This house was catching the sunlight when I went for a walk this morning. Despite a -4 degree temperature a couple of hours earlier, when the sun broke through it was really quite pleasant, and I managed to do a quick sketch undisturbed. Not so many dog walkers around as usual! Later on, I spotted a tent on the banks of a lake, and various rods sticking out of it and nets and boxes strewn around, led me to suppose there maybe someone inside hoping to catch a fish. I didn’t bother hanging around to see if he was successful. I might have been there all day.
Oranges and Lemons
Always sad to see January go, but couldn’t say ‘goodbye’ without a reference to Seville oranges which always make the best marmalade. It is the first preserve-making of the year, and having a new batch of the clear dark golden fruit in the cupboard, always makes me feel optimistic about the rest of the year, even though it will be a while before the next bout of ‘home-made’.
I’ve been lying low ever since just before Christmas when the household was struck by combinations of Covid, coughs, chest infections and extreme tiredness. Some of it has gone, some of it has gone and come back again! Some people might dismiss it as the ‘January blues’ but I don’t think so. I’ve always rather liked January whatever the weather and I’m always sad to see it go without making the best of its potential.
This Calla Lily is trying to help me make the effort of getting back into some sort of routine.
On a Pedestal
This Pedestal post box near me is a variant of the Wall box and Lamp post box, an early economy measure originally used in rural places where, presumably, the Post Office believed there were not enough letter writers to warrant a full size Pillar Box. This one is a fairly recent one as it carries the E11R cypher for Queen Elizabeth the Second.
Apparently there is a Letter box study group which has identified 800 different types of letter box. Who knew?
Holly and Ivy
I had hoped to do a lot more sketching in December. I was really looking forward to it. Then, WHAM! I was hit by some awful bug. It lasted for a few days only and I thought it was all over, but it came back and I have lost all my energy and spend most of the time asleep. What a waste!
I wish everybody the best kind of festive happiness and I am hoping things will get back to normal with the arrival of the New Year.
Holly and Ivy
I don’t ever remember wearing five layers of clothing inside and still find myself shivering. I could be sickening for something or it could just be that I haven’t been able to paint much over the last week or so, and that always makes me feel ill. Today I found a little piece of holly and some ivy and was determined to do something with it.
Looking a lot like Winter
As Winter draws ever closer, the temperature drops and the light fades, the season does indeed appear a little bleak, but actually, I have to admit to liking Winter, even though painting out of doors or from the car has its drawbacks. However, spending more time indoors has its advantages too, decluttering the chaos of the year just past, making resolutions for the year to come, planning a new term for the New Year, stocking up on studio necessities, and having a bit of fun with new found objects like this little Robin I saw in the Garden Centre, which has already given me some ideas for further sketches over the next few weeks.
Sometimes the subject you want to paint may not be what you think it is. Walking through a nearby village recently, I was excited to see the November sunlight setting the trees and shrubs alight, which made me want to see if I could capture it.
I thought the splash of strong yellow looked good against the grey walls of a house, and accordingly painted everything in sight. I was quite pleased with the outcome, and yet something was niggling at me. Something wasn’t right. Then I realized. Too much information. I am always telling my students they don’t have to paint everything just because it’s there. I’ve known that forever, and yet how often we forget the simplest things.
I decided to zoom in. I didn’t need the whole of the house. I didn’t need the roof and the chimney, however well painted they were. All I needed was to focus on the area which first captured my interest, and besides, doors and windows are always a winner, aren’t they?
Much of November isn’t really going as planned and I haven’t had as much time to paint as usual, but I saw these in the market and really wanted to to do a quick paint!
Almost the last chance to to be able to rescue some leaves before they turn to mush in the rain. These were used in a still life project for the class yesterday, but deserve a sketch to themselves before being added to the compost bin. I used combinations of Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Winsor violet. Also a little Permanent Sap Green.
Then today I came across these in the middle of town while doing some shopping and couldn’t resist bringing them home to paint in the last-but-one page of my pocket sketchbook. I used quite a different palette of Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Permanent Rose and Permanent Magenta.