April 13th, 2013 – Paintings


Into April now and I have been painting a lot recently. My last post was just before my exhibition at Christo’s Gallery in Glasgow and as I wanted to prepare a number of new works just for that with not a lot of time I decided to try working on 5 pictures at the same time over about 3 nights, 2 days varnishing and hanging in the space of Monday to Friday.

I like to work pretty fast anyway and tend to do pictures in one sitting unless there is a lot of pen work which just takes time it takes but the main structure goes in fast.

After seeing a webcam post by the Scottish comedian Limmy on a site called Justin.tv I figured to set up the cam in the studio while I worked on the pictures over the 3 nights. I really tried not to give it too much thought and just leave it running, my mike is rubbish so thought for the future would be a better mike so I can tell folk what I am doing. Otherwise, it looks like I’m just standing looking at a board for ages, but I like the idea and might try just have it on all the time.

Anyways with about 48hrs of painting time over the 3 days, I got 5 pictures done which was pretty cool and I liked the collection I put together. The show was up over the Easter weekend break which tends to be pretty quiet so I don’t think they were too busy, I didn’t sell anything but you never know and sometimes it takes months for folk to remember and look you up. Sow the seeds.

These are just mobile phone shots, the actual pictures will be properly photographed and be available as prints by the end of the month.


I did a couple of paintings years ago with dark eagle-type silhouettes swirling around but I have never done just a regular bird on a branch type picture. I think they turned out great. Some shots from the gallery –


And while the show was up 2 massive canvases arrived that someone donated to me during my appeal about 2 weeks before the exhibition as I was struggling to get the materials together. It’s been a tough start to the year!

I started both canvases at the same time early on a Sunday and I decided to do a landscape like the image above, dark snow-capped hills with a northern lights-style sky. I really really like nighttime landscapes, I definitely favor dark pictures I think they are interesting to look at. This is the first one, not the best resolution but you get the idea, the spray sky worked a treat I was getting some nice movement. The colors I chose were also from donations for materials.


From the donations in the two weeks in the run-up to the exhibition I was able to get 3 cans of Montana Spray Paint, 3 posca paint pens a new fine brush, and a couple of tins of varnish, also allowed me to do some prints and order up a number of frames for the work. The two canvases were ordered by Frazer Shaw, a fine fellow from the island of Islay.

Material Donations were received from Anna Crow, Mel Rogerson, Michelle Campbell, Claire McMaster, Emmie Radford, and Fern Purdie so a massive THANK YOU to these people.

Without these gifts, I simply would not have been able to produce any of the work in this post.

I also had a sale last weekend to clear the decks of all my glass produce as I would like to have a fresh slate to work and I sold off a number of paintings and prints to make space for new work. So another thank you to everyone who came down to that over the Easter weekend.

The creative process has to be fluid, for it to flow. Aside from my mental state and creative ideas appearing the biggest restriction is finance, which brings everything to a halt so at this moment these donations were a lifesaver. My idea was basically crowdfunding through the followers of this page and my Facebook business page. I’d love to buy an artist I liked a brush or a canvas!

With the other canvas, I shall use the photos I took during production. I started by doing the base spray paint work on both and worked from there. The first one was the landscape and the second this happened.


So with the background work, I did the landscape first and then was wanting to do something new with the second. As I looked at the canvas for some reason I thought about not using it as a square. So I set up the clamps and some lengths of wood on the drawing board and set it like this….plan!


This format totally changes what works on the canvas. Having the points at the side creates this whole other option for the layout of an image. I had no idea at this point what to do. After some thinking, I figured on doing the leaves floating across a river idea. After some more thought, I got to thinking about blossom floating and this made me think of the classic Japanese pictures of coy fish/carp swimming under the water with floating blossom. This could look cool. So on canvas size, the carp would have to be massive. Waaaaay beyond my normal scale for painting.


Using my technique of drawing on the glass to visualize the placement I worked out where to put the carp. Once they were in I thought about how to do the blossom. I figured on trying to make the fish almost disappear under the blossom. So I started making marks working out my color and style for the blossom petals.


The blossom came together by the end of the day and I had the general structure down on the first day. The next day I used a new technique of a milky wash to create the water movement. I had thought it was looking pretty cool on its own but wanted to define it more. Also the idea there are more dimensions.

One – The fish, under the water.

Two – The ripples, the definition of the water.

Three – The blossom, sitting on top.

The wash worked out great and the rest of the week was spent outlining the blossom to highlight it more and the ripples and adding some well places extra clusters of blossom. It didn’t change much from here.

carp and blossom

This will be photographed and available as a print by the end of the month. I think it will look awesome as a block mount, probably pretty large maybe 40 or 60cm square. I like it as a diamond as it has more flow but it actually looks good as a square why be traditional?

Using the water wash technique I trialed in this I was working on these two today. A night landscape with the wash as the sky and another blossom fish number. I am formulating some ideas that will go into these.


I will be finishing these off this weekend. I’m thinking of cutting the landscape top off to make it square, the low position of the hills makes the sky too much in proportion.

This is a big post eh!! What else, I always publish and then remember loads of things I wanted to put in.

Just before the exhibitions were lined up I was feeling pretty down about the whole mission. The media news is so depressing, our times are grim and in the face of the world financial crisis, I think I can swan around dedicating myself to painting! Really? And I spend more time worrying about the immediate problem day to day keeping the studio going I can’t really focus on the creative process. And as I am hitting a real swing in terms of will and skill to produce I am torn between the desire and requirement to continue against the heartbreak of it being such a battle. And in the end, I have to face the question if I am not making it more difficult for myself. Do I even need the studio, the concept of what I want it to be might not even ever work, maybe just in this location, maybe at all. Do I pull back and gather my troops so to speak, re-evaluate and try something else? Or keep on. And it has to be considered at what cost (and I don’t mean just financial).

Eventually it’s hard to distinguish where you stand and is the battle you are fighting is worth fighting. Am I making it more/too difficult for myself? So just before the exhibitions were organized I think I was the lowest point I have been since 2005. But it all changes in a moment, I get a glimmer of something and pull myself up. But how many times do you/can you go through this?

On the verge of quitting the studio at the lane and some new people have moved in which makes me want to hold on. A vintage clothes seller who had read about me and the lane here and decided to get a studio here! Now that’s pretty cool. Another glass person and a collage artist. The more retail / artists here the better it could really become something. I think it will work. But there are whispers in my head that I might be a gambling addict just wanting one more spin. ARGHHH! And then I go and do a painting I love and I think damn it I need to be here, I need to be able to show people these pictures. I have to paint.



Anyways that’s all my news for now. Get in touch if there is something you would like to ask I don’t bite! I try make the information on the web page as clear as I can but if something is not clear just ask!!!

Comments welcome people, I don’t mind rambling out there to myself this blog actually acts as a good (well quite frankly my only) source of thought processing, but if you have any profound words of wisdom lay em down!

One thought on “April 13th, 2013 – Paintings

  1. simonsylvester

    Keep on keeping on, Pete. Your productivity puts me to shame, and I work pretty damn hard. Sounds like the exhibitions and opportunities are starting to crop up – as ye sow, so ye shall reap. Love the nightscape with the hill in darkness halfway up the picture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *