Tuesday, December 27, 2011

O Christmas tree!

O beautiful Christmas tree! I've always adored Christmas trees for drawing and painting purposes. This is a black artificial tree that we brought over from England with us. Although it is described as black, I didn't use any black watercolour in the painting of it, but mixes of indigo blue, crimson and viridian. I did use lots of masking fluid! This painting took a long time as I built it up in lots of layers. My first step was to apply masking fluid 'spots' to represent the little lightbulbs, and then to apply a pale blue wash over the entire piece of paper so that the only truly white bits would be the lights. When that was dry I applied masking fluid in a ring around the lightbulbs. After putting colours down for the various baubles I masked them all out. I also painted the violet shadows cast by the tree onto the wall. I built up the dark colour of the tree in several stages, taking my brush in the direction of the tree branches, and not having to worry about saving the decorations or lights as they were all masked. It was really important for me to mix a deep intense colour, as the watercolours always dry lighter and I was after a strong contrast between the dark of the 'black' tree and the lights and ornaments.
It always makes me sad to take the decorations down in January. I miss the extra lights, but continue to light candles every evening ;)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Joyeux Noël!

Merry Christmas everyone! I haven't painted today (yet anyway!), but I painted these pretty Christmas fruits just before our trip to England last week. We think they're made of polystyrene, and are covered in tiny glass balls. I love bringing them out at Christmas! We have them in the centre of the kitchen table this year. It's the first Christmas any of us have spent outside of the UK! We are at home though! ;)
I hope you are all having a really lovely day with your family and friends! XX

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ho ho ho!

Again, we find ourselves travelling! It doesn't seem as though we have
been in England five minutes! We're driving back to the south now and
will be spending the night on the ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre,
arriving back on the island mid afternoon on Christmas Eve. I will be
picking a winner out of the hat for the Christmas bauble painting. All
blog followers and email subscribers are included in the draw!
I did try to finish another festive still life painting while visiting
relatives in Yorkshire this week but didn't quite manage it, so here's
Maisie looking serene in front of the Christmas tree! At the time of
writing this she's actually in her crate in the back of the car, being
very good and quiet. Thank goodness she travels well, we spend so much
time on the move!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The King of Christmas

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Our journey over to England was an eventful one. We arrived on the mainland amidst enormous waves and drove through rain, sleet and hail storms on the way to Le Havre. The ferry crossing to Portsmouth was rough - luckily I don't get sea sick although many people were suffering on the six hour journey!
Since arriving back in the UK late Friday night we have already enjoyed spending lots of time with friends, we've been to a lovely Christmas party and Fred's fabulous carol concert in his barn which is the village highlight of the year, got absolutely soaked walking Maisie in the rain AND I have made time to paint this festive still life. These are some little Christmas presents for my friends, and my rather regal lion was a fabulous find at a house clearance sale several years ago. I bought him with his unicorn companion whom I have painted many times but lion has been a little underused so far in the still life department!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bon depart!

Oh it's a little sad today as it was Milly and Oscar's last day at French school! Oscar has been inundated with beautiful drawings and homemade cards from his little friends at the island school. This gorgeous one by our friend and neighbour Hugo aged 8 is a really accurate depiction of our house, with the sunflowers growing outside. I love it! I must point out that we don't actually have a huge Union Jack flag attached to our chimney! It also shows Oscar playing with his friend and neighbour Mathis, and 'le petit train' -the island's 'taxi' should you need it, a tractor which pulls a little carriage! Milly's friends have been crying as did her friends in England this time last year!
I have been to the vets with Maisie today for the necessary (pre-entering the UK) tick and worm treatments. I am SO glad the rules are changing from January 1st and the vets' visit 24 hours prior to travelling won't be compulsory! Today it took me almost three and a half hours to make this simple trip because a)there isn't a vets on the island and b) we are on the winter ferry timetable which means at least two hours between crossings and also it was low tide both going and returning which is a good walk!
Tomorrow we are travelling to England for a pre-Christmas week catching up with family and friends and coming back to the island on Christmas Eve. I'm not sure when I'll be able to post again, I did paint some bejewelled Christmas fruits today so if I can get a good photo of that tomorrow I will send it out! Hope all your Christmas preparations are going well!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoughts of summer

Is it just me or does this photo of me painting a crab in the kitchen look like it was taken in the 1950s?! Amazingly the computer has decided to work tonight, but I don't have any new painting to show you. I had to drive Tim to Saint Malo and we left the house at 7am. I haven't long been home and although it's not too late to paint it is too dark to take a photo of the results! This is so much easier in summer! Fingers crossed for tomorrow! I shall focus and let's hope the computer plays ball too.... 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cupcake with parasol

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Cupcake with parasol
Here's a Waitrose cupcake painting with a cute paper parasol added for that real party feel! This painting is oil on linen canvas, sized 12" x 12", and at the top and bottom and in gaps you can see the natural colour of the linen left showing. I always think it's too nice to cover completely!
I started this painting with an underpainting of the major complimentary colours, for example the lemon coloured cupcake was first painted in violet and the rose coloured parasol is green underneath. You can see the colours peeking through, giving a special vibrancy.
It would make a lovely birthday gift I think!
Today I've been very busy working on printing the pages of my little journal, drawings from Brehat! Apologies if you are still waiting for one, it's all starting to come together now! ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chou chou

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Chou chou
OK I confess, it's Bonnie again, but as she is french I think the name 'Chou chou' suits her well! Does anybody know what the best loved names for dogs are in France? In England, the traditional name for a dog is apparently Rover, but I've never actually met a dog called Rover. Or Chou chou, come to that.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bonnie sur la chaise

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Bonnie sur la chaise
Firstly I have now replaced the image for a better one!
Secondly, how sweet is Bonnie? She is my friend's dog and lives in the north of the island, right next door to the lighthouse! I've painted this from a couple of photos that I took on Tuesday. I'm going to take Maisie to meet Bonnie one day..... when I can summon up the nerve... but who will be top dog? There'll be fireworks....
This painting has ended up a little tight I feel, I don't know why I have such a tendency to 'dot all the i's and cross all the t's' when I'm working on such a small scale. This is going to be my next big challenge to focus on I think - how to make a very small painting with the same feel as my big paintings!
This oil painting is on a canvas panel, 20 x 15 cms and if you would like to see all of my current paintings at auction you can do so by clicking on the link below the image.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Maisie on the sofa

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Maisie on the sofa
Maisie says "This isn't what I had in mind when you promised me lots of walks today, to make up for yesterday when you left me on my own for three hours...  sigh....  you think I'm going to pose for you now? ... Well I'm not, I'm going to get up right now and turn around so that my head's pointing in the other direction - ha! ... see what she makes of that after she's already sketched in my outline - sigh - this will probably take ages... when will I get my walk...  yawn, quite comfy actually... did someone say beach? No? Oh...  that painting of Charlie with a pain au chocolat finishes it's auction tonight .... why is he allowed to sit on the table anyway? Can you imagine the trouble I'd be in if I sat on the table? Grrrr ..... who would want a painting of HIM?! Ridiculous! Cats are not worthy of being painted...  cats are not worthy at all....  snooze..."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A pear of cows

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A pear of cows
I challenged myself to paint the china cow creamer again, but this time I wanted to use broader strokes and really simplify the object. I turned the jug around so that I wouldn't get too distracted by the writing as there isn't any on the other side! Was that cheating?
Another change that I made was to paint from the other side of the table so that I was looking at the objects with the light behind them which did help me to see the jug as a simpler form and I think helped me to create an exciting composition.
I also removed a pear and added another cow...  did you spot it?
Sorry the photo isn't too clear, I had to use my phone as my camera is playing me up! I do love my old iphone but the photo quality doesn't even come close to an iphone 4!
This painting is the same size as yesterday's, 18 x 24cms, oil on canvas panel.
I'm really pleased with this one too, and like it equally as much as yesterday's, even though it took a lot less time to paint! Which do you prefer? I'd really like to know!

Cow creamer with the last pears
A pear of cows
    Email me your thoughts, or make a comment through my blog! Thank you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cow creamer with the last pears

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Cow creamer with the last pears
These three items I brought back with me from England last week. The pears from our garden were absolutely delicious and these are amongst the last few, a bit past their best now. The cow cream jug is adorable, I used to have it in my little cottage studio, Toad Hall, but I don't remember ever painting it before. I enjoyed spending time on this painting, putting in the details of writing and pattern. As I said yesterday, some things just won't be rushed! I think the resulting painting is quite mellow. I love the chance to include typography in a painting! Having said all that though, I would like to try another painting of the cow creamer but really simplify it this time.
This painting is oil on canvas board 18 x 24cms, and is available to buy now via online auction. To take a look at all my current auctions, click on the link above. Prices are in dollars but there is a currency converter so you can easily see the price in pounds sterling or euros, and if you purchase through paypal they will convert the price for you. This particular painting is on at $120 which is £74.84!
Here's a closer look....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Going away!

Chloe in the place du bourg, Brehat
Sorry I haven't been around the last couple of days, I've been very poorly and not up to painting I'm afraid! I thought today I'd show you one of the market place paintings that I did in August. This is my friend Chloe standing in front of Francois LeTron's organic fruit and veg stall, most of which is grown on the island and picked the evening before being sold at market.
I'm going to England tomorrow, have a very busy two weeks lined up so I'm afraid I won't be painting or posting anything here! I will be back at the beginning of November, ready to get cracking on lots of new paintings to bring you! In the meantime, it would please me enormously if you could find a few extra people to subscribe to my emails! Merci! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pizza slice

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Pizza slice
I had a lot of fun painting this today! I was intending to paint eggs in their cardboard tray, but when I went to the fridge to get them this bit of leftover pizza jumped out at me and said 'paint me!' - it was something like that anyway! I find that often happens, and I always choose the idea that shouts loudest! Anyway, I really enjoyed this, it's surprising how many gorgeous colours there are in a slice of pizza!
This oil painting on board is 15 x 20cms and is available to buy at auction now. The starting price of this auction is only $60 which is £38.99, an absolute snip for an everlasting slice of pizza! Click on the link above to take a further look!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Late afternoon at Guerzido beach

Late afternoon at Guerzido beach
Question: What would you do on another insanely hot October day if you were here with me on the Ile de Brehat? Head for the beach? Yep! Me too! But not for me the swimming or sunbathing because I took my oil paints, so I guess that makes me a little odd because no-one else seemed to be painting....
I am so glad I did today though! Guerzido beach is south facing and I love the silhouettes and the sparkling of light on the water that you get here. Time after time I have tried without too much success to translate that magic into paint on canvas but today I am actually very satisfied that I caught it! I really managed to get what I was seeing - the tones, the colours, and all with a real simplicity in my brush strokes. The whole painting was started and finished in situ and I feel it says enough. So without further ado, here it is for you!
It is oil paint on canvas, 25 x 30cms, and if you like it you can take a look at further information and view all my current auctions by clicking on the 'click to bid' link above.
Please, if you enjoy my blog, tell your friends! Thank you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pink sparkly shoes

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Pink sparkly shoes
These are my lovely pink sequinned plimsolls! I had intended to paint outdoors today but it was strangely foggy all morning! Although it turned out to be glorious sunshine all afternoon I had already embarked on this painting after the light catching the sequins had caught my eye! There were all these beautiful pink reflections on the surface behind also. I'm really pleased with the colours and the thick squidgy creaminess of the paint! Another great one for touching... when it's dry!
I bought these shoes from a charity shop for £2 and they had never been worn, certainly not outside. I have always loved them and wearing them never fails to lift my spirits! Sadly they're deteriorating a little here and there so I don't know how much longer we'll be together, which makes me even happier that they've been portrayed on canvas today.
This painting is oils on a deep sided box canvas, 25 x 25cms and is ready to hang straight on the wall without a frame. Please click on the 'click to bid' link above to enter the online auction to win this painting. Bidding will start at $120 which is the equivalent of £76.71!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My favourite coffee cup

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It's my favourite first-thing-in-the-morning-filter-coffee cup! It's such a chunky, smooth, rounded little cup and fits into my palm, all warm and comforting! I love it! This dinky little oil painting measures 15 x 15 cms and when it is dry it could be yours, click the link above to bid.
I'm afraid the glare on the photo lets it down a little bit... taking the photos is proving to be the biggest challenge! I don't know if the problem lies with a) my camera, b) me, c) the quality of daylight or d) the wet shiny oil paints! Probably a combination of all four!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cottage with flowers

Cottage with flowers
We've been spending the whole of 2011 living on a tiny island in France and I'm enjoying so much time to paint with very little else in the way of responsibilities. This pretty little cottage on Brehat is almost hidden by it's flowers, and there are many houses like this here.
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