Friday, 29 August 2014

In unison with Unison!

Great to see one of my paintings featured on the Unison web site - a top brand of professionally made pastels I just use all the time to create my award winning work. A lovely surprise!

From my own perspective I find Unison pastels really are superb quality and great to use.

Thought has gone into the size to hand ratio when using them and the 'chunky feel' is only bettered by their bigger sticks introduced on the market now with a range of extended colours which is a great news, particularly for artists working on a really large scale.

Unison pastels present a superb range of colours and tints throughout the range and are great value for money - especially their half sick sets and and other sets of full sticks as 18 colours helping you to get started. 

I use Unison all the time. I buy other brands as well but I do keep going back to them for their particularly useful colours and handling properties.

Jackson's Art Supplies have once more featured Unison pastels and other interesting pastel hints and tips as part of their recent blog which many of you are sure to find interesting, especially if you are a pastelist or want to give the medium a try. 

You can always put your present pastels to good use on one of my next Autumn workshops...only six weeks away until the start of the first one!

Here are the workshops

See you soon!

Monday, 11 August 2014

The lure of The Lakes!

Expressive landscape themed painting break at Higham Hall. 
Monday 27 Oct 2014 9:00am to Fri 31 Oct 2014 11:30am

Who could fail to be impressed by the Lake District?

The county has so much - beautiful majestic mountains and fells, gorgeous reflective lakes, drama, mist, colours and so much much that my humble words just cannot do justice!

However, I hope my art can and my award winning skills are there to be shared with you this Autumn at  magnificent Higham Hall at the top of Bassenthwaite Lake in the western Fells of Cumbria this Autumn as I become their 'artist in residence' for 5 days!

5 separate workshops are on offer for you to choose from using a variety of media and each and every day your wonderful painting experience worrking outdoors in the heart of lakeland and in fully equipped studio space at Higham Hall itself.

Each creative painting day with me will be followed by a sumptuous dinner and a stimulating evening of creativity watching me demonstrate lots of exciting and very different art techniques for you.

You may choose to stay close by to Higham Hall and come and learn stimulating art techniques each and every day or pick and choose workshops to suit you own creative needs throughout the week.

To find out more about this very unique and special creative painting break in the heart of the Western Fells visit

or visit

Somewhere in the middle

Realistically studio painting and en plein air work can have very different approaches in painting indeed.

The freedom to take your time in the studio, slowly work your way through your paintings can, as seen here, create a very different approach to any painted outdoors.

This might not have been the initial intention (and it certainly wasn't for me on this occasion)  but the results speak for themselves. 'Soft light  through Staithes' took me 2 days to complete whilst the en plain air painting took half a day to do one sunny day in October.

So, which is more successful - the studio painting or the outdoor one? well, that is a matter of personal choice and one which I give to my galleries and thus my buyers too. both seam to satisfy a particular market.

On a personal quest though the future direction with my work is to combine both the 'look' of the studio painting with that all important vigorous, 'must do it now before it rains' approach created in the field. 

Achieving a happy equilibrium somewhere in the middle with both 'styles' will answer my own questioning self analysis about my work concerning pushing any given work that bit too far. Adding too much detail and presenting too much information (less is more remember) 'blows it' for me.

The ambiance and soft light in the 2 day painting is just what I wanted to evoke and yes, it does have a keen sense of place when looking at it which is what I wanted to achieve. The composition 'keeps you there looking at it', holding your attention and exploring - so that is a success too. 

So what's next for any other unfinished Staithes paintings left in the studio? Well, to take them back in front of the subject will be a great help and putting a stop clock on in the studio when painting others  - another approach.