Monday, August 27, 2012

Whizz! A car descending a hill

Whizz! A car descending a hill, oil on card, 12.5 / 13.8 cm

Painted from near where Saturday's painting was made.

A dull, hopeless sort of day.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Overlooking Praia Mole

Overlooking Praia Mole, oil on card, 12 / 13.5 cm

A windy, sun-filled day, not too many tourists as yet. Painted from the hills above the beach, working quickly, not worrying too much about accuracy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pochade carriers for Italy

A stack of carriers

 Open carrier


I am slowly preparing for September's trip to Italy, with a new run of carriers. These are deeper and larger than previous carriers. 

They are unpainted. I like the utilitarian brown, which I think contrasts happily with the contents. But, of course that means they are not so well protected against moisture. Perhaps I can varnish them.

This sort of craft work is therapeutic and makes for a pleasant escape from the sort of intellectual work I normally do.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Two recent pochades

River, Palhoça, oil on card, 11.4 / 14.1 cm

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tijucas, landscape

Tijucas, landscape, oil on card, 14.7 / 18 cm

Hot hazy day, making for uncomfortable driving.

Again, in a larger format.

Friday, August 10, 2012

An Afternoon in the park with the gardener and the psychotherapist, and other paintings from Olinda

An Afternoon in the park with the gardener and the psychotherapist, oil on card, 13 / 14 cm

Convento de São Francisco, Olinda, oil on card, 13.3 / 12 cm

Trees behind a wall, rain coming, Olinda, oil on card, 11.5 / 9.5 cm

In the park, Olinda, oil on card, 12 / 14 cm  SOLD

Olinda is a very pleasant place, if somewhat touristified.

Something happens to any city when it starts to depend excessively on tourism, which is that it starts to become oddly sterile- places become aestheticised, losing the functions and meanings that created them in the first place.

 But I found it considerably easier to relax into painting there than in Recife, partly simply because it is far safer.

Nine from Recife and Olinda

Hills, Urubici

Hills, Urubici, oil on card, 9.7 / 7 cm  SOLD

This picture was sold in Edinburgh yesterday at the Union Gallery, Broughton Street.

The Union will be holding a display of my pictures in September.

Thursday, August 9, 2012



Its a sad city, with a sense of of abandonment. The landscape isn't euphoric like Rio's, with its strange and spectacular mountains.

Recife stretches widely, but seems half finished, with patches of wasteland and favela here and there, while the long sea front consists of huge, anonymous condominiums. There is almost nowhere to eat or drink late at night along the seafront, strangely.

Recife features the usual rotten Brazilian urban planning, so that that even travelling short distances by bus takes an eternity.  I found the waiters and waitresses glum. There are a fair number of people sleeping rough, including children.

More positively, there is an interesting folk and carnival tradition and the baroque churches are spectacular, and the old city has been nicely restored. There is a lively street life around parts of the old town around Santo Antonio.

The artist Brennand has a studio and museum complex above the city, which is truly one of most enjoyable art collections I have seen, with his sculptures elegantly sited in gardens.


I did not spend long enough painting in Recife to get into it properly. With little time one ends up becoming caught in very obvious tourist views, and it struck me that was most interesting about Recife was the relationship between the lively street life and the architecture- something which I would have required more time to find ways to capture.

Baroque architecture is a devil to paint, as its forms suggest constant motion and tropical regions are less satisfying than temperate ones because the light is always from above, making even Baroque buildings appear insipid, because their forms become flattened.

Many thanks to Fernanda for her help and company on this trip.