Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Photos from my Travels

Our motorhome on a campsite above St.Ives.
We have been able to spend many happy times in her
travelling all over the British Isles, including Ireland.
Our biggest trip was last year, when we had six
weeks touring Europe


    Scotland was where this picture of the stag was captured
Still in the Highlands of Scotland,
after a day of rain, the sun finally broke through,  for me to get this shot  

this cannon at Culzean Castle caught my eye for a picture of colour and texture

Nearer home in Yorkshire is this view of the river Wharfe, at Bolton Abbey

You will have guessed by now that I love to be by water,  this photo was the view from our motorhome in Interlaken, Switzerland. The old boat is steam driven,
and takes tourists around Lake Brienze

Five thousand miles away, one of our  favourite places, Yosemite Valley, USA
This next picture of the Elk, was taken in Yellowstone National Park

Adjoining Yellowstone, in Wyoming is another of America's superb
National Parks, The Tetons

Back home, and the onset of Autumn

Winter comes to the English Lake District

This is a photo of the North Sea in Yorkshire

Finally back to where we started, sunrise over St.Ives

Saturday, 24 October 2009

East Lancashire's Industrial Past in Water Colour

When growing up in the fifties this scene was typical of the tired old cotton towns.
Before leaving school, I use to deliver meat for the local butcher. When the clocks were
turned back, and the shops were still open, the whole place was to my eyes transformed
into a magical place as I pedalled on my delivery bike. Of course every house and
factory was belching smoke, which trapped the mist.
As far as the painting goes, the technique is perhaps the most difficult, Wet in Wet.
The location is the hilly town of Colne on the north of Pendleside

         This is another example of Wet in Wet
  My painting 'The Entrance to Gannow Tunnel'. The
      horse that towed the barge, was led over the hill here in Burnley, while the man legged 
it on his back through the tunnel

The Leeds and Liverpool canal was opened here in 1804, cutting right through
Burnley, this area is well preserved, and remains more or less just
as it was when I painted it in the eighties. Cotton mills were
built all along the banks, this part is known as the
Weavers Triangle

The old from the new, the new was a multi storey car park from where I first got this
view of the town. The old has now gone, the river Brun as been cleaned up 
after its pollution from iron ore deposits.
The viaduct is where the railway crosses Burnley, A little
known fact about Burnley, is that at the begining of 
the nineteen hundreds, more cotton was woven
here than any where else in the world.
Back in the sixties, the town was a forest of factory chimneys

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Oil or Water? Painting Techniques

In my opinion there is only one way to paint one of our English Skies. The medium must be Water Colour. When I'm asked how long did it take to paint that sky? the truthful answer is about ten minutes, the smart answer could be thirty years. Just as we write our signature in a flourish I think water colours should done and left.

A closer look at the forground on this painting 'Rag  and Bone man, Nelson', shows
single brush strokes, get it wrong and and its not as effective
The stonework however was done wet in wet,
and could take some time

In complete contrast, is this detail from my picture 'Sarlat-la-Caneda', reflecting I hope, the  hot
colours of France. This is an oil painting, with thick buttery paint
applied with a painting knife

The last of the mediums I have used is 'Pen and Wash'. Allied to watercolour,
the image is drafted out (in my case) in waterproof Indian ink, drawn
with a reed pen. The pen can be made from a piece of cane, which is
sharpened to a point. The effect is an attractive irregular line,
hopfully seen on this close up of the fishing boat

This water colour 'A Beach in Donegal' is a subject that is particularly
suitable for water colour. The dry brush work on the breaking
waves takes us back to the 'one stroke flourish'. I spoke of
at the start. The white bits are the untouched paper,
I never use white paint, truly transparent
Water Colour

Thursday, 15 October 2009

stills from my film 'Boat'

Two hours away from Pendleside is the Lake District. We often go in the motorhome to this beautiful campsite, in Keswick. The site lies beside Derwent Water. There are superb views on all sides. My main interest here is photography, both still and movie

This oil is from Derwent Water, looking south to Borrowdale, a backlit  study in cobolt blue

  At the other end of England lies Cornwall, Rickard is a cornish name, and I always feel at home when I cross the border from Devon. We had a count up Dot and I, and realised we have been going to St.Ives for over forty years

            Low tide St.Ives
the sea has retreated. Showing off the great lines of boats, even the tiny ones like this one

This old boat was discovered in Gweek, south Cornwall. The time of day is pure imagination

Finally this painting of  the canal wharf at Wigan was the picture produced as a oil painting demonstration in the making of my film 'Boat'
Until the age of eight I lived, only a few miles away from this location known as 'Wigan Pier' Here again this is a record of things that were. The whole area as been renovated, and as become a tourist attraction

Friday, 9 October 2009

Paintings from my Travels

   Less than an hours drive away from Pendleside are the Yorkshire Dales, a National Park.
   The time portrayed is early morning, What a splendid position this hill farmer has, of
   Dentdale. I've always felt lucky to live in this part of the world

This is a view of Sarlat-la-Caneda, which is a few miles north of the Dordogne, eastern France. We stopped in this beautiful area  camping by the river in the motorhome. The local stone is a lovely Golden colour. This was painted using a palette knife, being itself the subject of one of my films 'Impasto'

I have lost count of how many times we have been to Cornwall, in the south west corner of England. This water colour of the old fishing boat at St. Ives was done in the studio from one of the many sketches I've done over the years

No prizes for this one, Venice. A composite oil done from several photos, taken last year. This was during the same six week tour of Europe in the motorhome

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Pendle Picture Gallery

Downham is said to be Lancashire's prettiest village, and this view was my first subject many yeas ago

This is a typical Pendle side farmhouse, a painting that has been exhibited in  in Creil, Paris, Nelson's Twin town

The old cobbled streets of Nelson still exist, but the rag and bone man was drawn from memories

This weather is typical of the Pennines, clouds speeding overhead on a brisk March day

This old farm is no longer there, but for years it provided good subjects for my paintings from every angle

Finally this view of the Leeds and Liverpool canal shows what a rich source of subjects we have by the old cotton mill cottages

When I started painting in the sixties, out of the fifty or so members of an art group I joined, I found I was the only one painting in watercolour. also I was only the one who was doing pictures of  the old back streets and smoke blacked Cotton mills. It was said that the paintings reminded them of Lowery, an observation I did'nt agree with. My philosophy was, and still is, that even the most unlikely views can be transformed into magic under fleeting light. For over twenty years I worked less than a hunded yards from the spot above

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A Lancastrian Painter

I have lived all my life in England's county of Lancashire, East Lancashire to be exact, under the brooding shadow of Pendle Hill. Pendle has always facinated me, its a hill steeped in legend, stories of witches, exacuted in nearby Lancaster Castle in a age of superstition and intoralance. It was from the summit that George Fox founder of the Quakers had his famous vision.
It is then from this historic area, that as I have been inspired to record this part of the world in watercolour and oil paintings, both rural and urban. There are many old industrial remnants, that have provided me with many subjects, a landscape that lies at Pendle's feet.