Flower Painting

April 4, 2015

It’s not something I do very often, but I was asked to paint flowers for my last demo at Rickmansworth Art Club.

I used Jacksons/Two Rivers rough paper which, as an experiment, I prepared with a spray of acrylic varnish to make lifting paint easier. It worked, but at the cost of being unable to paint in layers.

Quite happy with the result; it came together really quickly and was almost finished within the first hour.

I used a very limited palette of Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine and a little Cobalt Blue.


I’m back!

March 31, 2015

I see from the stats that a lot of people are still landing here, so I have decided to revive the blog. Lots of catching up to do, so I’ll start with some of my more recent works. Most of them are demonstration pieces, so painted in under 2 hours and not highly finished, but hopefully I’ve managed to capture the essence of the subject.

Feedback most welcome and thanks for coming by.

Behind_the_Facade_Hornblower_watercolour  Venice-Pink_Bicycle_Hornblower_watercolour KeithHornblower_Venice-HouseOfCasanova28x38cm KeithHornblower_Venice-GrandCanalFromTheRialto28x38cm Garzapapel5_Hornblower_watercolour Garzapapel3_Hornblower_watercolour Garzapapel2_Hornblower_watercolour Carol_roses_Hornblower_watercolour

Willow2_Hornblower_watercolour Peterborough_Hornblower_watercolour_demo Barking_Rainy_Day_Hornblower_watercolour AniseWatercolourClass_Hornblower_watercolour Trafalgar_Square_2-Hornblower_watercolour Southend_demo_Hornblower-watercolour_2015-03-28_21x14 Roses_Hornblower-watercolour-demo-21x14ins Old_Warden_demo_Hornblower-watercolour Docklands-aerial_Hornblower_watercolour_demo_2015-02_21x14 Stevenage_Hornblower_watercolour

Current Exhibition

August 23, 2011

Here’s a poster for an exhibition at Norton Way Gallery (it appears as an ad in the Herts Life magazine). If you’re in the area, drop in! It’s a small gallery but there’s some lovely stuff on show.

Collette, the gallery owner, has been kind enough to feature my work this month including the Venice paintings I didn’t get around to posting here.

Norton Way Gallery


April 27, 2011

Just got back from a lightning visit to Venice; no time to paint so I took loads of photos for reference. First two paintings, more to come….


Painting Big!

March 24, 2011

Over the past few months I have been indulging myself with some huge sheets of watercolour paper, slopping and splashing the colour about like a wild thing. It’s very therapeutic after working at small scale on the illustrations.

The Turkish Vase is one of them, now complete, and which I’m entering for the RA Summer Exhibition. Handing in day is Tuesday 29th March. All fingers and toes crossed as this is something I haven’t done before.

The Scottish Castle – Castle Leod – now revealed (see post “More Watercolours at Last” below). It looks good on the packaging of the Dalmore Whiskey. When I went to see the castle I had visions of turrets emerging ghost-like from the Scottish mist – a scene of Gothic drama. The reality was bright sunshine and neatly trimmed lawns; it was August, after all. So in the final painting I had to be quite inventive and worked quite hard to give the painting some impact. The final work was well received, and the painting, I believe, should now be hanging in the visitors centre at The Dalmore distillery.

Castle Leod-watercolour-Keith Hornblower

Castle Leod-watercolour-Keith Hornblower

Ayot St Lawrence - The Palladian Church - Hornblower watercolour

Ayot St Lawrence - The Palladian Church - Hornblower watercolour


Irmis-roses-watercolour-Keith Hornblower

Irmis-roses-watercolour-Keith Hornblower


Turkish Vase - hornblower final watercolour

Turkish Vase - hornblower final watercolour

The Lord Lister Hotel, Hitchin

October 18, 2010

I’m always pleased to receive a commission to paint something in my home town, and the Lord Lister Hotel is a familiar Hitchin landmark.

The Hotel was originally a Wool comber’s House built in the late 18th Century which later became a Quaker school known as the Isaac Brown Academy and many of our eminent 19th century scientists were educated there, the most famous of whom was Joseph Lister who pioneered sterile operations and became known as the ‘father of antiseptics’.

As a subject for a painting, it’s not an easy choice as the façade is a long flat elevation with little of any great interest to break it up. I decided to view it from a fairly acute angle to compress it and to bring in the surrounding buildings to the picture; it’s always good to have some context.

My painting now hangs in the hotel reception area.


Lord Lister Hotel

Lord Lister Hotel, Hitchin


More watercolours at last!

October 18, 2010

Oh dear – I’m really not a very good  blogger, am I? My last post was a very long time ago and I apologize for my absence. I have been busy with my architectural illustrations and for reasons of confidentiality I can’t post them here.

One commission, however, was rather special. I was asked to paint a Scottish castle, to be used on the packaging for a very special Scotch whiskey. I can say no more until the launch (probably around New Year), but I did have a couple of very productive days in the Inverness area of Scotland. I had forgotten what a beautiful country it is and I spent some time taking reference photos for future paintings when I wasn’t busy at the castle.

The result was the following 3 paintings (so far) which will shortly be on display at the Norton Way Gallery, Letchworth Garden City. I hope you like them. The oil rig was a challenging and currently contentious subject, but I was struck by the power of the scene and just had to paint it. The 2 waterfalls speak for themselves, I hope, and mark a new beginning for my work, returning to the traditions of English watercolour and attempting to convey the sheer drama of our countryside. Drama is not something usually associated with watercolour and I want to help restore it’s reputation as a powerful medium on a par with oil painting.

The “Falls of Rogie” was painted on a full sheet of Two Rivers paper, so it’s quite large! I had to use my studio easel to cope with the size, and because the surface was near vertical, there were lots of paint runs which I tried to exploit, rather than fighting against them.

Please tell me what you think.


February 10, 2010

Some recently completed oil paintings; just needed to get away from the watercolours for a while. The problem with oils is that you never quite know when a painting is finished – I have re-worked these several times now, and I don’t think I’ve finished yet…

With watercolour it all seems so much easier; I just know when it’s done, or alternatively, ruined. There’s just nothing in between. Guess it’s something you get used to!

I did the landscapes because this area is designated for a new school, and the school, if built, will pave the way for many thousands of new houses… We are not amused. The street scene is in my village of Weston – in danger of being swallowed by the urban sprawl of Stevenage. I shall be painting more in the area, before it all disappears under concrete.

View from Tilekiln Wood

View from Tilekiln Wood - a frosty morning

Tilekiln Farm

Tilekiln Farm from the wood. A frosty morning

Cottages - Damask Green Road - Hornblower oils

Cottages - Damask Green Road

Illustration – the day job

January 12, 2010

I’ve just realized I haven’t posted anything since September 09, so happy New Year to you all! I have been asked to post some of my illustration work, so here’s a recent one. This is a golf club in Abu Dhabi; I did a series of loose conceptual watercolours back in April 09 and the Architect, Rick Shands of GHD, sent me the photo showing progress on site. They work fast over there! Some of the details have changed, but in essence it’s much the same as the original sketch. I hope you agree.

Yas Golf Club by Keith Hornblower - before and after

Yas Golf Club - the dream and the reality.

Just one more…

September 23, 2009

One last London tourist scene – no more, I promise.

Trafalgar Square, London - watercolour

Trafalgar Square, London - watercolour

Currently working on a programme for some watercolour classes – they start on Friday and this is a new venture for me. I’m looking forward to it and am quietly terrified all at the same time. But it’s good to break out of the safety of the studio now and then; I like the idea of actually meeting real people for a change. 2 spaces left….!


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