Coldharbour Common

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This group of tall pines were beautifully backlit and attracted me to paint this view in Coldharbour Common in the Surrey Hills. The countryside is so spectacular at the moment with a lot of the wild flowers in bloom and everything in leaf. This was a walk that I used to go on a lot so was great to rediscover it.

Evening Stroll

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Have been meaning to paint the view down this lane, which is very close to where I live, for some time. It was a beautiful sunny evening and I took the chance to take my plein air painting kit out on my walk. I sketched the scene fairly rapidly as the light was changing quickly. I am happy with the loose handling of the paint in this image. I like paintings which look like they are made from paint! I am interested in this view as a motif and might do another from the same spot.

A View of Box Hill

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Was pleased to have an opportunity to paint the view towards Box hill from Redlands wood today. Am recovering from a knee injury and haven’t been able to walk very far recently so it felt good to get out in the fresh air. This painting felt very exploratory in nature and the process of making it was enjoyable. Whether the end result is of any merit I’ll leave for you to decide! I certainly think that I am making progress towards my own artistic aims – which feels good.

Awakening Oaks

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From Leith Hill Place a wonderful spring view unfolded below. When the oaks first come into leaf the colour of the new leaves is like no other tree, in some light it is closer to yellow ochre than green. Was a joy to be outside and painting in this warm sunny weather!

After Sunset

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I wonder whether you’ve ever stood in a field after the sun has set and observed as darkness falls. Starting at the edges of vision the scene softly dissolves into darkness. As the land becomes darker you become more aware of the still illuminated but dimming sky. This is the moment that I tried to capture in this plein air painting. Leith Hill is seen in the distance.

Winter Sunshine

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It was a beautiful crisp sunny day and I went to Karadjordje’s park again looking for a good subject to paint. I found it quite hard to settle on something and spent some time wandering around. I always find that it is better to just choose something instead of continuing to search for the perfect spot to paint. I was attracted by the light on the snow in this scene.  I found this a difficult subject to paint at first, but then started losing myself in the abstract qualities of colour and shape and started to enjoy it. This was a good reminder for me that painting should be fun, experimental and playful. As artists we can arm ourselves with knowledge about techniques and theory and we can study other artists’ work that we admire. But for me the most satisfying painting experience is one which has been approached with a naive openness and is in response to the present moment.

Serbian Parliament

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I painted from the park opposite the Serbian Parliament building in order to have a snow covered foreground. I haven’t painted a great deal of buildings but it seems to me part of the challenge lies in suggesting complexity without painting every detail. I always find it interesting how willing the eye is to fill in undescribed detail. Mystery, ambiguity and suggestion in painting give the viewer’s eye and brain some work to do and this can be quite pleasurable.

Karadjordje’s Park

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Belgrade had warmed up slightly by the time I painted this plein air oil painting in the local park. Some of the snow had started to melt leaving the path wet. It was the reflections in the tarmac that caught my eye along with the reddish brown leaves of the smaller trees. The scene in front of me had fairly subdued colour so I tackled it by first painting monochromatically, before adding hints of colour to enliven it. It is amazing how many colours in nature are variations of grey with very little saturated colour- especially in a winter scene like this.

Saint Sava’s Temple

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I tackled the imposing edifice of Saint Sava’s Temple in the snow with only my trusty palette knife in hand. It was around -10C and it made me realise that for those temperatures I really need two pairs of gloves. One thin pair with fingers and my thicker fingerless gloves on top. As it was I had to keep pausing to warm up my fingers. Interestingly most of the oil colours weren’t greatly affected by the cold, but for some reason only the yellow ochre became almost too stiff to use. I am not sure why. It was fun to try to capture some of the atmosphere of the day. Hopefully some of the wintry feeling I had when painting it comes across in the finished painting.

Frozen Danube

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It is quite an unusual event for the Danube river to freeze over, so I was fortunate to be in Belgrade at this time to paint the scene. I chose to depict it as the sun set in the evening and was interested in the interplay between the warm colours of the evening light and sky and the cool colours of the ice in shadow. It was quite a spectacular sight to see that amount of ice on the river. It looked like the surface of an alien planet. Further downstream one of the wooden floating houses had been swept up by the ice and had ended up stranded in the middle of the frozen river.

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