is very difficult, I find

sometimes, working small on several things at once, I can strike gold and just come up with a painting like this, which is A6, on heavy watercolour paper. it made a cross between a christmas card and a christmas present for a very dear friend.

this also became a present, it’s a little bigger, 10 x 14 inches, on a canvas covered board

drawing helps, with a touch of watercolour

and although I don’t want to paint landscape, landscapes are always at the back of my head, I’m taking photographs of them all the time

interesting unconscious parallel here …

yellow field, on canvas, 60 x 75 cm, on a chilly day in November “this afternoon in the studio with the yellow painting, and wearing woolly hat, mohair cardigan under painting shirt and fur-lined boots. put paint on. took paint off. let paint run down canvas. scribbled with 6b pencil etc. so it might be done. or it might not. or it might become a paint-over. we’ll see”, I wrote on the day – it survived.

I quite like it.

turn the photo the other way up

and it resembles this detail. frustratingly these crops off larger work are often much more like the paintings I would like to make than the canvases they come from.

the hardest thing seems to be to reconcile the mark-making as in this watercolour

and in this diptych on 30 x 30 cm panels

with the thick layering and subtle paint and colour effects that make a painting really sensually luscious (60 x 60 cm canvas).

this little one (30 x 25 cm canvas) has two layers

this 40 x 40 x 5 cm deep cradled (ie supported by a solid frame) panel has four or five stages. seeing photographs which are all the same size makes it hard to tell what impression the painting gives in real life as scale is so important

this video clip shows it in three dimensions

vertical lines. I can do them, and often do, using my pointy palette knife to scratch through layers of paint. another texture I’d love to have more of in my paintings is the dribble, or lots of runny paint. sometimes I achieve it

but it actually seems quite hard to organise. it’s ok as under-layers with water and flow medium, but when I’ve got multiple layers and stickier paint not so much.

none on this little one – another canvas covered board, 10 x 12 ”

and an image from nature to go with it

and another … reminiscent of the kind of texture possible with really thick paint – Anselm Kiefer-ish – touch and go with acrylic, it needs to be partly dry but still soft to cut through it …

this is a paint-over of an other painting, exploiting the textures underneath with a palette knife in the case of the dark areas. it’s turned itself into a landscape which is not really what I want, but I’m leaving it be for now.

this is the most recent work to be ?finished? so much so I’m considering framing it.

it has a suspiciously landscape feeling about it, but no sky or horizon. the two canvases were painted separately

this one at a new art group in Cley village hall I’ve started going to. that is I put about three layers on it over a deep blue melange undercoat there, last Wednesday afternoon.

and this last Sunday afternoon – a good hour and a half of painting and panicking, scraping and scratching, thinking and not thinking  too hard, too soft, too this too that , maybe another way up. too tigerish in the end.

until I laid them out on my worktable together and painted the very dark brown lines with a paint that’s more liquid, (Golden Open. it also takes as long to dry as oil paint) and covered up some bits with brushwork straight from pots of paint.

I’m still tempted to make more adjustments, to work back into the dark brown strokes to reduce the contrast.

there’s still too much tiger going on, I think. we’ll see.

meanwhile here is something softer, which is definitely finished