stories and illustration

Owl and Mirror

Someone put these words on to a painting that I can’t even remember putting on-line. I quite like the words, and I like even more that someone used this image for these words.

November 21, 2019 Posted by | Art, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Studio II


October 12, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Studio III

Owl 3

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barn Door


Can’t get into this old building on this visit, as there is it closed off, so poked the camera through a space between the upper and lower door on the farmyard side, in order to take a picture of this big door on the far side of the barn. In the barn are thin eye-slits in the thick stone walls, so one can see out on to the Liddel Valley, where you can hear a sheep baa-ing from across the valley. In the past I knew someone who lived in a room above the main body of this barn.  Last time I was in the barn itself I climbed the stairs to this room, and got deeper and deeper into barn owl droppings, and the owl itself came flying out of the rafters.

May 28, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Owl and Mirror


November 4, 2013 Posted by | Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

In the Studio: Marvin, Mirror, Shadow


November 3, 2013 Posted by | Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paintings Unfinished

This painting is an evocation of walks up above Coldstream, in the summer.  Nothing up there but hares, and the hawks.  In this picture at the moment there are three hares.  At the left hand corner there was the head of a flautist, but I took him out: I wanted a picture without people;  he was out  propertion; and this is a deep edge canvas (I continue round the edges) and painting the arms of a flautist in the third dimension like this looked ridiculous. It works with houses going round a corner, but not with the human body.

I have another painting of a flautist on the edge a wheatfield, but this is on a narrow edge canvas, which contains the picture within the rectangle.

Today I have been working further on this painting seen above, overlaying colour .  It is good to leave it and go back to it, as the acrylic dries properly, so a new colour laid over the surface looks fresh. This used to frustrate me with gouache, the way the underlying colours bleed into each other.

When this painting, and others, are finished, I will put them up on this website, before they are exhibited at Berwick Watchtower in January.

A did the ground for this painting a long time ago (one colour overlaid over a colour beneath, patterned with clingfilm, which is manipulated and left to dry, so that when it is lifted there are striations and whorls in the ground through which the underneath colour shows).  The canvas has been sitting perched up again the wall.  Nagging me.  I always knew what the subject was, the high bank on the edge of the Lees fields, where a mass of wild flowers grow in the summer.  This week I started to throw paint at the canvas.  I picked some dried grasses to see if I could use them as a base for printing, but this didn’t work at all, so I have been using paint very freely, scattering, using the edge of a pallette knife, gestural single brushstrokes, spattering. Overlaying this will  probably be some stencilled words, some colours/flowers, and some delicately-painted  insects, which I will then overlay with more freshly applied paint.  We shall see.  So far I like the freedom of the shapes, this looseness is something new for me, after many years of illustration.

There were at one time gong to be mirrors, with reflections of things that wouldn’t be reflected, I had an idea for a rider on horseback in armour, probably memories of Lady of Shalott.  Anyway, too complex an idea – it didn’t seem to gel.  Still, I am working on this idea of layers that lower layers can be seen through, and also using lettering, though I don’t know whether this will work on this particular painting.

Something about this  image reminds me of Liddesdale. It seems to take place in some kind of moorland, with water in the background, I think the hare must hare strayed out of its habitat, although I have seen hares not too far away. The colours have been made gentle with an overlay of oil pastel.  The two figures will be more detailed, especially the boy playing the flute, but the overall colouring should remain misty and silver pink like this (in the sky, on the water and in some of the foliage I have used pearlised paint, which I got from a craft shop – very seductive it is too). To the left I shall  paint some darkish moths. The feeling of the painting I have got already though, so I don’t want to work it too much more.

This was a rather dark painting, which has been hanging on a hook in the Tardis for some time.  This week I added the table edge, the gold old-fashioned easel and the fabric anenomes, and suddenly the picture is a tad less sombre.  The owl is Marvin, I bought him at auction, he is called after the magician in “Parchment House”, which I wrote years ago. There were always owls, for years, at Stonegarthside, they were part of the magic of the place. The perspective is odd, because everything is painted from a different angle, but I like this.  Poor Marvin, I left him in the window in the summer and half his feathers have got bleached.  I am thinking of doing a (vry delicate) paint job on him, but will finish the picture first.

November 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment


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