Up in the sky

There have certainly been enough clouds around recently to fill a whole book with them .

This is from a sketchbook and I was trying to capture what I could see of the main clouds. Although there are some hard edges where I don’t want them, I was quite pleased with the way the clouds worked out. I used mostly yellow ochre, French ultramarine and Burnt Sienna in the clouds and Cobalt Blue for the sky itself. I simplified the row of trees and buildings lots just to give a bit of context.

I have a feeling there will be a lot of opportunities to practice more clouds in the near future!

October Light

It may be because we are walking more than driving this year that I don’t recall this view in previous Autumn months, although I am sure it must have been there, waving to anyone with the time to notice the display of colour above the wall. All the more noticeable thanks to the dark tree behind.

Just like life. Without the dark times, how would we know to enjoy the light?

It may be raining

It may be raining outside but I can always find a little sunshine indoors. Autumn is a lovely time to find some colour whether it is in the landscape or in produce. I shall be looking for some other colourful items next time I am shopping. They may come in useful, especially if we are faced with another lockdown.

September bales

Seeing bales in a field at this time of year is one of my favourite things and I always look forward to painting them. This year I had to be quick as the local farmers wasted no time in taking them under cover, and who can blame them?

I usually like to spend a few days on the same subject, maybe even moving from one field to another to find a different background, but as I wasn’t quick enough this year I’m going to have to use a bit of licence to make some other compositions.

A new world

It is easy to stick to a well-worn track – and why not? It is a very human response to life. There is safety in what we know. It is convenient. It is good to be sure we know how to do something. Every time we do it, it builds our confidence. As painters we want to make a niche for ourselves and stick to it, whether it is painting trees in a landscape or a floral still life. We are happy with what we know. Try something else and danger could be lurking all around.

Sometimes things happen – like 2020. Suddenly, the world as we know it and feel safe in, changes. Things we took for granted are whisked away and are no longer viable. Art classes are a case in point. We are no longer able to meet others indoors and sit or stand together, companionably painting from life. We all have to keep our distance.

An old word adopts a brand new meaning. For example, ZOOM !

Who knew we would have to find a new way of meeting each other? Find a new way of teaching which, hopefully, remains meaningful and enjoyable? Who knew we would have to adapt to the new technology which makes it all possible? For some of us, a whole new language to go with our new world.

It is good to change. As painters it is something we should always bear in mind. When it is forced upon us it is only natural to resist as long as possible. But really, we have to accept the inevitable and instead of fighting it, see it as the ideal opportunity of starting anew – the chance to look at things in a different way – to dare to step off the beaten track and face whatever dangers may be there. They may not be as scary as we thought !

The Reluctant Gardener

I painted this after a visit to the National Trust property at Canons Ashby. The house is still closed but the garden is open. You have to pre-book the date you want to visit and the time of your arrival, but it really isn’t difficult.

The day we were there was the one day of the week without constant rain, and the only time we did have a shower we were sitting safely under a large parasol enjoying a cup of tea!

There are plenty of things dotted about the garden as though the gardener has just gone off to collect something and will be back in a minute, or in this case perhaps forty minutes! This gives one the chance to include relevant ‘extras’ in the composition even though they may not actually be that close to the centre of interest. In other words using your ‘artist’s licence’ to tell a story. Likewise you can also omit things which are there if you think they do nothing to add to the story.

Watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 15 x 22″

Survivor of the storm

This Geranium probably had a little more water than it wanted overnight (like everyone else), but snuggled comfortably between two larger plants managed to survive quite well.

I uses combinations of cadmium scarlet, scarlet lake and permanent rose for the flowers, and Winsor yellow, new gamboge, permanent sap green and french ultramarine for the greens.


Walking home

After so much rain recently, although thankfully no thunder as yet, I thought a reminder of sunnier days wouldn’t be amiss. It really isn’t fair for some people who are just beginning to feel safe about being outside,that the weather turns either too humid or too wet for it to be comfortable to venture far. It’s a case of having to snatch the chance of freedom while you can.

Walking home

Sketching socially

A meeting with family recently at the National Trust Hughenden estate with enough parkland for everyone to socially distance. Even though the house is closed for obvious reasons there are enough parkland walks and beautiful gardens to  keep everyone fully occupied for many hours.

St Michael and All Angels church is very paintable from many angles with  no fear of being in anyone’s way.


Must paint location

This week was a good choice to paint the lavender fields as the weather is set to deteriorate by the weekend and the lavender harvest is usually around the end of the month, so who knows how much longer it will be there this year ? It is always a ‘must paint’ moment in the calendar.

07-22 Snowshill Lavender