Keeping it sketchy

This little balck and white timber-framed building on stone pillars was originally a meeting place for medieval wool merchants in Burford. The wool trade made the town and the Cotswolds rich, which is why there are so many grand buildings around.

Here I wanted to keep things sketchy with the neighbouring buildings only hinted at. I started by laying in a pale wash of French Ultramarine, Brown Madder and Yellow Ochre, letting them mingle on the paper, so the ‘white’ of the building is actually mostly this first wash.

The building now houses the Tolsey Museum containing artifacts of local interest.

Painted on Saunders Waterford 9 x 12 inch block.

01-21 tudor building, burford

Morning in Well Lane

The first time I saw this view – or rather the first time I really noticed it, was in the dark of early evening. I thought the buildings made interesting shapes and realized that with hardly any visible detail to distract me I was able to concentrate on the large masses seen as silhouettes – which is what one should always try to do when thinking about composition but isn’t always so easy. I determined to go back this morning and see what it looked like in daylight.

Although I could see more, I tried to keep the big shapes in mind and not be tempted to make too much of the detail, though the cars were a challenge.

Painted on a Saunders Waterford 9 x 12 ins HP block which I find is just about manageable when sketching in the car – any larger and the steering wheel causes major problems !01-17 morning in well lane

Parson’s Corner

An interesting view of what is now a busy area coming into Stow on the Wold from the Fosseway to the north heading towards the town centre.

As far as I can make out, this area was mainly given over to Allotment gardens, some of which were on Glebelands, part of the Cleric’s benefice, hence the name ‘Parson’s Corner’

The only part the old Parson might recognize these days are the barn and some farm buildings behind the wall on the left. Today’s drivers tend to take the corner as if they are on a race track.

There are other interesting buildings further down the lane, but the only way of seeing them from this aspect is to park on a bus stop, which is rather frowned upon, so I may wait for a warmer, drier day when I can stand against a wall to sketch rather than attempt it from the car.

01-15 parson's corner

Getting back to normal

After all the festivities, it takes awhile to get back into the swing of things. I like to use this time of year to plan out my classes, renew my materials and decide what I want to concentrate on in the year ahead.

Here I am using up the last few pages of an old Moleskine sketchbook before I start a new book for the new year which I hope to do by the end of the week.

This is a tree beside the road in the village of Wyck Rissington. ALL the trees lining the Green are interesting to look at and therefore interesting to paint from just about any angle and always seem to have something in the background. This is just playing with an idea for the class.

jan sketchbook tree

Red Pepper

12-15 Red Pepper

There is always such a lot to do, and think about, at this time of year. How soon should we put the decorations up? (Done). Have we remembered to send cards to everyone? (Hopefully). When are we going to do the Christmas food shopping? (Undecided). The list goes on.

So it can be a welcome relief to find a few minutes to do a simple basic piece of painting (no painter likes to be idle for long. First we get twitchy, then grumpy and then downright unsociable until we can do something creative again…).

This red pepper was a fine specimen and a fun subject to get back into doing what I like doing best. Not everything has to be a big production. Sometimes the simplest of things are the most enjoyable.

12-06 SnowmanThere is so much to do at the moment, some of it related to Christmas, some to planning events for the new year and some which have nothing to do with either. So as it was wet, windy  and dark most of today I thought I’d check out the boxes of seasonal decorations to see if they had survived their hibernation.

I didn’t get very far before I found this little fella and decided it would be cruel to put him back in the box again and thought he might like to be the centre of attention for a hour or so…

He looks happy enough !

Dodging the Downpours

I really hoped to get out and do some painting today, but the ‘showers’ that had been forecast turned into ‘tempests’ and there looked like no possibility of achieving anything at all. However in a brief lull I managed to have a quick walk through the meadows until I found the sort of composition I was hoping for. With no chance of painting on the spot I made do with a few pencil marks in a pocket sketch book and memorizing what I wanted so I could get it down on paper as soon as I reached home.

I used mostly yellow ochre, burnt sienna and French ultramarine with a little new gamboge, permanent sap green and winsor violet.

12-03 At the edge of the field

‘Edge of the field’  13×9″

So much to do..

This seems to be a busy time of year for everybody with so much to do, whether it is planning for the holidays, buying presents or tidying the garden and protecting it from the inevitable frosts, there never seems to be enough time for everything. (Personally I can’t think of a time when there isn’t so much to do, but never mind !)

Sometimes something has to give, and, disappointingly, for some students it is their once-a-week commitment to painting, which is a shame. I understand it is not always easy to devote two hours on a certain day when there is so much else to think about, but I hope they do not abandon it all together. A quick sketch of a favourite object or even a favourite snack, needn’t take long and can bring a bit of fun into the day to take the pressure off the tasks they have set for themselves !

11-19 Chocolate Muffin

Across the road

Sometimes it’s just not practical to sketch at a certain location – no place to stand without getting run over, nowhere to park a car, too much rain to make watercolour stick to the page… all of these applied to this one, but I just loved the tree and wanted to paint it so I had to resort to taking a photograph.


11-08 Moore Road