Month: February 2018


I’ve completed the final painting of my challenge but I still need to continue with my art journey. I’ve been introduced to Roos Schuring, a Dutch Plein Air painter and she provides advice for those looking to improve.

  1. paint a painting in one day, try to complete the painting in one sitting
  2. paint outdoors
  3. paint regularly
  4. paint at least 2 times a week
  5. concentrate on colour, liveliness of mark and strong compositional elements

I plan to follow this advice, and display my work on this blog.

No. 16

I took a photo of this National Trust property on walk with Molly. I photographed the painting by a window and the light was hitting the side but i quite like the effect.


Hatchlands, Surrey



13, 14 & 15

I’ve been working on paintings instead of posting them so we have three on this post.

The first is a quick painting of some trees in the Polesden Estate. The sun was rising and hitting the field, with a great slice of light through the frosty field.


Light on trees, Polesden

The next was done Plein Air on Ranmore Common, looking out over the Surrey Hills. The painting was completed outside, a rare event for me and I remembered to add the man walking his dog. This is a larger painting than the small series I’ve been using recently.


Steers Field, Ranmore

The third painting is of  St Mary’s Church, Leatherhead, from a picture taken one winter evening. This painting was started on Thursday and finished Sunday morning. Its been quite a battle and I’ve tried a few techniques to get it to work. Some interesting variations going on, which could work in other paintings.

st marys

St Mary’s Church, Leatherhead

I’ve one more painting to go to complete the challenge…

11 & 12

I’m on the final lap now and I’m confident of getting 16 paintings completed by the end of February. Subjects are getting harder to find so I’ve returned to a favorite of mine, the River Mole.

11: River Mole at the Common Meadow


River Mole

12: Wine Glass

I’ve gone to a different subject completely and feel the small size of the board suits still life.

M Glass

Wine Glass


Paintings 7 & 8

Well, half way there and I’m on track. The paintings are all very different and a mixture of good and bad. I’m learning what to do and what not but its still not getting any easier – perhaps it won’t!

No. 7 – Norbury Park.

I took this whilst walking the dog in Norbury Park, I liked the colours and composition but mostly it was about the sky.


Norbury Park

No.8 – Frensham Small Pond

Completed outdoors with the Surrey Hills Plein Air group this morning. This is my biggest challenge so far as I had to find a spot and paint immediately. All my practice helped and I managed to get a painting out but looking at the other artists’ work I still have a way to go.


Frensham Small Pond

Paintings 5 & 6

Painting 5 was part of an exercise suggested by the art club. They invited a watercolour artist Paul Simmons to show us how to paint figures with movement but in a quick style. On Tuesday we were asked to produce our own ideas and paint them during the session.

I chose a picture of England rugby players against Wales in last Saturdays match.


England vs Wales

Painting 6 came from a photo I took on Monday when visiting my Mother in Weybridge. The Oatlands Park Hotel is very close to where she lives and I have always like the Italianate Tower. Funnily as a link to the previous picture the Welsh rugby team use the hotel as their base when they come to Twickenham.


Oatlands Park Hotel

No. 4

I took this photo a couple of days ago, with the morning light hitting the terraces cottages at the top of the road. This is a more complicated subject than the previous paintings and so took longer than the others.

This process is as much about learning from the failures as to making decent pictures…



Highlands Road, Leatherhead

Paintings No.2 & No.3

Now I am realising why I’m doing these paintings! It’s not just about painting but about organisation and focus. Already paintings 2 and 3 have gone off track. I’ve not kept to the required process….



Headley Heath Pond

With the above painting I forgot to sketch the composition and premix the paint. I was rushing around and knew I only had an hour so I cut a few corners. The result is fine but next time I must follow the script

No. 3


View over Bocketts Farm from Norbury Park

Well I did follow the script by sketching the composition first, which made a difference. I premixed the paint allowing me to look at the palette of colours before starting to paint. Then I decided to use a palette knife and everything changed. Interesting result but I must return to the process for the next one. (I think)

16 painting project

I’ve decided to undertake a type of challenge where I paint 16 small pictures, in February. I’ve been following some artists who have done similar projects, so it’s not original but I’m hoping to kick start a change in my painting.

Why 16? Well I’ve just prepared eight, 8″x 6″, double sided boards, so a major hurdle has been overcome. The small size means I don’t have to spend ages on each painting, in fact this is a big part of the project.

The other major stumbling block is what to paint? The subject is so often the block to creating work and to overcome this these paintings are all simple landscapes that I know  well, using photos I’ve taken when walking the dog. The thing is not to agonize about the subject but spend time painting.

There is a formula to the paintings, which will help simplify the process and control the outcomes.

  1. using 8×6 boards
  2. identify between 3 to 5 values
  3. identify 5 to 7 main shapes
  4. premix the main colours, making a light and dark of each colour
  5. Identify and place the Notan of the scene
  6. Painting time : between 20 – 60 minutes

Of importance to this project is to discuss the outcomes with an audience. This requires setting up a Private Facebook page, where the paintings can be uploaded and viewed by a select group of artists. Ideally the other artists will participate in a similar project that suits their purpose.

Painting No. 1

painting 1

Headley Heath

Headley Heath

Molly and I went for our morning walk at Headley Heath, near Leatherhead, mid-January on a fine but cold start to the day. I took photos of scenes that inspired me, mainly the suns’ effect on the landscape. It was very muddy in the woods so we tried to keep to the open heath land where the Gorse was just starting to bloom.

We found a pond which was circled by small trees and the Gorse was being lit by the rising sun. I was looking for this specific scene as it included several elements I’ve been looking to include in a composition.

  1. water
  2. distant vegetation
  3. smaller trees that grow in front of the water, at varying distances
  4. Strong shadows that really influence the composition

This picture encompasses all these points. The idea is that the trees provide depth by receding towards the horizon but the water can be seen through the trees providing interest. The vegetation in the distance creates warmth.

Headley Heath

Morning sun at Headley Heath