Five small (10" x 8") paintings from a growing series of works executed in oils using a palette knife. Begun in April 2017, they reference documentary photos of U.S atomic testing. The surface of each work is the accumulation of several layers of paint, applied rapidly and with no clear idea how the final image will look. The surface becomes a record of this process: each layer disturbs, and is disturbed by, the layer beneath. It can be said that the resulting image conveys the disruption and the violence, while the medium embodies it.

Before and… after. On the left, the original photo of the diorama (cardboard and concrete), and on the right, the subsequent oil painting (25 x 30cm).
The photo in many respects is only a starting point; my intention is never to produce a slavish copy, but rather to exaggerate some elements, while suppressing or omitting others. A successful painting achieves a balance, and should transform the cardboard and concrete into something both strange and recognisable.

These five small paintings represent initial studies made from the diorama photos described in the last entry. They are approx. 12 x 20cm, executed in oils on canvas. I intend to make larger paintings from these studies, and for them to join the series titled ‘The Diminished Realm’.

At the beginning of November I began a new project. Rather than rely on found images for the inspiration for paintings, I instead decided to construct a world; I assembled crude structures, landscapes and dioramas from concrete, cardboard, and assorted detritus, before photographing the various scenes. The lighting was provided by strong lamp (in this case an archaic overhead projector), and the photos were taken with an iPhone.

The original intention was to use the assemblages as a ready source of reference for paintings; I may however decide to develop the images as a body of work in their own right.

Three paintings, all oil on canvas and completed in 2016, selected here as examples of my evolving style and palette. They are in order of oldest first from left to right, with the large image being the most recent of the three.
Each painting began with a warm pink ground, before a similar palette was used to model forms. Over time however, the paint was thinned with increasing amounts of medium (linseed oil and turpentine), and more of the ground was allowed to show through; highlights were not stated with opaque colour, but rather with the exposed pink below. Successive paintings became looser in their modelling, my intention being to develop a more economical expression of form, so that they would attain a ‘provisional’ and even an unfinished impressionistic quality.

‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ (2016).
An inkjet print on transparency film of a found photograph, painted into with a brush and water. Made with Halloween in mind…

A study in oils on cardboard. An opportunity to explore both a muted palette, and also to experiment applying paint with a knife. The absorbent texture and colour of the cardboard suit the subject particularly well.

Two of several recent small oils on canvas – preparatory studies for a project I hope to soon finish and include in my portfolio

These images are derived from a found photograph that was first printed on transparency film, before being altered and manipulated in a further development of the ideas and techniques shown below. This time, however, the effects were achieved with a combination of water, overlays, and photoshop.

Three of a number of experiments made by ‘painting’ with wet ink on acetate prints. While little more than sketches at the moment, they however suggest exciting possibilities for future works.

This is the first of a series of photos of a work in progress, from the early stages through to completion. Inspiration for the piece came partly from photos of the demolition of a local landmark (Northampton’s Greyfriars Bus Station), and my desire to incorporate one of Nature’s noble beasts into a changing urban landscape. The painting was produced on commission, and is now in a private collection.

First, an acrylic wash is applied to the canvas…

Washes in oil paint are then introduced, and modelling is done in stages, allowing each one to dry before advancing to the next.

The forms of the dust cloud and foreground are gradually established…

The white lines are added to the ground, before coloured glazes are applied to both the dust cloud and the car park. Next, a stencil and spray paint are used to create the form of the stag, and the details are added with acrylic paint.

The final touches (with a palette knife) – two thicks smears of oil paint over the antlers. A risky strategy as it could have all gone horribly wrong at this point. But, with considerable relief, I believe it worked out well.

The completed work, ‘A Longing For An Elated World’.