See below for more details of the presentation.

Job done. A happy occasion.

The moment I met the owners, Leon and Caroline, I liked them because they have strength, dignity and humility. They also have a well-stocked wine cellar. At the time that I made the first stroke to the painting Caroline was in labour and Ruby was born so “Puerto Escondido” will always have a meaningful association for the family. For me the whole project, from start to finish, was a pleasure. The presentation was accompanied by good company, French wines, Scottish single malts, Polish Lemon Grass Vodka, the hottest curry known to mankind, a bottle of Lagavulin for the artist, laughter and the most beautiful little girl baby. A happy occasion.


Getting to the sharp end.

Above the wood burner.

“Puerto Escondido” is now getting intense so please forgive me if I ramble on a bit. To those of you who are using my demonstration to learn I say “You are on your own from this point. Life is tough so deal with it. Let me see if you can complete this painting without quitting.”

It is at this stage that the most important requirements are concentration and patience and as a Bi-Polar this is difficult but fantastically rewarding. Stick with it.

Remember that the very first clue that we humans have that indicates sentience and culture is art. Without art, we are fucked. We become savages. We become ISIS. (I hope they don’t read this or I am Fatwaed.) To have a true genetic creative gene is a privilege and should be nurtured and cherished. To some it seems a curse because it manifests itself as a useless endeavour. Why can we not do something useful for humanity like nurses, doctors, teachers, builders and farmers? The truth is that all those noble professional practitioners have art on their walls and offices. We, the painters, the poets, the authors, the movie makers, the musicians and all creative people make life just that much sweeter. Imagine life with us. Spooky.

Back to the seascape. This will be the last photo of the piece to appear on this blog until the new owner has the completed article in her hands. There are several reasons for this. The most important of these is the need to be spontaneous and I find blogging tends to be a bit rigid. Remember all the rules and then break them. Make mistakes and learn from them.

To keep your palette fresh and to prevent the paint from drying the best thing to do is to bung it in the fridge. My studio at night is colder than a fridge so the paint just does not dry. Patience and placing the painting above the wood burner in the lounge is the solution.  Till later.

Step Four. Dog's Breakfast.

This point in a seascape I have always referred to as “the dogs breakfast stage” for obvious reasons. I decided to add a bit of 3d by pushing “The Nose” back a touch. To do this I kept the Burnt Sienna but added some sky colour. Because the paint is so wet I have decided to add highlights and shadows at a later stage. The foreground rocks are Burnt Sienna with raw crimson painted on the sides facing the sun and neat ultra marine blue on the shadow sides. I mixed the colours on the canvas. For the sand I used Burnt sienna and Cerulean blue. The foam is a small touch of Crimson into UM blue. I have worked quickly using number 8 flat hog’s hair brushes because at this stage I am more interested in getting the colours true and the composition accurate than detail. The water colour that you can see making an appearance on the right is foam colour with a touch of Viridian green and sky colour. I have used my artistic licence to paint the central wave a fraction of a second before it breaks but this is not written in stone. The sky above any person standing on the beach will be of a dark hue and this may be a better contrast to use as I could have it reflecting off the foam. The horn-like apparitions in the centre of the painting are foam patterns. If you were to compare the progress of this painting to the manufacture of a car then you will have the chassis. One thing is really worrying me though and that is that I can see slight demarcations between the colours in the sky and this is not good so I am going to repaint the sky tomorrow. As I have always said, “Why bother if you don’t do your best”.

Step Three. Sun glow and reflections.

Between step two and step three a lot has happened. To cut a long story very short I pulled a muscle in my abdomen while showing off by lifting an Atlas stone. When I say atlas stone I really mean a tree trunk. EEDJIT. Back to the job at hand.

The first coat (step two) is always a good guide as to where the painting is heading. I checked many photos of Puerto Escondido and it is remarkable how clean the air is. Very little natural atmosphere or pollution so I am still debating as to whether I should add a touch of atmosphere colour to “The Nose” to add distance. I have stuck with Cadmium yellow light hue into large white for the sun itself and then slowly introduced Cad yellow dark hue and a mixture of Alizarin Crimson and French Ultramarine blue. Always remembering to add white as I progress to keep the values equal.  I think this has worked as now the contrast brings out the intensity of the sun. The reflections are obvious. I have a good idea for the movement of the ocean but you must wait till about step 5 to see more of what I mean.

Step two. Background sky and sun glow.

Background sky and sun glow

I started with a touch of cadmium yellow light hue added to a large pile of white. Using a number 8 filbert I worked outward adding small touches of cadmium dark as I progressed. I also put the reflection colour on the water. After many years of experience the best and perhaps the only way to get a good sun glow is through contrast and in the sky in the photo there is very little contrast so I am going to try something logical and atmospherically sound. See next step

Puerto Escondido the start.


Technology. Brilliant. I learned all I need to know via Google Earth, the Mexican Tourist Board and Wikipedia. The element that really caught my attention was the surf. Wow. I am an ex surfer so, “WOW”. The rocks are mostly Vulcanic basalt and on the red/brown side. They are also ancient and mostly rounded rather than jagged. The water is warm due to a reverse current and rip tides are the order of the day. I saw many photographs taken at roughly the same point as the brief and this helps me get a picture of the area. The headland in the background is known as “The Nose”.

I have washed the canvas in red to bring out the warmth of the climate and have sketched the composition with a rounded No. 6 brush and burnt Sienna.

An enjoyable challenge.

A nice way to start the new year. This painting is for a friend of my daughter. A chap by the name of Leon. The brief is as follows. "The attached photo is a sunset we watched on 31st Dec 2013 in Puerto Escondido (Mexico).  Has many special memories because we were about to celebrate NYE on that same beach (which was amazing), it was about to be Caroline's birthday the next day (which she was already excited about!) and was a lovely sunset towards the end of our travels in Mexico.  We'd also just travelled down from the cold mountain heights of San Cristobal de las Casas so we were very excited to be in the hot weather!."

The start.

Ready, steady, Go.

I have never been to Mexico but I have done a few paintings of the Pacific from the other side. Namely Austalia. I have chosen a 18 x 22 inch canvas board for a few reasons. The surface is exactly that of a canvas, cotton duck, and is conducive to detail work. I prefer a streched canvas as a rule because of the "bounce" but they are delicate. This piece is going to travel, hopefully with me on a lengthy train journey, so board it is. I am now going to Google Puert Escondido just to get my bearings and look at things like water temperature and rock composition. The rocks in the photo are a bit washed out. I have decided to use the " E John Robinson" technique as I believe him to be the greatest living seascape painter and I know he won't mind. (In case you have missed it, this last sentence is what is known in the trade as a "Namedrop.")

I intend to work on this piece daily as there is a bit of a deadline but if it is not finished (and dry) by the 1st February then so be it but I never cut corners. (A not so subtle message to Nicole and Leon.) Keep watching. Please excuse me now as I wash the canvas in week Alizeran Crimzon.