Saturday, November 19, 2016

Allotment hens

Allotment hens

Here's a change, not a November painting of the allotments but one of my very favourite paintings from late spring. Quite a difference looking at those fresh spring greens now. I had a fantastic session painting this one, I was so happy there with the hens in the sunshine listening to the radio and summer stretching out before us.

Rather a special one this, and so I saved it for the Royal Institute of Oil painters exhibition. It's one of three that I'll have on show with the ROI at the Mall Galleries. The exhibition is open from the 30th November to the 11th December and I will be painting in the gallery on the 2nd December. I'd love to see you there :-)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shepherds hut and geese

Shepherds hut and geese
6" x 10"

A different location today and an extremely difficult day for plein air painting - barely tolerating the cold wind and drizzle I had to retreat to the car when the rain poured down. Luckily the car was very near. Although I had a warm hat and gloves I got very, very cold painting this one. I was so happy to get home and warm up and not leave the house again for the rest of the day!

And I must say, a few cups of coffee and the favourable reaction to this painting from my Instagram followers cheered me up no end :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Path to the greenhouse

Path to the greenhouse
8" x 10"

Still loving this series of autumn paintings at the allotments, on this day I made a new friend, and this is Don's greenhouse. Again with the low sun I was looking at a dazzling effect through the glass against the rich darks of the fences, sheds and houses behind.

I really enjoy a lot of the marks I've made in this painting, as well as the colour palette which feels suitably rich and autumnal.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Pumpkins aglow

Pumpkins aglow
8" x 10"

You never know when you head out with your paints if you're going to find something really special. Any day could be the day when you find the proverbial pot of gold. It doesn't happen too often, and you know it when you see it.

Well, picture my face when I reported for duty at the allotments the next day not knowing what I would paint there, and then saw the way the low sun lit up this greenhouse. Not just the blinding light effect through the glass which was accentuated by the fabulous dark silhouette of the terraced houses behind but lo! The fabulous orange pumpkins and yellow squashes sheltering from the frost inside and visible through the glass. Yes, a 'red sail' day :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Seeds for the birds

Seeds for the birds
11" x 14"

On the cold crisp and bright morning which followed the bonfire I painted these towering sunflowers. It's funny that when the glorious yellow petals have died away the leaves themselves take on the golden hues, lighting up the soggy autumnal landscape. I loved the contrast with the purple greys of the white house in shadow, and the silhouetted shapes of the seed heads against the sky.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Bonfire and drizzle

Bonfire and drizzle
Oils 8" x 10"

The next day couldn't have been more different, as we entered November. Dark, drizzly, grey and cold, but I headed out to the allotments to see what I could find.

The light was flat and uninspiring but the smoke from a bonfire caught my eye. I knew it would be a good challenge for me because the values were all very close and the colours desaturated. So I decided to embrace the greys and knuckle down to work, and was cheered to see a couple of chickens move into view. 

Making the most of a gloomy day!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Dahlias at the allotments

Dahlias and green shed
Oils 10" x 20"

The last day in October was unseasonably warm, like a mini heatwave. I went out to paint hoping to find either a pumpkin patch or some dahlias, aware that autumn was passing me by and I hadn't been outside to paint for a couple of weeks. 

I didn't find pumpkins but I was rather pleased to see this colourful display of dahlias. The arrangement of the flower bed and the long shed behind did seem to suit a longer format and luckily I had this 10" x 20" board with me, not a size I usually carry around.

I've attached a few photos of the work in progress below -

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hot day at the beach

Hot day at the beach
10" x 8"

November seems to have brought with it a definite chill, it's so much colder today than yesterday! I've been thinking about those long summer days wistfully. Here's one I painted on the island of Bréhat in August. I was totally immersed in the blinding light and heat of the day. I've so many paintings from this summer that I haven't shown you yet on the blog. If you're on Instagram do look me up there, I am really much better at posting images there and they are often online straight away while they're still wet on the easel.

If something particularly catches your eye I'm always happy to answer price enquiries, and a changing selection of paintings are always available to buy on my website here :-)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Art muse contest

The fountain, Villa Torlonia
John Singer Sargent

Well here's one of John Singer Sargents masterpieces, now how about entering one of yours in a painting contest?
Art muse contest is easy to enter online, and has been created with different categories of skill level so that you can choose where your art might be a best fit - the master class,  emerging artists and budding/apprentice artist. These are clearly explained on the website. You can enter as many paintings as you wish and there are cash prizes as well as gallery exhibits and various surprise awards (one of which may be a certain DVD).
All the information you need and the winners of previous Art Muse Contest awards can be found here -
I'm the judge for October so I'm looking forward to having a good peruse of the entries at the end of the month - good luck!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hunters yard

Hunters yard
14" x 18"

One of my favourite paintings from this year, actually one of my very best yet I think! You probably know that I like to bite off a bit more than I can chew when choosing a subject, I think it's how to keep growing my painting skills. Always strive towards something that you think is a little beyond you, that's my advice.

A subject like this is fraught with difficulties. What are the focal points? How to deal with the background (exterior scene) without it coming forward? How best to describe the value relationships between the dark interior and sunlit goings on outside? How to simplify all the busy objects and shapes within the boat yard? How to capture some of the figures that pass through and even.... can I get the dog in? What about the shine on the floor? The electric strip lights? And all these decisions to make while answering questions from onlookers.

But I was truly gripped! As soon as I saw it I knew it was my subject. Wild horses wouldn't have dragged me away from Hunters yard that afternoon.

Detail from Hunters yard

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