Simplify

05-31 Morning in Baunton

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.

Never put off…

05-23 Path from Upper Slaughter

 

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.

A little sunshine

A little sunshine and a holiday weekend ahead, and the world comes out to play. A young couple walked arm in arm, a family, father and sun striding ahead of mother and daughter, heads bowed deep in conversation, a lone jogger zig zagging her way between the visitors, a group of horse riders being led, a photographer taking pictures with a real camera mounted on a tripod. All chose to spend their morning in the little village of Lower Slaughter, where I found a quiet spot to lean on a gate to paint this stone building in a small sketchbook.

Old stone shelter. Lower Slaughter

Isolation

The church of Ampney St Mary near Cirencester stands alone in a field by the side of a busy road a few miles distant of the village. It is thought the original village may have fallen prey to plague or the Black Death. Whether true or not, the church with it’s trees standing guard around it provides an interesting subject for the artist.

This is a sketchbook entry from which I want to make a larger painting on paper – part of a series with the other Ampney villages, Ampney Crucis and Ampney St Peter.

03-21 Ampney St Mary

Before the week is over

Having spent most of the week chasing about on non-painting stuff, I was determined to go out today and sketch if only for a few minutes before the week was over.

After a beautiful couple of weeks, the recent rain has made  many of the fields waterlogged in places, so the going was a bit squelchy. Nevertheless I managed this little sketch on a half page of my Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook. Not great, but it felt so-o good to be putting paint to paper again! I arrived home just before the rain started.

sketchbook note

By the water’s edge

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.

02-22 By the water's edge

A good time of year for trees

Far too wet and windy to do anything but paint inside today. I have long wanted to paint some trees along the side of the small roads around here, as trees in Winter are some of the most fun things to paint, especially when you use only a rigger brush (long hairs like a sign-writer’s brush) to paint the whole tree from bottom to top. It’s surprising  the number of different marks you can make simply by varying the pressure on the brush and using the side of the hairs as well as the tip.

Riggers don’t have to be reserved for painting only the rigging on sail boats, (their original purpose). They can be used for painting a variety of marks, especially in landscapes or urban scenes – think trees, fences, telegraph poles, overhead wires…

Love your rigger and let it give you looser, more expressive  marks to capture the sense of the place.

02-08 Lane in February

Severe weather

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.

 

01-30 end of january

Painted on Saunders Waterford HP block 12 x 9 inches.