Archive for Mixed Media

Two weeks on the Isles of Scilly

This year we were blessed with good weather and so did a lot of swimming. The water temperature at the start was 14 degrees but warmed up to 16 degrees by the time we left. The only days we didn’t swim were arrival, departure, one day of heavy rain and one day when we couldn’t make it work because of the tide times. Still 10 days out of 14 is a record for us.

By the way the sea is dangerous and needs treating with respect (unless you are a water, mining or industrial fishing company – another matter, not for here).

These temperatures require a wetsuit if you want to stay in the water. I don’t use a wetsuit – but I do have a 30 second cold shower after I have been out running (which is 3 times a week). As a result I don’t suffer the cold water shock which can catch people out, nevertheless; I walk in, am done after 15 minutes, always swim on a rising tide and swim parallel to the shore.

The end of an era – almost

The annual trip to the Isles of Scilly has become a fixture and for the last two years extended to two weeks. We stay at Glandore Gallery and Appartments owned by Steven and Lois Morris. As well as running the holiday lets Steven is a local artist. They told us they were planning to move back to the mainland for personal reasons and whilst we wish them well and hope all turns out OK we also had to think about where we might stay in the future. If you have tried to book accommodation on the Isles of Scilly you will appreciate how quickly its gets booked up, everyone who goes and likes it books next year as a carry over routinely. The first time we went to Scilly was back in 2010. When asked if we wanted to re-book we said we’d like to think about it before re-booking. The place was booked by the time (only a week later) that we decided we did want to go again. We were lucky to get a cancellation and haven’t made the mistake again.

The new owner has bought the holiday let business and we could book in again next year – a massive relief.

A long journey

If you just go for it it is a 7 1/2 hour drive to Penzance, too much for us. We stopped in Bristol and went to a production of Anna Karenina at the Old Vic. After the performance we dropped into The Old Duke and I must say we enjoyed the trad jazz better then the play. We then had a night out in Penzance and had a great mean at Mexico a pub/restaurant in Longstone recommended by Grace Dent in the Guardian. New day its a short drive to Lands End Airport (near St Just) to St Mary’s. The flight takes a whole 20 minutes, even less with a following wind.

On the way back we stay at the Notley Arms in Monksilver. This is a splendid hostelry on the edge of Exmore which I have no hesitation in recommending.

But the luggage allowance on Skybus is small…

What, no easel!

Tactic 1 – is to find a cafe with a good view, buy lunch and then keep the table all afternoon.

Tactic 2 – make use go the local adventure playground. The playground itself is an improvised affair made from fishing nets, ropes, buoys and pallets. As chance would have it a pallet, suspended from a tree branch by ropes on each corner – was also at perfect desk height. So as well as giving me a great working surface, I was also protect from the sun, perfect.

Tactic 3 – being a bear of very little brain I neglected the obvious – borrow an easle from Steven…well I’d have had to carry it about.

Here are the resulting pictures; 14×10, rough paper for texture, and mixed media (watercolour, inks, wax crayon and pastels), this combination is becoming my go to – a step beyond pen and wash.

The tall flowers are Tree Aeoniums

The first picture I painted this holiday I posted on FB whilst we were still there. Its is the view from the garden at the Little Arthur Cafe on St Martins. This is run by an enterprising local family and its all tied in – farm for produce, vineyard, Adam’s Fish and Chips (grow the potatoes and catch the fish), quite splendid.

The view from Little Arthur Cafe on St Martin’s IOS

I don’t always carry a full painting kit. I have evolved my notebook work by using water-soluble pencils, pens and water brushes – these are easy to carry and with an A5 Notebook using 150gsm paper good results can be obtained – a sketch can take 15 minutes, I rarely exceed 1 hour.

Extracts from my notebook 1

The minimum kit to carry is simply the notebook, a V5 roller ball (because they have non-permanent ink) and a waterbrush – when the water meets the ink it runs – this is a good thing. Most artist pens have permanent inks but unless you ar really fast they dry out to fast for my liking. I must be in a minority here, but it works for me.

In the following extracts the people watching from the New Inn on Tresco uses this technque

Extracts from my notebook 2

We sometimes have lazy days – there is a secluded garden and it is a very short walk to Porthole beach and Juliets Garden. Such days give the opportunity to paint without having to carry the kit. I had a great walk through the woods on a sunny and windy day and was able to create the following back at the appartment.

Sunlight and Shade in the Trees Above Innisidgen – St Mary’s IOS

Lastly I mentioned that we had one day when it rained heavily. This was right at the start of the two weeks and I hadn’t got any source material to work up, so instead I used a photograph, imported it into a graphics programme on my iPAD. I use ArtStudio (Lucky Clan 2015). I then proceed to manipulate the image so that little if anything remains of the original photo – except the composition and proportions.

According to Hockney in Secret Knowledge, artists have been using optical devices since c15 and he has also produced a body of work using graphics package. I think he starts with a blank not a photograph but my intention – to date – has been different.

I have used this technique, as a supplement to sketches and photographs to understand the extent to which an image can be simplified and abstracted before embarking on a more conventional painting.

Anyway this was result – the same trees as those above but viewed from the beach at Little Porth.

A welcome return

In December 2022, when out walking with the family at Lyme Park I managed to fall over and shoulder charge the ground. Result; a full thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon with a moderate volume of bursal and joint effusion – that’s a soft tissue rotator cuff injury in plain language. What it boiled down was that it hurt like hell and, being the right shoulder completely stopped me from painting. Ignore the fact that I managed to let 2022 go by and only posted a a few bits and pieces of art on Facebook, the plan was to do a big catch up at the end of the year…ha should know better..

So now it’s June 2023 and at long last my shoulder has improved enough for me to start painting again. If I need surgery of course (which has still to be decided), there could be a further interruption.

By way of catch up here are some of my latest offerings – in reverse chronological order.

Annual trip to the Lakes May-June 2023

Just at the bottom of the field from the cottage the old field gate made a suitable foreground. This view is across the Gretta to the Newlands Valley, with Low Rigg, High Rigg, and Wren Crag on the right (west) and Helvwlyn in the distance on the left (southeast).

Helvelyn from “The Hoggest” I – SOLD
Mixed Media; Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks and Pastel
Rough paper 16 x 12, En Plein Air

Walking out from the cottage east towards Threkeld one does not have to go far to find splendid open woodland. We were blessed with good weather and I was rather taken with this long view of light and shade – also towards Helvelyn -through the trees

Helvelyn from “The Hoggest” II,
Mixed media; Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks and Pastel
Rough paper, 12 x 16, En Plein Air

Having developed a taste for painting flowers (through the necessity of lockdown) I spent a happy morning studying the Rhododendron. The garden was, as they say immature, the property is newly converted. Im sure this specimen will grow much larger…I know these are not native but the flowers are spectacular.

Mixed Media; Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Pen and Pastel
Rough Paper 12×16, En Plein Air

Earlier In April-May 2023

Those of you who follow the Fish walks posted on Facebook by Kate will be aware that most Saturdays we take off into the Dales. Despite the shoulder I was chomping at the bit to do some sketching and captured this scene from the banks of the Wharfe at Appletreewick. It is one of our favourite walks and one of my favourite views. I worked the sketch up as a studio piece at the beginning of May.

River Wharfe at Appletreewick
Mixed Media; Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks and Pastels,
Rough Paper, 16 x 12, Studio Picture from en plain air sketch

Before the Fall

It seems ages ago now. By the time I did my previous Christmas card I had exhausted my source material – you may have noticed it doesn’t show all that much. I was mightily glad it snowed in November 2021. We had a great day out mostly visiting the Hawes Dairy for Christmas fare. I managed to get a set of photographs and thought this was a suitably scene for the annual Christmas Card in 2022.

Christmas Card
Winter Sun Hylands Bridge, Hawes, Wensleydale
Watercolour 16 x 10 Studio Painting

2022 – its gone…do try and post more frequently in future!

A week on the NE Coast

For the last week of October and into November we had a week on the NE coast near Bamburgh. We have been there a few times and love the beaches. This time it was very rainy for more days than not, so much so that we mostly did short walks in between showers. My ability to collect good source material for the rainy days was very limited so we resorted to board games and I did a couple of studies in the studio when we got back.

The first is a view of Dunstanburgh Castle from Embleton Beach. We’d has a fabulous lunch at The Ship Inn at Newton by the Sea and as we rounded the corner into Embleton Bay the classic view of Dunstanburgh Castle was breathtaking. The waves weren’t huge by any means but the fresh breeze (force 5 in old money) was enough to whip away the foam. I was struck by the symmetry between the waves and the land with the Castle behind them, as though the land was a solidified version of the sea that was coming in.

Dunstanburgh from Embleton Beach

The second is a view west, its from the same beach walk looking through the Dunes at sunset. The dunes make for a great backdrop to the coastline, being the east cost sunset is over the dunes not the sea and as I’m an owl not a lark I wasn’t going to get the sunrise – maybe another time. Now is the best time for us owls to get sunrises because the clocks have been put back.

Embleton Dunes at Sunset

Here are a couple of extracts from my my en-plein-air, alla prima notebook sketches.

Notebook – Dunstanburgh abd Farne Islands
Notebook 2 – Bamburgh and Lindisfarne

A week in Wensleydale

Even in lockdown we were lucky with the timing so we haven’t missed a year for this September fixture. The mixed weather is a mixed blessing – when it rains I can use fresh source material and paint in the flat. It rained on two days this year so I managed to do two studio watercolours.

The first is a view of Addleboroug from the path on the other sider of the valley above the village of Woodhall.

The second is the farm of Litherslack (got to love the name). Its on the route from Askrigg to Hardraw.

I also managed a couple of 10″x7″ pen and wash sketches

The first is Yore Bridge at Bainbridge

The second is the view of the River Ure looking towards the bridge at Worton (one day I’ll get lucky and see a Kingfisher)

Finally some extracts from my sketchbook

Trying something new

Acorn is a community Union, if you want to find out more about it I have it listed here

The commission was simple (for a graphic designer) the Leeds branch of Acorn are launching a newspaper and magazine and wanted a masthead for it. Being a more traditional artist didn’t stop me volunteering – I prefer to do backroom support these days. I was accepted, I think the appeal was to get fresh artwork as a change from the use of stock images.

First job was to work out what the client wanted – their brief was simple; “The name of the newsletter will be The Back to Back…the subtitle of the newsletter will be ACORN Leeds Newsletter & Magazine…be creative – we’ve picked the name Leedsey…as metaphor for solidarity and standing together, so if you can think of a way to represent that visually that would be really appreciated.”

Step 1 come up with the concept and get it agreed

This is for tone, style and to see if it captures the idea of solidarity and standing together.

Step 2 create the artwork for the graphics person

Translate the concept into a piece of artwork, used acrylics and inks, kept it stylistic with anonymous people, posed in the red tee-shirts to echo the banner which in this version I expanded to include the Acorn logo

Step 3 Result

This is the image combined with the text for the masthead – its currently out for feedback from the members. Looking forward to first issue.

Catching up at last

It is such a long time since I blogged about my painting and sketching that a catch up is well in order.

Isolation because of Covid-19 forced a change; as a result, I think paintings of flowers will become a regular part of my repertoire. I found out that I like zooming in to detail and even though I can now get out and about I find myself attracted to details.

Last year we just bumped all our holiday arrangements forward 1 year and hoped for the best. We were very lucky and even though there is delay to the full end of lockdown I really didn’t expect us to get away with it. I have worked in pharmaceuticals and the speed with which vaccines have been developed is phenomenal. In fact we may well have hit the “sweet spot” people still taking care, not yet a free for all. Enough restrictions have been relaxed for all our 2020 booking to work in 2021. Given the pressure on booking places because of “staycations” this meant that all our arrangements were set up hassle free. By next year things might have settled down, I am glad to miss the rush as it turns out.

We did have some hiccups; one Bed Breakfast and Evening Meal became just Bed and Breakfast. Because of staff shortages the restaurant was closed. As there were no places nearby, we grabbed a big lunch and bought some sandwiches to eat in the empty, closed restaurant. In the Isles of Scilly we had to pre-book all restaurants but given what is happening these really are minor issues.

Warning four Yorkshiremen momentin my day a staycation meant staying at home and going out for days. You went where you could get public transport or drive to and back in a day. It didn’t mean having a proper holiday in England instead of going abroad, I mean as if; the closest we got to flying was if we could jump of a jetty.

Warning rip-off rant; I really have a low tolerance for cheating and sharp practice unlike with power in our economy who only act when the scale of it is so great that it cannot be ignored; think PPI or mortgage reselling. No one, of consequence goes to prison and taxpayers are asked to pick up the bill – without even a blush; cheating on people it seems is an integral part of the system. If it is wrong (unethical) but legal, game on, buyer beware.

Price in particular is not based on competition but on what can be got away with. This makes a mockery of customer service. The firms hide behind the smiles of their staff, erect massive admin barriers and use remote call centres and euphemisms like upselling, differential pricing inertia selling, and a love a distressed purchase – its rife and seems to be getting worse.

Now holiday travel doesn’t just mean a higher Covid risk, for us it also means using the motorway network. Motorway “services” are particularly obnoxious places and run by firms that fully understand what a distressed purchase is. Why this is acceptable is beyond me. Petrol is at least 10p per litre more despite the ease with which deliveries can be made, food is similarly overpriced.

The challenge is how to use the motorway network, avoid my inner Meldrew and maintain the holiday chill out. Avoidance has been the policy up to now; make sure to fill up with petrol before joining the network, and pull in to “services” just for the loo and to switch driver. Don’t even think about food, leave the motorway and find somewhere to eat. That changed with the advent of Tebay and Gloucester Services. These are the only places in the motorway network that it makes any sense to stop at for food (Petrol is still a no-no). They are unique in that they; use local produce and suppliers, have good pay and conditions for their staff, charge fair prices and provide a restful environment, they also put money back into the local community. 

If they can do it there is no excuse for the others and shame on the people who commission them; rely on the market, don’t make me laugh. Anyway, enough of that, back to art.

June Isles of Scilly

Fortunate with the weather but limited in what I can take. Solution; 10×7 watercolour block, 140gsm rough paper, selection of wax crayons, bottle of sepia Indian ink and a limited small pallet, some pens, water pens and soluble watercolour crayons, work on my knee.  Challenges; finding a place to sit where I can set up. 

St Agness Sandbar
Halangy Down Iron Age Village

For the pen and wash sketch of Halangy Down Village I was actually sitting in someones living room from 1000 year ago. This beats the buzz I get from living in a Georgian Town House by quite some margin. I’m not sure whether it was a niche in the room for religious relics or something more prosaic, say for an oil lamp or keeping salt. Anyway I was able to set up in great comfort thanks to the ancestors.

Rock Water Samphire and Thrift

June Cornwall and Shropshire

As I say the attraction for painting Flowers close up has stayed with me and you can see the results in the China Rose that was on our patio. There were also some fabulous roses in the gardens. All this adequately compensated for the fact that the to the main house, an avenue of trees, which I have painted a couple of times before but earlier in the season, was deeply shaded and the flowers had finished. 

Brown Clee Hill
China Rose
Duloe Manor Garden

May-June Lake District

Here I have to say the weather was so good that I spent more time walking then painting. My personal highlight, apart from being reunited with family and grandchildren, was a long excursion. For those who know or care to look start at Patterdale, park at the cricket ground; Birks, The Cape (St Sunday Crag), Deepdale Hause, Cofa Pike, Fairfield, Rydal Head, Hart Crag, Hartstop above How (glorious long slow easy ridge descent), Bridgend, cross the valley, Rooking and back – 12 miles, 4000+ feet of ascent. The killer is the height loss on Deepdale Hause but it’s leads to the best route up Fairfield in my opinion.

I did plenty of sketches and eventually worked up a more studied watercolour of Patterdale

Patterdale – Goldrill Beck

Using a sketchbook

Here is some of my “on the go sketchbook” work. Sketching can be a thing in is own right as well as a way of capturing information for studio work. Even with a decent camera what you learn through sketching is so much richer than if you just try and interpret a photograph. There is something about being in the place, and the way physical activity creates information I the brain. I’m sure this extra input caused by physicality must be related to related to the reason why, even those who can work from home, will continue get back to the office say once a week for real face time. 

Painting en-plein-air is a pleasure but when Im just out and about, or it’s a long walk, or the weather is dodgy it is great to travel as light as possible – sketch whilst having a rest, or picnic lunch. I can do a sketch in 15minutes, longer is a bonus.

My minimum kit is a black pen (which must have soluble ink) a water brush to make the soluble ink bleed and a notebook. Sometimes I add a Derwent Sktyeching pemcil as the graphite is soluble.

For colour I can take an hour but still want to keep the kit to a minimum. I carry a range of Derwent pencils – Intense and Graphtint. They don’t give quite the same results as pen and wash but for ease of use in the field, and having persevered with them, I find them an acceptable alternative to carrying a pallet and water.

Second Lockdown – February/March

Earlier in the year we had the second lockdown. So it was back into the garden to paint some more flowers. These are from February, March and April.

The crosus was the first, these came up in the gaps between paving on the lower lawn (it sound grand but the garden is on 50’ long and the width of the house). I touched up the shadows with some acrylic ink.


The daffodils and tulips worked well together in a planter.

Daffodils and Tulips

The forest flame (pieris japonica) also has white flowers which I missed last year

Forest Flame II

My 2020 Christmas Card

And finally, at the end of last year I did the annual Christmas Card. This is a 16×12 studio watercolour of the weir at Linton Falls near Grassigton. I have now exhumed my source material for snow scenes at this location and was glad to have more snow over the winter so that I will be able to find a suitable subject.

Linton Weir – winter evening

It went down well on Facebook with the best results I have ever for a painting reaching over 3,000 people. The Isolation flowers (which can be seen in earlier blogs) gave me adequate material for a calendar.

So there we have it, caught up. Id better not leave it so long untill the next time.

Isolation Pictures – May

Continuing the series of flowers painted in situ because we are all trapped in isolation, here are garden flowers in May.

Clematis II

This Clematis climbs up a the dead trunk of a Japanese Acer that suffered from wilt and eventually died.

14×10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour and Inks. 2 hour en plein air, alla prima study. Late morning/early afternoon.

Clematis II

Clematis II

Clematis III

This Clematis is thriving amongst some Jasmin, when I painted this the Jasmin was just coming out. I liked the contrast, struggled with the vivid blue.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 2 hour en plein air, alla prima study. Morning.

Clematis III

Clematis III


This is a Gertrude Gykel Rose growing in a planter near the house, its scent is wonderful especially mixed with the Jasmin at night when it drifts in through the windows.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 2.5 hour en plein air, alla prima study. Early afternoon.




Love the wild un-ruleiness of these bi-annuals.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 2.5 hour en plein air, alla prima study. Mid Afternoon.





Love the cultivated poise of the Lupins as a contrast to the foxgloves.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 2.5 hour en plein air, alla prima study. Morning.



Isolation Pictures – April

So, in my last post I said that it was difficult to know what would come next and guessed that I’d be plundering old sketch books and photographs. I also noted that the garden could provide the opportunity for some close to home en plein air work. The weather has gone through a spell of bright sunny days and the its seemed daft to be painting in the studio when the spring flowers have been so vivid and cheering.

So far I have had most success and pleasure from zooming in and doing flower studies. These are not precise, like botanical studies, but I have striven for a level of detail that makes them recognisable. As well as the watercolour pans (which I refill fill from tubes) I have made liberal use of acrylic inks, pen and wax crayon.

I have largely dropped the use of masking fluid in my landscapes and figure work. My first attempt was of one of the flowerbeds in my developing mixed media style.



For me the close ups work much better, or rather I enjoy doing them more. I have, however had to adapt my approach.

I always do a preliminary sketch. These are essential, they enable an exploration of composition lighting – essentially a design process – and additionally they help one to understanding and internalise the subject. Its almost as though the hand eye links get established in advance.

I do a foundational sketch on the support, this needs to be enough to guide but light to be painted over.

I use a masking fluid to reserve the big shapes, which are the flowers. When that’s dry, and it dries fast in decent weather, I can apply a liberal amounts of wax, water colour and inks to the background. The background stays abstract; essentially what I’m doing is limiting the depth of field in the same one might with a close up using a camera.

Then I add in the flowers which are the main subjects and focal points. All of these were completed en plein air, alla prima. I may well attempt some more detailed studies in the studio using these sources if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Tulips and Tulips II

We have Tulips in beds and in pots. These are both afternoon pictures. The first is at the end of the garden and was completed late in the afternoon. The second is near the house, earlier as the wall shadow v=creates full shade by 4-00pm.

14×10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour and Inks. 1 hour and 2 hour en plein air, alla prima studies.


Tulips II


Early afternoon. We have a Montana that goes berserk at this time of year. Unfortunately most of the flowers have migrated next door.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 2 hour en plein air, alla prima study.



The wallflowers are a morning glory. Our garden faces due south and the wall casts a shadow that grows in size as the day moves on past noon.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 1.5 hour en plein air, alla prima study.


Forrest Flame

This old friend has been guarding the entrance to the patio for many years and never fails to look splendid at this time of year.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 1.5 hour en plein air, alla prima study.

Forrest Flame

Cherry Blossom

The columnar cherry was one of our first plantings. Its been pruned hard 2 times in 30 years but maintains its shape and always delivers a huge amout of blossom. Morning.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 1.5 hour en plein air, alla prima study.

Cherry Blossom


Ok they are Spanish bluebells, paler blue and waxy compared to our native ones. I like them in a garden setting and since we inherited them they have spread. These is some evidence of hybridisation in the remoter patches where there are some smaller and darker flowers.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 2 hour en plein air, alla prima study.




Bush Anemone

At the bottom of the garden a Bush Anemone comes over the wall from next door. It doesn’t smell like the mock orange behind it but is does look lovely.

14x 10 140lb Rough Paper, Watercolour, Wax Crayon, Inks. 2 hour en plein air, alla prima study.

Bush Anemone wm

And just to prove the point

The garden has been a real boon and the good weather couldn’t be ignored so all these studies were done from life.

April Flowers WIP


2020 From Rain and Floods to Coronavirus Isolation

I have mentioned before that I have been concentrating on writing, but I have not stopped painting, just slowed down. The first 2 months of 2020 were particularly wet and this meant that I have been unable to do any en-plein air work. Instead I have been relying on very quick sketches or photographs. The problem with the sketches is that I either get wet or cold, or both before I have to move on so at best I can only grab an impression. In any case if we are hiking Kate does not like having to stop in inclement conditions – which is understandable.


So work in January was limited to a studio sketch inspired by a trip to Lake District in March 2018. Here I was inspired by the stillness of the water and trying to capture the feel of a winter day when the frost was so heavy that it looked almost like snow.

Derwent Water Water colour with ink

Derwent Water
Water colour with ink



We did a trip to the Lakes in February this year. I have been going to the Lake District since like forever so know full well that the weather can be bad. Its fair to say, however that this trip was the worst we have had. In winter you count it as a win if you get one or two days of cold but sunny days, these are the times you can get very dramatic lighting effects. This time we only managed to get out for short trips and these always involved rain, we actually stayed in because of torrential rain on the other days and played more board games sitting in a big bay window overlooking Morecambe Bay. The two pictures below show the best results, done inside from photos and sketches, I have the improved the lighting, one of the lasting impressions of this week is unrelieved greyness.

Here we have a view of Morecambe Bay from Hampsfell

Morecambe Bay from Hampsfell Watercolour with ink and pastel

Morecambe Bay from Hampsfell
Watercolour with ink and pastel


Here we have view of the village of ……..after a trip to Glasson Dock. Thats how wet it was we actually went out of the Lakes “grockling” and did an hours sun (made up of 5-10 minutes snatches) amidst the rain and hail.

Conder Green Watercolour with Ink and Pastel

Conder Green
Watercolour with Ink and Pastel



March and into April

The final two pieces are from March and April to date.

I have been using material collected on a dales hiking trips. We just managed to fit in couple of expeditions. Once to Boss Moor (south west of Grassington) and once to Barden Moor (south of Grassington).

Here we have a view of Rylestone Fell as you approach to from Cracoe Fell along the ridge. The day was windy and cold but there were periods of good sunlight. I have reduced the cloud cover in this studio piece but captured the feel of coming down in the evening sunshine.

Rylestone Fell Watercolour and Inks

Rylestone Fell
Watercolour and Inks


This last piece is looser with a a liberal amount of ink and wax resist. This is from the same walk, we are now descending from Rylestone Fell walking on the bridleway then eventually ends up in the village. The cloud cover had increased again but the stand of pine trees silhouetted against the light makes an attractive subject and a time to try out copies amounts of antelope brown acrylic ink.

Near Rylesstone Watercolour, Ink, Pastel, Wax Resist

Near Rylesstone
Watercolour, Ink, Pastel, Wax Resist


Both the above were completed on 140 gsm Arches Rough which was stretched in advance.

Difficult to know what comes next. I guess I’ll be plundering old sketch books and photographs, the garden provides an opportunity for some close to home en plein air work and there is always still life…




A Review of 2019 – very brief highlights

This year I have given first priority to writing and developing the ideas behind holistic political economy but have not abandoned painting altogether. I attend a weekly life class, maintain the sketching habit and always take my paints away with me.

The pictures from February 2019 in Askrigg are in the previous post. I did put some well received work up on my facebook page, for example my notebook sketches of the XR protests in Leeds reached over 1500 people. This lead me to join both Urban Sketchers and The Plain Air Society groups on Facebook.

What follows is a very brief resume of the year and I am not repeating everything that I posted on facebook.

At the end of February we took a trip to Northumberland and surprisingly despite the time of year I managed to do some en plain air painting.

Lindisfarne Castle - Holy Island

Lindisfarne Castle – Holy Island


Dunstanburg Castle - Northumberland

Dunstanburg Castle – Northumberland


I didn’t realise at the time just how difficult a year it would be for painting outside (when I had the opportunity the weather was poor, and frustratingly seemed to be good when I was busy with her things)

In June we joined family and friends for our traditional week in the Lake District and then carried on with an extended trip taking us to Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, rounded off with the Isles of Scilly. I had my notebooks and paints with me here are some highlights;

Fleetwith Pike - Lake District

Fleetwith Pike – Lake District


Generally speaking the weather was dreadful until we got to Scilly. This precluded en plain air work for most of the time – the painting of Fleetwith Pike we completed in the utility room of Bank Barn using sketches. Dorset, Devon and Cornwall yielded plenty of sketches but it wasn’t until Scilly that I managed to do some work outside.

Cromwell's Castle - Tresco

Cromwell’s Castle – Tresco


In both August and September we had visits to Rosedale in the Yorkshire Moors.

Spaunton Moor - Lastingham

Spaunton Moor – Lastingham


And we rounded off our week long trips with another visit to Askrigg for bonfire night andd the week following. Both of these were completed in the flat we were staying at – it wasn’t rain all the time but was windy and cold which, combined with short days kept me walking rather than painting.


Old Barn Warfdale

Old Barn Warfdale


Above Nappa Scar

Above Nappa Scar