Sunday, 30 October 2011

It's a dog's life

Well, I suppose it had to be done eventually and what better way of using up the extra hour we got this morning here in the UK thanks to the end of British Summer Time. The downside is there are less daylight hours in the evening now and that means very little after work sketching for a few months :(

I used a photo taken on a recent walk for this quick and loose charcoal and watercolour painting of Louie. His eyes are closed as he sits and enjoys the warm wind blowing at his face, bringing exciting new sensations to his sensitive nose :)

Happy Sunday!

Louie I, compressed charcoal and watercolour on Arches 300gsm/140lb Rough, 230mm x 250mm/9" x 10"

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Electric Sunrise

I work quite close to my home but the landscape changes rapidly as I make my way to the office. The semi-rural soon gives way to the cluttered and less pleasant urban and industrial areas of the town. Being close to major road and rail links is great when you want to get anywhere but not so pleasing to the eye, or at least not for most of the day. However, this was the scene that greeted me a few days ago as I walked the last few yards to work. The beautiful glowing sunset created eery silhouettes of the nearby hedgerows and the railway pylons of the electrified East Coast Mainline which carries passengers and freight to and from London and the North East throughout the day. I took a photograph with my phone camera and used that as my reference Sometimes beauty can be found in the unlikeliest of places :)

On a sad note, I'm sure many of you are already aware of Jane Minter's recent post about the copying of one of her beautiful paintings. I'm sure, like me, you all share in Jane's disheartened feelings about this :(

Additiionally, my thoughts also go out to Maggie Latham who has recently fallen victim of several episodes of copyright issues which has ultimately led to her (sadly) closing down her 1000 washes blog. Maggie describes her reasons in her post here. I for one will miss Maggie's unending enthusiasm and love for pure watercolour.

Finally, my number of followers has increased quite a bit over the last few weeks and will very soon be catching up with my age LOL :) Lots of inspiring blogs for you to check out, some of which are already on my sidebar.

Tara for now. Have a great weekend everyone and of course .... Happy painting :)

Electric Sunsrise, watercolour in Fabriano Venezia sketchbook, 18cm x 25cm/7" x 10"

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

View from a hill

We decided we needed a good dose of fresh air on Sunday and so drove down to Wimpole Hall, a lovely stately home in the the south of Cambridgeshire. The last owner of the hall was the daughter of Rudyard Kipling, but when she passed away the home was given over  to the National Trust. The grounds surrounding the hall are quite expansive and contain a working farm and a beautiful large walled kitchen garden. The estate is quite close to the county border and so, as is often the case in England, the landscape starts to change as the characteristic flatness of Cambridgeshire finally gives way to the bumps and hills of lovely Hertfordshire.

This watercolour is based on a photo I took as we sat at the top of a hill under the canopy of a beautiful old oak tree and gazed back across the estate towards the hall, which was hidden behind the distant tree line. In the far distance, the chalk ridge of the Chilterns provided a hazy blue backdrop to the vista. The wind coming from the south was blustery but quite warm too. We both laughed as Louie sat there in the wind, his big ears flapping as though he was about to take off!

Wimpole, watercolour in Fabriano Venezia sketchbook, 25cm x 18cm/10" x 7"

 And of course this post wouldn't be complete without a photo of Louie enjoying the view ... and the wind!

What a handsome Beagle I am :)
Have  a really lovely week and happy painting to you all :)

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sunburst finish

I love sunsets, especially the stunning ones we get here in Cambridgeshire which remind me very much of the ones from my childhood and teenage years when I lived up in Cheshire. I was travelling home last Saturday evening on the bus and just as the light was beginning to fade, the lower part of the sky seemed to have ignited across the flat landscape. These two watercolours were painted from my recollection of that journey home, relying on my memory of the colours I saw, but with the foreground landscape based largely on imagination. Happy weekend to you all!

Cambridgeshire sunset II, watercolour on Arches 300gsm/140lb Not, 180mm x 260mm/7" x 10"

Cambridgeshire sunset I, watercolour on Arches 300gsm/140lb Not, 260mm x 180mm/10" x 7"

Friday, 14 October 2011

The meadow - a quick sketch

I've not had a lot of time to sketch or paint this week. In fact today was the first time I've managed to get out again, so I took Louie the Beagle for a long walk to the local meadows, armed with a small sketchbook, a few pencils, and my watercolour paints. I sketched this scene first in graphite and it looked fine. I then added watercolour on the spot and that was a big mistake. It looked way too muddy so it went sraight under the tap when I got home! I added watercolour again and redrew the structure of the main trees with a dip pen. I'm a lot happier with how it looks now.

Happy painting and a wonderful weekend to you all!

Hartford Meadow, watercolour and pen, 4" x 8"

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The city of light (and love)

No, this wasn't a recent plein air experience - I wish! After spending our honeymoon around the Bay of Naples and Amalfi Coast, we decided that we loved Italy so much  that we just had to go back for a second time in 2003, just a year after our honeymoon. This time we decided that it had to be Venice and we were so glad we made that choice. After missing the connecting coach from Treviso airport on the mainland, we managed to find a very helpful young lady in the local cafe who spoke very good English, certainly better than our combined Italian lol,  and she helped us to find a local bus to the nearby railway station in the beautiful town of Treviso. The train journey into Venice was very comfortable and quick and just seemed like any other, although the view started to get interesting as we travelled across the causeway to Venice . It was only when we walked through the station doors at the other end that we knew we had arrived somewhere very special. Wham! Venice, the most beautiful, yet most fragile, city in the world,  in all its sunlit splendour, was the sight that greeted us ... we were enchanted.

For this painting I used a photograph of San Giorgio Maggiore, which sits at the entrance to the Grand Canal, taken from the water's edge below Piazza San Marco. 

Happy painting and my best wishes for a fabulous weekend to you all :)

San Giorgio Maggiore, watercolour on Arches 300gsm/140lb Not, 180mm x 260mm/7" x 10"