Monschau in the Eifel Mountains, Germany

monschau-in-the-eifel-mountains

The very pretty and old village of Monschau on the river Rur ( without an h). Very cold in the valley but nice where the sun caught. We were expecting to find a Christmas market open that day, but it wasn’t. The village itself was very attractive though, high in the Eifel Mountains, an area of Germany I hadn’t visited before. Very sparkly at this time of year, with the sun on the frost.In fairness I should say that some shops were open, and they were of a high standard, so our visit there was generally enjoyable

I took a lot of reference pictures whilst I was there. The lights and darks were good and the tumbledown buildings would be fun to draw. I haven’t painted German villages before and maybe I will. I tend to paint places that people buy at exhibition, which perhaps is wrong as nothing worse than a bored artist.

In all, our trip to the Christmas markets was not successful. Monschau was lovely, but the Christmas markets in Liege, Belgium the following day were poor, and even in Bruges on the way home, a city so beautiful normally, the markets were disappointing.

But what really marred the trip, apart from the disgusting food in our hotel, was the fact that we both became ill partway through the holiday, and towards the end all we wanted was home. I have no doubt that this jaundiced our view of the trip

I found, when I went to my own doctor,( and at my wife’s insistence), that I had developed bronchitis, so no wonder I had difficulty breathing! Thank heavens for penicillin, and now partway through my course, I am feeling much better, and interested enough to write my blog, which I have neglected.

I have done no more on Bosham Harbour sadly, not having had the will to take up a brush, but now I am looking forward to getting started again

One little ray of sunshine to brighten my gloom this week, was to hear that my charity card, Christmas Shopping in Guildford High Street, which is described somewhere in the archive of this blog, actually sold out. That was 250 packs of ten, so very pleased at that. That in addition to the original painting which I donated as well, which they sold for £150, so delighted about that too

I hope to get back to normal soon

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Finished Painting entitled Christmas Shopping:Guildford High Street

Signed revised Christmas Shopping Guildford High Street

Christmas Shopping: Guildford High Street

The historic High Street of Guildford is always a joy to paint. This street is actually Saxon in origin, although nothing that early remains above ground. The plan of the street though goes back that far, and the dimensions of the actual plots are still the same

There are still buildings from the c13. The iconic clock which I have mentioned before is dated 1683, when the facade of the old Guildhall was restored. A relative newcomer, the classical arch in the centre was built in 1819, and was the last corn market in the town. Known as the Tunsgate Arch this was built on the site of the old Tun Inn, one of the many coaching inns in the town. The Tun Inn went bankrupt and was demolished in 1818. The columns used to be equidistant until the middle two were moved to accommodate motor traffic in the 1930’s. In the 1990’s the arch was closed to motor traffic, and paved over. To celebrate the twinning of Guildford with Freiburg in Germany at the time, the coats of arms of both towns were let into the floor in mosaic.

This painting was commissioned by a charity called Cards for Good Causes, and I am pleased to say has been approved, and will go forward for reproduction as a Christmas card.  They will be on sale in pop-up shops in every town in the UK from 18th October onwards.  Details on their web site. The proceeds are distributed amongst 25 well-known charities and should you wish to support, thank you.

An extremely detailed painting which has taken me some time to complete, but enjoyable nonetheless. The framed original will also go on sale in support of the above

 

Winter Street Scene Current Progress

Winter Street Scene Interim

Well, I have made a start with the painting, after staring at the drawing for ages.

The blue sky is in. As a bright winter sky, I am happy with that. There will be shadows, quite long ones for that time of the year. The shady side of the street has had one wash of blue but is still quite pallid. Those shadows will have to be deepened considerably, if we are to get the effect of bright sunshine over the rooftops. I think I will put a little red in with the blue next time, which I prefer as a shadow colour, when I glaze over the existing

The large white space in the sky is, of course, the large clock. This I will have to redraw and paint as accurately as I can. I have done the clock a few times now. I tend to do it freehand, and I have always been lucky. Watch it go wrong this time, as I have a lot riding on it.

This clock, if I haven’t mentioned it before, has become the iconic image of Guildford. It dates from 1683, and was the gift from a London clockmaker called Thomas Aylward, who wanted to set up in Guildford, so presented this as a gift to the town to accompany his application. Today we would call it a bribe. It hangs from the old Guildhall, just off the picture to the left, a building which served amongst other things as the town law courts until well into the twentieth century. The clock works perfectly today, and is lovingly maintained.

Back to the picture, quite a lot of laborious masking out, to preserve the snow on window sills etc.That took a lot of time with little to show, but happily we are on with the actual painting now, so starting to see something taking shape.

Quite a lot of detail in this picture, and I am taking my time, just doing a little, letting it dry, so that I get the true colour, and then going on from there. It is hard to say when I will finish, but I have promised it for the end of the month, which once looked a long way off, but now doesn’t. Oh well, crack on.

Winter Street Scene Initial Sketch

High Street Winter

This is by no means the finished drawing, but is plenty for me to transfer onto watercolour paper. I like to leave some freehand drawing still to do on the final sketch before painting. It seems to preserve the spontaneity somehow.

I have dressed the figures suitably for the winter, thanks to online catalogues. There are Christmas references and of course there will be snow which won’t show properly until the colour goes in

A lot more detail to go in, as I say. Some buildings are still to be completed, and there will be more figures further down the High Street. Not too many so that the composition looks cluttered, but hopefully enough to make the street look busy

Not only do I have the tedious job of moving the sketch onto watercolour paper, but I must soon start thinking about colours.

The sky will be a wintry cloudy blue. The time will be early afternoon, so still some watery winter sunshine with long shadows. The painting will not be grey. Colours are visible. Shadows should be blue especially on the snow. I need some oranges and reds. Brickwork and roof tiles will help. Some of the snow will be sliding off the rooftops, as a very gradual thaw has set in

Clothing? Some olive greens perhaps and some browns. One or two red anoraks dotted up the High Street. Also one or two red Christmas hats and some red spots on Christmas trees and in shop windows

Let us hope that all goes to plan