“Don’t paint pretty sunsets”, they said.

Sicilian sunset

Wise painters stay away from pretty photographs of ocean sunsets. I know this is true as I tried years back and yes, I failed. The watercolour turned out to be cheesy, a classic motif to sell to tourists maybe but not a work of art that I was proud of. Nothing I would wish to show to others.

William Turner, he painted many sunsets, he had a certain attitude, he was a rebel, a hero to many, an inspiration to me.

I snapped an evening photo while sailing off the coast of Sicily, I thought to myself, this is not your typical sunset. So dramatic. It’s badass. I had a go at trying to capture the moment. 36 x 26 cm.

Click the thumbnail below for a full sized image.

Sicilian sunset
Sicilian sunset

I didn’t sell a painting but was it a failure?

My first participation in the annual Water Colour Society of Ireland wasn’t a success when it came to sales of my art. I wouldn’t say it was a failure because of that though. I was, and am still thrilled to be a part of the whole thing. I wasn’t there myself, a dear friend helped with delivering the watercolours to the exhibition and then picked them up for me when the event came to an end.

It’s an interesting dilemma, why do we artists spend a small fortune getting work framed knowing full well that there is a more than good chance the works will not be sold. If we do sell a watercolour the gallery or the society will want it’s commision. No wonder artists are poor! I have no answer, it’s just the way it is.

I am still positive to the whole thing. I will be exhibiting next year again if they will have me.

Thanks to Sandra Darling for taking these photographs of the exhibition, much appreciated, hopefully next year I will see it in person.

Water Colour Society of Ireland exhibition begins, it’s a big moment for me

The Water Colour Society of Ireland’s 166th exhibition begins and I am very proud to be included for the first time. It’s such a pity I cannot be there for the opening but I am just delighted to have been accepted into the fine room of Irish watercolour art.If you are in Dublin the exhibition opens on the 25th of September and runs until the 10th of October. Farmleigh Gallery, Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, 10am – 5pm daily.

Painting watercolours where I live – New YouTube video

Painting a Tugboat and talking about composition

It’s here at last, Episode 29. I really enjoyed this watercolour. It took two days to film. I did a pencil sketch on the first day but then had to wait a day to paint the final watercolour because I ran out of daylight. I talk a lot about composition and my approach to simplifying the subject. I hope you find it interesting.

Practicing painting my skies with a new technique

I have been using perspex plastic on my watercolour sketching board. I wet the back of the paper then tape it down. After that I wet the front of the paper and let it settle. This isn’t actually my new technique. I am placing a damp cotton sheet between the paper and the perspex before I tape it down. This gives me lots of time to work on my clouds but I have to get used to it. My watercolours are a little pale at the moment but I’m working on it. Practice, practice.

Painting outdoors, it’s the life.

Custom's hut on Beckholmen

Last week I spent a wonderful day sketching with Daniel Luther on Beckholmen, a dry dock here in central Stockholm. It was so rewarding just trying one’s best to capture the surroundings on paper. Going out with a friend makes it all the more fun.

  • Custom's hut on Beckholmen