Acrylic, collage, linen on canvas, 2023, 120 x 100 x 5 cm

As I wrote in my blog, somehow horses have got into my paintings.

Before I went to art school, I painted and drew horses obsessively. But somehow it wasn’t the thing to do when developing skills with colour grids, observational and life drawing, and three-dimensional work. The title is a quote from a Jean Atkin poem, In Yellowhammer Weather, in her collection How Time is in Fields. The building across the top is from Andreii Tarkovsky’s film “the Sacrifice” – I rather exaggerated the piebald plaster ….

The pattern from the collaged wrapping paper migrated onto the horse, as he’s an Appaloosa. I found him and his mate grazing along the river in the winter; he had a ragged New Zealand rug on, which covered up his speckled coat. That image might make its way into a painting at some point.



Acrylic, bronze powder, varnish, collaged paper with gouache and watercolour pencil, linen, on canvas 120 x 100 x 5 cm. 2023


with this painting I am pushing the watercolour effect as far as I can. The amount of paint on the areas around the figures and the trees is absolutely minimal, in washes allowing tide marks and runs. I painted some of it flat on the grass in my back garden, as the weather was nice. The bronze powder was floated onto water and glaze on the big tree trunk shape, then fixed with spray varnish. But in the end not much of it shows because I put a runny glaze of sappy green over quite a large proportion of the painting.

you can see the glaze veiling the loose textured painting in the top left.

You can see how thin the paint is on top of gesso on the fine linen, and how I kept the figure painting really loose with very little correction.



Acrylic with collage and linen on canvas, 2023, 100 x 100 x 5 cm

This painting has gone through several stages, from abstract to this with its figures, from one way up to another, and in the end the handling of acrylic paint on the fine linen which is such a big change for me, doing less, keeping it light, and the paint thin as well as thick.


acrylic and collaged linen and paper on canvas, 2023, 100 x 100 x 5 cm


I snapped some photos with the iphone of this mother and daughter on a walk at Falkland. They instantly appealed because of the sticks they carried, and they conveniently stood in front of the way-post. All very much Caspar David Friedrich.

I made a few watercolour studies of this scene.


A vision in the forest, 2023, acrylic and collaged linen and paper on canvas, 100 x 100 x 5 cm

For several years, Caspar David Friedrich has been a buzz-word between me and my daughter in these immense Scottish forests, woods and plantations. So no wonder I have, almost unconsciously, been photographing her and her husband, and some other people, dwarfed by trees on our walks. Now these images are beginning to infiltrate the paintings.

If you read my blog for March and the first one in April, you will find lots of details about the evolution of this painting.



Acrylic, gouache, paper and linen on canvas, 2023, 61 x 61 cm.

This is a further exploration of painting over linen gessoed onto canvas combined with collage. On the figures and parts of the tree-trunks the acrylic is so watery as to be like watercolour, and these were painted over what started out looking like an abstract collage with just the blue painted paper and the spotted paper stuck onto the whitened linen.

the final result has a strong graphic element which retains the abstraction, but combines it with the narrative of the two figures bundled up in thick clothes hurrying through the wood with the little dog almost hidden behind the woman.

THE OUTSET (Lucy at Glen Clachan)

Acrylic, mica flakes, metal foil, paper and unbleached linen shirt fabric on canvas, 2023, 100 x 100 x 5 cm

On the first day of March, an expedition to the Trossachs with my daughter, to Kirkton Glen above Lochearnhead, where we walked up and down the forested valley. As usual I took lots of photos, some with Hipstamatic, mostly for the blog. When I checked them out there was an interesting one with Lucy’s head and shoulders appearing in the bottom of a photo of  a lone pine tree standing out from its neighbours. So this painting took that photo image and added it to an already existing abstract, sticking on paper and linen and painting over it, and in the end not leaving much of the original showing.




Inspired by a weird Hipstamatic photo of a doocot (there are ruined and repaired gothic stone doocots (dovecots) everywhere here in Fife), this painting was the beginning of  a new phase of painting for me – using the unbleached fine shirt linen as a surface gessoed onto the plain canvas, and allowing the figurative into my work.

Acrylic, pencil, graphite and linen on canvas, 2023, 100 x 100 x 5cm

detail of the edge of the unbleached fine linen.

detail of some of the words written onto this painting.


Acrylic, charcoal, ink and paper on deep-sided canvas, 2023, 61 x 51 x 5 cm.

From the rules of Sister Corita Kent – everything I do is an experiment  – plus my studio being in the kitchen for the winter means I go back to things after supper and get my hands covered in paint again or start sticking things onto things having ripped things up. My recent collage work on paper is having a huge effect on the paintings; with this one technically it’s as much a collage as a painting.