Category: Work in Progress

The Development of a Painting

I thought I’d show the stages I went through in the development of this little painting of Lower Largo in the bonny county of Fife, which I painted for my nephew and his wife. It was very refreshing to take a break from creating black & white designs for my adult colouring book (which I hope to publish in the autumn) and re-acquaint myself with brushes and paint. It reminded me of how much I enjoy the physicality of mixing and putting paint on canvas just as much as analysing the tones and colours required. And that elusive quality of painterly-ness that I strive to achieve, still dances frustratingly – just out of reach!

The photos speak for themselves, so I’ll ditch the descriptions and let your eyes teach you all you need to know.








Lower Largo, Acrylic on Board, 9" x 18" (approx)
Lower Largo, Acrylic on Board, 9″ x 18″ (approx)


My Daler-Rowney “Stay-Wet” Palette. A great invention!

Colouring In

Recently, out of the blue, a friend happened to mention the growing trend in adult colouring books. “You could do that” he said.  At first I was skeptical – “Whaaat? “Colouring-in books for adults? Really?!!”

However, after some interesting online research, I thought “Why not?” I spent many hours as a child  – “just colouring in” and I well remember, as many of us do, the contented, quiet satisfaction that such activities produced. So perhaps it’s not so strange to want to recapture that happy state of being. Now, thanks to adult colouring pioneers such as Johanna Basford in Aberdeenshire and Millie Marotta in Wales, many big boys and girls (mostly women actually), are doing just that – rediscovering what “arty people” have known forever, that engaging in any creative activity takes your mind to a place where the urgency of time disappears and you become completely absorbed in the process of making something unique.

sneak preview-290815-01
Pencil drawing in preparation for inking

So, for better or worse, I’ve started work on a colouring book for adults! Even though it’s a time consuming task, the pleasure of creating something completely different from my usual output, is very motivating.

Eventually I hope to set up a Facebook or Twitter page for the project but meantime the goal is to reach my self-imposed deadline of next Autumn! [UPDATE: The book is finished. just waiting on the proof copy to arrive, then the book will go live on Amazon. Go to my colouring website to learn more!]

Message me if you’d like to share your thoughts or comments!


tiger painting

The best laid plans

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An leae’ us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!” (Robert Burns)

I feel a bit like that poor wee mouse whose well laid plans were sent flying when Robert Burns turned her out of her house with his plough.

Having had great intentions of suddenly increasing my painting output when I retired, with all this free time I was supposed to have, it has all gone to pot due to:

* doing more supply teaching work than I expected;
* going down south to visit our new baby grand-daughter (I don’t feel old enough to be a grandad!);
* going on a four day chainsaw course (which was absolutely brilliant!);
* not to mention my regular church commitments

– all of which has meant that painting has taken a back seat until last week.

With a bit of “encouragement” from Norma, I put in a morning’s work and did a bit more to the tiger painting I started more than a year ago. Here it is in all it’s unfinished imperfection. I’m using water soluble oil paints but not sure that I really like the feel of these as opposed to old fashioned oils though. They’re not quite so silky smooth and rich as expected. Hopefully I’ll complete it soon and move on to what I really want to do, i.e., get outside again and paint “en plein air”, on the spot, in front of the motif! Unfortunately, I’ve now missed most of our balmy ‘Indian summer’ with the absolutely sumptuous autumn colours we’ve had this year, now fast disappearing. I will now have to face the colder air and less settled weather of the Scottish winter! Oh well, ‘no gain without pain’!