Saturday, 17 October 2015


The Sidney Show is a large exhibition that takes place annually on Vancouver Island, BC.
I was pleased to have the two paintings I submitted for adjudication accepted and even more so when each went on to win an award.  Below are the two paintings.  

The first was painted from a field study done on the Saanich Peninsula and reference photos.  It is a favourite view of mine looking across the valley over the Lochside Trail and various horse farms to the sea and islands beyond.  I love it.

The second is also a subject that I love.  These are fishing boats in the town of Rye in East Sussex, England.  I spent several weeks painting in and around Rye during a 3 month painting trip a few years ago.  A tidal river runs through the town which makes for endless interesting subjects and views.  At low tide the boats are left on the muddy river bottom, at high tide the scene is transformed.  Grassy banks and fields adjoin the river and sheep are all over the place.  They were often very nosey when I was working.

VALLEY BY THE SEA  20x24 -  Show Organizer's Choice Award
TWO BY TWO 18x24 -Juror's Choice Award

Thursday, 6 August 2015


Jim McFarland and Clement Kwan working hard on a gloomy but interesting day at Gyro Beach
The view at Gyro Beach

Lots of mornings at Willows Beach and Oak Bay Marina.  I love to get up very early in the summer, walk on the beach and then do a quick study.

I was giving a lesson at the marina one morning and this family joined us - the little ones all settled in for a nap not 20 feet away

One of McFarland's favourite beaches

Joined a bunch of friends to paint overlooking the Lagoon
Ken Faulks lurking in the bushes

At Pearson College
The view at Pearson College

Ken Faulks lurking again 

Friday, 26 June 2015


I don't have a formula but this is a fairly typical start to a painting. I've blocked in most of the areas with the exception of the roof of the building. I started by placing the main shapes on the panel with diluted warm reddish brown and then scumbled in the darks in the shadow of the boat shed, the boat on the bank and the undersides of the docks and foreground boats. I laid in the red sail as it is the focal area followed by the greens.  It is basically a composition made up of horizontals (the greens and the blue-greys of the sky and water) broken by the verticals of the masts. 

This is not the best photo - it came out a bit dark but it gives a suggestion of the finished painting.  I wish I had photographed it in between the two stages.  I think I would have liked it better one stage before this one......

Monday, 6 April 2015


This is fairly typical of the way I block in a painting.  I usually start with a bit of line done with a bristle brush and diluted Transparent Oxide Red.  Then I scumble in the dark areas.  With this painting, I laid in the foreground in broad washes hoping to leave a lot of it showing in the final version.

HORSES   14x24
The finished painting -  as usual I find I prefer much of the loose block in with it's vigorous energy.

Thursday, 26 February 2015


I entered the Oil Painters of America Exhibition this year for the first time.  I only joined last January and missed the deadline for 2014 but I made sure to enter this year.  And I'm really pleased to learn that I had a painting accepted.  They allow two submissions from each painter but only one will be accepted.  This is the one they chose.  This painting also was awarded FIRST PLACEin the OPA Spring Showcase.  It is available at the West End Gallery in Victoria

Twelve Small Boats, oil, 26x36

I often think I will take photos of a painting at various stages along the way but get so involved in what I'm doing that I forget to take more than one or two.  With this painting, I did take one shot right after the layout stage when I had just started to block in the darks and shadows.  Later on I made a few compositional changes so you can play 'spot the difference'.  And you can decide if I might have been well advised to leave the composition as I had it in the initial block in.

Initial Block In

I also took a close up of some of the small boats showing the sort of brushwork I used:

Detail  showing some of the boats