I would first like to acknowledge with thanks Rebecca Photography on Pixabay who kindly allowed me to use her reference photograph, when preparing this watercolour painting
I like, as many will know, painting horses and horses in water. This image intrigued me and presented problems from the start. Horse and rider were a complete silhouette. So? Well, there were no details to help me with the drawing or very few at least. It was difficult, if nigh impossible to check my measurements as I proceeded with the drawing. Likewise the rider, which I don’t normally include but they were the same image. They could not be separated. If you have ridden horses, and I have a little when I was younger, you will know that you have to adopt certain attitudes or body shapes, otherwise you will just fall off. Legs must be in the right place for example. You can’t see the legs in this image so what to do?
I ended up doing a separate drawing of the horse with rider showing her legs and stirrups. I had to match the correct leg position with the rest of her body. That took me some time. It was quite a long time of experimentation, before I was ready to paint. Sky and water were comparatively straightforward in comparison. I had to give horse and rider two coats of burnt umber before I had a perfect silhouette.
I must have done something right. The painting sold on its first announcement
I would have liked her for my current show at Denbies Wine Estate but you can’t have everything, and anyway you can only sell a painting once
Our grandson went up to Oxford about a year ago. He sent us a postcard during his first term. The view was of the dreaming spires which was an ideal picture for painting. All those old favourites, Tom Tower and the Ratcliffe Camera plus a few that I’ve forgotten
A tremendous amount of national history took place in Oxford. The university is one of the four oldest in Europe, and I believe that Merton is the oldest college, although happy to be corrected on that score. I haven’t been there for years, unfortunately. I remember in the cathedral, there is the notch in the wall which supported the dais on which Cranmer sat during his trial.There was only one outcome to this trial. He was going to burn. Queen Mary had already decided. She hated him for the way that he had treated her mother, Catherine of Aragon in the past. And, of course, burn he did, and the spot is still marked.
During the Civil War that followed about a century later, Oxford was the seat of the King and the Royalist Party. London had declared for Parliament.
In this painting, I struggled to capture the soft light on the honey-coloured stone, and hopefully a quiet peaceful atmosphere. Others may judge me on that score
I haven’t shown this painting publicly yet. My first opportunity is at the end of this month, when I show with the Village Artist at Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking, Surrey. They have been kind in the past, so we shall have to see what the reaction is.
I painted Autumn Swans about ten years ago. A breeding pair nest most years on the Basingstoke Canal, which runs through our village,and bring up their family. I have painted them often, sometimes with their brood of cygnets and sometimes before they are hatched. This pair are foraging on the leaves that have fallen on the canal water. Their beaks are tricky to draw and get right. They are shovel shaped for sifting through mud. So often it is easy to draw them pointed which is wrong
The canal water at this time of year is brown, as their is no reflection. You just look through and see the muddy bottom. Deads leaves float on the surface, gradually sinking. The white of the swans is the plain paper, with some blue shadow and also a little raw sienna, as these birds are not pristine
I have another swan picture ion my website, which shows the cygnets as well as mother swan
This painting finally found its new owner a few days ago. Paintings can sometimes wait a long time for the right person. The new owner is delighted and so am I. At the same time, I shall miss these swans, part of my life for a long time, but it is right for them to go, and fly the nest
This is one of our local churches in the village of Pirbright, Surrey. In the grave yard is buried Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer who found Livingstone, and uttered the immortal phrase “Doctor Livingstone I presume”
I have painted this church a few times in all seasons and these have always proven popular locally. What to do, to do something differently? Always a problem, especially heading for a local exhibition, as I am in December. I have chosen an early morning light which sometimes bathes everything with a red light. I have been cautious with the colour , perhaps too much. \i could have used a dilute wash of Permanent Rose over the tree trunks which would have made them pop, as the word seems to be.
I used four colours in this painting. Quinacradone Gold with a slight Vermillion tinge to it for background, Burnt Sienna with vermillion mix and for the very dark shades , Transparent Brown again with a tinge of the red.
The painting is on display at the moment. The art club have taken over the old post office in the centre of the village which will be very helpful as a permanent exhibition
We shall see. We shall get opinions if nothing else
I never tire of looking back to our visit to the Camargue, where tributaries of the Rhone flow into the Mediterranean sea. This wetland area is famous for its wildlife, flamingos which breed here in possibly their only breeding ground in Europe, bulls which are bred for fighting, and, of course, the famous white horses which run wild throughout the area. They are magnificent to watch
I have painted them before. Always a delight. I hope you enjoy looking at this painting. As far as I remember I have only used two watercolours, Cobalt Blue and Vermillion which work well together as a sunset effect.
I love Istanbul, although we haven’t been there for some years, and maybe won’t get back . We have made three or four separate visits to Turkey, and most included Istanbul. Many wonderful things to see there of course, but one of the most enjoyable, was our trip along the Bosphorus. There are so many sights on this stretch of water, and the ferries crisscrossing the water are certainly one of them. I should remember the name of the mosque in the background. I think it was the one devoted to Suleiman the Magnificent Let’s hope I’m right
For this painting, I used a simple palette of blues and orange reds. I made the city background hazy and put more detail into the boats. As usual the photograph does no justice to the painting.
I mixed Cobalt and Phthalo Blue for the sky and for the water. I used various reddish colours for the buildings ranging from Burnt Sienna to Orange to Cadmium Red. Blue works well for the shadows on the buildings. I kept the buildings including the mosque hazy and soft.The boats I painted in sharper detail.I used watercolour pencils for the underdrawing and then went over the whole thing with clean water and let the picture dry hard. The result was a soft outline ready to paint but avoiding pencil lines. The result looks as though I have painted with a brush, which I am not good at.
This will go on show at Denbies Wine Estate in September
A favourite place from my childhood. We were taken there and allowed to play on the gaming machines, which were not very sophisticated in those days. I remember putting in one old penny which was the pre-decimal currency, so value today, one half of a new penny. The aim was to flick a ball bearing round at speed and see where it landed, hopefully in a slot which gave you a payback. As I say, extremely unsophisticated
This painting relates to the reference photograph which I posted last time, which I was kindly allowed to use by Vicky Stovell of Smiley Sunshine Photography.
I used few colours. Cadmium Orange, Ultramarine Violet, Dark Mauve and Cobalt Blue. I combined the blue and the violet for the sky as well as the wet sand at the bottom of the picture. The uprights for the pier were in deep, deep shadow so i used the dark mauve, instead of black which I avoid where possible.
In order to get the bright sun image, I held a tissue in place with one finger, and then applied the first wash. There are probably better ways of getting that result, but that was the best I could think pf at the time
This painting will be going in my September exhibition at Denbies Wine Estate, so hopefully will freshen up the collection
I have another Istanbul painting in preparation so will post that at a later date
This photograph of South Parade Pier in Southsea, Hants is a picture I intend to try next in watercolour. It will be interesting trying to capture those bright colours in watercolour paint, and how successful that will be is yet to be seen
So far I have done the drawing which took quite some time, and followed that up with first and second washes. I have uses a mix of cobalt blue and violet for the outer sky and for the lower part of the picture. Cadmium orange for the sunlit sky and reflections with some permanent rose. The orange works well but still the blue/violet needs beefing up. How to do one without the other though? I have managed to block out the bright white sun, so far and will see how that works on the finished painting
I am indebted to Vicky Stovell of Smiley Sunshine Photography for giving me permission to use her fantastic photograph as a reference for a painting
This pier is part pf my childhood. My parents used to take us kids on the pier to play the fruit machines which weren’t called that in those days, just a ballbearing that whizzed round and hopefully went in a slot that gave you a small payout. Fond memories too of going to shows in the theatre at the end of the pier. So this painting will be a pleasure to work on, albeit slowly
When I reach an interim spot i will post that. What I have done so far is too pale to photograph
I have painted a view of Marzameni before some years ago. It is a delightful fishing village, where we stopped just for a coffee break, and then wandered down to the water’s edge. Many of the boats were obviously old and maintained by their owners, Some of them were hand painted, just bright Mediterranean colours, vivid reds and blues, together with dazzling whites.
The sea was the brightest blue, and as always I hope I do the colours justice. I used Pthalo Blue modified with Cobalt Blue for the sky and the sea, which seemed to work. The same colour strengthened seemed to work for the boats as well, although I did get an opportunity to use Windsor Blue for a really deep blue stripe on one of the boats
As we watched ,the boat with the umbrella hove into view and rowed slowly by, eventually finding a place to tie up. This boat was smarter but the colours were more muted
I enjoy painting Sicily. Always the colours are so vibrant, and the shadows so pronounced
I am exhibiting at the moment at Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking, and have sold a painting of Horses in the Wetlands, another favourite subject
I am conscious of the fact that I haven’t posted anything for a while. the reason being that i haven’t painted anything for a while, so have had nothing fresh to say
yet having said that, in my archives I have images that haven’t seen the light of day, for some years, and on reflection, are well worth dusting off and bringing into the sunlight. I found a number of pictures recently of the Berlin wall, that I had taken some years ago. We went to Poland by train, and on the way in and on the way out, we had a night in Berlin. There was so much to see. The Reichstag was incredible. We went to see Sir Morman Foster’s extension which was fairly new then. we went int he evening when it was lit up, and very dramatic
The most emotive experience though was looking at what had been left of the Wall, der Mauer. I took several pictures and can share a few here. I think the pictures will speak for themselves. The themes are clear. Oppression, loss of liberty, suppression of speech and thought, these came to an end in East Germany when the wall came down. Sadly we see them reappearing in 2022.
Just a few images from my collection. Food for thought perhaps