Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Society of Scottish Artists / Visual Arts Scotland 2019 Exhibition


 Rome, Ponte Marguerita, the lonely cyclist
 oil on card, 2012  18 x 16  cm SOLD

 In context

This small Roman picture has sold, happily.

Thanks to  W.J. E. for these photos.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Forest, late December, 2019


Forest, late December, 2019, oil on card, 24.2 x 29 cm


Annual Review 2019




There were two complete trips: to Peru and to the UK; another will begin on 26 December, to Chile.

 Arequipa, a view from Ponte Grau, oil on card, 22 x 25 cm

The Peru trip lasted six weeks and was a good, extended painting session. One can really go forward doing two solid sessions a day, 5 times a week. I returned with as many as fifteen good paintings. The pictures were of a larger size than on previous trips. 

Green Park, London, Avenue, oil on card, 24 x 30 cm   SOLD

The UK trip was not a success in terms of making paintings because of bad weather. I hade been looking forward to doing paintings in Scotland's beautiful west coast. What a fool! How it poured down, and I even got a cold- in August.

 I will not gamble my time and money in this way again and instead when I go to the UK in 2020 I will also go to a southern European place where I can work happily and cheaply: southern Spain or perhaps Portugal beckon. However, the small exhibition in Edinburgh was well received and sold well. 

The work: travel painting

There was a gradual but definite scale increase and an attempt to use bolder colours and shapes. I continued also to produce black and white still life pictures. I continue to explore expressionistic approaches to landscape. I moved apartment and studio and with this had the chance to discard weak work. Over time one becomes more clearheaded about what is good or not. 

One the whole, the reasons for a work being a success are not technical but connected to the my psychological state at the time of making. A good picture arises from a balance between knowledge about the subject and it's novelty. If it is too familiar one becomes deadened, taking its peculiarities for granted. If it's too unfamiliar, one flounders.  The lack of seasonal variation here is unfortunate: seasonal changes serve so well to renew interest in a landscape through the year.

For this reason, attempts to criticise the works lead to consideration of the mental conditions in which a picture was made. Happily, satisfactory mental conditions arise readily, predictably: when I travel to new places. And happily, the world is very big. To maintain that balance between the familiar and the unknown though I tend to return to places I have at least some previous relationship with.

When I began travel painting the idea that I was telling some autobiographical story- the painter travelling diarist aspect- enlivened me, and I thought about the story I might tell about a trip and a place, and myself, through a series of paintings. With time, however, those stories lose their consequence and one is just left with a series of paintings, good, bad or indifferent. And, of course, the novelty of the activity disappears.

 But a sense of mission is surely vital in any enterprise, however philosophical one might be about the results years later. Without enthusiasm- joy indeed- one might as well stay at home watching Netflix.

In Brazil

Forest, December 2019, oil on card, 24 x 29.5 cm

My paintings here explored woodland and forest, to the almost total exclusion of other subjects. Woodland shade is so agreeable when the sun is blazing down. I explored mainly two places, in Santa Antonio da Lisboa and Parque Florestal of Rio Vermelho. It would be good to find other places to explore as eventually these will become stale.

Still life painting

The corner of a table, a book, my diary, a spoon, my wallet and part of a chair
oil on card, 16.7 x 15.2 cm

It can be said that still life painting is simply a diminutive for of landscape, albeit one in which artists have the God-like power to arrange its motifs as they see fit. I like to work in black and white on these, to have that starkness.


There were two exhibitions, one in Lagoa and one in Portobello. The former did not sell, the latter did. There appears to be no almost no market for art in southern Brazil. This is not simply a matter of the appalling economy, it is about taste and values.

Social Media


I stopped posting here. I somewhat regret this as it did connect me to some sort of community of more serious visual artists, albeit with a focus on photography. I may return, though I would say that the role of this site has for me been largely replaced by Instagram. I have 959 followers. No change.


The number of followers is the same. 84. But there are other people looking regularly whose monikers don't appear. I don't write things as much anymore. That's partly becuase working larger I produce less.


The number of followers is 221, up from 136. 


There are 247 followers. It is a bit of a waste of time using this site, for my purposes , except maybe to announce exhibitions.


There were a few sales through Saachi. These are always a bureaucratic challenge.


Following advice, I created a page to represent me.

In the social media world such numbers are extremely low. I don't kid myself oh they are few but very dedicated, as their comments are not many. 



Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Poinsettia, sellotape, matchboxes, dairy, hairbrush


Poinsettia, sellotape, matchboxes, diary, hairbrush
 oil on card, 15.7 x 16 cm


Monday, December 9, 2019

Forest, December 2019


Forest, December 2019, oil on card, 24 x 29.5 cm

I took a different path and found this grove. The pinks and browns of the fallen leaves are pleasing to paint.

 I`d like to come here again in a few days time- the atmosphere is very calming.


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Smaller trees, Santo Antônio de Lisboa


Smaller trees, Santo Antonio, oil on card, 23.5 x 25.7 cm


Friday, December 6, 2019

Undergrowth, Parque Forestal


Undergrowth, Parque Forestal, oil on card, 21.5 x 28 cm

A rather Derain influenced piece. Derain offers, I think, a way forward into bigger, more confident forms.

After a period of re-adjustment necessitated by moving,  I am back, I think, to painting on a regular basis.