Tuesday 30 September 2014

Partners with real passion!

Good business is all about teamwork and lots of positive outcomes are the result of working with professional people you can trust. 

As an artist working 'on' a paper you can trust is also vital. The paper you choose has a hugh effect on your final work. By choosing a top quality paper (and not necessarily an expensive one), you are assured from the start that everything possible has been done for you by the mill to give you the best possible start.

This is exactly what Hahnemühle have done by creating their amazing papers I road tested for 'The Artist' magazine recently (for whom I'm proud to write for and contribute to this exceptional, informative art magazine on a regular basis).

Founded in 1584 Hahnemühle is the oldest German paper makers manufacturing papers for traditional and digital artists as well as industrial papers. The ethos of this pro-active company is close cooperation with national and international partners to enable the transformation of extensive research into results creating new and exciting papers for today's artists to paint upon.

The mill produces lots of different top quality papers  for different artists at different skill levels to really enjoy their painting. I most certainly did when road testing  their 300 gsm matt and rough papers, the really strong and robust 'Andalucia' 500gsm matt and rough papers, as well as several other impressive papers. 

To see the paintings created on these responsive papers and read the full review, the October issue of 'The Artist' magazine is out now! 

So grab yourself a copy whilst stocks last - available from most leading newsagents of visit www.painters-online.co.uk to order your copy directly.

Hahnemühle really have created some great papers! All the paintings I featured in 'The Artist' magazine within the article created on their papers are now ready for exhibition. 

Yes, the papers are that good!

Here is one of them...

Moorland textures 
Mixed media work using acrylic, gesso and pumice on Britannia 300gm 140lb matt 
30 x 40 cm 11.8 x 15.7 inch block pad. 

To discover more about Hahnemühle and to see their full range of papers for all sorts of different artists visit http://www.hahnemuehle.com/en/company.html

Sunday 28 September 2014

All at sea!

This is fresh out of the studio - another expressive painting created on the wonderful and responsive Canson Mi-Tientes Touch paper sent to me by the SAA (Society of All Artists) with whom I'm a professional member. I'll be featuring a thorough 'road test' on several colours on this superb, responsive, pastel support very soon but in the meantime here is on painting I've recently created using the Light Blue colour. 

'Riding the waves'
Pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes Touch pastel support (Light Blue colour) A3 pad
297 x 420 mm

This pastel support is superb! The lightest, delicate strokes and the firmest expressive applications - this paper handles them all, perfectly!

Realistically you need to use very little fixative as the pastel support holds A LOT of pastel which is great and I just love it! 

Knowing that Canson have created Canson Mi-Tientes in 14 different colours in two sheet sizes as micro-abrasive, finely textured, sandblasted, lightfast, age-resistant paper, these Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper sheets allow for easy corrections and excellent pigment wetting, making them perfect for work with pastel, charcoal,  graphite and so much more!

They are also suitable for wet techniques or mixed media - particularly acrylic and oil pastel.

Available as 50cm x 70cm / 1230gsm  and 50cm x 65cm / 335gsm as Grey Flannel, Dusk, Sepia, Indigo, White (wonderful for charcoal), Cachou, Slate, Grey Sky, Lichen, Black, Chinese grey, Light Blue, Dark Brown and Burgundy.

To find out more visit http://fr.canson.com/pastel-dessin-couleur/canson-mi-teintes-touch
Available from all leading art suppliers with different offers.

Pastel perfection at Guisburgh

What fantastic seascape paintings were created by Priory Art Society on Saturday 20 September art seascape pastel workshop with me!

I just couldn't let another week slip by without mentioning just how great the work was. Really stunning paintings all round and with everyone leaving with lots of new skills,  techniques, enthusiasm for pastels and the superb Canson Mi-Tientes Touch paper I brought with me and a painting to be really proud of...well, job done!

A fantastic experience had by all and I was really happy with my own demonstration piece as well. Just a few finishing touches in the studio and home and voila! 

Here it is...

Between the cliffs
Pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes pastel support
18 x 22 inches

The painting was created on Canson Mi-Tientes Touch paper which is an incredibly responsive paper to all sorts of pastel marks and styles. A full class of 16 students at Priory Arts (of all levels of ability) enthusiastically found this out for themselves too!

I'm representing Canson from 7-9 November this year at 'Art Materials Live' at Birmingham NEC using this superb Canson Mi-Tientes touch pastel paper, Unison pastels and the new improved soft SAA pastels too in open workshops for you!

Lots of other Canson top quality watercolour paper will also be demonstrated on (which will appeal to watermedia artists also) With seascape themes throughout (reference provided) you have everything to gain!

If you follow this link www.icf.co.uk this will give you all the info about this very exciting and interactive event. 

It's going to be a great event. come along and see for yourself!

For further information about Canson top quality papers visit www.en.canson.com/

Wednesday 10 September 2014

The creative WOW factor!

How great to be thought of as a WOW artist...and especially by 'The Artist' magazine!

Dappled waters
14 x 15.5 inches (35 x 40cm) 
Acrylic on paper 

The most important thing for me though is for you to see the WOW factor in your own work and this can be achieved on any of my courses - believe me (or rather others), I'll be able to bring 'the artist' out from within you!

Here are some WOW dates for your creative diary!

Birmingham NEC and 'Art Materials Live' provides the perfect opportunity for you to learn to paint an expressive colourful painting with me in either a morning or afternoon workshop such as the lilly painting featured.

This link lets you know more and how to book and what a great offer this is - especially since you get £25 worth of art materials given to you when you book! At £35 pp this is indeed a fantastic offer not to be missed!


The official advert for 'Art Materials Live' workshops sponsored by 'The Artist' magazine featured in various publications recently of 'The Artist' and 'Leisure painter' magazines

WOW workshops in North Yorkshire
My own 6 Autumn workshops teaching you lots of different painting techniques with different media and subjects at Follifoot Village Hall, Follifoot close to Harrogate North Yorkshire offer you lots of different creative opportunities too! 

With the first starting on Saturday 4 October and places filling quickly for these popular painting subjects - I'd get your skates on to book your place!


WOW residential art breaks
The venues and the whole package for any is just fantastic! There are lots of different locations to choose from - Cumbria, Yorkshire and theYorkshire Dales. this link features them all


WOW! A lot of choices there for you!

If you need to know any further details for any course, please do get in touch. I'm only too happy to help!

You can call me on 0113 2252481 email me at rdcreative@ntlworld.com or visit my web site for further details www.rdcreative.co.uk

Whitby twinned with Manhattan!

It's the people that matter and none more so than the hard working fishermen at Whitby featured in this painting.

Sorting the last days catch, Whitby
27.5 x 17 inches 
Pastel on 'Sait' P500 pastel paper 

You have to look for them - but they are there. Clue... top middle, if you haven't spotted them already that is!

It would have been real easy to have left them out and just left the birds but adding the figures adds scale to the whole scene and that all important point of focus. 

It was a real tricky painting to finish and was reminiscent of a commissioned painting I did several years ago which featured the 'full stretch' of Manhattan which was created for the Northern Regional Chairman at PwC showing every window and every building in scale one next to the other accurate in scale and position.

Return to Manhattan
72 x 17 inches
Pastel on 'Sait' P500 pastel paper 

This was the exactly approach for this painting 'Sorting the last days catch - Whitby' to include the foreground boats. 

It was one of those pieces, started as a demo for an Art Society (I forget which) that just begged to be completed. I'm delighted that now it is! 

Starting points

Today I start a new project with a themed title called 'Winter light.'  

For a long time I have wanted to get back to some paintings of Winter landscapes. With a pressing article for 'The Artist' magazine now is my chance to combine these Winter landscape paintings showing the structure, form and linear forms in the landscape from sketchbook and memory for exhibition and article. 

Distant windermere from Kirkstone Pass - Cumbria
Mixed media black and white on Arches 140lb (300gsm) 'Not' watercolour paper.
10 x 15 inches

Drawing is the all important spring board to my work and without exception is the place I start from first.

What we see here is the initial thought process - sketched from the car on the way up Kirkstone Pass in Cumbria one bleak Winter on our way to Ulswater on the other side of the pass (for a brief winter walk and more car sketching with the heater on!). 

Sun after rain towards Windermere from Troutback
Pastel on Bockingford 140lb (300gsm) 'Not' watercolour paper
18 X 18 inches

This was a painting done in the same season on our Winter break in the Lakes many moons ago. It was featured in 'The Artist' magazine a couple of years ago and just flew out the door as the first to sell in a mixed Christmas exhibition in one of my local Yorkshire galleries soon after it was created.

Descending towards Ulswater I later created this (from the car sketches mentioned above). I held it back for a couple of seasons to let it sweat' before completing. It's now on show at  Maiden bridge near Lancaster.

I'm in the list as you can see! http://www.maidenbridge.co.uk/cms/gallery.php
I've several the paintings in this show as well. If you want to see them all, give them a call! 

The weather that winter in the Lake District was bitterly cold! I was all kitted out with my Mountain Equipment gear on and still only could last about 10 minutes outside to take photos before dashing back to the car! Mad weather and mad artists eh! 

This is a  scanned copy of a film print taken with a point and press roll film Canon camera. A bit creased, battered and scratched buy hey...that's life for many of us these days!

Glad I have it and the sketch I created at the same time. Great starting points together for a thoroughly decent expressive mixed media painting on the go...right now!

Watch this space!

Nights with the long knives!

At last, a chance to create some dramatic and expressive moorland paintings for our exhibition 'All Paintings Great and Small' to be held at
'The Inspired Gallery' Sutton Bank, 
17 April until Monday 4 May 2015.

Above and close up
Studio painting almost complete
Acrylic mixed media on boxed Amsterdam Linen heavy duty canvas. Bespoke from Jackson's Art Supplies.

With such dramatic scenery in such an inspirational setting, all four artists participating in the exhibition take our influence from this magnificent landscape and other inspirational locations throughout the North Yorkshire Moors National park itself and along the East Coast of yorkshire.

During day I'm busy working on lots of other exciting art projects so, come the evening it is great to put those palette knives into action and expressively layer the acrylic paint over the canvas!

This one is pretty close to finishing showing that working into the small hours has a great benefit on my work with the owl keeping me company hooting in the garden!

Exhibition date for your diary -  Friday 17 April until Monday 4 May 2015,
'The Inspired Gallery’
Sutton Bank visitors centre

See you there on preview night with wine and nibbles and red dots!

Wagner should have visited Bassenthwaite Lake!

The big open vistas around Bassenthwaite Lake are truly spectacular - none more so than when the weather changes so dramatically and Wagner's music enters your head and you paint furiously!

Well, it was a little calmer than that in truth I might add when I was teaching en plein air creative art techniques at Higham Hall earlier this year  painting lakeside at Bassenthwaite Lake 3 - 6 June. 

Nonetheless, the weather was pretty dramatic and the silver light effects across the lake were something to behold - quite wonderful in fact!

Everyone found the experience really exhilarating and it showed in their work. Here is a link so you can see for yourself just how great the experience was for everyone on the course

So finally I got my own painting completed and yes, Wagner was playing through the CD player (yes that's right I still buy CD's as I love actually looking at them too), as I worked and layered my pastels with gouache paint on this superb Strathmore Series 300 paper.

Here is the painting as demo lakeside at Basenthwaite Lake...

Lakeside quick demo with pastel and gouache on Strathmore Series 300 Cold Pressed, acid free heavy duty watercolour paper. Size 18 x 24 inches 140lb (300gsm)

...and here is the Wagner studio influenced painting!

Silver light - Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria
Pastel and gouache on Strathmore Series 300 Cold Pressed watercolour paper. 
Size 18 x 24 inches 

To create your own dramatic paintings with me in the Western Lakes at Higham Hall here are the next exciting residential art breaks - sketchpads and ipods welcome!

Higham Hall art students lakeside at Bassenthwaite - about to watch the drama unfold!




For further details for all residential art breaks at Higham Hall contact the administration team on
017687 76276

Office hours 09:00 to 17:00
Higham Hall Bassenthwaite Lake Cockermouth Cumbria CA13 9SH

Drawn to the East Coast Cliffs of Yorkshire! 

As an artist and wildlife enthusiast it all comes together at Bempton and Flamborough on the East Coast of Yorkshire! I've mentioned it before and I'll say it again - just being there is just so creatively exciting, inspiring and just so me! 

Although most of the kittiwakes have gone now the gannets are still there flying past in squadrons and there are many other different types of gulls and sea birds to watch, photograph and ultimately draw and paint in wonderful surroundings.

Being there on a sunny Sunday recently provided me with the ideal opportunity to get out there and paint and draw one of my favourite subjects. 

Here are just some of the paintings created from previous sketches from my 'open plan' office which will be on show at Chantry House Gallery in Ripley near Harrogate, North Yorkshire for the Christmas show. 

Ocean rhythms - Bempton
14 x 18 inches 
Acrylic on board 

Tide in, tide out, Bempton
16 x 16 inches
Acrylic on boxed mdf

It is going to be a really exciting exhibition!

For further details contact Emma Hargreaves at Chantry House on 01423 771 011


Cumbrian creative countdown...

Not long to go now before the next Rydal Hall residential art break in Cumbria is due to start. It promises to be another good one!

I'm really looking forward to returning in June again next year (a full class already) and again 25 - 29 May to run another exciting art course painting and drawing in superb Lakeland surroundings close to the magnificent Rydal Hall. I return again in the Autumn next year in 12-16 October to teach you how to paint all those wonderful glowing colours in Lakeland - the reflections will be magnificent!

Here are links to see just how great the art breaks at Rydal Hall with me are for you!


Just to let you know, I finally got to finish my own colourful pastel painting started as a demo from a spectacular view along the lakeshore of Rydal Water for my students art Rydal Hall in June '14. 

Morning glory - Rydal Water, Cumbria
Pastel on Clairefontaine pastelmat
21 x 17 inches 

It's taken a while, but that's how it goes sometimes - the busy schedule of an artist I'm afraid!

Personally I'm delighted with it. I know my students were delighted with their own pastel paintings too created lakeside with me along the magnificent lakeshore of Rydal Water whilst on a superb weeks creative art break staying at the magnificent Rydal Hall near Grasmere earlier this year in in June. Here's a link to it...

If you need any further information about any of the residential breaks at Rydal Hall do give me a call - happy to help!

To book your place do get in touch with the friendly and efficient staff at Rydal Hall please contact Rydal Hall on 015394 32050 or email mail@rydalhall.org 

Places are limited so do get your skates on to secure your place!

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Those all important missing elements...

Well actually they are not missing if you add them and this is what I have done with these paintings here.

Compare the two paintings in each case as 'before' and 'after' and you will see what I mean. The 'before' are OK paintings - textural, expressive and dramatic but...add the birds and hey presto, the paintings come alive!

'Heading out - Flamborough'
22 x 15 inches (half imperial) Arches 140lb (300gsm) Not 100% rag content watercolour paper.
Pastel, watercolour and gouache over gesso ground.

Adding 'living' elements such as the birds in this case or figures maybe in another painting, could ruin a painting altogether since the viewer will be drawn to the figures and see nothing else robbing the painting of any chance for exploration and thus equal attention throughout so, more often than not I leave these things out.

However, now and then, adding that all important element to focus on can bring the composition together as a whole and give the painting real meaning. This so happened to be the case with the award winning painting I created earlier this year 'Peregrine above Malham Cove' winning the Royal Talens award at Patchings Open Art Competition 2014. The painting on its own was good but the bird made it great!

This so happens to be the case with the following paintings. Remove the birds and the paintings become soulless and void of meaning. Adding the birds places wildlife in context and gives the other elements with real scale.

In the painting - 'Heading out - Flamborough,' the Knott flying over the sea and the rocks, although quite large and accurately detailed (taken from MY OWN photographic reference with a big long lens), are not too dominant but sit in the landscape and are perfectly in tune with it. Clearly you can see how camouflaged they are with lost and found edges. Adding them anywhere else and they would have dominated.

'Tide in, tide out - Bempton'
16 x 16 inches
boxed mdf gloss varnished and framed with white slip and deep black stained ramin frame.

In the second painting 'Tide in, tide out - Bempton', the sea birds this time add scale to the cliffs. These cliffs are hugh! Anyone who visits Bempton cliffs and Flamborough cliffs along the East Coast of Yorkshire will be (and are) completely blown away by their scale and majesty. I'm never disappointed by the views along this coast and I go there a lot painting and drawing as much as I can.

More seascapes from Bempton to come soon!

More about Strathmore 

High winds in the Pennines
Strathmore Aquarius II  Cold pressed 80lb (170gsm)
22 x 24 inches
Full original Strathmore Aquarius II  - sheet size 22 x 30 inches 

In my last couple of posts I've focussed on Strathmore. Well, I'm doing it again! 

I've recently chosen these robust papers to create some of my finest Pennine drawings to date from sketches made on site and with my humble knowledge of photography working alongside Pennine photographer Richard Littlewood.

The papers are (as previously mentioned) just fantastic as drawing papers so the artist looking for something different  - these papers are a must!

Personally I have been looking for a really good quality and robust drawing paper for many years on which to express the environs of these hard upper Pennine landscapes justice.

I've tried many but Strathmore papers fit the bill perfectly. The quality and robust strength of the papers, complete with deckled edge on the single sheet 400 and 500 series and that fantastic watermark on each sheet (bottom left hand corner) just stamps authority as a paper of quality. 

For my Pennine drawings the paper has the lot and digging through my sketch book, photos and combining them together here are the results...

Pennine profiles
Strathmore Imperial Not 140lb (300gsm)
22 x 24 inches
Full original Strathmore Imperial Not - sheet size 22 x 30 inches 

Winter in the Pennines
Strathmore 300 Series Watercolour Paper 140 lb (300 gsm).
11 x 15 inches
Full original Strathmore Watercolour Paper - sheet size 22 x 30 inches 

Winter trees and pennine snow
Strathmore 300 Series Watercolour Paper 140 lb (300 gsm).
18 x 18 inches
Full original Strathmore Watercolour Paper - sheet size 22 x 30 inches 

All weathers in the Pennines
Strathmore 300 Series Watercolour Paper 140 lb (300 gsm).
20 x 18 inches
Full original Strathmore Watercolour Paper - sheet size 22 x 30 inches 

For further information on the excellent papers made by Strathmore visit visit https://www.artistpapers.co.uk/