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I'm out on the ship now, but I do have an internet connection so I've added a new page which links directly to my Fine Art America page. You can now buy prints from FAA directly from this site.


I've now added my latest painting, the Leeds-Liverpool Canal near Foulridge to the Works in Progress page. You can see the painting as it progressed here.


I think I've managed to get the site back up and running now, and with a new design and layout.


So I now have 3 days left to try to get the site up and running again. On the 29th I'll be going from the hotel to the ship, which will be in Yokohama. From there we'll be sailing down to Taiwan and then on to the Philippines. Hopefully I'll be able to continue updating this column as we go to work just north of Luzon.


Well, after 3 weeks of emailing back  and forth with the host company and getting nowhere, it turns out that my anti-virus program is preventing me from adding new photos to the site.


After 41 hours of travel, I've finally made it to my quarantine hotel in Narita, Japan. I'll be spending the next 10 days looking at these four walls so maybe that will give me time to figure what the heck the problem is with the site. At least I can add text, just not images.


I've been trying to edit the site, but keep getting "Undefined" errors and no one seems to have a clue why.


 I thought I would add my latest painting to the website, turns out that may not have been such a great idea...



Canal Boat

When I first saw the photo of taken by Mal Raynor of a houseboat on an English river, I knew I had to try to paint it. I loved the way that it caught the sense of peace and quiet of a lazy afternoon sail, maybe after a pint and a ploughman's in the local.


Step 1 as usual was to quickly sketch the layout and then lightly block in the larger areas like the sky and reflection of the building. I should probably have started to add the building colour here as well, don't really know why I didn't.



Step 2 - I used a soft mixing white on the sky so that it would stay wet, that will allow me to work the clouds in over the next couple of days. Time to start adding a bit of colour to the roofs.



Step 3 - Spent another hour or so this afternoon working away on the roof and also the building walls. The clouds are still wet so no rush to do any more to them. I want to use a wet on wet technique when I start to add some trees and bushes in the middle ground and that will be much easier if the sky is still workable.



Step 4 - Time to put some windows on the building. I love putting the small details into my paintings, but getting the right amount of detail in the windows here is a pain. Too much dark and they look like bars on prison windows, too much light and they just look like blobs. Should I paint black on white or white on black? I prefer light over dark since I'm working in oils.

River-boat 5River-boat 5


Step 5 - Time to do something with the background. I find that I'm ok if' it's just one or maybe two trees, but when it gets to more than that I start to tremble. A full blown forest is a definite cause for hyperventilation.  But there was no way around it, this painting needed greenery, and lots of it. I also added a bit more colour in the reflections. Reflections are always slightly darker than the object being reflected so when I say I added more colour, what I mean is I cleaned off my brush by dragging down the canvas.

River-boat 6River-boat 6


Step 6 - I think I managed to leave the trees alone early enough last night that I didn't turn them to mud. Now that they'd dried I was able to add a few highlights and darken some other areas to try to balance them out a bit. I added a few details on the bank of the river, in front of the building and also the small bridge on the right hand side, which will effectively separate the middle ground from the background. Hopefully it will lead the eye in towards the boat rather than being a barrier and killing the composition, I guess time will tell.

After about 2 weeks of working on this thing, I think I'm  finally, almost, ready to put some paint on the boat. Funny thing about the 'boat', I asked on Facebook what the correct name for it is. I started out calling it a river boat, but since then I've been told it's a narrow boat, a canal boat, a house boat, or a barge. Maybe it's a geographical thing, but if anyone knows definitively then feel free to let me know.

River Boat FinishedRiver Boat Finished