture.

These are all examples of movements promising to change society for the better which to greater or lesser extent failed.

War on Terror

'The Overpass' (20/4/2009) Dimensions 20 x 15 x 2.5 cm. Oil, gouache and enamel on patenated copper

'Towers' (15/4/2009) Dimensions 20 x 15 x 2.5 cm. Oil and pen on patenated copper and plastic.

'Working' (14/4/2009) Dimensions 20 x 15 x 2.5 cm. Oil on patenated copper

'Mass Games' (29/4/2009) Dimensions 20 x 15 x 2.5 cm. Acrylic on incised and patenated copper.


'Utopia Living' (April 2009) Dimensions 10 x 15 x 5 cm. Oil, gouache and spray paint on copper.

'Grassy' (April 2009) Dimensions 10 x 15 x 1.3 cm. Oil & gouache on copper.

High Riggs

'High Riggs' (February 2009) Dimensions 30 x 45 x 2 cm. Oil and pen on copper

High Riggs

'Rooftops' (March 2009) Dimensions 30 x 45 x 2 cm. Oil and enamel on copper.


'Roz' (1/12/2008) Dimensions 10 x 15 cm. Oil and varnish on board.

A painting I did of me lovely girlfriend, Roz! I wanted to get as much detail into the clothing as possible particularly the pattern the knitting makes on the green jumper. It brings me great pleasure to spend endless hours painting dots onto things.. this little painting let me practice layering skin tones which I have wanted to do for some time. I admit it isn't as good as I wanted it to be! In the end I felt I didn't really need to layer skin tones, i preferred the skin tones I created in the past using flat colour.

With Love From Me to You

'With Love From me to You' (22/12/2008) Dimensions 81 x 108 cm. Oil on board.

This painting is part of the group of paintings where I have been looking at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In my last post I said I wanted a large painting to be displayed opposite the mass of smaller paintings, this painting was going to be that one. I decided however 'With Love' is not big enough, although the imagery in the painting is very close to that I will use in the larger version.

With this painting I wanted to show a different view, almost humorous, certainly a little ludicrous. To juxtapose with the smaller paintings I wanted a sort of propaganda image, I was looking at both photos of the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq as well as Socialist Realism.