Saturday, November 26, 2011


As a child, glass marbles that we played with were usually called 'alleys'. They originally got their name from Alabaster, which is a soft stone related to marble. Alleys have come to mean very good marbles, or marbles in general.  If you can't remember how to play 'alleys', here's a refresher course.

In between ideas for larger pieces, I revert back to marbles lately.  Quick, easy and satisfying to paint, they fulfil the everyday need to paint and don't let me over complicate things. They look simple initially, but a sphere is always challenging.

This is about an hours worth of painting on this one.  Once this layer dries a little, I'll intensify the darks and call it done.

Its in oils 8 x 8" canvas panel.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

East North East

 East North East

When I travel or sketch on site, I take minimal items with me, usually those that can fit in a pocket easily.  My most common companions are a mechanical pencil, a technical pen and a sketch and wash pencil and waterbrush.  I can make notes about colour if needed and add it back in the studio.

Sometimes I take some watercolour pencils, but usually just want the grey scale version of what's in front of me.  This was the case when I did this sketch.  It was a windy day, but in a sheltered cove, and the waves provided a constant pattern breaking on the shore line.  From the shelter of the car, I did this sketch and wash that may have potential for a painting.  It is about 3 x 6 on watercolour paper.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Snow and sales

The first major snowfall of the season is due tomorrow.  It may be a snow day, and if that's the case, I can get some painting time in, otherwise, its work as usual.  Days off due to snow are fairly rare these last few years and snow is getting scarcer or at least major storms such as the ones I remember as a child.  Not that I wish a snowstorm on anyone.  They make driving horrendous and some drivers still believe its summer and don't adjust driving to reflect the weather.

In case you're lounging tomorrow because of weather, or if you're American and have had your fill of turkey and family, you may like to get a head start on some Christmas shopping at my Etsy shop.  I'm having a sort of Black Friday sale.  I say sort of, because the sale is on today, Thursday and Friday, with 20% off everything in the shop.  Bargains in original, reproduction and print art are to be had.  Just enter BLACK11 at checkout and magically 20% will disappear off the price!

The glass coasters, above, are the most recent addition to my art objects that will be up for sale soon.  These coasters feature 4 images from some of my paintings.  They come in muted colours or black surrounds and fit nicely into a wooden case for storage when not being used.  More details about them will be coming soon.

Tripod will feature on some new flat Christmas cards that are coming up as well.  His begrudging pose in his Christmas hat was too good to pass up for him to be the poster cat for the season.  He just demands more tuna as royalties.  Pre-ordering for these cards is welcome and they should be available within a week.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flower - update

I do a little clear out of the studio now and then, just so I can move around more easily.  Things pile up it seems...  Anyway, I unearthed the flower painting that I had started and I added a few more layers to it, but its still a long way to completion.  I used a 16 x 20 piece of Arches watercolour board for this.  Its not a support that I had used before and I quite like the velvety surface it seems to create with the paint. (no, the the Elvis on velvet surface!)

I will finish this flower.  It may be funky and unflowerlike by the time I finish it.  Or I may give it to someone to actually knows how to paint flowers to finish!  No, I wouldn't be that cruel.  I'll suck it up and work on it.  Its just all that pink...perhaps I should have done it smaller...its a flower...I don't do flowers...

See how those voices in my head push and jostle?

Ok.  Time to be brave and face the flower.  I'm going in.