May is the most flowered month in North Yorkshire, an explosion of colours in gardens and nature. Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta ) are simply beautiful in the woods, and I also love the wild garlic (Allium ursinum). Here are this year’s two paintings of bluebells in Grosmont woods.

(This painting is currently exhibited in Coast Gallery, Cloughton)

Continuing experimentation, I decided to paint the same scene with different types of oil paint. Rosedale is one of my favourites. From the top of the moor, you can look into the valley and its farmhouses, and see the old kilns on the left (east side), and the old railway water tower on the right.

Rosedale II (now exhibited in Coast Gallery) was painted with Michael Harding’s handmade oils (Aliz Crimson, ultramarine blue, yellow lake and t white) + Winsor&Newton artist oils (permanent rose and diox purple).

Rosedale III was painted with Sennelier Rive Gauche oils (primary blue, red and yellow, and t white).
With both, black was used only in the last stage for finishing lines.

A sunny picture to celebrate the wonderful Easter weather we’ve just had on the North East coast: Cattersty Sands, Skinningrove, one of the nicest beaches around. Golden sand, sand dunes, and remains of the old mine fanhouse on top of the cliff. And yes, I am still experimenting with paints. These are Sennelier Rive Gauche oils. A new range of paints made with safflower oil, these are quicker drying than traditional oil paints, but slower than alkyd oils. That means they give more time for blending, but dry within a few days. Here I limited my palette to the three primary colours (red, blue, yellow) and white, using black for the finishing lines.

This painting is now exhibited in Wold Pottery gallery, Loftus.

One of the best thing about painting is that there are so many types of colours and medium, you can always try something different. This stops one being complacent. Here is my first painting with Michael Harding’s handmade oil colours. I love their buttery texture.

Still experimenting with new paints, I changed the colours and reworked this MoorTop with Michael Harding’s handmade and W&N artists’ oil colours.


December Stream Sunset. The river Esk, from a little bridge somewhere on a back road… Houlsyke is behind you, FryUp Dale to the right… I couldn’t resist those colours…

Just in case you wondered where you can see my paintings for real, here are my exhibition dates for 2019:
8+9 June. Memorial Hall, Pickering
29+30 June. Spa Pavilion, Whitby
7+8 September. Northside, Staithes Art Festival.

There are also ongoing exhibitions at Coast Gallery (Cloughton), the Geallery (Grosmont), the Runcible Spoon (Hinderwell), Ailsa Nicholson’s Gallery (Sleights), and Wold Pottery (Loftus). And a Summer exhibition at Blandscliff Gallery (Scarborough).

Of inspiration and how it is sometimes triggered…

Watercolour pencils are very useful for quick sketches as well as for longer work. There are some I really like because they are fully soluble and lightfast. I usually buy them singly or in small pack, but this winter I got the full range.


I drew the full scale, as it is useful to know how they behave when partly dissolved.

This inspired me to redo the sky on a small watercolour of Staithes I painted last year.

Staithes. watercolour. 18x23cm.

At the time I was working on Westerdale. There was this first one, experimenting on aluminium with acrylic markers and inks, and a more traditional large one in oils.

acrylics on aluminium. 15x40cm
oil on canvas. 40x120cm

So these led me to an acrylic study:

Then one in oils:

And then a larger oil painting:

Then I moved away from the banding, but retained some elements, such as the colours and black framing, for my next one, Clitherbeck:

So sometimes a tin of pencils can lead to a large oil painting. There are always many projects and scenes clamouring for my attention, and I’m now working on something completely different, although in the same vertical format…

I love this time of year, the cold winds keep me indoors. In my one warm room, I snuggle up by the woodburning stove, planning exhibitions for the new year as we leave the deepest days of winter, catching up with reading, experimenting, exploring new media… remembering summer and finishing paintings, including this one started in August… Westerdale. Not quite finished, but just a few finishing touches to do, I think.

Westerdale. oils on block canvas. 40x120cm.