September and October Plein Air

Due to our holiday to New Zealand I’ve delayed posting my plein air for a couple of months. Here some paintings from my trips out with Molly.


Thames at Weybridge


Nonsuch park





New Zealand

I managed to sketch as we traveled around New Zealand this year but everything was a little rushed.

I used three sketchbooks depending on how much time I had.

Large Sketchbook


Franz Josef Glacier


Lake Takapo


Taruheru River, Gisborne


Aberdeen Road, Gisborne


Bay of Islands

Medium-Sized Sketchbook


Mt Sunday, South Island


Te Papa, Wellington


Lake Taupo


Poverty Bay, Gisborne

Small Sketchbook

Return to the Sketchbook

I’ve been painting on watercolour paper (W&N) on my plein air travels but I have recently returned to using my sketchbook. I bought a small square sketchbook for black & white studies, exactly like the one I used in London five years ago and have drawn a couple of sketches in between paint outs.

Also I have returned to a larger format sketchbook which has been unused for a couple of years and like the informality it offers.


Thames at Shepperton

Cranleigh Barn

Barn at Cranleigh

ripley field

Hay Stacks at Ripley


Royal Festival Hall


Buckingham Palace

August Plein Air

Another busy month painting. I’ve returned to some of my favourite places and found some new ones with the two art groups I’m supporting.

Early August weather was wet and at times cold but the second half has been glorious.


Boxhill looking towards Denbies





Polesden farm

Polesden Farm


Polesden Lacey

Steers field to Dorking

Dorking from Steers Field

Bushy House

Bushy House, Bushy Park

Weyside Guildford

The Weyside, Guildford

Wey at Pyrford

The Wey Navigation at Pyrford

Erics garden

Towards Norbury from Mickleham

Walsham Lock

Walsham Gates, Ripley

Nower pond

Big Pond at the Nower Wood, Headley


Ride London, Leatherhead





Following our trip to Dorest in the Spring I’ve finally begun to get round to painting some of the places we visited. I’m using my own photos and trying some new watercolour/ink techniques.

We stayed in a village called Muckleford, which is situated by the river Frome. Every time went out we crossed the river over an old double bridge. This painting is from a photo I took on a walk to the local one evening.


River Frome, Dorset

Over the last couple of months I’ve been trying out layering techniques with watercolours and ink. This is an extract of a photo I took at Lulworth Cove, where I’ve taken the darks to their maximum, layered the greens and added the boat for interest.


Lulworth Cove

Man O’War beach, looking over the cliff to the cove below. On the other side of the cliff is Durdle Door


Man O’war Beach


Black Dog Gallery

A friend introduced me to the art gallery & framers in Leatherhead , Black Dog Gallery, after hearing they were looking for local scenes painted by a local artist.

I visited them last week and they agreed to take some of my latest plein air pictures. I’ve mounted and wrapped nine paintings and they’ve accepted all of them!

Also I’d painted their shop earlier and they bought the sketch!


I’ve asked them to frame up these two paintings and put them on show when they are ready. All very exciting!


Yew tree in Norbury Park


Mayfield Lavender Farm



July Plein Air

I’m continuing to get out and about where the weather permits. Its either been hot or wet this month so its been variable.

The pen and wash method continues to work for me and I’m progressing with new ideas and techniques. But its slow progress. Somehow when you are outside you just see the view and don’t really think how to get the best from it.

I’ve been out with the Leatherhead Art Club and Surrey Hills Plein Air group but also just Molly and me!


Lindas house

Lindas House, paint out with LAC


Bookham Common, with LAC


Dapdune Wharf with Surrey Hills


Box Hill with LAC


Newark Priory , with Molly


Ripley with Molly


West End with Molly


Pyrford Lock with Surrey Hills


Brockham Fair with Surrey Hills


Cranleigh Dog Agility Show, with Molly & Laura


Mayfields Lavender Fields with LAC


Winkworth Arboretum with Molly

June Plein Air

Apart from dodging the rain bursts I’ve been using the warmer weather to get out and about with Molly. Sometimes I’m out with Surrey Hills, others its with Leatherhead Art Club or its just Molly and me.

My focus is watercolours, using the panoramic format, which I think works well.


St Johns Road, painted while at my Open Studio


Newark Abbey, near Woking, with Molly at my side


Dorking Mill, also just Molly and me


Polesden Lacey


Reigate Priory Junior School, with Surrey Hills group


St Nicholas Ch, Leatherhead with LAC


Wey Navigation at Send with Surrey Hills group

Pintar Rapido Success!

On 22 June I made my way with Denise to Chelsea Town Hall for my fifth Pintar Rapido.  Pintar Rapido is a painting competition, where artists have to paint and frame a painting in a day and then its displayed and hopefully sold in the Town Hall on Sunday.

I took two watercolour sheets and two frames with the idea to try to paint two watercolours over the day. Two years ago I attempted an oil painting, which I didn’t finish and failed to sell. So this was a tall order. I’d planned to paint the ‘Boy & Dolphin’ statue near Albert Bridge plus the building behind it. The statue is well known and represents the area. I set up in direct sunlight, which was hot and noisy at the busy junction to the bridge. After sketching the statue and building in the sun I moved back in to shade to apply the paint. I was pleased to finish a larger format painting by lunchtime and achieve a decent representation of the view.

Boy and Dolphin

I met up with Denise in Battersea Park and we had a quick sandwich and drink to refresh our artistic ‘elbow’. I then took off again to find a spot to paint my second picture.

I settled at a spot just round the corner from the Town Hall and opposite the Sydney Arms. The pub was spilling out on to the pavement and they appeared to be watching the horse racing. I knew I only had enough energy to draw a part of the street and paint the the pub. I managed to make the final washes after about 90 minutes but I don’t really remember looking at the painting much afterwards. I framed and priced the two paintings back at the Town Hall and made my weary way back home.

Sydney arms.jpg

I was with Molly when Denise contacted my to say that not only had I sold the Sydney Arms painting but that it had also won the Hampstead School of Art prize!! To sell was great but to win a prize in such a big competition (over 200 artists) was amazing and totally unexpected. To win it with the sketch/study was really unbelievable.

Me at PR

Use this link to see my painting and the other winners



Open Studios update

My first Open Studio was a great success for me. Lots of lovely people came to see my work and many bought paintings, sketches and cards.

Many thanks to everyone who came to see me and Molly, it was really great to hear your words regarding my work and especially my sketchbooks. I was able to look at my work over the last three years in one place and review where I am and where I could go next.

Special thanks to Clare Conner for supporting me through facebook postings, Jade for also posting on Leatherhead Living, Annie for helping out on all three Saturday afternoons, plus friends from Leatherhead Art Club, Tango Dancers and Malden Bowmen. Cathy Brett made sure I was included on the Leatherhead trail and pushed many people on from her and Tania’s studio. Plus Jill, Linda and Brett for their OS support.

hugh and molly

A few figures of interest from the 8 days of Open Studios

170 visitors

30 cards & 19 paintings sold

of which 3/4 were watercolours

People liked Polesden Lacey, local scenes and Venice.

So lots of things to mull over, for the future but I’m pretty sure I’ll be painting watercolour sketches in the near future.