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
A favourite view across the Venice lagoon, with La Dogana just visible on the right-hand side , and Santa Maria delle Grazie in the distance. This was not my photograph, and I am grateful to Pixabay for the loan.
I have included the watery sun appearing through the mist, which probably will burn the mist off later. A useful tip that I read about recently was to take a bottle top, cover it with tissue and press it gently but firmly onto the wet paper. You will be left with a faint sun, which you can adjust to what you want
I used a mix of vermillion and cobalt blue to get this hazy effect, in fact no other colour. You can add more or less of one or the other to get whatever effect you want. The lonely gondola is out early by the looks of things
Just a short post this time, as other things await
A favourite place and a favourite subject. My boyhood was spent in the area, and Langstone was a favourite haunt. There was and is, a lot for boys to do here, bathing and canoeing, digging for shellfish and running from aggressive swans when we interrupted them on the nest. It is an historic place. It was the ancient port serving nearby Havant, the main town about a mile inland. I say ancient. Coal was still coming in here from the north, in the early part of the twentieth century. Today it is just a delightful creek, used by sailors and photographers, and of course painters.
The tower is what is left of the c18 windmill. The sails were removed in the c19, and the building left to rot. The building to the left of the tower was the original grain store, and the one to the far left was the tide mill. In the 1930s the mill was rescued by the famous artist Dame Flora Twort and restored for residential use. The architect was Ernst Freud, well-known for his work in Germany and later in London.
Langstone Mill has a connection with Neville Shute, the novelist, who lived here during the last war, and did some of his writing here. Shute was an aeronautical engineer, and was a director of a company making aircraft in nearby Portsmouth
I have painted this subject many times. On this occasion I tried something slightly different, and used Quinacradone Gold which puts a glow in the sky, which you get with early evening. Then I added the long shadows which hopefully finish the effect
Firstly my thanks to Oska Siobhan photographer in Mont St Michel, for the use of her photograph as reference
We first visited Mont St Michel when our children were small, so nearly fifty years ago, and went back again much later, both times on holiday in Brittany, such a beautiful region of France
Steeped in history, high tide gave protection from would be assailants, whilst at low tide access was allowed to pilgrims to the abbey. The island remained unconquered during the hundred years war despite two sieges by the English. In fact the island’s spirited resistance inspired the French and Joan of Arc.. Louis XI recognised the benefits of the location and turned it into a prison. The abbey was used regularly as a prison during the Ancien Regime
In England we have a look-alike off the coast of Cornwall. In 1067 the Mont gace full support to William the Conqueror’s claim to the English throne. William rewarded this with lands on the other side of the channel, including a small island off the coast of Cornwall, on which the Norman monks built their priory, called St Michael’s Mount of Penzance
Mont St Michel also features on the Bayeux Tapestry. Scenes 16 and 17 show William and Harold there . Harold is rescuing knights from quicksand. This would have been during the period from Harold’s shipwreck on the coast of France, when he was entertained by William
My painting, as usual is in watercolour. Quite a lot of drawing in this one as you might expect
This was our second visit to Ephesus, following in the footsteps of St.Paul. Hot of course, and dusty clambering over the ruins, but worthwhile as this is typically a fascinating Roman city. In the background, the Library of Celsus, which at the time was the third largest library in the Roman empire, after Alexandria and Pergamum. It was built by the son as a funerary tribute about 110 AD I think. A full history can be found on Wikipedia
In the foreground, a handsome cat, one of many feral cats that inhabit ruined cities like this one. In a superior fashion, as cats do, he was watching the tourists, as though he was wondering what they were doing in the heat, scrambling over all these ruins. He was being sensible and keeping still.
I thought he made a good picture, and photographed him against the ruined library. I thought maybe I would paint him, and finally after some years, I have
I think he turned out well, as I am not really a painter of cats
I am indebted to Pixabay for the use of their photograph. I have stood on this spot a few times and looked down the canal, but this picture was taken with a distant golden evening light which is very attractive. I hope I have done justice to this view. Standing on this spot, reminds me of the many little shops, in one of which I bought a piece of Murano glass, which was over-priced , but difficult to go home without something
I love the feeling of depth. Close to us are the embarkment stations used by passengers boarding the many vaporettos which chug along the canal, going to many destinations. In the far distance you can just see the canal bending out of sight. In between are the old palaces now mostly hotels
The sky was always going to be the biggest challenge. I used some cobalt and phthalo blue mixed, layered in orange for lower sky, and back to blue for the lower picture. I had to repeat this twice to get any sort of brightness to the orange sky. Later when bone dry, I put in some red clouds wisping along the top . The orange worked well as a reflection in the water too. As always the camera has leeched out some of the colour. The painting is so much more vibrant. I wish I could stop this happening
Venice continues to be popular, and I never tire of painting her. Just by way of a change I am trying to put together a composition around a cat in Ephesus. We have been there a couple of times. Very atmospheric treading in the footsteps of St.Paul, also very hot and dusty, but amazing nonetheless. On my last visit and just in front of the Library of Celsius, a cat was sitting motionless on a pedestal. There are always plenty of feral cats living amongst ruins. This one somehow added to the spiritual quality of the scene, not Christian, but more like an object of worship in Egypt. Fanciful I know, but that is how the view struck me. I wonder if I can convey that in a painting