Lately, I’ve been struggling with a landscape I’ve been painting and on Friday it was my turn to man our pop-up gallery, so I decided to take a break and paint something different to usefully while away my day in the shop.

This was from some photos of a clematis I had growing on one of my walls. It gave up the ghost a few years ago, but last autumn I snapped off a branch that was overhanging an alleyway I walk down. This spring I noticed that the cutting had struck and I planted it near to where the old one was growing. It has already rewarded me with a small flower. Maybe we will be even more successful this time.

So I thought a painting of a clematis might be apposite.

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I have had a few distractions of late and dont have much to show except a reworking of some azaleas I posted a week or so ago. In this rework I made the flowerheads larger so that they occupied more of the painting surface – after all they are the subject of the painting. I also modified my colour palette to echo the yellow/orange of the flowerheads in the foliage area and pushed the purples and blues in this same area to complement the yellow/orange of the flowers. You can only hope it that it makes a difference.

My original version is below.

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I recently had some requests to do painting demonstrations in the coming months; two of them were for watercolour and one wanted a floral painting in watercolour. I was pondering on what to do when I recalled a painting of the yellow roses that grow in my garden which I did in 2019 and posted on this blog. I was pleased with it at the time, but it has hung around unsold and I thought that it might be a good opportunity to revitalise it and also have it as a subject ready for a couple of demos.

The original one, which I have put below, had quite a lot of hard edges and was perhaps a bit stolid, so I thought that I would incorporate more soft edges and mix those edges up a bit, as well as emphasising the light source to give the image more oomph. Also, in the first one I played around with purples and blues in the foliage to complement the yellows and I thought I could increase this contrast. So here is the result.

I will do another one, with an extra rose – more like the one below – to put up for sale. The one above is just a pilot for the demos. The more complicated you get the painting, the longer it takes to do and there is a chance you’ll not finish it on the night. In any case, I think there is enough in this one to provide a good example of my working practice. For a piece for sale I think the extra rose will give it a better balance.

Other floral paintings – and the one above – are available for sale on my website:


I painted a version of this many years ago and was very pleased with the outcome. So, it appears, was someone else, who bought it. The original version played on the lightness of the scene and I wondered whether a more punchy painting was to be had by extending the darks and focussing in on one plant. So here it is, a trifle late as, around here, summer slips to autumn.

Though, hopefully, it zings for you too. My original which I posted in 2015 is below.

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In my last blog I was bemoaning the difficulty I had with a painting. Well here is that beast, the one I almost tamed – perhaps we’ll call it a draw.

My wife had arranged some sunflowers in our big glass vase and I walked into the room as the sun was streaming in via a side window – so I had to at least give it a go.

The shadows intrigued me almost as much as the light flecked flowers, so my initial response was to do the painting in landscape format.

This version isnt complete, but shows my initial thoughts on the subject, along with the need to compress the vase for this format. As I painted this I started to think that perhaps I should just focus on the light on the flowers, so I started to paint a new version in portrait format, but threequarters of the way through the painting I realised that I had missed out one of the flowers.

So you brush yourself off, calm yourself down and start again and the result’s at the top.

Well, I’m not doing it again. Well, not for now… Though I have already corrected the out-of-kilter rim you see on top of the vase. The top and the bottom now belong to the same vessel.

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Sometimes paintings almost paint themselves and at other times you have an uphill battle which sometimes you never surmount. This is one of the former. As I did this I was also working on a watercolour which is one of the latter. If I ever get to the top of that one I’ll blog it.

But for now, The Exuberance of Spring is a picture of my Bramley apple tree on a bright, spring morning earlier in the year. The colours seem to zing against the backdrop of the sky. We have had a good crop of fruit this year, from peaches to cherries to apples and pears, though a recent very dry spell has caused a second drop of apples and also their leaves, on my smaller trees. This Bramley, though is a bit too robust to be upset by a spot of dry weather and is still full of fruit and replete with leaves. I also like the dark shadow areas which frame some of the areas of interest.

Well, now back to the long uphill climb …

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It seems to be birthday season around here – not mine though – so expectations are for a hand painted card. I must admit that I dont do as many as I used to, but still, for each one you have to stop what you are doing and think of a suitable subject.

And here are a selection of the present crop. A particular pitfall is doing the same subject for the same recipient, particularly when they get them on consecutive years.

Yeah, life in the fast lane – and I havent even mentioned the Christmas cards…

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It may need a little more work, but it’s essential done. I saw these daisies on some waste ground near to where I live one sunny day and was struck by the tonal differences. Initially I painted them in watercolour, but I wanted to emphasise the transition from shade to light and decided that it would be better, and easier, to do the piece in acrylics.

I also have this canvas, which I made some time ago, and have used before. I thought that the shape was well suited to the subject and complemented the tonal transition of the piece. At the bottom of the painting are some juicy blues and purples from the previous painting, which I kept and built on. They are not very visible on this shot.

Other floral paintings are available for sale on my website:


I have a yellow rosebush, close to our decking, which gives two flushes of flowers each year. It has just finished flowering and if I get around to deadheading it we should get another flush later in the autumn. I did this painting back in 2007 and sold it to a friend. It is one of a number of paintings I have done of it over the years. I love the pastel shades of the blooms and am always puzzled how red the buds start out, but always turn into various shades of yellow.

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Walking through a clearing in my local woods last August I spotted the downy seed heads of the rosebay willowherb about to shed their harvest into the wind. It seemed a good subject with the remaining magenta flowers and reddish stalks set against the blue greens of the pinewoods and the yellower greens of the open scrubland. Here is the result.

You know, when midway through a painting, progress starts to slow and the enthusiasm edges towards the door, that perhaps it wasnt such a good idea, or a different approach might be advised. Actually, the reduced resolution of this photo has softened its pedantic plod and made it a bit less jarring to my eyes.

But then, I know the truth – it’s in front of me. We move on…

Other floral painting is available for sale on my website: