Oil Painting - Fishing boats at Mullion Cove, Cornwall

Detail from "Fishing Boats - Mullion Cove", Mullion Cove, Cornwall.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021332
Small close up views like this are to be found at all harbours - this one just happened to be in the superb location of Mullion Cove. The cove is on the Lizard Peninsula not far from the village of Mullion while just along the coast is the more famous location of Kynance Cove and just a bit further is the Lizard itself. Mullion Cove has a similar feel to Kynance with the cliffs dropping down to the sea but unlike Kynance, Mullion has a harbour which is used by a number of local fishing boats. An image search on Google for Mullion Cove will show the location.

Royal Society of Marine Artists - Call for entries 2013


The Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) invites you to submit work to their annual exhibition held at Mall Galleries in Central London, open 16 to 27 October 2013.

The RSMA welcomes painting and sculpture that involves the sea and the marine environment, including harbours and shorelines, traditional craft and contemporary shipping, creeks, beaches, wildlife - in short anything that involves tidal water.

Maximum of six works to be submitted. Maximum of four works will be selected. Work must have been completed within the last two years.

Acceptable media:
Oil, acrylic, watercolour, original prints of any media, drawings and pastels. Sculpture must be from a limited edition not exceeding twelve, signed or initialled, and, if more than one piece, the edition number and availability indicated on each piece. We cannot receive pictures taller than 2.4m (8ft), please call in advance if your work exceeds this.

If you are unable to submit online download the registration pack below:

Online Submission opens
Thursday 25 April (noon)

Submission Deadline
Thursday 25 July (noon)

Notification of pre-selection posted on the registration site from:
Thursday 1 August (noon)
(If pre-selected, please deliver your work(s) on the receiving days listed below).

Receiving Days
Friday 16 & Saturday 17 August, 10am-5pm

Select this link for information on regional handing-in points.

Notification of selection to the exhibition:
Wednesday 21 August (noon)

Collection of unaccepted work:
Saturday 24 August, 10am-5pm

Collection of unsold exhibition work:
Thursday 31 October, 10am-5pm

Exhibition dates 2013:
Private View: Tuesday 15 October, 2-8pm
Opens to public: Wednesday 16 October, 10am-5pm
Closes: Sunday 27 October, 1pm

Download the Registration Pack

Oil painting: Setting sun over a wet beach at Weston-Super-Mare

Detail from "Wet beach - Weston-Super-Mare", Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021333

Having had a full day along the Somerset coast, it was now just waiting for the sunset. I enjoy watching the sun setting and always hoping it'll be one of those really special ones. This day there was a real mix of clouds, some bits showing falling rain (on the Welsh side of the Briston channel) while other helped create the rays of sunlight.

Although the beach is wet, the tide had been out and was now returning. It's the distant highlighted water and with the beach so flat it wouldn't be long before it reached this point. The tidal range for the Bristol channel is up to 9 metres which is a lot of water.

The two islands (shown on the horizion) are Steep Holm (almost centre) and Flat Holm (right).

Apart from the usual drawing up and base colour painting this painting was done in two stages and both wet into wet. One for the sky and the other the beach area. Both were worked light over dark, where possible, using soft brushes to aid the soft feel to both the clouds and wet beach.

Mall Galleries What's On... Lineup: illustration art expo:

Lineup: illustration art expo:

30 April - 4 May 2013, 10am - 5pm

For five days, illustrato.rs, an online marketplace for contemporary illustration will be moving offline and into the Mall Galleries.

The event will be a great insight into the rich world of contemporary illustration – an opportunity to discover exciting new talent, see the work of your favourite illustrators up close and buy affordable original artwork and limited edition prints from some of the brightest and best illustrators working today.

On the Saturday we will be hosting an independent comics and illustration fair; independent publishers and comics creators will display their artwork and showcase their publications and artists will be drawing live in the gallery.

We will be continually adding to the lineup of artists and collectives taking part, so visit our website or follow us on Twitter for the latest info.

Admission free

Later in May:

Royal Society of Portrait Painters
Thu 9 - Fri 24 May 2013

Find out more details here

Oil Painting of St Ives Harbour...

Detail from "Before Breakfast - St Ives", St Ives, Cornwall.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021331

The reference for this came from an early morning visit, one of a number I did during the trip, to the wonderful Cornish town of St Ives. I'd been on location since before dawn and it was now 8 AM and breakfast cooking mush have been in full flow as the smell of toast, bacon etc wafted across the harbour but the light was idea that day.

There were lots of interesting views to paint but I liked this simple view of just the three inshore fishing boats with the buildings behind.

As the tide went out (behind me) more of the harbour is exposed and this offers some more interesting view points with the added attraction of small streams of water flowing out or even pools of water and reflections - hopefully the subject of a future painting...

Finished Oil painting of wooden boats at North Landing, Yorkshire Coast

The above picture is from a previous post and shows the second stage finished, the first being drawing up (the dark lines that can be seen). This stage is just the under lying wash, usually thin so that it'll dry quicker...

 Next to be painted was the background, sky, sea and some of the sandy beach painted. Starting with the sky, as this establishes the light for the painting and gives the viewer an idea of what time of day while the rest of the sky establishes what type of day.

Following the sky, was the painting of the chalk cliff. I began with the grass covered top, working dark to light before moving onto the chalk areas. There's lots of minor colour changes within the chalk contrasting with the darker patches.

Where these boats are is in a small bay and on this day there wasn't much in the way of waves, so the sea surface was picking some reflected cloud colour and to add interest some nice shadows from the cliffs. Mostly the sea was painted in lines, to show the form of the waves and in a number of colours depending on area being painted.

Now onto the boats...

 Detail from "Late Afternoon - North Landing", North Landing, East Riding of Yorkshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021330

The above picture shows the finished painting, having completed the two boats. I find these wooden boats (two shown in this painting but there are a few more sometimes on the same slipway) rather interesting, not forgetting the location but the colours and shape are very attractive. Designed many years ago for work on the rough North Sea, landing on beach although these have had bits added to them over the years for their new job of taking people to see the birds along the cliffs at Bempton - an RSPB reserve just up the coast to the left of the painting. The cliffs run from Flamborough Head north towards Filey (about 10 km) and are over 100 metres (330 ft) high at points.

If you are new to painting boats it's worth breaking them down into smaller sections (once the main shape has been established) and then try working on that bit rather than trying to do it all. For example, work on just the internal parts, then any rigging/masts, maybe just one side etc. The two shown above are more complicated than most, being wooden they have additional pattern due to the wood, plus these have had additonal coloured lines painted along there sides which makes them more interesting but additional more work to paint and detail to get correct.

Oil painting of Fishing boats at Beer, Devon

Detail from "Bright Sunny Afternoon at Beer", Beer, Devon.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021329

A wonderful warm afternoon in the delightful Devon coastal village of Beer. It was the line of boats, backed by the chalk cliff that caught my attention, although there were lots of other equally good view points...

My first ever visit to Beer was back in the early 1980's and to this day have fond memories. That first visit was at dawn and I stayed for a few hours (longer that expected), before heading further west towards Cornwall. The boatmen were preparing the boats for the days work, the smell of breakfast being cooked wafted in the air... Most of the boats have changes since then but the location and natural surrounding of the harbour hasn't - still a great location.

The Threadneedle Prize - online registration opens

The Threadneedle Prize promotes excellence in figurative and representational art.  Strong, fresh and topical observations on the contemporary world, created using a variety of different mediums, styles and approaches are all welcome. Our selectors will pay special attention to the quality and finish of each submitted work.

Works can be submitted by artists working in the UK and Continental Europe and may include paintings, sculptures, original prints and drawings, mixed media constructions, reliefs and other figurative installations.  Photography and video entries are not accepted, unless they are within a mixed media installation.

You may submit up to THREE works, completed since 1 January 2012. Works must NOT have been entered and selected for any other prize or competition in the UK or Continental Europe (works entered but not selected are still eligible).

All entries must be for sale.

For more details click here

Last call for entries - The Pastel Society

The Pastel Society is committed to the promotion of the best contemporary pastel work, with an adventurous approach to both figurative and non-figurative work.

Acceptable media: Pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conté, sanguine, or any dry media. All works must be exhibition ready. Metal frames are inadmissible. We cannot receive pictures taller than 2.4m (8ft).

Conditions: Maximum of six works submitted. Maximum of four works selected. Work must have been completed within the last two years. All works must be for sale. Minimum price: £300.

Submission fee
£12 per work or £6 for artists under 35.

Awards & Prizes
A large number of artists’ prizes and awards are available for non-members to win.


Friday 12 and Saturday 13 April
Notification of selection for the exhibition posted on the Selection Notification page on
Wednesday 17 April (noon)

Saturday 20 April,

Thursday 27 June , 10am-5pm

Private View: Monday 10 June (3 – 8pm)
Opens to public: Tuesday 11 June (10am), including weekends
Closes: Saturday 22 June (4pm)

Latest trip to the Lake District...

Day breaks over Ullswater. As there wasn't any wind down by the lake - perfect reflections - the clouds above were a different matter...

A short distance down Patterdale on the road from Glenridding (used by many as the starting point for walks up Helvellyn via Grisedale or Glenridding) is the much lesser walked Deepdale. The above picture shows some of the snowdrifts as the clouds increase before 7 AM.

Further up the valley - the mountain of Fairfield comes into view although part hidden behind 'The Step' (the central bit). Deepdale Beck was at times covered with snow which made for some interesting steps while walking alongside it - the actual foot path is no where near it most of the time.

The mountain tops begin to disappear as a band of snow hits before spreading...

Heading back with a 'glimmer' of brightness...

Moving to Seathwaite, one of the valleys at the head of Borrowdale, the sun was out, the local sheep lying down to keep out of the cold wind...

Before heading up the valley, a quick detour to one of the many small waterfalls in this valley although the water level was lower than I would have thought. As is normal, many more walkers in this area...

Part way up Rannerdale Knotts provides a wonderful view of Crummock Water. Buttermere is hidden behind the trees (from this level) with Fleetwith Pike, Grey Knotts, Haystacks providing the far distant backdrop. This picture was taken just before the sun bathed the whole view in a wonderful late afternoon light.

Sunset over Turnberry and Ailsa Craig

Detail from "Turnberry to Ailsa Craig with strong breeze blowing", Turnberry, South Ayrshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021328

 This was one of those lucky moments, well it lasted under an hour but almost made up for the previous two days of heavy rain... more of which came from the clouds seen below the sun before I got back to the car.

Having spent most of the day with the Master Chefs of Great Britain at the Turnberry Golf Resort and having just finished, the sun broke through the blanket of heavy cloud. So I headed onto the footpath which crossed the golf course, thankfully free of golfers due to the both the bad weather (very strong wind), the time of day (dark within an hour) and being November not very warm either.

All adding to the atmosphere was the amazing colours in the sky as the sun slowly sank, the wind creating both spray and interesting waves as they crashed against Turnberry Head (the line of rocks in the middle of the painting). Turnberry Lighthouse is on the next outcrop of rocks beyond the bay to the right - the subject of another painting...