Here I will highlight a painting or paintings so that there is some information that I think you may find interesting about them, a chance to see what is behind them and what goes into them.

Quick reference index: (7) PS Waverley and MV Balmoral: Sisters of the Seas (6) “Rolling through the Celtic Sea” (5) The sea at Kemer, Antalya, Turkey” (4) “Storm impacts the Isle of Skye” (3) “Illuminated wave, Trebarwith” (2) “Rough sea against rock wall at Ogmore”,  (1)”Breaking wave at Porthcawl” 

Now Featured:

(7)

“PS Waverley and MV Balmoral: Sisters of the Seas” 70cm x 100cm oil on canvas

\"PS Waverley and MV Balmoral: Sisters of the Seas\" 70cm X 100cm Oil on canvas

I have sailed on the Balmoral a few times and loved it! From Penarth across the Welsh coast then out into the “open sea” (Bristol channel), a breath of fresh air and exciting to be heading for Lundy Island. I felt that I was escaping the bustle of everyday life and that I was away from it all with a great dining saloon and bars including an observation lounge, great staff and a beautiful ship offering all the views as you walk around and around, up and down on the decks. I have never sailed on the Waverley but I would like to one of these days.

For me as a seascape painter my finger was “on the trigger” of my camera all the time for future references, adding them to my ever growing library of coastal and sea themes, so it was also a great opportunity for work and one that would be quite rare for me onboard a ship. From the Welsh coast up the Bristol channel to Clevedon then following the Devon coast (with views of the Exmoor Coast and National Park) to Ilfracombe and finally onto Lundy it was a feast for the eyes not to mention my camera’s memory card. Thank goodness for digital cameras is all I can say!

That was all a good while ago…

Some years later an ex-purser of the Balmoral who is also my younger brother mentioned about maybe creating a painting of the Balmoral (and the Waverley?), which sounded like a great project. I wanted both the Waverley and Balmoral in the painting with some drama around them, and thought about Lundy in the background. That was the basic concept. I decided upon traditional type dimensions for the canvas and to use oils for it, as for me oils would be better suited for a painting like this. A few sketches later I got to work on it.

It was a surprisingly involved piece of work with all of the details of both ships needing a lot of scrutiny and attention, including the tiny people littered about the decks. Yes, I did consider a seagull attack on one of the passengers as it went after their food, but it was overruled (by myself – what would people think of me!). BUT very very enjoyable! The seagulls would have been following the ships and I decided to have one of them fishing – you can’t always rely on passengers can you!

The clouds I envisaged would be towering in the background and not taking over the painting while also not being too dark. To add extra drama to the composition I wanted a choppy sea with waves here and there that are not intimidating but interesting to the viewer with different patterns of movement. Basically the type of conditions I like about the U.K.

It’s a great feeling to approach the finish line after all that work and with the drying times stretching out the life of completion. It’s a project for sure with much to consider and much depending upon accuracy in various departments, getting the proportions right and the colouring, shading etc., but when you get past all that and it’s “in the bag” so to speak, it’s wonderful! Then suddenly the painting really starts to take a shine (while forgetting to breathe sometimes whilst painting thin strips of light and shadow for the ropes) and slowly grinds to a halt – you realise there is nothing more to do and it’s done!

All that work is worth it when you can sit back and see the finished piece, and it’s always a pleasure when others express their thanks, tell of stories and even enjoy the artwork just for itself. A great project of 2 beautiful ships full of fond memories for those who have sailed on them and who will hopefully continue to serve the British Isles for many more years to come.

(6)

“Rolling through the Celtic Sea” 60cm X 120cm Oil on Canvas

\"Rolling through the Celtic Sea\" 60cm X 120cm Oil on Canvas

When I get to create this type of a painting its very exciting. This swell has so many variations to it, the mountains of water with the dips and shallow ripples, the directions of the water and the waves.

Although the piece was very enjoyable it was also with it’s challenges, to capture the above details and to not overdo any of it. Its quite easy to get carried away while capturing Mother Nature’s rolling and churning sea, and a lot of care must to applied at the stages of development.

I wanted to add some subtle greens in there too, which again is important to not get carried away with, to position them in the right places in the right amounts. The foam, as always, plays a very important roll in a painting like this, as it tells the story of what is going on presently, and also what has happened in the recent past. Though they will register as details, the foam is telling us about a time frame though a short one in this case, but I think does register with the viewer to “make sense” and accept the scene for what it is, with past waves rolling into the depths of the Celtic Sea.

(5)

“The Sea At Kemer, Antalya, Turkey” 70cm X 100cm Oil On Canvas

\"The Sea At Kemer, Antalya, Turkey\" 70cm X 100cm Oil On Canvas

This painting was a bit of a challenge to push the size up with my “alla prima” works, but it needed a plan due to drying times and the hours needed to complete. I divided this one into 3 main parts, sky, sea and land, that way any cross overs would still be alla prima. It worked out very well in fact and was able to complete it (pretty much) as I intended.

I still want to explore more with the slow drying oils that can be mixed in that will give plenty of time to do it all while everything is wet. The technique itself is fantastic to work with, it gives me another string to the bow, this in the main for working outdoors, but its great for the studio too!

I loved working on the background and foreground land, the difference between the 2 both tonally and the details seen, also the sea too with those beautiful colours. A very enjoyable piece, I didn’t encounter any problems really, just getting the palette ready is a must in the beginning to that you are just ready to go.

(4)

“Storm impacts the Isle of Skye” 100cm x 120cm oil on canvas

Rs Storm Impacts The Isle Of Skye 100cm X 120cm Oil On Canvas

A very exciting piece to work on! This type of painting captures mother nature at work which is wonderful to witness! Since I could not be in the middle of it, the next best thing is to be able to translate it in a painting.

This was a commissioned piece, I had a wall space to navigate and that gave rise also to the format. It is almost a square shape, and yet the painting that the client was interested in had an elongated format, a 2 – 1 ratio I believe. The reference itself was taken years ago with a friend (RIP) on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, and a big storm had hit which we decided to investigate in the harbour area. The car had to be positioned to shield the wind and rain so I could get some pictures which gave a good enough indication of the movement etc., but no fine details.

The composition had to be designed to get all the main elements in, but I was aware of the format and tried to work with that. I was also aware of the amount of sky and spray, and for those reasons I strongly advised oils.

The sky took quite a bit of time to sort out, adjusting it constantly until I found the right sky for this painting, bearing in mind the wind direction that you can see especially by how it is impacting the spray. The beautiful turquoise colour of the wave really set itself off against the sky and sea colouring which was an important feature to the painting, but I did not wish it to “take over” in any way, as the “whole thing” is important.

There were plenty of opportunities for repeating spray patterns that I also had to keep in mind, getting the impression of a howling wind with that “bomb” impact to the right standing proud in the painting before it vanishes and another is created from the rocks barely suggested, also to the right in the midst of the exploding water, foam and spray.

As with any painting balance is essential, and much can be done or undone with waves and foam, so a lot of care was needed for the bottom section of the painting to gain the right perspective, colouring and foam content from past “events”.

I believe that the painting was very successful and both I and the client are extremely pleased with the outcome.

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(3)

“Illuminated wave, Trebarwith” 70cm x 140cm acrylic on canvas

\"Illuminated wave, Trebarwith\" 70cm x 140cm acrylic on canvas.

One of the most important aspects of creating a scene like this (for me lets say), is to get the feeling of that place. This is taken from somewhere called Trebarwith Strand in the south west of Britain in an area called Cornwall. For us Welsh coming from the area I do in Wales, it’s probably just a matter of time that we will go there for our holidays, and Devon which borders it.

Trebarwith Strand is found on the west side, which means the Atlantic Ocean! It is full of rocks and cliffs and beautiful beaches, what can I say, it really is a great place for inspiration from the battling sea. This particular place has a natural funnel when it is high tide, but in the way of the sea getting to it are huge boulders directly in in its pathway. Imagine when there is a big swell all that water pushing in, pulling out, and in its pathway these big boulders. It is like a washing machine, creating some of the most amazing wave scenes I have seen, especially on that day because there was a big swell, and it was sunny.

Naturally the focus of such a painting will be that wonderful translucent green colour, but I wanted to show also the environment and the condition there of those currents and a little of what is creating them. The horizon line is hidden from view so that our focus is solely on that area of the wave and in front of it where its going to crash into.

The style of the painting is realistic of course but also with expressive lines and marks, also colours. It is a balance to work with loose and controlled applications of paint, with brush and with spatula (shaped), what to allow, what to not allow, and working with layers provoking character in the painting giving to it personality. It feels more “alive”.

I consider this art work to be very successful, it has a great harmony of the colours and the style, also the composition. The contrast provides a frame for the translucent wave with complimenting colours, and I have created a rock partially visible until it is again swamped by another wave. Before the wave the sand has made the sea a brownish colour whereas behind the wave is that beautiful blue colour. The sea foam from previous waves shows the intensity of the battle of water and stone sitting on the film of the water, a web dissolving and being created as an indication of passing time.

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(2)

“Rough sea against rock wall at Ogmore” 50cm x 50cm acrylic on canvas

I remember that day I went down to Southerndown and Ogmore, very rough sea which I loved, wilder the better! This part of the coast there is a big rock wall, not like a cliff, but steep enough. The sea was just beating against it, and I had on one occasion had to put my back to the sea and cover the camera with it tucked into my body as a shield as a hugs amount of spray came over the top right next to me. All along that section of the coast could be seen white water trying to battle their way over the rocks like a salmon jumping up a waterfall. That energy everywhere around me, fantastic. I managed to get some great photos that day for reference.

The challenging part of this painting was going to be to get that movement from the front of the painting where the rocks were to the back of the painting as it ebbed back out. The foam of course is a beautiful part of the type of work giving shape to the turbulence, so I had to be careful not to over or under do it. There is old and new foam, thick pieces and thin pieces, some more transparent than others, all telling the story and implying time. The angles of course are always very important in every painting, and in a painting such as this the three dimensionality is very apparent, so those angles need to be created to give that effect.

I approached this painting with a textural backgound, and a more realistic approach to it. I edited and refined this one quite a lot to give it a more sleek feel. Its black and white.

I think this painting is very interesting due to all of the action going on on this square piece of canvas.

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(1)

“Breaking wave at Porthcawl” acrylic on canvas 46cm x 111cm

This painting is of Porthcawl found on the South Wales coastline. Porthcawl has a history of holiday makers and still today it attracts people there with its different beaches to offer, a proud lighthouse and an interesting town. There is also a promenade to take an evening stroll while watching the sun set over the sea.

I enjoyed the many elements to this painting, the rocks in the sand peeking out as the foam from a previous wave moves around them back into the sea, where it is met with a shoreline wave ready to wash back over them. There is a little land to the right offering an interesting landmark, whereas to the  left of it there is nothing, only clouds to decorate the sky.

I wanted to create a painting with energy which is achieved with the technique and of course close observation. This encompasses both realism and expressionism together, bound by layers, woven together on the canvas. I want to celebrate brushstrokes, marks, but also to apply a certain delicacy too, careful not to miss the sensitive ornamentation found in a scene like this. I wanted also to be quite bold with some of the colouring, but sensitive too, again contrasting elements merged into this painting. The horizon practically empty is something that I enjoy to include in my art where possible, as that feeling of an endless sea fascinates me and reminds me of mother nature. It gives a place for thought, for wonder, for adventure!

The colour of sea is a “trademark” in this part of South Wales due to the huge amount of earth washed out of the banks of the Severn, a 220 mile long river stretching from the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales, becoming the Severn Estuary after the second Severn bridge crossing which spans across from England to Wales. It then of course dissipates into the sea which is why there is a brownish look to the sea is this area. Travelling then towards Swansea and Pembrokeshire is clears completely.

Summary of the painting for me: Interesting format giving a wide berth feel to this piece of art, earthy colours with a partial blue sky and a good energy for this shoreline wave. A nice place to sit and relax listening to the small waves breaking and caressing the shore.

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