Built upon a rocky mound in the days when knights in armour roamed these lands, this castle, looking over the town and river of Clun on the Welsh border, has been a ruin for the best part of five hundred years.
The view between these walls faces away from the town but I love the patchwork of fields which have generated a number of ideas for paintings still to be painted.
A peek into a different world, even if it is only eighty miles or so away from one’s natural habitat, can be food for the soul and provide the stimulus one needs.
It is understandable that they moved these bales from the field pretty quickly rather than letting them become soaked by the rain. Disappointing from a painting point of view of course, not to be able to play with them for longer. At least there is the memory of them to sustain a few more small paintings like this.
6 x 8 ins watercolour on Bockingford paper
We may have heatwaves in this country, but the thing is they tend not to last more than a few days at a time. This is usually followed by showers which can be quite heavy then suddenly we are back in heatwave mode again. It’s designed to keep us on our toes and give us something to talk about !
This is a 8 x 11 inch watercolour from another sketch I did at the tail end of last week before the rain came and went and the sun came back again…
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 was a lovely day, as all this week has been, and I thought it would be a good idea to go back to a favourite tree of mine, which I have painted in the past and is always so much fun. Old, yes. Roughly textured, certainly. But it was the crazy angle it had adopted in it’s old age which made it stand out and gave it so much character. Not only a gift for a painter but no-one with a camera or a modern phone could resist it.
Over a busy main road, along a track, through one small village, through three fields heavy with buttercups, I anticipated how it would look, which angle would I paint it from ? I never imagined it wouldn’t be there at all ! Alas it is no more. Just a little stump, it’s majesty cut up and carted away on the back of a trailer, and not too long ago by the look of it. If only I had gone last week.
I walked on a little further and looked back. If the day was not to be wasted, I had to paint something even if it wasn’t what I had intended.
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.
The weather always likes to keep us guessing, but now I know Spring is here as the bluebells have come up in the woods, giving me the chance to paint one of my favourite annual scenes.
It may turn cold again, but it is only relative. Everywhere one looks there are signs of Nature coming back to life – and many folk re-discovering their lawnmowers !
Out for a walk the other day, my eye was caught by a little river which sometimes trickles, sometimes gushes through the landscape. Sometimes the water is still and clear, other times it is full of ripples. Always different, endlessly fascinating.
I took photos and made some small pencil sketches from various positions trying to concentrate on what I thought were the essential points of the view I was seeing. This little 6 x 8 inch is the first thoughts on what I hope to build up into a larger painting, although not necessarily from this angle. It might be something I have to keep coming back to as I keep exploring the idea.