Friday 27 February 2015

Snowdrops Across the River

This year, it seems that my plein-air season (that is, the time of year that I can comfortably paint outdoors) has started early - usually, I try mark it with a bluebell painting. But this year has been good for snowdrops, and these were within such a short walk from my studio that I could carry the finished wet oil painting back without a box.

Oil on Canvas,  30 x 30cm

Thursday 26 February 2015

Gearing Up

The 2015 Open Studios season is nearly upon us,  and the Newbury Spring Festival team have published a thought-provoking article, conveniently illustrated with an image that I (and only I) have the freedom to reproduce...

Over on the Sketch blog, you can read about today's visit to the tiny Norman church of St. Paul and St. Luke, and - of course - see some pictures.

Monday 23 February 2015

Molotow Cocktail: Snowdrops and St. Mary's

Snowdrops, 5x7" on linen board

I've been itching to paint the snowdrops all through the half-term holiday. There is a lovely show of the dainty white flowers just behind the building that my studio is in. It's cold out there, though, so I knew it would have to be a quick painting. 

I was going to do a small oil (and I may yet do so), but I have just discovered Molotow paint marker pens, and it occurred to me that I could use them...

Wednesday 11 February 2015

#C2C15: Yin and Yang in the Garden and Countryside
Click to see the set on Flickr
The sketchbook exchange programme continues, with two more swops left to go.  This one was a challenge; finding complementary opposites in the greener outdoor space. I admit that I made one or two up... 

Page 1 was based on our garden. It was the one day that we have had snow this winter, and the suggestion was my husband's: a barbeque in the snow, representing fire and ice.

Page 2 was a stylised flower bed in a park, viewed from above, rendered in watercolour with the assistance of my new masking fluid. The flowers are laid out in the shape of the yin-yang symbol. There's a picnic happening in the blue corner...

Pages 3 and 4 are linked; they represent night and day, with the local radio mast (and landmark) shown from two positions. The daytime view was drawn outdoors and the line drawing made onsite is shown separately from the finished version. These are both done in various inks.

I also included, in the Flickr set, the line drawing for the snowdrop picture on page 5, embellished with watercolour for the finished image. Snowdrops growing in last year's leaf-litter.

A digital doodle of an imaginary yin-yang butterfly had to be printed and stuck in on page 6.

Two green men face each other on pages 7 and 8. Both are imagined versions of familiar tales; the age-old folk storie of the wood spirit and the newer invader from out of space. Old and new; within and without; earthly and alien.

Finally, I went back to nature on pages 9 and 10 and drew the mallards on Kingsclere's lake. Easily distinguished, the male and female birds are a fine example of yin and yang.

Monday 9 February 2015

Fisher and Warrior - SOLD

This is a painting based on a sketch (and supporting photographs). It's of a charmingly scruffy fishing boat in Portsmouth Harbour, with a Historic Ship (HMS Warrior) in the background.

Friday 6 February 2015

Two Eclairs ... and Three French Fancies

The last time that I painted ├ęclairs, there was only one of them and I opened the cake up (and applied a little artistic licence) to emphasise the creaminess. This time, I had two cakes ... for the duration of my daughter's Brownie session. So I had to move fast, because she'd want her cake as soon as she came home.

I ate mine just before I went to fetch her.

Two Eclairs
Acrylic on box canvas, 20 x 26 cm 

And it seems that I neglected to post the little painting of three French Fancies made as a sort of demonstration piece when I was helping a young student figure out acrylics.

Three French Fancies
Acrylic on canvas, 5 x 7"
(not for sale) 

She made her own painting from the other side.Obviously, it isn't mine to share, but I was very impressed with what she achieved in the limited time.

Wednesday 4 February 2015


I find the sea - at its interface with the land - quite fascinating. Wild, untameable. inexorable and essentially, hypnotically repetitive.

A different palette here, in a nod to the natural linen support: two blues and three earth colours. And white. Utramarine was, of course, used in the sky along with burnt umber (and titanium white); the sea has a little of those colours, but phthalo blue - with burnt sienna and yellow ochre (not forgetting titanium white) dominates.

Oil on linen canvas, 30 x 30 cm