Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Matilda's puppy

I'm having a full-on time of it lately with necessary admin and planning. Yuk! I'd rather be painting but it's all part of the job description!
Yesterday I visited a friend and painted her daughter Matilda and as you can see I almost got the gorgeous bear-like puppy in too! I did luckily snap a photo or two before pup skittled off elsewhere so I should be able to add her in later!
I'd really like to paint more portraits and figures this year, which means I'll have to be organised enough to book sessions in with models and willing friends! Organisation seems to be 'word of the moment'! Perhaps because I thought I'd do lots of planning for 2012 in January and I haven't pinned things down as much as I should have yet!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Beginnings of more mud

The beginnings of mud tracks 3... in this exact spot Maisie embarrassed me this morning but the less said about that the better... best keep her on a lead always :(
And now, on with the tax return... and the less said about that the better too.... sigh...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lola and tete-a-tete's

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Lola and tete-a-tete's
Spring has sprung in my house today. Wow! What an amazing experience this painting was for me. I was on a roll from the get-go with this one.
(First though, I had to clean the whole kitchen because the sunlight was highlighting the dust everywhere! Think Miss Havisham's mansion, but with less cobwebs...)
It was as though the painting was channelled through me. Sorry if that sounds New Age ... it felt like that to me, and I like to explain things to you ;)
I stood back at the end, drew a breath and thought 'whew'. Who did that? It didn't seem as though I had.
Oils on canvas board. 30 x 24cms.

Lola didn't hang around on the table too long. In fact she was using it as a temporary look-out post to see if Maisie was around below. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology - I know, you don't often hear ME saying those words - I snapped a few photos quickly on my new iphone 4, emailed them to my (no longer new!) iPad and this was my painting set up...

(Yes, my palette really was dirty before I started... well spotted, lady at the back there)

It began like this, a quick sketch with the brush, I already realised Lola's face was too near the edge so I would pull her in a bit as I continued...

Colourful shadows going in and then...

Spotty tablecloth! Suggestions of items on the dresser..

Et voila! Looks even more gorgeous in real life! On this photo you can't see the places where the paint is applied more thickly, and some of the shadows look a bit washed out here)
For a special treat to celebrate my 100th blog post here's another Lola and flowers painting you may like ;)

I would like to sincerely thank you all for following along with me, and all your lovely comments which come by text, email, comments on the blog and in person - which boost me up more than you could ever know! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lincolnshire mud tracks 2

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Lincolnshire mud tracks 2
Following on from 'Mud, glorious mud' here's a track which is one of our usual mud walks, I mean, dog walks! Again I am inspired by the great contrast of the puddles reflecting the sky and the patterns of the tyre tracks in the mud. I can see so much colour in the local countryside, even on a grey day.
I think that tomorrow I'm going to spend a lot of time doing colour exercises, based on the colours I have used in this painting.
I now have two paintings of mud so feel excited that I may have a series! Does two paintings make a series...? Perhaps not.
I am hugely inspired by the tracks though so I may keep working on the mud theme. Unfortunately we haven't had any real snow here yet this year, but I do have hundreds of photos of snow tracks that I have not yet got round to working with. Maybe on Brehat I can paint sand tracks...
Oil on canvas board, 30 x 24 cms. This painting is available to buy now in a Daily Paintworks auction, just click on the link above if you would like to find out more.
My next post will be my hundredth!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chinese new year

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Chinese new year
I found out that the 'berries that look like cherries' that I mentioned the other day in 'Found objects' are crab apples! Strangely the birds don't want to eat them. They inspired me to paint a sort of homage to the chinese new year. Here's a whole sprig of them, with the tiny cup which was so rudely erased from the pear painting, and some chopsticks from my friend in Beijing. It was fun to use the long format.
Oils on thick compressed card panel, 24 x 50cms.

Other news....
I'm looking forward to running my painting holiday on the beautiful Ile de Brehat! The dates are May 6th to 13th 2012 and we are looking for a small select group! It will be heaps of fun as well as inspirational! If you would like further information please get in touch asap. Meanwhile here's a few pictures to whet your appetite... I have been missing the little island this week....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Self portrait with towel and face mask

I don't know what to say, I just had a moment really...
Well I'll try to explain, that's me, with a towel on my head, looking
in the bathroom mirror, wearing my painting apron.
The expressive colours and the bold brushstrokes are what I prefer to
do. It strikes me it's Andre Derain meets Vermeer, this one...
Oils on canvas panel 24 x 18cms

Friday, January 20, 2012

A pear of hens

I'm glad I made the dramatic change. I like this cosy foursome! I hope
you Dry Doddington ladies approve - I know you were surprised I was
going to change it yesterday!
Oils on canvas board, 15 x 15cms.
It's coming up to my hundredth blog post! Isn't that surprising?!
Charlie news- he's doing great! He's lifting his tail right up in the
air now! I'll tell the vets on Monday, I'm sure they'll agree the
stripy tail can stay!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Now you see it.... now you don't...
I had doubts right from the beginning about the combination of the
deep red pears and the bright green cup and saucer...
I felt uneasy about this as thing's progressed, the colours didn't
hang together well and then I decided I didn't like the composition
and that called for drastic measures.
I decided to clear away with the cup altogether and only hang on to
the pears because I was getting fond of those...
I simply wiped it out with kitchen roll. I don't often do this but I
enjoyed it very much. What a boon in the oil painters' weapon arsenal
that is, the wipeout!
I'm bringing in a couple of hens instead, they were standing by on the
dresser ready to act as substitutes.
To be continued...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Found objects

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Found objects
Latest news on Charlie, it's touch and go with his tail (again). The vet shaved his tail at the top end and discovered nine or ten bite marks, which have become infected. Whoever (probably a cat) has bitten his tail has possibly pulled very hard on it too which, combined with his previous nerve damage, has done him no favours whatsoever. Charlie was none-too-pleased with the shaving and the bathing of sore tail. I think he's already regaining movement so fingers crossed everybody!
Two of the items in this still life I found while walking Maisie today! The berries that look like cherries (cherries? In January? I wonder what they are and why the birds haven't eaten them) and the paintbrush pot (formerly from a light on a large vehicle perhaps?).
Oils on canvas board 15 x 15cms.
I have also been busy planning a series of workshops and the 'Isle of Painting' holiday in May which is going to be BIG fun!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Charlie's tail

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Charlie's tail
My beautiful Charlie, sweet natured chap. He's been away since Saturday morning and I have been a little worried. Although it isn't unusual for him to wander three extremely cold nights have passed.
He walked back in this morning and has been eating, purring and sleeping and seems fine except for one thing. His tail is hanging down limply when he walks, resting on the ground when he eats. When I stroke him all the way down his back his tail doesn't respond. It's just how he was when he was recovering from a car accident nearly two years ago. The vet was certain then that he would have to have it amputated but although the nerve damage was extensive he managed to regain full movement and kept his glorious tail. Whatever has happened this time I hope he manages to do it again. A limp tail with no movement or control can be a dangerous thing for a cat.
He gives me lots of love and companionship but also lots of worry this one!
Not that you'd know it, to see him sleeping in my studio with a smile on his face!
Oil on canvas panel, 20 x 20cms.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Railway cottages at Carlton Scroop

I can't remember now who said this but I love it-
'Say what you need to say in a painting then get out. There is no need
to chatter on after you have made your point.'
This is a great example to illustrate the saying. When I started this
painting at 10am it was -1.5 degrees C. At 11.30 I was surprised to
find myself still comfortable and tempted to carry on, but realised if
I did I would only be 'chattering on'. So I stopped here.
Now, an hour before I started this scene was covered in frost and
extremely beautiful. I'd like to get out here earlier on another
frosty morning before the sun starts to melt it all.
Oils on canvas board 24 x 30cms

Sunday, January 15, 2012

AJ and Toby

This is a large commission I painted in November/December. It was a
surprise gift for our friend's 40th birthday, his two lovely young
boys. They were on holiday on Brehat with us when the photos were
taken, and the painting was commissioned by his wife and his mother. A
thoughtful gift!
I must just say a huge thankyou to everyone who has left a comment on
my blog in the last few weeks. I read and appreciate them all, but
unfortunately until we have the Internet set up at home again I'm
unable to answer by way of leaving a comment myself. So, thank you all!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Ossington

Here it is finished, the Ossington. I think it may be the first of many painted in this area of Newark. There are lots of beautiful georgian buildings around here as well as the castle and river. I hope I've captured the wintry sunlight.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reclining male with tattoos

I don't know what's happening with technology lately! I did try to post yesterday but it didn't appear until today so email subscribers you may have missed one! You can check my blog by clicking on the 'ma vie en couleurs' link below. I'm posting as much as I can from mobile devices as we are STILL waiting for our phone line to be installed here (come on BT, you said it would be the 9th). One day I hope I will again enjoy the benefits of broadband, wifi, a computer that works, being able to set up auctions and create links on my blog again... sorry! Carried away with daydreaming there!
Speaking of daydreaming, I love this painting I did yesterday, it's such a peaceful pose and the colours are so subtle. The foreshortening was tricky, I redrew it three times until I was satisfied it was right. At least you can rely on good old-fashioned brushes and paint when all this modern stuff lets you down!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life workshop

It's been at least a year, perhaps eighteen months since I worked from a life model but boy did I work this afternoon! In three hours I painted one oil painting, two watercolours and five pages of pen drawings (this is sounding like an artistic version of 'on the twelfth day of Christmas'). This pen and watercolour drawing (with a touch of wax candle resist) was completed in thirty minutes and the sketches below (drawn in a chunky silver Sharpy pen) were one minute poses. On your marks, get set....

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Ossington at Newark

I painted 'en plein air' in Newark today, one of our nearest towns. Newark has some beautiful architecture and this is my favourite building there. I always feel nervous painting in a public place for the first time and have to psyche myself up to do it! I started with some sketches and a coffee by way of procrastination! I was certain it was going to rain as the sky was so dark! Then I reminded myself that the vast majority of people passing had their own concerns and wouldn't be in the slightest bit interested in me, and I set up my pochade box on a wide stretch of pavement. As soon as I start I begin the conversation with the painting and couldn't care less about the bystanders! After a short time the clouds parted enough for the sun to illuminate the front of the building but oh my, did I get cold hands and feet standing there! I painted for about an hour and a half when I reached this point. By then my parking ticket had expired, the sun had moved round and my hands were blocks of ice! I'm pleased with what I've achieved in that time though. Tomorrow , after a visit to the vets with all three cats, I hope to continue with this in the comfort of the studio!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Beet harvest

I went out in search of more mud today, but instead I was swayed by
these monumental piles of sugar beet in a field. I think that's what
they are anyway! They reminded me of Monet's haystacks, perhaps I
should do a series! I always think I will do a series of this or that
but quickly get tempted by something new! Despite the sunshine it was
very cold. Maybe we will have snow soon...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Carousel horse in progress

It's been blowing a gale here and raining on and off so I decided to
paint in my studio today. I took this half-completed painting of a
still life that I started in Whitby many moons ago to paint over
because I've finally decided I'm never going to finish it! I turned it
upside down to start, and hunted out some very complex and colourful
photos that I'd taken of horses on a carousel. I don't want to rush
this painting but equally, it's important to me that the finished
painting is fresh and painterly and doesn't look laboured over so I'll
keep you informed as it progresses!
The other photo is to show you my current studio which is in our
conservatory, and comes complete with sleeping cats Charlie and Lola!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mud glorious mud!

Well here we are in Lincolnshire again, and the children are having
their first day back at schools which they haven't set foot in for a
year! As I'm 'home alone' it's the first chance I've had for a while
to reflect, and reunite with my oil paints and pochade box. The main
difference I face here from my life on Bréhat is the school run, which
can take up to three hours of my time each day!! I'm hoping to shave
some hours off that 'with a little help from my friends'!
I've been striding out with Maisie in the local countryside, and the
first thing I've found exciting (pictorially speaking!) is this muddy
entrance to a field, with the fabulous abstract tracks and patterns of
reflected light from the sky. If we don't get snow soon I'll be on the
look out for mud I think, and there's plenty of that around here!
Oil on canvas panel, landscape, 18 x 24 cms

Sunday, January 1, 2012

French street dressed for Christmas

We've been travelling back to England again! This time we left the island on the 30th December with the three cats aswell as Maisie! We spent the night of the 30th in Antrain, a small town near Mont Saint Michel. I couldn't sleep and got up at 2.30am to draw the beautiful Christmas lights in the street outside. After a long journey again the next day we reached our village here in Lincolnshire at 8pm on New Year's eve, just in time to surprise our friends and see the new year in together!
Happy New Year everybody!!
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