Saturday, June 30, 2012

Oyster sellers at Cancale

Oyster sellers at Cancale

We left lovely Douarnenez early, and arrived in Cancale at lunchtime, with extremely changeable weather throughout the afternoon, including downpours, wind and periods of sunshine.
This all made the sky pretty dramatic and I tried hard to capture what I was seeing, as quickly as I could.
I feel this is my best painting of the week.
We are now in Port en Bessin which again is a hugely inspiring place! Very much a working port and utterly magical in the light this evening.
Fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow because I can't wait to get started here!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Shipwrecks at Douarnenez

Shipwrecks at Douarnenez
This is the place we are affectionately calling 'the graveyard'. It's a dumping ground for beautiful old ships- quite haunting really.
I don't really want to tell you what I went through to find this place (because I'm trying to forget about it!), suffice to say, I felt like I'd finished an army assault course by the time I reached it!
This is oils on canvas board, 10" x 12".
Tonight we are having a mini exhibition in the hotel here before all dining together, and tomorrow morning we have to leave at the crack of dawn and head towards Normandy. It's quite likely that I won't be able to blog for the next few days, but if so I'll be back home by Tuesday and you'll hear from me then. Hope you've enjoyed my postcards (blog posts) from Brittany!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Salle a manger

Salle a manger
This is the painting of the breakfast room I was working on yesterday afternoon. Isn't it a gorgeous room? That painting above the fireplace at the end is a hunting scene, except you wouldn't know because I haven't gone so far into it as to paint the hounds!
Today was mainly dry, although overcast and still lots of mist around. I went in search of boats (you don't have to go far to find boats here) and worked on a triptych the whole day! It's still not what you'd call finished but I think it's worth spending a bit more time on so hopefully I will show you that soon.
There are so many fabulous marine subjects here- I could easily fill a month if I had it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

St Malo in the rain!

Carousel at Saint Malo

Rain again!
Here I am, safely arrived at the hotel in Douarnenez, and trying to figure out the wifi on my phone so that I can get my blog to you!
We had the morning in Saint Malo to paint and guess what? Umbrella came in handy again!
It poured it down!
I managed about an hour and a half on painting this carousel, being splashed by passing cars! Then I had enough of wetness and squelched back to the coach with a sandwich!
We travelled all afternoon and Douarnenez is wet too, but looks a place full of potential subjects. After dinner I thought my evening was over but quelle surprise! It stopped raining and a wonderful sunset appeared in the soggy sky and sea, so I popped outside again and painted two little'uns.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy day at Patchings festival!

Painting from the model
You may be wondering 'why is Haidee showing us this painting again?', because after all I did show you it when I painted it on February 28th. Then I showed you it framed last week heading off to Patchings for The Artist exhibition. Today I show you it again because it has won me a prize!!!
I'm so happy about it I just can't tell you how happy I am!
I've been awarded the Pro Arte prize of £250 worth of brushes!
I cannot believe my lucky stars at the moment!

I've just discovered that you can see the whole exhibition, and the Leisure Painter exhibition, online!
The work in both exhibitions is fantastic so it is really well worth you having a look. The website is very clear and informative and easy to navigate too. There is also a list of all the prize winners from both exhibitions on there.
You can view the exhibition here :-)

Apart from that excitement I have had a fantastic day chatting with visitors non-stop and the other artists! It's so amazing, I've met artist friends from blogging, Facebook and twitter all for the first time in real life and let me tell you they're all gorgeous happy lovely people! There's so much fine talent in our marquee and nearly all of the artists are demonstrating on their stands so if you can possibly make it along to the festival you really must. You won't regret it :-)

Aah, I'm going to be dreaming of fists full of shiny new brushes tonight... I can just tell...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Home from home at Patchings


The sight that greeted us in a damp marquee this morning in Nottinghamshire!
And how we left it this afternoon...

I do have a few final touches tomorrow morning such as a large rug for the floor, and photos from the Jubilee Pageant to stick up! We did our best with limited means! I will invest in some display stands if I do this again next year! :-)
Look above the paintings, we have fairy lights and then a row of little flags!

I even have my painting corner...

 and now I'd better go and get those final bits and pieces together ready for leaving the house at 7.30am....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Coming back to earth

My TV interview with Anneka Rice

I confess, I'm having difficulty coming back down to earth after events at the weekend! I'm also having difficulty writing my blog post tonight because really, what can ever compare?! And yet, I don't want you thinking I'm ignoring you, so here's a brief review of what I've been up to post Millennium bridge...

I've been sorting out my sodden kit from Sunday, which was hurriedly stuffed into various bin bags as I left the bridge (proving once and for all that tv filming isn't glam!). The umpteen brushes that I'd used got cleaned with special love and care. Tubes of paint got dried, rubbish got thrown. Palette still drying as we speak.

I've found a link to the BBC news page featuring the work of many of the artists on the bridge...

I've enjoyed very much reading Katherine Tyrell's lovely jubilee blog post on her Making a Mark blog.
My favourite quote of the day is "This is the essence of British plein air painting spirit'!

I've been looking at funny little clips about me in local newspapers -

 How lovely and sunny it is on those photos! If only...!

I've been working on a third painting, a larger canvas based on the two I did on the bridge - putting them both together and finishing it off a bit! I really don't want it to look too tight - hence I am really nervous of spoiling it - hence it might become too tight...
If it works out well, you'll be the first to see it. If it ends up a disgrace well, just forget I ever mentioned it, ok? Deal!

I've been painting and waxing frames and fitting in these two paintings, and have driven them to Patchings art centre today where they will be exhibited in The Artist exhibition in the Barn gallery, from June 14th to July 22nd.

Painting from the model

Union jack tea party

Monday, June 4, 2012

Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

Me on the Millennium Bridge, painting the crowds before the boats came

Let me tell you all about yesterday!! I know that most of you watched proceedings on tv and saw for yourself how beautiful the boats were, and the amazing atmosphere with the crowds lining the river bank waving their flags! And the weather... hmm. Not exactly what you'd expect in June (British summertime, no?) and not exactly Pimms and strawberries weather!
There were twenty artists chosen by the BBC to paint the event, unfortunately they couldn't take any more than that so we all felt very special to be chosen.
We assembled and met the tv crew at about 10am and then spent the next two hours huddled around a table in the Tate Modern cafe, while the rain poured down outside! It was so great to meet some new painter faces! The only person I knew previously was the amazing David Pilgrim AROI.
When we went out to the bridge the rain had eased off and our half size french box easels had been assembled and lined up. We were allocated places and then we had a little shuffling around as some of us wanted to paint the boats coming towards us and others preferred the view on the other side of the bridge, looking towards Tower bridge.
David and I had a problem straightaway with the easels as they couldn't hold a canvas or board any shorter than 35 centimetres! If you look at the photo above you'll see the masking tape at the top of my board holding it on!
This was such a surprise to me as most plein air painters paint on a small scale in order to work quickly before the scene changes too much!
Having said that though, some of the artists on the bridge had enormous canvasses to work on! One guy had half a door! The lovely lady next to me, Gillian Burrows, was painting on her iPad!
There were others using oils, acrylics, watercolours, pen and ink and gouache. Quite a variety!
Everyone got cracking straightaway. The atmosphere was fantastic! I could hear the BBC coverage playing from a big screen somewhere nearby but couldn't see it. There was a lovely smokey smell from some food being cooked outside that was making me feel hungry!
I decided to get a painting done of the crowd lining the river and have a little practice painting the bridge, before the boats reached us. This is it, exactly as painted on the bridge and relatively unscathed by the journey back...

Crowds lining the river, waiting for the Pageant to start
At that point, the Pageant had begun although it would still be a little while before we would see the boats and so I started my Pageant painting. I decided to look towards the other side of the river as the buildings over there made for a more interesting skyline, such as the Post Office tower which is apparently called the BT tower now. The crowds got livelier as I painted in the bridge and the buildings in the distance and sky. Then we saw the boats coming under the Blackfriars bridge. When the boats came, they were in groups. For example the rowing boats were first, led by the beautiful Gloriana.
I had to work fast! The drizzle turned to rain which got heavier and heavier. My Jullian umbrella (possibly the best painting accessory of all now!) was worth it's weight in gold that day!
The wind was also getting stronger, so I had to hold my umbrella the whole time I was painting, in case it flew away with my easel!
I didn't have time to take any photos!
I looked up, looked at one particular boat, tried to capture it's main shape and colours in my mind and then tried to place it on the river in my painting, using only a couple of brushstrokes. Repeated this method over and over again.
This is why my painting is a medley of boats from the different sections of the Pageant. I have the Gloriana, some rowing boats, the Royal Barge 'Spirit of Chartwell', a lifeboat, a narrowboat, a gondola (? not sure but it looked like a gondola to me!) and anything else that caught my eye!
The rain was coming in sideways and underneath my umbrella and my palette was getting wetter and wetter! The canvas was getting a fine spraying, and water was swirling around my feet!
Some of the artists started to leave as their work, anything on paper particularly, was suffering too much.
Easels started to fall over. I held my umbrella as close and as low as I could!
One of the crew asked me if I would do a piece to camera with Anneka about 'soldiering on', I said of course. Then my umbrella had to be lifted away from my painting for the cameras, and my canvas started getting really wet.
After the interview, I couldn't add much more despite my best attempts to dry the unpainted parts of my canvas with my sleeve! The oil paint just wouldn't stick because of the water - it was like wax resist, but in reverse!
Here's my painting now, completely untouched since I left the bridge -

The painting as I left the bridge!
You can see the difficulties I had with the paint with the nearest boats, and the red was running down from that disappearing red boat on the left!

This is the view from my umbrella!

I've decided I will work further on these paintings but only very little, as I'd hate to lose the spontaneity of the piece. That's what actually being there in person does for the painting, and it would be a travesty if it ended up looking as though I'd painted it in a nice cosy studio! I may try to do another more finished piece though, based on these ones.

Thought you might like to see the view on the bridge by about 5pm!

Another scene I'd like to paint!

Before I go I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time this weekend to email or text, leave comments on my blog or Facebook or Twitter. You are so fantastic and it made me so happy reading them all on my way home on the train last night! :-)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rose Desire with white feathers

Rose Desire with white feathers
Oil on canvas 27 & 1/2" x 23 & 1/2"
I'm really pleased with this one from yesterday's session. It was fantastic to paint large again and be able to use my whole arm! There's a little bit more I want to do to it, but not very much at all. I love the sketchiness, the gestural marks, the subject, the pose, the white feathers, the colours in her hair and skin. Love it! Reminds me of a Toulouse-Lautrec!

You can imagine what's been on my mind today! I am so excited, and we are catching the train to London first thing in the morning. I will try to blog from my phone tomorrow evening and may even get a preparatory painting done! I'm looking forward to seeing the large boats with sails that are already lining the banks of the Thames, where they will stay because they are too tall to pass under the bridges.
I'm also looking forward to seeing flags and bunting - fourteen miles of bunting!

I've been prepping my canvasses and boards today and I've been over to the SAA to collect nine brand spanking new paintbrushes and a posh brush holder and a dozen tubes of paint especially for the Big Event, and better still all have been paid for with my prize money! :-)

Wanted to show you my souvenir 'Jubilee bunting' necklace - and ridiculously excited face!

And now I really must go and pack...

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