Plein Air - Overstrand Beach

As promised here is my painting from last weekend's trip to Overstrand on the Norfolk coast.  I've only recently started doing any plein air painting so to try it on the beach was a great experience.  There were a lot of challenges to contend with before I was even able to start my painting.  The wind on the coast there was so strong so finding a sheltered spot that still had a good view was difficult let alone carrying all the equipment from the campsite.  What is it about sand that just makes everything harder, plus it gets everywhere!  I'm glad I did it, but this first experience painting on the beach was far from relaxing!!!

Let me know what you think of the results though!  Have you ever done any painting on the beach?  How did you find it?  Be sure to share your work :)

See more from my trip to Overstrand or some more adventures in plein air.


I was off galavanting again at the weekend.  This time the wife and I went camping in Overstrand, a village just next to Cromer on the Norfolk coast (UK).  We were lucky again with the weather...sunny all day Saturday, Sunday was fine until the evening (when we ate dinner in the car) and it rained Monday on our way home after we had fish and chips on Cromer pier.  All in all it was a typically British summer holiday.

As the sun did show itself, there was plenty of time to get some drawing done.  Here are a few of my sketches:

Our tent was pitched in a little campsite on the top of a cliff overlooking Overstrand beach.

You could follow the Norfolk coastal walk from the campsite and about 10-15mins along the path we spotted this lighthouse.

We spent some time sunning it on the beach.  It was a bit pebbly in places, although mainly sand.  The water was FREEZING!!!  In the distance you can see Cromer pier.

A tent set up on the beach with a seagull watching the tides.

Looking the opposite way on the beach, away from Cromer.  We were surprised at how rugged the cliff was.

A pen drawing of Cliff Road in Overstrand.

Cromer is famous for its lobster and crab.  In Overstrand there was this little fish shop that sold fresh dressed lobster and crab.  Outside were the cages and the little boat for fishing for them.  I loved the tractor it was attached to.

All in all, another fun weekend.  I did do a little plein air painting on the beach too...stay tuned for that post.

Let me know what you think of my sketches or take a look at some more like those from my visit to Canterbury or  check out some of my life drawing.


It's been a while again since I'll find out why soon enough (I hope).  Needless to say I've had a few other projects eating up my time.

I recently went to stay in Canterbury with the in-laws (my wife went to university there so we know it really well).  I love that city.  The architecture is just incredible.  The whole town is rammed full of tudor buildings, all with wobbly roofs, leaning walls, sloping floors and wonky doors.  Everywhere you walk there is something that makes you go wow!  There's narrow streets and cobbled floors, landscaped parks and Roman walls.  What else could you possibly want???

We stayed in a fantastic hotel - The Gatehouse Hotel, which is next to the Cathedral gates and has a patio area out the back which is within the Cathedral grounds.  There were some beautiful views of the Cathedral lit up at night.

Whilst there, I took the opportunity to do a bit of sketching...

This is the Gatehouse Hotel.  It actually spreads across the top of 3 separate shop fronts.

A view of the Cathedral whilst drinking my tea.

The roofs and narrow passageways

Finally some shops just off The Kings Mile.

Have you been to Canterbury?  What did you think of it?  Any suggestions of where else we should visit?

If you liked this post - take a look at my Vienna sketches

Life Drawing 12.07.15

A couple of weeks ago I went to the regular life drawing class in Milton Keynes that I attend and I was pretty productive.  It ran from 10am-4pm and in that time I completed 3 paintings and numerous warm-up sketches.

Here are the warm-ups...

The final paintings, each took less than 45mins.  I'm quite pleased with them, some interesting angles and I'm happy with the flesh tones.  I wanted to get a few complete so that I was able to use them as examples in my Art in Action workshop the following Friday.

Let me know what you think :)

Art In Action - 17/07/15

It's been the Art in Action weekend and artists of all media have been exhibiting and demonstrating their craft in marquees on a beautiful estate in Oxfordshire.   I was fortunate enough this year to be asked to teach a workshop on behalf of The Art Academy.  The session was to teach the basics of figure painting and I think it went rather well (even if I do say so myself).  The work produced by the class was great and considering many had little experience of painting they tackled portrait painting with confidence and enthusiasm.  I hope to be able to attend again next year and lead some more classes or workshops, it was so much fun!

More Plein Air

This is another painting that I did whilst studying this term at The Art Academy.  We went to Hyde Park for a couple of weeks to paint a more rural scene.  This is mine from the second week in Hyde Park.  I was probably painting for around 3 hours on this one.

I've been priming my boards using a dark red recently, I think it looks particularly good against the greens.  I'm enjoying experimenting with different colours for priming my boards.  What do you use?

Take a look at my first try at plein air painting or my plein air on the beach.

A Different Way of Working

The term has finished at the Art Academy and I've been flicking through some of the studies that I have been doing there over the past 10 weeks.  The module I have been taking this term has specifically been looking at landscape painting.  The greatest experience I have gained has been that of painting plein air, something I hadn't done until now and I've discovered I really enjoy.

This is the first painting that I did outside.  I think you can tell that I wasn't in my comfort zone at all and consequently the marks aren't what I wanted them to be.  It was a great learning curve, having the confidence to just get on with it, chat to passers by and to work quickly in changeable conditions.

At the end of the unit, we had the opportunity to rework one of the pieces in the studio.  Again not a way of working that I'm at all used to.  I usually just shelve something or paint over it if I'm not happy with results.  So I took the painting from week 1 and based another painting on it.  It's the same street, buildings etc I decided to go landscape instead of portrait, had a red primer and tried to get a bit more crispness of line.  It still isn't complete, just the main shapes and colours blocked out, but it's a marked improvement!  What do you think?

See more of me doing plein air painting.

Another new listing - Manchester Factory

I'm on a bit of a roll at the moment with my Etsy store.  I've recently finished a lot of art work so I'm gradually putting them on there.

The latest to be added is this painting of a factory in Manchester.  I visited the city in June for a friend's stag do and this old building is now used for paintball.  I do have a bit of a soft spot for these old buildings and I like the angle I chose to paint it from.  Let me know what you think!