Tag Archives: acrylic

Dorset landscape 2, the Agglestone Rock

This is another little landscape which has taken up a lot of time. I’m not sure even now  if it is finished. The Agglestone rock is a crumbling sandstone outcrop above Studland heath in Dorset. I hiked out to it on a hot morning in August. I took a photo of what is a beautiful scene. There is something irresistible about isolated ancient rocks. 

I sketched the view with the intention of painting it, so there are some colour notes scattered about. 

The first painting was on the wrong shaped board and I was never that happy with it. 

I stated all over again on a long, narrow canvas. This has been repainted at least four times. I’m still not sure about the skyline to the right of the rock. The heather colour is very difficult to achieve but this looks the most convincing so far. I wanted a feeling of a deep landscape, and I think that works.  I shall leave it for now, and possibly for good. 

Dorset landscape/seascape 1

I have been struggling over two small acrylic landscapes based on sketches I did last summer. I think this one is just about done. I have completely repainted it about four times. I’m very pleased with the distant hills, quite pleased with the forefront grassy dunes and the sunny lady. Not certain about the sea, but this is so much better than it was that I think I will stick with this. The other landscape still needs a bit more tinkering. 

After six months of work, I think I’ll call it “The Red Hat” 

Manet triptych 

I’ve completed my triptych based on the Folie Berge Bar, but what to do with it. The three panels lend themselves to being displayed together, but how? Sticking the arms at each side seems logical… 

But swapping the outer panels makes, I feel, a better composition… 

The eye travels better, from the flowers, across to the oranges, then down to the loose orange and across to the bottle. I also like the way that the three secondary colours, green, orange and purple are so prominent. That wasn’t planned, it just emerged. 

It would also be interesting to display them as a free standing item. But where? 

People can fly, in the right environment

This one had a curious double gestation. I painted a large seated nude at a life class a few weeks ago. I thought it was pretty bad. When I looked at it a few days later I realised it was awful, and I wouldn’t want anyone to see it. The only solution was the ultimate one, a thick layer of paint, all over. The only paint I had in abundance was an old jar of ultramarine blue, so I now had a large, very blue canvas. I wondered what to do, and thought it looked rather under-watery. That reminded me of the short video by the Welsh artist, Natasha Brookes, of swimming in Welsh lakes, high in Snowdonia, in the winter. The video is below, but I suggest you dress up warm and have a hot drink ready, it is REALLY COLD. But looks stunning.


Blue Hue

I thought the still from the video was beautiful, and could form a basis of painting.

It is hard to avoid dropping into some terrible kitsch with pictures like this and I am not sure that I have avoided that completely, but it was fun to try. As a photograph it is wonderful, and you can’t feel the cold from it.


The first stage was to break up the overall blue a bit. Very hard to put a name on some of the colours, and that makes it very difficult to choose colours. I just have to build them up in layers. Here I have tried to show the bright sunlight and lighter bottom area, with the deep ultramarine in between. The sun is too large and central. All this is done with a palette knife. Brushes just can’t do it.

Next, the whole surface was completely reworked with fairly transparent colours and the sky brightness moved and reduced, again all palette knife work. Constant scraping. More like plastering a wall than painting. I’m hoping to get colour variation through overlaying different areas, rather than patches of different colours.


Another complete reworking of the whole surface. The photo doesn’t show the colour variation very well. It was starting to look fairly deep and wet. I have been resisting the urge to draw fishes. So far successfully…




Natasha puts in her first appearance. This is just a chalk outline to get her position and proportions. I thought this looked so ethereal that I was tempted to leave her just like this. But I could see that her legs were too long and her hand too small. So on with the paint.



Some very thin white acrylic to establish shape and highlights. I tried with the palette knife, but here I needed to use brushes. You can see how much I shortened her legs, and the indications of bubbles in chalk. I was wishing I had left her in outline at this stage.



As she stands at present, although I am sure I will continue tinkering. The colours are richer in real life, there is too much flare here. I really should use something better than my phone for these pictures.

I think the proportions of the original photo are better, but I quite like her. But is it just kitsch? Is that a problem anyway?