Category Archives: Style

The Secrets of the Style (2)

The Secrets of the Style (2)

By now you have probably noticed my attraction to the cosmos. Nothing can quite capture that sense of awe that comes from gazing up at the Milky Way in a clear sky away from the city lights.

Now I wish to illustrate other themes, all of which have featured in calendars I have been producing on a small scale for several years now.

Starting next week I intend to present all twelve pictures of each calendar in galleries like the first gallery featuring ‘Weather’.

Part Two: The elements come together

Illustrated by recent works

1.        The splendour of the planets in ‘Journey to the Sun’

Journey 2 for web

Journey to the Sun — visits to Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the second painting

Two weeks before Pluto’s demotion to the status of ‘planetoid’ I completed this work – a triptych of a space journey passing all nine planets. I was livid. Bring back Pluto!

The Sun is faintly seen through Saturn’s rings, is brighter between Jupiter’s rings, and appears greatly enlarged as the space traveller nears Mars.

2.        The variety of life in ‘Creation’

Fish and Birds for web

Fish and Birds

Getting birds to fly with fish is quite a trick – attempted by a subtle interplay of form and light to create a sense of depth.

I am fascinated by natural forms and patterns, calling to mind order and variety in creation.

3.        Environment and change in ‘Weather’

Storms for web


The awesome power of a hurricane is seen in the sharp swirling clouds as it heads for the southern United States.

Nobel laureate and environmentalist Al Gore has raised concerns that these storms might be becoming more severe.

4.        Culture and mathematics in ‘East Meets West’

Which Way for web

Which Way?

Ford Circles in Western mathematics were known in the East in Wasan or Japanese mathematics long before Mr. Ford independantly discovered them. My favourite device here is the use of gradation to soften the twilight boundary.

Climate change is clearly an issue in ‘Which Way?’.

5.        Looking through a window in ‘Praise the LORD

The Angels for web

The Angels

Angels blow trumpets in this heavenly vision. Their movement is suggested by the staggered images. The circles and light beams call attention to the focus of worship beyond the left edge.

In this series I left the earth-bound issue of the environment behind in a glance upwards at the reason for praise.


6.        Love and protection in ‘God Cares’

His Arms for web

His Arms

A shepherd holds a lamb in this parable of God’s care for His people. In case you are wondering, the human figure is me. The shadows on the fingers proved most difficult.

I wanted to get beyond seeing God as a distant severe figure to seeing Him as near and caring.

7.        Another dimension in ‘The Earth is the LORD’s’

net for web

Drop of Water — net

Water drop for web

Drops of Water — Paper models

My most recent project is an adventure in the third dimension. I devised a ‘plan’ or ‘net’ to represent a drop of water and the three states of clouds, rain and snow.

The rainbow is a favourite feature of mine, calling to mind God’s covenant of peace with all creatures from Noah’s time.


Next week I hope to present a new gallery together with brief explanations, on Saturday 17th August.

I am trying to write a post once a week, usually on Saturdays. If you have any comments feel free to leave them on this web site, or email me.



The Secrets of the Style (1)

The Secrets of the Style (1)


My painting style has been described as semi-representational. Is my art thereby praised or pilloried?

The prefix ‘semi’ concedes that each of the elements imperfectly represents something – but what? I hope to answer this question in part one today.

The elements taken together convey an impression or a message that is not always obvious at a glance. I hope to explain this in part two next week.


Part One: What does each of the elements represent?

                                                       Illustrated by early works


1. The basic pattern in ‘Amoeba’

Amoeba for web


The basic wavy pattern was inspired by an image I saw on a TV programme called ‘The Tomorrow People’ way back in my early teen years. I played with curves and gradual change of colour. Each colour was applied one at a time. The result in this painting is an impression of an amoeba moving to explore its environment.


2. Interacting elements in ‘Crucifixion’

Crucifixion for web


I added shapes to represent in simple outline human figures and the cross. By staggering the application of colours the figures can be made to stand out sharply or subtly. The wavy pattern is more complex producing a flowing effect. The added shapes interact with the flowing wavy pattern to produce an impression of agony and grief.


3. Background effects in ‘Amoeba’ and ‘Spacegate’

Spacegate for web pref


I played with the background. In ‘Amoeba’  I first applied a faint wash just like the wash used to paint a sky in some watercolour paintings. Then I drew the pattern on top of the wash and painted in the colours.

In ‘Spacegate’, I painted in the background afterwards to offset the darkness of space from the brightness of the other objects.


4. Repeated superimposed images in ‘The Sun’

The Sun 2 web

The Sun (detail)

Five overlapping suns shine in the complete painting. The boldest image shows the sun at the present moment; the fainter images show the sun moments before the present. Together, these images convey the sense of the sun moving through space.


5. Mathematics in ‘The Sun’ and ‘The Solar System’

Solar System for web

The Solar System

In each of the suns there are several circles to represent the sun’s roundness. The circles are set at exact 15-degree intervals.

Painting spheres in all their 3-D glory became something of an obsession. In ‘The Solar System’ I manipulated the wavy pattern. I used similar circles to those seen in ‘Sun’ to guide the degree of squeezing. The guide circles are not visible in the finished painting. At the edges of the spheres the squeezed pattern conveys a sense of seeing the surface nearly edge-on.


6. The Beginnings of a Message in ‘The Earth’

The Earth

The Earth

In most of my early works I was playing with colours and patterns to discover what interesting images could be created. Aside from ‘Crucifixion’ with its clear themes, I had no intention of conveying a deeper message. I painted just for the fun of it.

After finishing ‘The Earth’  I noticed that the planet appeared to be leaking. It was an accidental effect that led me to think about this more serious side to painting. That was way back in the 1980s just before ‘global warming’ became a part of the global lexicon. More in part two….


Part Two: What messages am I trying to get across?
Illustrated by recent works

Part two follows next week on Saturday 10th August, I hope.

I am trying to write a post once a week, usually on Saturdays. If you have any comments feel free to leave them on this web site, or email me.