John Barleycorn


Commissioned by David Thompson, outgoing Master of The Worshipful Company of Brewers 2011-12.

John Barleycorn is an English folksong celebrating the transformation of barley to beer: you can hear some versions here.


Barleycorn WEB 

oil on canvas , 610mm x 610mm

studio, outdoors & indoors

Field Shot Copy

Source : a field of autumn sown barley or 'winter barley' near Ely.
With thanks to Keith Ladson

Malting Copy 2

Oil study made on the spot in bright sun




drawing of stem structure

2&6 Row Barley

The two main forms of barley: six seed rows (left) used for animal feed
& two row (right) used for malting. Malting barley is generally longer

in the ear and I think more beautiful. Walking through a field of malting
barley is like walking safely through a sea - a wonderful experience. 
For another barley field painting 
click here.

Barley HDR

High dynamic range (HDR) composition photo in which, unlike
a conventional photo,
 both light and dark colours are correctly exposed.
These colours are a closer match to the colours we see than is possible 
witha single exposure. This compound image was used to select
and clarify colour distribution for the painting. 

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 At 18.59.40

Two sample digital selections: left with browns, right without. 


Build up of paint layers in the studio


Trevor Disley, guilder and frame maker outside his Essex workshop

Barley Framer

Fitting a frame designed to help incorporate
the picture into a modern wood panelled interior.


The painting is now installed in The Brewers' Hall, headquarters of
The Worshipful Company of Brewers in The City of London.

Brewershall Larger2

                                                        photo with permission