History of the Netherlands, AD 1652

History of the Netherlands, AD 1652

Posted on Jan 21, 2016

The leather-bound book in this painting is “Historien der Nederlanden”, published in Amsterdam in the year 1652, having been written by Emanuel van Meteren in 1611. This is not just a history book, the book itself is history, and merely holding it is not only a physical exercise, but also a great delight. “History of […]

Gesso

Posted on Jan 17, 2016

The importance of applying a number of coats of gesso is, I think, not always appreciated. But it is the foundation upon which we work, and there are good reasons for spending a bit of time to get a number of coats of gesso down before we’re starting to paint.

Craftsmanship

Posted on Jan 15, 2016

The shape and form of objects are important. An earthenware jug, for instance, is not merely a container made to hold liquid, it is also a particular form. An object has beauty when its shape has been made by a craftsperson who had the intention of making it beautiful in addition to making it functional.

Brushwork

Posted on Jan 15, 2016

Many of today’s still life painters (especially so in the Netherlands) have specialised in producing works of amazingly detailed realism. Although I admire many of them, for my own style of brushwork I have chosen to take inspiration from artists such as Fantin-Latour and Chardin, and so I aim to paint with a slightly more […]

Composition

Posted on Jan 15, 2016

Artists learn from each other but this does not mean that we copy each other. This is especially true with regards to composition. My own still life paintings are original compositions, but I admit, it is hard work to get it right. In other words, it’s easy to get it wrong.

Restoring a Monk

Posted on Jan 14, 2016

A couple of years ago I met an elderly lady who had made an interesting discovery, many years ago. When her family was allowed to return to their chateau, they found, among the stuff which occupying military personnel had left in the basement, this old painting of a monk. No-one knew where it had come […]

Osnabrücker Taufkrug

Osnabrücker Taufkrug

Posted on Apr 21, 2011

The town of Osnabrück is not usually associated with fine silverware. Nevertheless, it does have a heritage: in the 17th century there was one family of artisans that practised the craft of silversmith, producing articles that didn’t look out of place on the dining table of the bishop. The object on this painting – a […]

Vincent’s Letters

Vincent’s Letters

Posted on Jul 8, 2009

During his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh wrote a great many letters, mostly addressed to his brother Theo. Fortunately for us many of these letters were kept, and in 1914 Theo’s wife published them for the first time. This painting is of that three volume original publication. The year 2009 saw the publication of an impressive […]

Kitchen Utensils

Posted on Jan 31, 2009

Copper and bronze are always a challenge. The finest painter of copper, I think, was the Frenchman Chardin, whose paintings are really symphonies of atmosphere and detail. Here are some of my own, rather early works. The mortar and pestle is my first painting of an item in bronze; the painting of the four measures […]

Scottish Poets

Scottish Poets

Posted on Jan 21, 2009

This is a painting I have really enjoyed doing because it somehow kept me in the company of James Hogg and Walter Scott, who both used to live in the Valley of Romance where I was fortunate to spend eight good years of my life, and Robert Burns, the poet who caused some of our […]