Work In Progress

An update on the current painting, which I started last Sunday. Base blacks were completed last night, and now I have to sketch out the rest of it. I have some reference to work from, but I’m aiming to work a lot looser and not be so concerned about precise verrisimilitude. Inspiration comes from Panthera’s coverage of the devastation wrought by the fires roaring through large swathes of Central and South America and recordings of the rehearsals for Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.

Work In Progress

Following on from yesterday, this is a new painting that I embarked upon last night. This will be a foray into new territory for me, moving away from strict realism into…something else I’m not sure of yet. A collision of the tight detail I’m known for, with something looser. I took an existing canvas for a painting I’d already started, but knew in my heart I was never going to finish, and just sanded it off and applied a thin wash of matt emulsion as a new base. I have no idea how it will look when I’m finished, which is the whole point really.

The Phoenix Tree

It. Is. Finished. 1 year in the making (initial pencils were started 1 year ago today). The longest I’ve ever spent on a painting, though there were periods of several weeks where I didn’t have the time to spare. This is a Christmas present for my wife, and will hang in the living room alongside several other of my originals. Until today I didn’t have a viable title, but I’ve been listening to Mono a lot of late, and in their back catalogue is an e.p., the title of which was just too perfect to dismiss.

Here’s all the stages of the painting as it progressed from beginning to end:

18 Nov 2018 (pencils completed)

13 Jan 2019

07 July 2019

27 October 2019

09 November 2019 (finished)

The completion of any painting, especially one that takes a long time to create, always brings with it a sense of la petite morte, but I assuage that by cracking on with the next thing I have to do, whether it’s another painting or the washing up. Right now, the latter option seems more likely.

Mono – The Phoenix Tree e.p.


Because you’re still hiding in a mask
Take your fun seriously…

Just in time for Halloween, my best fiend and reformed cider wizard Martin Jones has offered up a new track from Kathy Crowned From Blood, one of his many musical projects. ‘Clots’ Recorded earlier this month in the Tomb of Doom, is a two minute collision of early Human League and Negativland, the kind of aural tomfoolery you don’t hear much of these days. There’ll be much more from The Sinister Insult in 2020, so stay tuned. In the meantime…

Dead Kennedys – Halloween

Work In Progress

An update on how I’m getting on with my two current paintings. Above is one I’m doing as a Xmas present for my wife. It’s taken almost a year to get it to this stage, but it’s nearly done. It’ve found that I take so long between landscapes that I forget all the tricks I learn about how to achieve certain effects, so I have to relearn them again. Every single time.

This is the other painting I’m working on. See the pencils here. I’ve now undercoated every inch of the canvas’ surface, and next comes the fine detail. I hope to have it finished for Christmas, at which point I’ll put it up for sale.

I’ve also updated the Art & Prints For Sale page, where I’ve reduced the prices on all paintings and prints. They could make the ideal surprise Christmas present for someone in your life, and that’s about all the sales pitch you’ll ever get out of me.

After Silence

Painters work in private… You’re sitting there with a cup of tea and Radio 4, day after day. You hope for rain because you don’t want to be stuck inside if it’s not raining. A shitty life, really, being a professional painter.
Jock McFadyen

Which is why (or so I tell myself) I work in an office. Regular visitors to this site – all five of you – may have wondered where I’ve been these past few months? Back in July I decided to take a break from just about everything, except breathing, sleeping and the day job, that which Philip Larkin referred to as ‘The Toad’. I’m now back at it, working on a couple of paintings, and even doing some writing. Above are the pencils for one of those paintings, which I’ve since fully undercoated and hope to complete before the end of the year. I’m resigned to the fact now that I am essentially a ‘Sunday painter’, so very little gets done on any of the six other days in a week, but as long as the work turns out well, I’ll be content with that. I will be more regular with my updates from now on, but only when I’ve got something worth saying. The days of daily blog posts are long gone. As Richard Yates once wrote: “Never say anything that doesn’t improve on silence.”

The Silence

When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
Ansel Adams
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