Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Evening light, Harwich

Evening light, Harwich
24 x 30 cms

At the end of the first day of teaching in Harwich (a chilly day with a strong north-easterly wind) I took my paints back out to the Quayside. It wasn't weather conditions for the faint hearted, but once I'd seen this subject well... I couldn't care less about the practical difficulties. I just get so excited and carried away... I only noticed I was shivering with cold when I was packing up afterwards.

I LOVED the red flags and of course the dazzling light on the sea. It was a real challenge because the boat was silhouetted against the water but there was still colour to be seen within that silhouetted shape, but very very muted. Even the bright red flags had to actually be painted as dirty reddish greys. A great learning experience, and I was really happy with the end result and happy that I'd earned my hot dinner.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fishing clutter

Fishing clutter
8" x 6"

I was teaching a plein air painting weekend in Harwich with a really keen group and this is a demo painting of some interesting shapes and colours I spotted just along the road. It doesn't matter what the objects are, I neither need to know or name any of those items. I just need to find the shapes fascinating so that I can enjoy the experience and show my excitement to the viewer of the painting. 

Luckily my group were happy for me to go on with it until it was finished as I was really involved and it would have been hard to tear myself away! 

I'll be teaching a plein air weekend at the Old Bank Studios in Harwich again next May, book a place if you'd like to join me there!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Washing line

Washing line and dappled shade
6" x 8"

Those of you who have been following my blog for a LONG time might have noticed that I love a washing line for a subject! What I really like about this painting is that it's about just a funny little corner, nothing staged, nothing too grand or pretty. The dappled shade on the apple tree and the wall became the subject and stole the show somewhat from the washing line.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cherry blossom

Cherry blossom
8" x 12"

For me May is the finest time of the year to be outside painting in the UK, everything has burst into life and the greens are lush and fresh, there are stunning displays of blossom everywhere you look, all the trees and hedgerows are putting on their best show and when the sun is shining there is nothing more glorious.

And yet every May I seem to have a crazy busy schedule with travelling, teaching, studio painting for deadlines... you name it. I often get to the end of May and feel I've missed the best of the year and hardly managed any plein air time.

So around eight months ago I blocked out this May in my diary as far as possible as 'plein air painting' and it seems to have done the trick! Although I have had other commitments to manage I have also made sure to put everything aside when we have a beautiful day and get out somewhere with my paints.

And I didn't have to travel far for these little studies of cherry blossom, painted from my garden looking at my neighbours trees. 

With these I wasn't trying to make a composition of a usual 'finished painting' for me, I was trying really hard just to match spots of colour and value with what I was seeing. I felt that the blossom was worthy of serious attention in itself and worked really hard with the colours and values rather than 'making do'. 

And then as it turned out, they would make rather nice little paintings framed up after all!

Cherry trees
8" x 10"

Friday, May 6, 2016

Beetroot and pears

Pear blossom by the greenhouse

At last we are enjoying some gorgeous spring sunshine this week, and happily I was able to get out to my favourite local allotments. I didn't spend time looking around because this dilapidated greenhouse caught my eye immediately, and I especially liked the pear tree next to it with the sun glowing through its leaves. 

In situ, bright and breezy day

Afterwards I couldn't resist a little study of these beetroot plants nearby, with the gorgeous little glimpses of pink and red amongst the green leaves.

Beetroot going to seed

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Summer greens

Summer greens and blowsy clouds

Here are a couple of fresh and green allotment paintings that sold at my exhibition in Putney, both plein air paintings from different allotments. The variety of greens on show is one of the many reasons I love painting at the allotments so much. I'm not much of a gardener myself, but I do so appreciate the efforts of others. And of course as painting subjects go, you can't beat the light reflecting off the greenhouse glass. 

Inham Nook allotments
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