This morning was one of those glorious golden summer days which we think of as only existing in our imagination – probably because they seem so few and far between… I have been hoping for some bales of straw but disappointed when visiting fields where I have found them before only to find them full of sheep!
Imagine my delight when walking home from a neighbouring village I cut down by the church and came out behind it into a field FULL of bales as far as the eye could see. What Bliss!
This is 6 x 8 inches and the bales were painted with yellow ochre, new gamboge, indian red, winsor violet and a little blue. Saunders Waterford 140lb CP/NOT 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…
I went to the local lavender farm earlier this week when it was dry and sunny and very crowded. Everyone and their friends love lavender and want to take photos of themselves and each other standing in it – must have something to do with the heady aroma!
The Lavender is at it’s peak right now and I believe they are ready to harvest it any day now, so I hope today’s rain hasn’t harmed it.
We are currently having that tug-of-war between the seasons with some days wild and wet, proclaiming that Autumn is asserting its superiority, and others, mild and sunny suggesting that Summer has not yet quite deserted us.
The wild and wet days knock down the Horse Chestnuts from the trees together with some small branches. Some of the fruits split upon hitting the ground giving us a glimpse of a startling white interior and a flash of mahogany of the concealed nut.
All too quickly the bright colours become dull and one has to be quick to grab the chance of a sketch. This was painted on Saunders Waterford 140lb Hot Press.
The Meteorological Office tell us ( a little too eagerly I feel) that as far as they are concerned the first of September is the end of Summer.
Well, excuse me, but I think the end of Summer will be whenever Nature decides. There is still a lot of this Summer to be enjoyed before we consign it to the history books and we should not wish it, or our lives, away any faster than they already are by our twenty-first century thinking.
Although I am looking forward to Autumn and all that it brings, I am happy to wait a few more weeks and enjoy a more gradual changeover of seasons.
The summer weather couldn’t have come at a better time this year. Having spent some time out of necessity in the studio working on a commissioned painting and preparing for a workshop, I didn’t need much persuading when I heard reports of wall-to-wall sunshine..
I have been keeping my eye on the surrounding landscape over the last few weeks watching for signs of poppies and hay bales in the fields. It won’t be long before we have a riot of colour. The sun has been a long time coming and the farmers have been despairing over their crops ever ripening, but now it seems everything is surging ahead.
One of the most colourful places to visit is the Lavender farm at Snowshill. Field after field of the aromatic plant transporting you from the English Cotswolds to the French Mediterranean in an instant. If you haven’t seen it, it’s really worth a visit, especially now while the flowers are at their best.
And what a feast for the artist ! The day I visited, it was not too crowded. It is a magnet for photographers and those who just want to walk along the rows soaking up the atmosphere. There is plenty of space for everyone to do their own thing without being in anyone else’s way.
To sketch ‘en plein air’ out in the open, is one of the greatest joys as long as you don’t beat yourself up that what you produce may not be your best creation. For the serious painter it is a huge and important learning curve in studying the landscape and the effects of light. A never ending lesson. Whatever your level the experience and the emotions you have being there among the sights, sounds and smells lifts the spirits like nothing else.
So grab a sketchbook and have a go. Persuade a friend to accompany you if you like. They can always read a book if they are not inclined to play with paint.
And remember – Enjoy yourself !