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The challenge of scale

I have been finishing ‘Mountain Stream’, inspired by a scene in the west coast of Ireland. In a painting where mountains are the key feature, it can be hard to express distance and size. I show this by focusing on making distant subjects not only smaller than near ones, but less strong in colour and less distinct.

Painting late afternoon sun

I’m working on a new seascape, with the sun at dusk reflecting on waves. It will be difficult to capture that effect and so this is where my preparatory work comes into its own, to iron out problems before they hit the canvas! I made a small sketch, first in pencil and then in colour with pastels, during which I …

Immersive expressions of nature

In the scene I’m painting, it is the kind of afternoon when everyone has left the beach except me, and I can enjoy warm late afternoon sun and the gentle sounds of the sea rolling in. Painting itself is a deeply immersive type of self-expression, and like any writer, when I’m in a scene I’m truly living it. My focus …

Preparation: The Secret to Good Work

I prepare my composition first.  This usually takes a number of small sketches in pencil in a workbook so that I have a good plan of the scene, after which I usually make a small colour sketch.  This means that I have a good idea of what colours I will use for the final piece, although it can often change …