Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fond Adieu.

I seem to be doing a lot of apologising lately. I'm so sorry for not visiting your blogs and for being generally "not there", the fact is it has become increasingly more difficult to maintain this blog. My working hours have multiplied to a silly extent, mainly due to this government's sustained effort to drive people like me into poverty. Thank you Mr Cameron. Then there is this computer which is now on it's last legs, it is now almost impossible to download pictures or access other blogs.
On a happier note, one or two outlets have appeared for my artwork. In fact I've been delighted and a little bit bewildered at the interest I've been so privileged to enjoy. I'm never going to earn a living at this, but the hobby pays for itself and in fact returns a small profit. I can't ask for more.
Due to the problems mentioned I've decided, with a heavy heart, to post on facebook from now on as I can do that from my phone. My page is and I would be delighted if anyone visited as I have done some more work but am unable to show it here. Likewise, I would be very interested in other peoples work on this media.
The figure shown here is another oldie, this time in oil pastel, a medium I was really enjoying at the time. It allows for quick, spontaneous work which suited my confidence back then.
The snow scene is a small watercolour I actually did as a demo this year at a charity event and that, I have to say, was quite an experience. To struggle with the water flow and pigment running riot is one thing, to steady ones trembling brush under the critical eye of the general public is quite another!!!!
It only remains for me to say a huge, heartfelt "THANK YOU" to each and every one of you. Your visits, comments and conversation boosted my artistic confidence and sustained me with comfort when I was ill. Bless you all.
I do hope to meet you again on facebook because I value everyone just as much now as I did before.
And now, as the leaves turn and fall outside my window, it's time for this odd little blog to go quiet.
Take care everyone.
Kev. xxx

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Life Drawing.

First of all my most humble apologies for not being so active both in posting, and visiting your blogs. A combination of internet problems and lack of time due to work have caused this, none of which Ive been able to help.
As you can imagine, Ive not been able to produce much lately but I thought I could take this opportunity to post some oldies. These are pencil drawings from life, I used to pay at the door to draw from a model. This was a time when I drew almost every day. I feel my observation was sharper then than it is now but hey, there will be more time again at some point. More oldies to follow.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

High Tide.

The top picture is my second attempt at acrylics with the palette knife. Below that is the same subject done in watercolour from way back in 2008.
I have to say, I haven't enjoyed myself so much in absolutely ages! I love working with thick impasto paint, I love the way it's so slick under the blade and I love the way it forces me to simplify the subject. I also love the way it's so forgiving. Made a mistake? Well, just scrape it off or paint right over it!
More than anything, this picture has taught me that although it's important to paint as well as I can, it's equally important to enjoy it. More coming soon for sure!
Acrylic on homemade board with palette knife, fingers and bits of rag. No brushes!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Poppies in Watercolour.

After such an enjoyable time working outdoors a short time ago, I booked some annual leave in the hope of getting some momentum going, so brimming with enthusiasm was I. 
My efforts would have been better invested in designing and building an ark, such was the deluge that followed. I can honestly say that the rain was heavy and un-ceasing from the moment my leave started, till the day it was time to return to work at which point, the sun peeped out from the now fluffy and desicated clouds, and rendered the sky a glorious blue.
To add to the folly of my week, I happened, unwittingly, to book my time off to coincide with the kid's half term hols.
And then our fence fell down.
And then.......
Well, you get the picture. 
Here then, is the result of five days off work in order, initially, to concentrate on producing a number of paintings but ultimately, to ferry about a step daughter around who is intent on shopping........ Everywhere!
This is a familiar format but much loved. I've sold more of these than anything else, some even before they have dried!!!
Watercolour on Saunders Waterford 140lb ROUGH.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Pen and Wash.

Here is a view of the Grand Union Canal as I walked towards Wolverton having just passed through Great Linford. It's the first of these three pen and wash sketches I've done recently. I asked the lady in the boat if she would mind me sketching. I must admit, she was far less bothered than I would have been, what with having a strange man staring in her direction for half an hour. In fact, she was so accommodating, she even offered to move!
I find it very awkward drawing whilst standing up and really miss the stability of a desk or easel, feel free to point out the glaring drawing error which I didn't notice till I got home! Still, what a pleasure it was to be able to go for a lengthy walk in the sunshine after so many grinding months of confinement. 
To draw or paint from life is one of the greatest pleasures of all. 

Another view of the Grand Union, this time in Great Linford, less than two miles from my home.
I find barges, or narrow boats as they are properly called, very awkward to draw. There is a perspective issue with them as they are so long, as well as their curved lines, and then there is the task of sitting them convincingly on the water.
I left the house early, before anyone was awake for this one. Again, it was such a joy to be out in the peace of a warm, song-filled morning, the birds almost forgetting I was there as they picked around the reeds at my feet.

I've mentioned in the past that my wife Helen has been putting her considerable needlework skills to work making bags, quilts and small home accessories. Well, not being one to do things by halves, she has booked up the whole summer with craft fairs, fetes etc and has started her own business (I'm waiting for the line about a new company car)!
This quick sketch was done standing in the way of hundreds of people and dogs of various sizes and levels of curiosity, while Helen and Chloe sold things, gave out business cards and generally had a lovely time in the sun. It was so much fun to do this, even if I did feel a little bit in the way. I'm obliged to inform everyone that Helen's hair doesn't always look like that.
I know that Helen would be delighted if anyone viewed her facebook page...........................
All the above were done on Winsor & Newton medium surface heavy weight cartridge paper (100lb). It's a lovely surface and takes washes really well. Bit hard on fibretip pens though!!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Wolverton Mill.

Once again, I must apologise for not visiting everyone's blogs as much as usual. On - going computer problems are making life very frustrating and difficult.
A short while ago, someone suggested that I should paint views in and around Milton Keynes, hence the previous market picture and now this one of Wolverton Mill. It isn't a working mill anymore, but it has been preserved really well and is a beautiful building in a lovely, rural setting.
The main and most interesting challenge I find, involves taking the usual liberties regarding composition, omissions etc, while still preserving something of the essence of the scene. This poses interesting problems. The main one here was the tree. It's true that it is very central and cuts the picture down the middle, however, I felt I had already changed it considerably. In real life it is three times as wide and in full leaf just about hides the mill completely!!
This is all I've managed recently as I've now returned to work and, after so much time off, I'm wiped out after a shift and fit for nothing. Still, with each day, it gets easier. 
There is so much I'm itching to do. More watercolours of our local area, some plein air pen and wash, and now the acrylics are calling me loudly too.
Watercolour on Saunders Waterford 140lb. ROUGH.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Harbour Evening.

Well finally..... finally..... this clapped out, broken down old heap is beginning to fire on nearly all cylinders. That's me by the way, my car is still off the road.
First, I must thank everyone of you for all your good wishes and kind comments in response to Helen's update back in March. It really helped to read those when I was struggling. Bless you all.
The next thing I need to do is explain why I haven't visited everyone's blogs as much as I would have liked. The fact is I've had great difficulty getting on the blogs. I don't know whether it's Blogger or my ageing computer but it's been impossible and hugely frustrating for a lot of the time, particularly on USA sites. I bring up the page, click on it and.... crash!! If anyone has any advice I would really appreciate hearing it as we are stumped this end. I hope this assures everyone that it's not due to a lack of interest on my part.
Now onto this picture. This is my first attempt at palette knife painting with acrylics, after some advice and encouragement very kindly supplied by a new friend. It's not purely done with the knife, there were also bits of credit card, fingers and damp rags but the paint was applied everywhere with the knife initially. Basically anything was used apart from a brush!! I've used a limited, warm palette of Ultramarine, Naphthol Crimson and Naples Yellow and of course Titanium White. The warmth is because I wanted to capture that balmy evening feeling after a hot summer's day. So, to sum up, after a very long lay off, I've attempted to portray a particular light effect with a medium I'm not very familiar with, using a method I've never tried before. They may have removed bits of me in March but my optimism is still intact.
It's been a long and bumpy road, not just for me but for my family also, they have been fantastic all through this. This isn't a brilliant picture but it is a significant one. I dedicate it to Helen, Chloe and Daniel. You are all brilliant.
Thank you. xxx  

Monday, 3 March 2014


Hello everyone
I'm Helen, Kev's wife :]
I just thought I would pop on and let you all know that Kev had his operation today, he's in a bit of pain but doing ok
Thank you very much for all your well wishes, he'll be back on here very soon, posting a new picture,

Once again, thank you all for your well wishes and get well thoughts
Helen x 

Monday, 24 February 2014

Milton Keynes Market.

I've had a voice whispering in my ear lately. It's very quiet but I can make out two words very clearly. "Comfort Zone"!! Hence this departure from my usual rural territory. I love the countryside and observing nature in all it's unspoiled beauty but, I have to say, I found this project intriguing with it's various tones, colours and forms. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge!
Because it is so different to what I normally do, this is on Bockingford but I wish I had done it on Saunders Waterford, I could then have used masking fluid. I was worried that it would rip the Bockingford, so there was a lot of negative painting with this one. I think I will certainly do more pictures of the market this year, it's a vibrant, lively and interesting subject with lots of opportunity to introduce narratives and characters.
I go into hospital for my big "Op" in a few days so this will be the last post till I'm out and hopefully all fixed. I live in hope!!
Bye for now.

Thursday, 13 February 2014


The two snow scenes here are little works from my imagination, based on Edgewick Farm, in order to try out some new paper. I love using Saunders Waterford but the fact is, it's simply too good and too expensive for experimenting and practising on.
This is Bockingford 140lb ROUGH. I've found it has it's limitations concerning durability and glazing (just my opinion), but I'm pleased to find a paper which I can mess around on without worrying too much about cost.
The third picture is titled "Ophelia". She has been in my mind, germinating like a seed for years, waiting for the right moment and the right style.
Style is a phenomenon I ponder constantly. Almost without exception, we, as artists of various genres and levels of ability, use basically the same things. We have at our disposal brushes, fingers, rollers, scrapers, knives, pens and pencils. We have paper, canvas, wood and walls, We have water or oil suspended colour, wax, chalk and graphite. This is a long list, but though these items are available to all, most of us simply use brushes to apply viscous colour to a flat surface. In terms of equipment, our similarities far outnumber our differences.
So what is it that makes every artist's work unique? How can it be that we can often tell who painted a picture just by looking at it and long before we examine that little scribble in the bottom corner? Any number of artists could be given identical paints, paper and brushes in order to execute an identical subject, yet each finished picture would be different, sometimes to a huge degree.
Our ability to do this, to express our individuality, to make unique statements, is a privilege to be treasured, even more so when this ability is celebrated. In some parts of the world you can be shot for it.
Ophelia has now gained her individuality. After such a long time thinking of this beautiful, romantic, tragic figure, I am so pleased to have realised her in paint. I think she will definitely appear again from time to time, to provide respite from my attempts to portray the real world, and to allow me to explore that subtle, mysterious region of Style.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Edgewick Farm.

The gallery are running a Valentine themed exhibition soon. Hence this and the previous picture have couples holding hands in them. I wanted to submit pictures which covered the theme but also, possibly, had a wider appeal. I just hope they will accept them! Helen and I have disagreed about this picture. I'm uneasy about it as I feel the figures are a bit tall, my dear wife doesn't think so. I should have spotted it but paid the price for not stepping back occasionally whilst painting. I'd like to say lesson learned but it's more a case of lesson ignored if I'm honest. Serves me right!!!  Watercolour on Saunders Waterford 140lb ROUGH.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Autumn Walk.

This is a bit like dipping my toe in the water. It seems an age since I picked up a brush and I would swear that I could almost hear them creaking as I painted this!! In truth, it hasn't been that long at all really, I think it just seemed an age because I had made the conscious decision to take a break. An example of how elastic time can be when influenced by our own perceptions. It's nice to get back to landscape painting, especially an Autumn scene, a season that pretty much passed me by last year. I hope everyone has had a good start to 2014 and, if not, that things will improve soon. I had a good start. I sold two pictures at the gallery and, (drum roll), I've had a proper diagnosis at long last and will have an operation in March, I just need to plod along till then. It's amazing how a light at the end of the tunnel can make one feel so much more positive!! My own lack of creativity has been more than compensated for by my wife Helen. Half way through last year she decided to take up sewing after years of abstinence due to lack of time etc. What's happened since is incredible. Our modest home is rapidly filling with quilts, skirts, purses, baby wear and bags of every size, colour and design. She now has a number of craft fairs in her sights for the coming year. Her achievements have inspired me. For my part, the ideas are starting to flood back almost as rapidly as the rivers in the west of England. It's time to get going again!! Watercolour on Saunders Waterford 140lb ROUGH.