Thursday, 31 July 2014

An oldie,  6x8.25 ins watercolour on a Two a Rivers paper. This watercolour is of my garden when I lived in London and my wife's cat, that she raised from a kitten. The cat, Nesbit was 18 at the time, enjoying the sunshine. I used a bit of masking fluid on the clothes and the white of the cat, so as to protect the paper during the initial washes of green, lifting it off when they were completed, to reveal white paper. I am not keen on masking fluid, and try to get by without using it, as it can leave a hard edge and unsatisfactory results. Still, it is necessary at times to achieve the desired effect.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

My watercolours that I use, to get most of the colours and tones in my paintings. Starting from the left, raw sienna, winsor yellow, permanent rose, cadmium red light,  ultramarine blue, cerulean blue. I use only artists quality paints, Winsor and Newton mostly. The exception here is the cadmium red light by Holbein, a recent addition, and the cerulean blue is Lukas, until I get another Winsor and Newton.

On occasion, I use viridian to get a green I might want, or burnt sienna with ultramarine to get a dark colours. I discovered that I can get 37 ml watercolour tubes, which are great and  if like me, you use loads of paint, I use a lot of raw sienna and winsor yellow, then these sizes are ideal.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Back in the day when people read newspapers, myself included, there were often small stories or photos of human interest in them. This painting is based on one photo, from some newspaper back in 2001, of two Muslim girls in the north of England, enjoying an amusing story together. I find my inspiration everywhere, even if it's just for a sketch. The way I look at it is, it's a challenge to add to my experience in painting, of a scene that I might never encounter.  I loved the contrast of the white headwear against the dark somber clothing, and the smiling girls. Watercolour 7x8.5 ins. 2001.

Monday, 28 July 2014

I often have paintings that I complete, of which I am unhappy with, for one thing or another. At times it is the composition, or parts of the painting do not work. Some, there is no saving, and are destined for the rubbish bin. The little painting above, watercolour  6.75x4.5, is one such painting........saved.
It's of a woman pushing a baby buggy. The background did not work, I had made it too cold, and it was going to be difficult to change what I had done. I left it for a while and returned sometime later to see what I could do? I used a bit of gouache,  mixed with watercolour, just around the head and shoulders area, to push the background back and separate the figure. It worked.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Yesterday, I was posting about the copper coast and the old disused copper mines that still exist. Here is a watercolour 7x9.5 ins, of one of those mines, Fabriano artistico paper 2014. I wanted the painting to be a bit moody, so I placed lovely warm shadows in the foreground, the ruin of the old mine in the middle ground.  White paper on the side of the building and old chimney that catches the light, with the background fading behind and the outlines of the cliffs. The road sweeps up to the ruin and on down the coast.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The "Copper coast" is a stretch of coast in south east Ireland, beautiful and rugged, with spectacular views. It stretches from Tramore to Dungarvan, and is 25 kilometres long. The title of "copper coast" comes from a number old disused 19th century copper mines, that pepper the area, the ruins of which can still be seen. It is these old mines, that are are as much a tourist attraction as the coastline is. Today's painting is of  that coastline. The clouds are what interested me, a September evening with the sun shining. The clouds were warmed with  ochre and the reflections in the sea, which was glass like and so calm. Wonderful. Oil on linen on board 6x8 ins.

Friday, 25 July 2014

This painting 6x8 ins oil on linen on board 2009, is of a family group having a rest under some trees.The scene was near the beach and there were  only a few trees and a small bit of green grass. This family managed to find a good spot to shelter from the  mid day heat.

If anyone is interested in any of the work posted, I can be contacted via email above, or see my dailypaintworks link at the top right of this page. Regards Joe.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


These two paintings started out as one, 6x8 ins oil on linen on board. I was not keen on the overall composition, so I decided to do a bit of editing. I cut the original 6x8 ins into two halves, each measuring 6x4 ins. The two work better as a pair, I feel, if makes them more interesting. I remember it was very hot, and the paintings show very bright light with the backgrounds almost washed out.. A mom with her boys, chatting to another mom on a quiet beach about  2.30 pm. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

I posted a watercolour sketch of this painting a while ago. This is an oil version, 8x6 ins on linen canvas, on board. My apologies for the photo. Anyway, it's of a man fishing from the shoreline, standing precariously on rocks. I used a lot of texture to try and convey the lapping seawater and the rough rocks. The figure is back lit, always a challenge in its own way to try and get the tones right in the figure, especially as this man was wearing dark clothing of similar tone and colour. It was the hat that did it for me here.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Continuing on from yesterday's post, and one of my visits to the Algarve. This painting, oil on board, 8x6 ins, is of two vendors, husband and wife, selling hats, towels, other textile items, from a stall in Sagres Portugal. The area is called. "Lands end". The reason being that, the inhabitants of the Algarve, before the discovery of America believed the world ended, at the most western tip of the region, hence the name. Tourists are brought here during the holiday season, to look out to the Atlantic Ocean and buy souvenirs. The colours are quite muted, as the couple were in the shade, but I liked the little nuances of light reflected in the fabrics and the highlights coming from the right.

Monday, 21 July 2014

An old lady carrying her shopping in Portugal 2009. Oil on board 5x7 ins. The painting was mostly completed with a palette knife, with ridges of  impasto. My family and I were on a bus tour for the day, taking in some of the villages in the south of the Algarve. Sitting in the shade at lunchtime, I saw this old lady toiling up the road with her shopping,  the contrast of her dark clothes against the  yellows, browns, ochres, greens of the vegetation was the inspiration for the painting.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Holiday over. Oil on board 5x7 ins. On my first trip to the Algarve, I was so amazed by the quality of the intense light. Everything was lit perfectly and the colour saturation on clothes, buildings, and people, truly awesome. I was waiting to set off on a day out, when I saw these people on their way home, just about to board a transfer coach. I used a palette knife and brush strokes, as I love texture in my oil paintings.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Cattle on Rathanna hill, watercolour 7.5x 13 ins. I was out on my daily walk a few years back, on one of my regular routes, when I met this small herd of cows, coming down this hill. It is quite a steep's great to get that extra bit of exercise, if I am in the mood. The road was a bit wet after a summer shower of rain, so the cows were reflected in the road. I kept the foliage loose and washy, and concentrated on getting a freshness of the scene after the rain, the summery ness ( if there is such an expression) and the procession of the cows down the hill. I kept the images of the cows quite vague, and I lifted out of colour to achieve the reflections in the wet road. Almost by design, the first two cows are warm reds and the last two blue tones, so an almost instant composition, warm to cool.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Spiddal, (Irish: An Spidéal, meaning "the hospital") is a Gaeltacht village on the shore of Galway Bay in County Galway, Ireland. I visited Spiddal for the first time, a number of years back, having had a desire to see what it looked like. When I was learning Irish, back in the day, it was advised to go to a Gaeltacht area to improve spoken Irish, and spend 3 weeks or so, amongst Irish speakers. Spiddal was recommended, as the place to go. Alas, at the time I did not get to go. When I visited, it was an overcast day, but the light was good. I was fascinated with the the view of the Aran Islands that can be seen from the shoreline. I hope to visit the Isands sometime in the future.

I produced this watercolour, 8x11 ins, 2008, of the shoreline, with a man tending his small boat, with the Aran Islands in the background. It's quite sketchy sand loose, but it catches the moment I think, and the atmosphere of the day.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tomduff hill, an area near where I live, it's a good work out as a walk. Watercolour 8x10 ins 2008. I approached this subject using the white farmhouse as the focal point. I kept the washes lively by adding colour to wet in wet washes. Note the background is made up of cobalt blue, winsor yellow and some ultramarine blue, all dropped in to a wet in wet wash. It's the same with the trees on the left, leaving the fence posts un painted, until I painted them with a touch of raw sienna and winsor yellow after the trees had dried, leaving bits of white paper as highlights. In the foreground of the painting the shadows were painted, over the now dried initial washes, but still keeping them wet and fluid.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Two people walking near Irishtown, just beside Sandymount strand Dublin.  7x10 ins. I kept the washes loose and allowed them to run into each other. It's what I love about watercolour, you can get unexpected results that can make a painting or detract from it. What I like about this little painting is the simplicity of the subject matter, no  trees, shrubs, or other things to distract, just the path, two walkers, the sky and the sea.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The promenade Tramore, Co. Waterford 2010. Watercolour 8.75x11 ins. I was trying out the new rag paper from Langton,  Daler Rowney 140lbs when I painted this scene. To be honest I was  not keen on it at all, as it was too stiff for my style. I much prefer a softer paper such as Fabriano,  Two rivers, or even Waterford Saunders. I persisted with the Langton cotton, but I can't say I am a fan. I am sure other people love this paper, and  I am in no way disparaging it,  just a matter of taste, I guess. The above painting is with an clearly defined background, middle ground and darker foreground.  I hope I caught the atmosphere of an early summer's day.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Kittens, watercolour 6x5.5ins. Would you believe 1992?  I had this beautiful white cat when I lived in London. Her name was Millicent, she had this batch of kittens. I did this little painting at the time, having put the kittens on an old deckchair, to keep them in one place long enough, so as to get a composition. All the kittens went to a good home, I am glad to say. My style has changed since then, ad I want to be loose with the paint, but I see my style emerging, in this little painting.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The beach at Tramore, Co. Waterford. 9x12 ins 2010. I changed the composition here, in that the figures were not originally in the scene, but from another painting I had in mind. The beach was virtually deserted, so to give some perspective and make the distance recede, I added the figures. It was May 2010, so not quite warm enough for beach lovers and yet warm enough for people such as this family, mother and grandmother to take a walk. The lines are where paint was lifted out with a little water and a clean brush, these helped with perspective and creating recession.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

I go through phases, where I paint exclusively in oil, or other times in watercolour. I try to do both at times, but I either have my watercolour head on, or my oil painting head. It's like, I think differently when  painting in one or the other. Odd, I guess. Anyway, this painting is from a time, 2010, when I just started into a watercolour phase, being tentative and cautious, like I am learning over.  It's the castle park in Kilkenny. I loved the tree and all the tones and the two figures give the painting place and purpose.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Man and his dog walking at sunset. Watercolour 6x9 ins. Dollymount strand Dublin. I exaggerated the colours a bit in the background, but the effect was what I wanted. The sun is just white paper, winsor yellow and permanent rose in the background. The man's coat is cobalt blue with
the highlights,  a light first wash of winsor yellow from the first wash.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

I was on a tour bus in Portugal a few years ago, and I saw this old lady finish sweeping the front step of her house, turn and enter her home. It was only a moment, but the wonderful faded colours of her house, the sun, and her blue dress, made this an appealing composition for me. A simple domestic scene, where the colours are  key to the harmony of the painting. 7.5x5.5 inches.

Monday, 7 July 2014

This watercolour painting, 7.5x10.5 ins. Fab artistico 140lbs paper, is very impressionistic, painted with abandon, without constraint. The reason was, I often just paint subjects or landscapes, to be experimental with washes or colour, to see where they go. I had just put this one to one side, as I intended to consider its fate later, bin or use the other side of the paper? My daughter saw it, and really liked it. So that is that. It's a scene,  of a water meadow by the river Barrow with a church in the background. An old tried and tested scene I guess, but I loved the colours and the looseness of the whole painting.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Dappled sunlight 6x4 ins oil on linen on board.  Three people sitting on a park bench in a shaded area. Bright sunlight getting through the trees and shrubs. I loved the way the dappled light hit the figures on the bench. By painting the figures in muted tones at first, and adding the dots of high colours after, lit the figures up, literally.  You can see the brush work is quite rough and I used the palette knife as well to place dabs of colour.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Seapoint, 6x4 ins oil on linen on board. This little painting is of a group  of women chatting at a popular bathing area in Dublin, between Blackrock and Monkstown, near Dun Laoghaire. The older ladies were there for the social aspect, whilst the woman in the bathing costume was intent on taking a swim in the sea, on what was a brisk day, as I recall. What attracted me was the orange bathing cap, complimenting the blue bathing costume. The composition was bigger originally, with more figures, but it worked better, I felt as this.


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Woman eating a biscuit. Oil on linen on board. 11x14 ins. I thought I would put up an oil painting for a change. A portrait of sorts, not formal, but of a woman enjoying the sun and a biscuit. She was reclining on a deck lounger on a wooden deck. I left the rails of the deck out, as they were too structured and rigid for my composition.  I kept the background loose and vague. The painting is a combination of brushwork and palette knife. What captured the image of the person for me, was the highlight side profile of the head of the subject.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Road to Connemara. A watercolour from a few a years ago, 7.5x11 ins.on Bockingford paper  2008. Connemara is a wonderful place to visit. When the weather is good, it is magical. This painting is of a road, I cannot  remember exactly where, but I liked the fence posts, either side of the road, and the road leading to somewhere unknown. It's like that when you visit somewhere new. It can be great or ordinary.  Connemara has been painted by many artists over the years. One of the most famous was  Paul Henry, 1877-1958.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Study of a girl with red hair. Watercolour 7.5x4.5 ins. on 140lbs Fabriano artistico paper. I recently acquired a new cadmium red light watercolour. It's Holbein, a US brand, that I bought online. I have always striven to paint in transparent watercolours, at least whenever possible. Cad red, of course being opaque, is a step away from that, but I was very pleased with the outcome, and the resultant washes  were not overly opaque.  The colours used here were cad red light, winsor yellow, raw sienna, and ultramarine blue, the latter colours Winsor and Newton.