Drawing and working in Black and White

Watercolour Ink and Collage Drawings

I recently completed a course with the St Ives school of painting, Abstraction: Landscape a sense of place, an online course ran by the tutor Liz Hough. One of the main things that I took away from the course was the value of drawing and working in black and white at the start of a new body of work.

For the course I had to choose a landscape to work from, I chose a set of urban fields close to where I live which have been the inspiration for a lot of my paintings in 2020/21. We began by taking photographs of the area and making a montage with the photos.


From the montage I made quick drawings, I chose to work in a sketchbook abstracting out the bits that really appealed to me. I also had to go out into the landscape and make sketches of the area.


From these sketches I then continued drawing from the drawings with charcoal, ink, watercolour and collage with each drawing getting more and more abstract.

Abstract Drawing

Working this way has been really exciting for me, previously when starting new work I would probably photograph, do a few sketches moving straight into colour. By removing the colour it seemed to allow me to be more abstract and somehow more expressive, I just loved the freedom it gave me.

Abstract Drawing

I have continued working with this process building up a good portfolio of source material to use for my abstract paintings. I do feel however that I could still push it a bit further into abstraction, as usual developing as a painter is still a work in progress.


When I launched my website in August I had every intention of writing a studio notes post at least once a month. However here we are nine months later!! I can’t believe how quickly time has gone.

I thought I would start with an update with what’s been happening. August and September flew by and it was good to be back working in the studio, as we know though this didn’t last long the threat of another lock down was on the horizon and I was glad that I hadn’t moved all my materials back to the studio. On this occasion the studio didn’t close completely, however I opted to work from home which was a good decision as at the beginning of December I unfortunately caught Covid! Luckily I only had a sore throat and recovered pretty quickly. I continued working from home on small pieces, however I was glad when April came around with restrictions being lifted I began to move everything back to the studio and am now fully back working on some larger canvasses.

The year has began well with a few sales of my paintings on paper. I also had a painting selected for an exhibition. The exhibition was called “In Manchester” and was ran by Cottononmcr and was at the Saul Hay Gallery in Manchester.

My Eyes Can Only Record So Much

In other news, I recently applied to become an associate member of MAFA which is the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts and am delighted to have been selected. I am really looking forward to being a member of the society and participating in exhibitions and events. Also I have been doing an online course with the St Ives Painting School, Abstraction : A Sense Of Place, it’s a five month course and has really opened up my eyes on the value of drawing as a starting point for painting, more on that in my next post though, which hopefully won’t be in another nine months time!


AWOL Studios at Hope Mill. Ancoats

Just over a year ago I picked up the keys to my studio in a beautiful old mill on the outskirts of Manchester, welcome to AWOL Studios at Hope Mill. Almost exactly a year later due to lock down rules I had to take a little break, I set up a small home studio for the duration.

Initially I found it hard to concentrate at home, after a few weeks though I managed to settle into a good studio routine. All my recent paintings on paper have been made at home, during lock down. I am now back at the mill and have decided to keep the same studio practice going, working at home on smaller paintings and larger canvasses at Hope Mill.

Work in progress
Studio view