Saturday, October 08, 2016

Small painting of Golden Hare

Golden Hare - acrylic painting on gessoed board by Bee Skelton
Here in farming country it's not unusual to see rabbits and foxes along with the sheep, cows and horses.  But whilst I know hares are part of the wildlife mix, I see them less often, and when I do they're usually moving too quickly to take proper note.  Imagine my surprise when this one stopped outside my kitchen window, pausing long enough for me to grab a photo!  He is such a big handsome fellow.  I just had to paint him.

Ignoring the barred gate in the photo I composed his portrait on square 8x8 inch gessoed board using acrylic paints.  Although it doesn't show well in the photo, it was late afternoon magic hour, and the light made him appear to glow golden.  I've attempted to emphasise this by contrasting the warm colouring of the fur with the cool blues and greens of the background.

It's now available for sale unframed, so you can choose a mount and frame style to suit your decor.  Here's an idea how it could look with a frame added.  Please check my shops and website for further information or contact me personally.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Homage to Vincent

The Orange House oil painting 10x12 in on canvas board.

 I love the location of our home.  It's situated on farmland in rural Warwickshire, England.  So it was only a matter of time before it became the subject of a painting.  I painted it in oils with a hint of Vincent on 10x12 inch canvas board.
Sketchbook study in pencil

At a local art group recently, I attended a lecture by Anthony Slinn, about Vincent van Gogh, which made quite an impression.  It was particularly interesting because Prof. Slinn has carefully researched, and physically visited locations of many of Vincents paintings.  From assessing the viewpoints, he discovered how Vincent re-imagined and manipulated the landscape to express his feelings.  Though key features are recognizable in the paintings, when compared with the locations today, it can be seen how Vincents mind and eye re-interpreted them in his unique manner.

Sketchbook study in pencil
 My paintings can begin in several different ways.  With this one, I could easily have set up my plein air easel along the lane, as Vincent would have done for sure.  Alternatively because I know the place so well, I could have used memory and imagination.  However some time ago I'd made sketchbook studies, so on this occasion I referred back to these drawings as a starting point.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sketchbook study and painting on the farm

Walking the dogs every day I see so many scenes I'd love to paint.  This shady gap through a hedge offered a good view of a wheatfield after harvest.  Farm life moves on rapidly. Straw bales are being shifted into barns already. I needed to to be quick before they all disappeared.  A sketchbook drawing using graphite stick and watercolour did the job.

Back in the studio I tried to develop the feeling of the scene in oils on a small gessoed panel, with composition tweaked more to my liking. Having worked the sketch from life and direct observation, some how the brain retains additional visual information.  You feel back in the moment.  It's a good alternative when time or full plein air painting kit isn't available.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Family Art Expedition

My youngest grandson and I walked over the fields to the canal with sketchbooks and drawing gear earlier this week.  We've been having proper hot summer weather in England recently, so while drawing we planted ourselves under the fat shade of a beech tree.  Then Max posed for his photo in the sun.  

He and his brother enjoy getting involved with our homely country activities when they come to stay.  I'm so fortunate we're able to share making art together especially.


That day I had time for just one sketch before we hiked further along the canal in search of lunch.  I thoroughly fell in love with the location.  Inevitably my eye found innumerable pleinair painting spots for future visits.  

A couple of days ago I returned with outdoor painting gear and made a little painting from roughly the same spot.  It's oil on 5x7in canvas.
Etsy shop. 
Folksy shop. 
Amazon Handmade 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Plein air painting - travelling light

 I do love painting outdoors.  It's an art making experience like no other; a real challenge that's different every time, one I'm finding challenging and exhilarating. 

I got my plein air easel years ago when on my fine art degree course, but I'm still learning the best ways how to get around with it outdoors.  So far this combined backpack and stool, which I found in a charity shop, is the best solution when I want to travel light.

Here's how my plein air kit looks on location, before set up.  You can just see the scene I'd chosen in the background;  a gap in the trees to a little wheat field, just before harvesting started last weekend.

On this occasion the pack was stuffed with brush roll, small box of oil tubes, Daler Rowney air tight turps container, kitchen towel, tear off palette, small boards, easel tray, and viewfinder, with a few personal necessities like a water bottle and hat thrown in.  The collapsible easel was strapped on with bungee. 

Apart from a chat with the farmers wife and daughter, the company of sheep and assorted wild life, including a low-flying heron, I spent a solitary couple of hours concentrating on that gap in the field.  The completed painting and others can be seen on my website

Thursday, August 11, 2016

English countryside plein air landscape oil painting

Storm Clouds Over Wheat Field 5x7in plein air oil painting on board, unframed.
One look at those clouds put some urgency into the brushwork on this plein air landscape painting.  With every possibility of a drenching I didn't go far.  Taking only a few tubes of oil paint (ultramarine, burnt sienna, lemon yellow, crimson, phthalo green, and titanium white) with minimum other art gear, I was prepared to pack up quickly if rain arrived.

In every direction I looked; along the lane or across the fields to the woods and hills, there was a scene ready-made for painting.  The English countryside of Warwickshire, really is picture perfect!  I plumped for this view looking across the sheep meadow, because I liked the contrasting bands of green and gold (not clear to see in the photo). Despite the threatening sky, sunshine did strike through occasionally lighting up the wheat field, with the barn roof making a handy focal point.  
In the end rain didn't stop play, the sky cleared, the painting was completed and is now available to buy.  Contact me at for information and price.  More work can be seen on my website