Monday, September 21, 2015

Some more Road Sketches

I am keeping a road sketchbook, every day as we travel about, it is growing into a nice record. That's the beauty of sketchbooks, they develop with time, almost out of sight, they become better with distance!





Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pigments, Rain and Grasse

I got myself some pigments from The Ochre Mines of Roussillion, with gum Arabic and a little honey I am set to make my own watercolours. As soon as the weather stops being so watery, and the sun shines again and we have set up camp again I shall paint an extreamly large watercolour ofRoussillon using pigments from there mixed with lavender honey! In the meantime here is another whopper, 4 foot by 5 foot or 120 cm x 180 cm done en PleinAir of the view from Grasse towards the Mediterranean.

 I have some more road sketches but that will have to wait for dry weather to photograph them and then some wifi to post them, until then we travel on...


Monday, September 14, 2015

Up sizing Watercolour Painting

I decide to test out my "easel" for the larger paintings. This is a painting from the high road of Col de la Bonnett executed in pure watercolour. 
It measures about 4 foot x 5 foot, which is approximately 120 cm x 150 cm. large enough. It does require some energy to paint that big, especially in watercolour, working wet in wet fast in the hot Provençal sun.

Here is the set up... Now back to work...


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Working in the Rain

Not quite as extream as it sounds, last night and all morning we had a huge thunder storm, which is always exciting in a tent.
This morning, having mopped up all the leaks, I set up a tented studio. I am supposed to be working on this trip, doing some commissions and working towards a book. So today I painted, photographing each stage of the work as it developed. I used an image from my iPhone and the sketch that I did yesterday.  It was a beautiful little productive courtyard opening onto an small lane in Bargemon. With a tiny door and two stone troughs catching water from a little water spout. This is in oils, kind of half PleinAir half studio work!



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pure Provence

After the high road we swooped down to the glitz and madness of Cannes and Antibes, stayed in a camp site underneath a viaduct and beside the sea, got up before dawn to watch the sun rise over the Mediterranean. Then on up to Grasse, the perfume capital of Provence, through tiny alley ways with towering thin houses of ochre and terracotta. Lunch in Bargemon beside a moss covered fountain with plane trees throwing dappled shade across the houses.
Now we are camped beside a rushing river in the gorges of the Verdon, staying put for a few days to tackle some bigger work.



Friday, September 11, 2015

Up the Mountain and Down to the Sea.

Traveled up the Col de Bonnet today, the highest paved road in Europe.

Past milky blue lakes and rushing rivers up to where no trees grow. Along tiny roads that twist and turn and have absolutely no safety rail, I was too scared to stop and paint!
This one is in the early morning, in the foothills, I shall gather my senses and maybe do a post mountain painting.
After the mountain madness we entered another world, that of Niece, Cannes and Antibes. Apart from the obscene displays of heavily tanned wealthy flesh, the coast line, with blood red rock, sparkling blue sea and dark green cypress is something to behold. I shall catch some of those colours tomorrow.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

French Roads and Early Morning Rivers

 Very early morning mists on the south side of the Loire, traveling through beautiful white stone villages beside the river. Then along miles and miles of perfectly straight roads as far as the eye can see, through avenues of trees then past fields of sunflowers, all brown and seed loaded, like frenzied ink marks against the sky.
Up into the volcanic mountains before a grand vista of Clermont Ferrand, an amazing "urban landscape" if that is one of the things that I am looking for... Which of course it is!



Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Selected and Camping in France

How bizarre, while sitting in the evening sun beside the Loire, waiting for a watercolour layer to dry, I checked the results for selection for the Discerning Eye and found out that my entry had made the grade! 

It's a tiny moleskine watercolour sketchbook with 29 paintings of roads all set in a beautiful opening frame (made by my very excellent framers Sullys of Penryn.) So you can have a different painting every day if you wish. I believe that Sketchbooks are the essence of everything that I do as an artist, they are the starting point, the runway from which you take off, so it seemed a good thing to have framed up for posterity. Anyway, I am very pleased to be included in the exhibition.

Today is the first day of my five week working trip across France. This is a little sketch done early this morning  just after leaving the ferry at Roscoff, as we  drove over "Wolf Mountain" in Brittany, a stunning view that always feels very ancient to me. 

Tonight we are camping beside the Loire a few miles south of Angers. There were flocks of water birds all gathering up to do their evening river swoop as I painted this. They are the little dots on the sand banks. Now it's time for a celebration whisky and to bed under canvas.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Getting Ready

Getting ready for the road trip, various easel holding contraptions have been added to the van and now I am testing "blog on the go "apps. I have a few commissions lined up, some brilliant places to visit and a couple of books to work on as I go, I am even planning to make some short films of painting exploits, so no pressure.
At least I have the most excellent hat.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Working Trip

I am about to take to the road on a working trip to France for a month.  The intention is to do a lot of work, big and small in all sorts of media so first off this is what I am taking...
It looks like a lot, well it is a lot but it all packs away into neat boxes in the van. 
First of all there is a pencil roll containing pastel pencils and a selection of inktense pencils.

A handy home made watercolour brush roll made from my painting apron, which is still usable as a painting apron.

A French easel full of oil paints and brushes, a bottle of white spirit and a spray can of fixative.

Tubs of gouache paint and my very old metal watercolour tin (which has seen many trips all over the world) A little roll of fancy tape and a small round tin full of conte sticks.

Two boxes of pastels from various makers.

 My tiny travel kit, miniature opinal knife pen, water-brush and pencil and antique watercolour box and the book that I am reading.
 A tin of pencils and pens, a small prochade box, a selection of oil pastels, a box of bulldog clips, gessoed boards for oil painting and several sketchbooks with different papers. A huge roll of watercolour paper, 1.2m x 30 m!
 Watercolours for bigger painting, the big watercolour drawing boards/easel are in the van already.
Here it all is packed up. I think I have thought of all eventualities plus I have a brilliant hat.  Next up will be the map of the proposed route.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On The Road

 A little moleskine sketchbooks worth of a road trip , up the A 30, onto the M5 to Gloucestershire
then back on the most lovely A39.    
I am obviously not filling a sketchbook page worse than texting while driving?
 Possibly about the same as far as danger goes.
  However I am not the driver, just the driven and I do enjoy road trips.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Read All About It!

 I am starting work on an exciting new project, my first two "how to" drawing and painting books.  So I am busily drawing and painting equipment and kit, bashed up, old, and much used things that I have, as well as pristine new things that I am road testing.
 It is fascinating trying to explain what to do to make a drawing or a painting.  It reminds me of trying to explain how to drive, or perhaps swim... what do you do first, think about it...I suppose putting on your swimming costume would be a good idea!
The next bit that has to happen is drawings and paintings in stages of development, I am finding remembering to stop and make a copy, photograph or scam of each stage very difficult indeed.  I get quite absorbed in whatever it is I am doing and have a tendency to carry on in a bit of another world until its finished.  However what I am seeing...more that anything else is that practice, doing it, making pictures just for the fun of it, is really, really, really, good.  Even for someone like me who rarely has a day without some form of drawing it makes such a difference, in such a short time.
Farmers Market, London. Dip pen and sepia ink.
I kind of wish that I could find the same enthusiasm for physical exercise, I haven't found that yet! So, until I do I shall be a chunky artist, very happily drawing away and trying to put a lot of it into words.  I shall post updates here and so you will know when the first two, "Urban Landscapes" and "People" are hot to trot!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tiny Gouache Paintings

Falmouth Cafe, Gouache 8 x 12 cm  or 3 x 4.5 inches
 Tiny gouache paintings, or gouacheletts, perhaps a study for bigger paintings.  These are a very good way of testing all sorts of things, composition, colour, can a subject maintain interest long enough to make it to a bigger canvas.
Sweet-peas, Gouache 8 x 12 cm or 3 x 4.5 inches
 Plus...I love doing them, tiny little jewel like paintings, precious miniatures. I have a thing for bonsai trees too, and dolls houses, and tiny tea sets, see there is a tiny cup in the painting above!  My house is full of minute ephemera.
Afternoon in Provence, Gouache 17 x 13 cm or 6.69 x 5.12 inches
Small is beautiful!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Sweet Peas

Sweet-Peas and Old Bottles
40 x 33 cm or 15.75 x 13 inches. oil on linen
Loving my Sweet-Peas at the moment, such a fleeting pleasure every summer. I am thoroughly enjoying painting some found still life around my house, The blue glass window sill, installed by my clever brother, provides great reflections!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Limited Edition Prints

Provencal Doorway, Limited Edition Print
giclee 38 x 26 cm or 15 x 10 inches

Prints, lovely prints, in an edition of only 50 and a good size, printed on Bockingford 190gsm Inkjet,mould made watercolour paper with certified archive ability and 100% archival inks. Each print is signed and numbered.  This size, unframed is £75 including postage and packing.  They are also available framed for £120.
Framed Print.
There are smaller prints as well, also limited to an edition of 50, 10 x 16 cm or 4 x 6.25inches, unframed £25 and framed £50.

These are all available from my web site as well as a shop on my facebook page.