Posts tagged colour
The Building of a House

An exciting and challenging commission recently was to paint a house in Filey. It is one of those characterful Victorian houses with lovely windows and brickwork. A statement in colour was central to the brief along with my trademark florals.

Above: Images of work in progress

The painting is a good example of observation and imagination working together to produce a hybrid, part reality and part make believe; all inspired by close observation of the house itself.

Flower Power
Love Flowers  ii - 2ft x 2ft - Mixed Media on board.jpg

Life has moved on since the beginning of the Flower Bomb series and my last blog. There was one and now there are five. They were hard won. The making of them extended from the end of winter into Spring so while I was working on these abstract florals I was longing to be out of the studio and into the landscape. Winter work was sneaking into summer. (optimistic I know as we are all still freezing) But nature has proceeded regardless. Suddenly the hot colours inside my studio weren't right as I noticed the gentle brown pinks, greys, lime greens, clean yellows and white blossom of the emerging March landscape outside. It was landscape time and I was still painting florals. I persevered and the resulting paintings were worth it. They are beauties of colour, technique, style and surface.

Colour was not the only way in which I was bringing summer into winter when I was working on these. I now have three flower presses in which to preserve leaves and flowers as they come into season. They are then used as stencils on my winter paintings. So although these are 'inside' paintings as opposed to the plein air landscape, the outside world of fauna and flora is still coming in via my plant press along with the preserve of other seasons.

Bellissimo  - Mixed media on birch ply - 2ft x 2ft.jpg
Blue Haze  - Mixed media on birch ply - 2ft x 2ft.jpg
Scarlett O'Hara  - Mixed media on birch ply - 2ft x 2ft.jpg
Welcome to Flower-Bombs and Colour is back
Flower Bomb i - Mixed media on birch ply - 2ft x 2ft.jpgF

There is something about the winter in England that makes me long for hot dynamic abstract colour combinations. This has given birth to the new Flower-Bomb series which I am soooo excited about. A delightful medley of mixed media combinations which include the use of actual dried leaves and flowers. These paintings are adventurous and designey and are set to break out of predictable conceptions of Still Life.

Concerned primarily with experimental colour combinations and mark making, Flower-Bombs are set to break new ground in style, mark making and composition. Most exciting of all is the plan to incorporate their random rule breaking into my summer landscapes including those created in my Artist in residence at The Yorkshire Arboretum.

Imagination and the Impact of Colour
Another Land - Acrylic on Canvas

Another Land - Acrylic on Canvas


The depths of winter in England always makes me long for sunny climes and I find exotic tropics begin to emerge in the studio. January in North Yorkshire is HOT. I can’t get enough orange red and fuchsia pink. Lined up in my mind are all the lovely white, black and brown Yorkshire landscapes and bare sculptural trees if I can only tear myself away from the comfort of abstract florals and remembered midsummer Spanish landscapes.

This brings me around to the impact of colour and the fact that it has a mental emotional impact. I think I will bring some of this longing for heat into the winter trees in the Yorkshire Arboretum paintings and the winter landscapes but meanwhile what emerged today was 'Another Land'.

The Importance of 'Surface' and 'Mark Making.'

As well as colour, composition and content, attention to surface is an essential element in a good painting. Each brush stroke and mark becomes important.

Increasingly I like my surfaces to be smooth and free of lumps. This is achieved through a combination of sanding, scratching out and polishing with tissue or a dry soft cloth.

When colours are applied in layers they have quite a different effect than a single coat. Something of the 'past lives' and earlier ideas are still often present in the finished work even if it has changed a great deal from the initial sketch. The finished works have history and patina. The story of the evolution of the painting is in its layered marks; in what has been added and taken away; the washes, scrapes, destruction and creation. This history must be tidied and balanced in the completed work. In the final pulling together every mark becomes considered and intentional. The balance between chance and deliberation, chaos and order, produces a final rich patina that would be impossible to achieve if the painting hadn't gone through this journey.