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Snow, moonlight and studio space

More snow today, it has been bitterly cold for the past 3 days with a North wind, the pop up pic opposite shows a car stuck outside my cottage…snow_feb_IMG_6791_wp.jpg

Today’s task is to work on the larger marine painting of the Cattewater, Plymouth by moonlight, a scene showing the  clipper Samuel Plimsoll loading emigrants Australia bound.

The studio space is very limited, I need more space but where and how, any suggestions?

Today we have 2 other painters in the studio owner, Chris Boddington and his friend Alan Ansell plus Lizzie the cat sitting as usual on her favourite chair or rather what was my expensive swivel chair…

It’s nice to have company but quite distracting when trying to concentrate on a large difficult painting.

This marine painting measures unframed, 760 x 1220 mm, 30″ x 48″SP_02.02.10_IMG_6772_wp.jpg.

The sun has broken through the wind swept clouds so the light is excellent.

The down side is the space I have to work in is tiny, 2.5 m by 1.5 m, solution?


The tasks today include adjusting the drawing of the ship.

I have 2 photographs of Samuel Plimsoll and have been having a long look at them.

The Samuel Plimsoll as shown at present  in my marine painting is not “lean, long ” enough, not hard to adjust.

I have been working on a smaller version by way of testing for the colours and tones.

Making a smaller similar version as a guide saves much paint and is probably quicker in the long run.

Plus there is the bonus of a second marine painting from the research, to sell!

Much harder will be to create the desired evening sky which is to be based on a moon rises I have seen many times over the Cattewater and a moon rise I saw last autumn.


Given so little space though, it is difficult to view the test piece while working on the major art and difficult to view the major art work from suitable viewing distances.

The latter moon rise seen last Autumn,  was observed at Hossigur on the cote du Landais, the most beautiful moonrise I have ever seen.

The camera could only capture the general idea, not the colours.Hossigur__09_IMG_6264_d.jpg


I retain my life long passion for photography which still influences my painting.

Even after all these years including my training at Medway College of Art (now part of the Kent Institute of Art and Design) and degree in photography I find cameras can be quite surprising as shown by a moon rise I photographed here at Itzac a few evenings ago using a “time exposure” and tripod… Moonrise_IMG_6783_d.jpg

This picture is so unusual I entered it in a Canon Camera web site competion titled: “How would you interpret “new” in a photograph? Send us your ideas“.

It will be interesting to see if the judges notice the photograph which has not been “Photoshopped”.

These days I mostly use a Canon SLR 350D.

I have used Canon as my primary camera through out my career following the recommendation of my tutors at Medway College of Art who said Nikon, Canon, and Pentax, were the best professional cameras in those now far astern days 35 mm of course.

I’m yet to see any other make of camera that can beat them, Nikon, Canon in particular and Pentax having continued to be market leaders and innovators to this day.

I’d love to upgrade my camera but am reluctant to spend the required  1000 Euros / pounds at present.

Looking at the latest versions I would choose a Canon camera again for several reasons summed up as having the best spec for the sort of work I do, mostly action photography and recording paintings.

Thus I am stuck with what I have at present, minimum studio space and an adequate but dated camera and am grateful for what I have.

Chris Boddington has been very kind and tries to be helpful but we are physically limited by the space available.

Poor French and an erratic income inhibit me from moving, both make renting some where else in France difficult.

The former problem I can solve by attending classes in Albi, the latter is not so simple to solve.

Maybe time to move back to England?

If you have any suggestions for a more suitable work and living space for a dedicated painter, as an artist in residence or simply renting, do let me know!

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