While there are so many poppies around, it seems a shame not to use them, even if it means moving them from the next field over for the sake of the picture…
To see them in such abundance is still unusual enough in these parts to tempt motorists to interrupt their hurry to reach wherever they are going, to pull over and take some photos. Often some will stay awhile drinking in the colour, alone with their thoughts and memories.
Poppies evoke powerful emotions.
Originally, although I knew it was the light on the barn I wanted to paint, I also couldn’t resist adding much more of the edge of the garden on the right hand side. When I looked at it later I realized it was just too much, taking the eye away from where I wanted it to be and leading it everywhere and nowhere.
This is another version painted whilst repeating the mantra SIMPLIFY which is what I am always telling other people to do.
I think it is good advice.
It’s been a week of grey days and rain showers (some of them heavy), so standing out to sketch hasn’t really been an option.
Even so, there have been some moments when one couldn’t have wished for a better scene, and this one caught my attention for two reasons. Firstly the eye-watering bright slash of colour across the landscape, and secondly the buildings behind which seem about to be swallowed up by the flourishing crop.
Apparently, Rapeseed is the third largest source of vegetable oil in the World, which probably explains why there is so much of it about at the moment.
Another from the ‘Ampney’ series, this time Ampney St Peter. This sketch will be on view and for sale at the Craft Fair in the Corn Hall, Cirencester, this Saturday, 30th March, 9.30-4.30. If you are in the area, come along and say ‘Hello’.
There was a severe weather warning in place for today with all the usual cautions about venturing out onto the roads and to think about the necessity of any journey one might undertake.
Instead we had clear skies and sunshine for most of the day, which gave me the opportunity to walk the surrounding fields and find some ivy-clad winter trees. I took a lot of liberties with the left hand foreground of this view, editing it to suit my own purposes. The bank of trees in the background was put in with washes of new gamboge, burnt sienna and permanent magenta and cobalt blue.
Painted on Saunders Waterford HP block 12 x 9 inches.
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.
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.
I pass this cottage any number of times during the week, sometimes without really noticing it. Recently as I went by, it was the light on the foliage in front of the cottage which jumped out at me and made me want to paint it.
I couldn’t stop at the time, but the memory stayed with me.
Although the building may be recognizable, it is not accurate. I didn’t want to make a portrait of a particular place. Many liberties have been taken and the background hardly mentioned at all. As it was the tree(s) which struck me, this was where I tried to keep my focus when I painted it later mostly how I thought it should be.
I hope I have caught the feeling of the place.
Only a step away from the main High Street lined with shops and places to eat, this pretty corner receives little notice from the many visitors to the village.
Whether you are at home or spending some time at a holiday destination, it is worth searching out the back streets and the less well-known places which can often present the sketcher with some charming views.
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