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….
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
Ayot St Lawrence - The Palladian Church - Hornblower watercolour
Turkish Vase - hornblower final watercolour
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, Hitchin
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 - a frosty morning
Tilekiln Farm from the wood. A frosty morning
Cottages - Damask Green Road
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 - the dream and the reality.
September 23, 2009
One last London tourist scene – no more, I promise.
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….!
September 18, 2009
I suppose it was only a question of time; having spent the whole of my life living just outside London, I have never painted it before! I thought I should start with the some of the obvious views – Admiralty Arch, Regent Street and Buckingham Palace – and work my way down from there…
Regent Street, London - watercolour
Buckingham Palace watercolour
Admiralty Arch, London
I found a great App for my iPhone; it’s called Brushes (see http://brushesapp.com). I spent half an hour doodling last night in front of the telly and here’s the result. It’s supposed to be Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. I had to do it from memory as I had no reference material to hand.
Talking of Trafalgar Square, it was the village fete last week and they had their own version of the Trafalgar Square “plinth” on the green. I was asked to do a half-hour stint and, of course, I accepted and stood there painting. I had thought beforehand that it would be a breeze – lots of pretty cottages to paint from the green – but I was sadly mistaken. The plinth had been set up in such a way that all I could see was dense foliage and the back of a marquee. Nothing to paint. So, thinking quickly, I decided to paint the local pub (see earlier post) from memory. I think it turned out better than my previous 2 efforts – see what you think.
Red Lion - sketch from memory
My audience of 2 dogs and a lost child were very appreciative. I won’t be doing it next year.