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Painting No 26

(30cm x 40cm Oil) February 2018


This is Tom Holland.

He’s the new Spiderman and already has a long theatrical history with long periods on stage as Billy Elliott.  His breakout film role came in 2012 with ‘The Impossible’ based on the true story of the survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.


There are thousands of pictures of him on the internet, but this one of him balancing (he was actually on a balcony railing, I changed it to a slackwire) stood out.


I’d wanted to practice painting clothing folds, like the masters with the folds and shaping of the very rich clothing of the day.  This is a modern day version if you like.  There are folds, shadows, and stitching.  More than enough for my purposes.


I have to say that the paint seemed to put itself onto the canvas and it was one of the most enjoyable paintings I’ve completed.  And completed in almost record time.


Just do it.


Just did it!    


    

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Painting No 27

(60cm x 40cm Oil) April 2018


This is Sidse Babett Knudsen.

A highly respected actress in her native Denmark she was shown to a wider audience with the TV series ‘Borden’ and a truly international audience in the film of Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’ with Tom Hanks in which I first saw her.  

She has the most expressive eyes; all emotion is there.

Sidse Babett Knudsen

Orange Pickers

Painting No 28

(80cm x 40cm Oil) April 2018


This is a scene that is replicated throughout Spain and throughout the year.

Living in Spain has allowed me to see the orange and lemon pickers as they work.  I see the fruit slowly grow on the branches until one day, suddenly, there are huge trucks dropping off hundreds of plastic crates, ready for the crop pickers to swarm across the fields, hand-picking the fruit as they go.  Some destined for export, some to huge supermarkets warehouses and a few to the local markets.

This painting was all done from the imagination and grew, almost organically, as I went.  I wanted a forced perspective to accentuate the vastness of the crop fields.  I wanted to show the towns skirting the edges.  I wanted a moutain.  I wanted a river and a water reservoir to feed the crops.  And then a farmer’s ‘finca’.  These things were literally imaginings added as I went and I enjoyed the free-flow of ideas being placed onto the canvas.


Guardian

Painting No 29

(80cm x 40cm Oil) May 2018


There are so many emotions running in this painting.  The evacuation of Dunkirk.  The approaching German military leaving allied troops with nowhere to go.  The ‘Little Ships’.  And, of course, The Spitfire.

I wasn’t even born when all this was taking place.  In truth it was an unmitigated military disaster for the British.  There was literally no ‘Plan B’.  There, on the beaches of Dunkirk, stood nearly 400,000 troops with no way to get home.

In a strap-line from the movie poster - ‘When 400,000 troops couldn’t get home - home came for them’

The Little Ships - barges, yachts, pleasure craft, tugs - anything that could float came to their rescue.  And patrolling the skies above was what was left of the aircraft sent to protect the stranded troops and hold off the German attack planes until the mission was complete.  The Guardian.  Its ammunition spent, its fuel gone, its propeller still. Its mission complete.

Painting No 30

(40cm x 60cm Oil) June 2018


This is a distant view of the inferno that destroyed the Mackintosh Building of Glasgow’s School of Art on 15th June 2018.


I had been looking for a different subject to paint and the news item of the fire caught my eye.

I hadn’t painted fire before, apart from the beacon in ‘The Light’ and I was attracted to trying to capture the volume and ferocity of the fire as it dwarfs the surrounding area of the city and as the clouds of burnt-out smoke billows high into the night sky.


There was a set of streetlights in the lower part of the painting and I purposely extended these across the picture.  It gives the painting a balance between the fierce orange and the cool blue.


    

The Mackintosh Inferno

Painting No 31

(50cm x 40cm Oil) August 2018


A little macabre I admit but, with nothing in my immediate thoughts to paint, I wandered away from what I saw to what I thought.

I painted the skull first and originally it was upright.  It was a fun exercise painting the grotesque image; the sunken sockets, the age cracks and the fully exposed rows of teeth. Then I decided that the teeth would be clasping a rose.  Then I tilted the painting so that the skull was lying in an open field and the rose was actually growing through the teeth.

It was a metaphor, if you like, for life after death or death supplying life or death supporting life.  OR just a weird bloody painting.  The viewer chooses.


Years ago I used to shop at a small shopping centre.  It had about twenty shops.  Then it closed.  Within weeks nature had taken over the paved areas and within months plant life grew out of the brickwork and windows.

Nature was taking it back.







Sunset No. 158

Painting No 32

(80cm x 40cm Oil) August 2018


After the darkness of the skull painting a painting of a bright sunset brings things back into balance.

I’ve called it ‘Sunset No. 158’ simply because there are so many glorious sunsets over here in Spain that to choose a favourite would be a challenge.  Plus, for a painter with a blank canvas and a temporary lack of inspiration, a sunset is an easy go-to subject as it allows the paint to flow more freely.  

The Persistence of Nature

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