A Work in Progress

A Work in Progress

It’s been a very busy first month of the year. Painting has been sidelined up until now but life is calming down a little and creative space is appearing again.

I’m pleased to have had one picture accepted by the English Royal Watercolour Society‘s open exhibition in March. At the same time another picture has been accepted by the Royal Institute for Painters in Watercolour, I suppose it’s like waiting for a bus, you wait for ages and two come at once. I will also have four pictures exhibited at Artquake Kyoto – Japan in March.

Painting a picture takes me considerably longer than it used to. As my technique develops I’ve had to slow down a lot and I feel like I spend a lot of time waiting for things to dry (especially in the winter!).

So in order to make up for my lack of posts, I’ve decided to start posting works in progress and will hopefully chronicle my particular creative path.

So this below is my latest attempt after some drawing, a few washes and quite a lot of masking fluid…. (it’s not finished yet.. there’s a long way to go).


Inspiration in the ‘Off season’

Inspiration in the ‘Off season’


It feels like the ‘off season’ to me at the moment. The sky is grey and the colours are too. My framer is working hard to make up some frames for some pictures heading to some competitions in London. It’s the annual attempt to penetrate the world of the British watercolour elite, so far I’ve been unsuccessful.

The Bosphorus is still an illusive subject for me, an enchanting place whose main landmarks have been painted so often they feel worn out just to look at sometimes. But at the same time each time I cross it on the ferry I need to photograph it.

The city remains in traffic gridlock. The new metro will be a while coming, though the third bridge is swiftly progressing. The traffic just seems to get worse and one wonders if no end of tunnels and metros would merely dent the deluge of vehicles pouring into the city each day.

Roll on spring…


Contemporary Istanbul 2014

Contemporary Istanbul 2014

Vachagan Narazyan a Russian born artist made the event for me. His modern take on Bruegel was amazing. I loved seeing oils used in this way. His haunting and disturbing images were fresh and original especially next to the tired ‘modern’ re-works of Warhol prints that seemed to fixate those in need of inspiration. Soonja Kang’s hyperrealist watercolours were also beautiful a refreshing use of a traditional medium.

Back to work….

Too Much…

Too Much…


I’ve just read a blog post on what to do when you get too involved in a picture, ‘give up’ was the answer! I think I got too involved in this picture, then when you finish you think, um, that’s too much, too much information, nothing left to the imagination etc… Too much colour, etc..
Back to the drawing board.

Public Transport Stereotypes – I

Public Transport Stereotypes – I

The government continues to pour investment into the transport infrastruture of the city, which makes the commuters glad! There are the usual disputes, complaints and moans about other political issues I’ll not comment on here, but getting around the city is getting easier (as long as you avoid using a private car!). 

One anachronistic mode of transport remains; the minibus. I expect precious few tourists who come to the city would brave transport on a minibus as it’s pretty hairy and requires knowing some of the Language. You can flag one of these minibuses down anywhere along it’s route, although you’d only know it’s route if you were pretty familiar with the area. Likewise you can get off one of these at any time too, if you can make it to the door past the human flesh and bones that are often crammed in tight. 

Map of Istanbul minibus routes
Passengers on the minibuses are a set of different stereotypes. There are the young students (usually girls) who quietly sit listening to music through head-phones whilst furiously texting. They look to be in a world of their own trying to ignore (understandably) the riff-raff around them. They are also impervious to the hard stares of any standing elderly passengers, who by all that Turkish culture holds precious should be offered the seats of the younger passengers. This particular type of passenger often sits down in a seat and then passes the fare up through the bus via the people sitting in front. This is a clever ploy to avoid losing the possibility of getting a seat through wasting crucial seconds walking up the bus and paying the driver. I have sympathy with these young people as commuting on a minibus everyday is a tiresome thing and these habits are born of necessity, plus my daughter is one of them!

Anyway, lots more sterotypes to come, I’ll stop there.


Untitled Watercolour – on 600gm paper