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Boardwalk ?

One of  my favourite building is Wemyss Bay train station and ferry terminal . I’m working on a few paintings of this glorious structure at the moment but this is one I finished a couple of weeks ago . I struggled , as usual with a title but have ended up with , ‘Afternoon Light on the Boardwalk – Wemyss Bay Station ‘ . I was unsure of using the term ,’ boardwalk’ ( a bit of an Americanism perhaps ) but it is made of wooden boards and you do walk on them …… so what the heck ! . It’s painted in acrylic on board

Afternoon Light on the Boardwalk – Wemyss Bay Station

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Commission ?

This painting was painted as a commission but probably serves , more than anything else as a warning against commissioning me to do a painting . It’s a depiction of the client’s house on the Southside of Glasgow and I was first asked to do it in early 2016 .

I should first say that I usually only undertake commissions if the works are very similar to other pieces I’ve done and not too specific . Generally speaking I work on the basis that , if the client doesn’t like the painting , it would work okay alongside my other work anyhow. For this reason I rarely do paintings of specific houses . The customer seemed very keen though , so ,after much prevarication , I cycled out , on a lovely day in the Summer of 2016 to see the house . It had potential as a subject , but I don’t really do sunny paintings so I had to visit again on a wet autumn evening . After many false starts I was on the verge of getting in touch with the client to tell them I really couldn’t do the painting . I’m pretty sure they’d virtually given up hope by this point anyhow , but about two months ago I decided to go for it with one last attempt and managed to get the painting started and finished in a few weeks . This all probably sound quite pathetic , but the way I normally work is to have up to a dozen or more paintings on the go at any one time in my studio . I work on , and complete any piece I feel like working on , as and when I feel like doing so . Some have remained uncompleted for years . Having a specific painting which need finishing at a particular time seems to act as a psychological barrier against finishing it . I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with me , but I subscribe to the late , great Douglas Adams’ view of deadlines . ‘ I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by

Anyhow the very patient customers finally collected the painting last week and were very happy with it . Phew !

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The Artist Collection

I currently have these six paintings on exhibition at the Patchings Art Centre in Calverton , just outside Nottingham . It’s part of the Artist magazine’s , ‘Artist Collection’ exhibition. I was fortunate enough to win a prize in the magazine’s open competition last year and being represented in this show is part of the prize . If anyone’s in the East Midlands area it’s well worth a look ( and not just for my paintings ) .

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Andrea

A portrait study in acrylic that I finished ( or at least abandoned , yesterday )

Andrea

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Demonstration

This is one of a number of my ‘close’ paintings I’ve worked on in demonstrations for local arts groups . I do a handful of demonstrations a year and in the last few weeks I’ve done a couple , for Helensburgh and Fairlie arts clubs . On these evenings I usually work on a few paintings but never get around to completing any . So , for any members of the clubs who attended the demos , here it is finished.

‘Magenta Arch ‘

Magenta Arch

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A Pensive Andrea

I’ve been doing quite a lot of drawing from life recently . This is a portrait study I finished recently of a thoughtful looking Andrea . It’s done in Derwent drawing pencils with a touch of gouache and is actually a little larger than life size .

A pensive Andrea

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Waiting ?

The evolution of a painting is strange and unpredictable . Some go smoothly and are started and finished in days , or even , very occasionally , hours , while others linger on the easel or drawing board for years . Some are never completed and are abandoned to the ‘could have been’ pile .
I’ve been working on this painting for years – I can’t remember how many but I’d guess around 8-10 but it might be more . It’s in acrylic ( it’s 96 x 50 cm in size ) and is on canvas . This is pretty rare for me . Virtually all my acrylics are on paper or board . Anyhow , for some reason all those years ago I chose canvas . The subject is one I’d used in a few watercolours as I enjoyed the curving sweep of the stairway and decided to have a murky figure lurking in the shadows , staring out of the window . ‘What are they looking at ? I’ll leave that you the dubious imaginations of the viewer .
Over the years I’ve poked and prodded , glazed scratched , dribbled , splattered and scumbled it . I’ve sometimes felt it finally finished , before deciding to dabble a bit more . It’s often been left aside for months and even years , while I work on other things , always with the belief that it still has potential and is worth struggling on with . I hate to think how many hours have been spent on it , but certainly many days and probably weeks .
One of the major dilemmas for a painter is to work out when a piece is finished . I’ve come up with my own aphorism for this . A painting is ‘finished ‘ when it’s not as good as it just was …. and isn’t going to get any better . I think that I’ve finally reached that point with this one , so it’s time to abandon it and move on . Another pertinent phrase at this point might be – ‘ A painting is never finished – it’s merely abandoned ‘ . This has been probably the longest gestation period for any painting of mine and it’ll probably be quite a time before I’ll be able to observe it with fresh eyes and work out if all the effort was worth it
. As it took so long to paint I thought I’d choose an appropriate title .       ‘On the Stairs … Waiting ‘

On the Stairs .. Waiting

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Glasgow University Commission

This watercolour , ‘Towards the University’ was painted as a commission . I don’t do many commissions and when I do I only really attempt ones that are variations of images I’ve done before . I’ve painted Glasgow University many , many times , so this certainly qualifies . Anyhow , hopefully the client will be happy with the painting and it’ll be winging its way to them very soon .

Towards the University

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery

A watercolour of Glasgow’s famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery and museum at dusk , as seen from the nearby bridge over the River Kelvin

The Evening Lights of Kelvingrove

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Wemyss Bay Station

Wemyss Bay Station connects with the ferry terminal that takes one to beautiful Bute off Scotland’s West Coast in the Clyde estuary . In my opinion it’s one of the most beautiful railway stations in the UK ( and I’ve visited more than I care to remember ) and one of the finest examples of early Edwardian architecture around . I always find it a shame that many car drivers visiting Bute probably never go inside the station to wonder at it’s splendours . Their loss I suppose .

Ticket Buying Wemyss Bay Station

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