From the Studio

Beginning work after a longish gap can feel daunting.
What to paint?
In which medium?
How big?

The answer for me in January was to start very small.
For several years I have found simple shapes fun to ‘play’ with. I’m not sure why, but there is something that is just pleasing about slowly finding out what shape and colour will work well in the composition.

In this 15cm square piece worked in acrylic inks on board, I enjoyed keeping the pigments translucent, and building up layers. I can’t explain what such work ‘means’, but that’s never bothered me. Each shape as I look at this seems to have a ‘character’ and even a ‘role’. The dark shapes for instance feel dynamic, as if they have a purpose, and are conveying an intention or even a message?

In February my mind moved on to think about exhibitions I will be taking part in this year (See

One venue in particular is a very large, beautiful medieval barn. Large work will hold its own in the space, so I began work on four 76cm square cradled boards.

Following an impulse to return to working with oils, I discovered that my instinct was to further explore a favourite place of mine: Southwold Harbour. It was still in my mind that in spring 2023, much damage was done by a fire.

Last year I made and sold a large collage inspired by that feeling of brokenness of something much loved. The oil stays with that recognition of damage. At the risk of venturing too far into reflections on the state of our world, I will say that I hoped the new oil painting would resonate with both destruction and hope. I have been amazed at the immediate and widespread praise of this piece. People who know the place find that the painting really expresses its nature and atmosphere.

It may still be a work in progress: it’s often wise to leave oils for a while before deciding if they are complete. But here it is in its current form:

And here’s a detail from the oil that I’m particularly pleased with. The delicate falling lines are where the wet darker pigment has run down the surface: unplanned and perfectly expressive of this messy, dilapidated working place…
In a way, the darkness (and brown-ness!) of this piece triggered me to work in an entirely different palette, responding to the signs of Spring which are now vigorously popping up all round. I pottered around in the garden, collecting shots of some of these, not least the dwarf Iris surrounded by juicy lime green colours.

So, on another 76cm square board and working in acrylic ink again, I am building a study of these bright forms, and am pleased with the freedom and depth of colour I’ve created thus far. Here, beside the Iris which inspired them, are a few details from this piece which is as yet a work in progress.

I hope you enjoy the way that the translucent inks reveal and employ the underlying brush marks on the prepped board surface?

I always love to know what you think!

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I have a large collection of unsold work and may well be open to offers.