Sunday, 21 September 2014

Painting in Provence - Part 1

Here are my first five paintings from my recent trip to the South of France at Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt near Aix en Provence. My family and I were really lucky to be able to stay in a beautiful house owned by my sister's in-laws. I took my painting kit just in case, thinking I might do a little painting or two. Well, I ended up doing 11 paintings during my week there, and I could have painted for a full year as the views and painting subjects were endless.

I loved painting in this part of France as it made me use different mixes of colours. Everything is a bit warmer, more contrasted and more colourful than in England. For this purpose I actually prepared all my boards with a terracotta background so the whole painting would look warmer.

Below is the first painting of the trip, a view towards the vignards and distant village.

The vignards (1) - Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt  10"x8"  oil on board

My set up


I then decided to do a painting from the back of the house, behind the swimming pool. I felt quite brave painting in the heat while I could hear the others having a swim!

The house behind the trees  10"x12"  oil on board

As you can see below, my tripod broke so I ended up putting the box on my lap and using the tripod to keep the lid up (any excuse to sit down really).

Detail of the finished painting

Below is an other painting of the house and the surrounding views. It was painted from the courtyard where we would have lunch under the trees.

View from the courtyard - Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt  14"x10" oil on board


And below is the view towards the village 'Saint Saturnin'. It is built in that lovely warm stone. Looking at the painting, it could almost be mistaken for Bath!

Views towards Saint-Saturnin  10"x12" oil on board

For this painting I used a board with texture which enhanced the chalkiness of the highlights.


And finally, this was painted from one of the balconies of the house. This subject had a natural striking composition, with the path swirling between the trees and leading to the houses at the top.

View from the balcony - Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt  7"x11"  oil on board


I will post soon the remaining six paintings of the trip. But meanwhile I'm off to Norfolk later this week for a plein air painting competition/exhibition ( I hope to see some of you there!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Painting the river Avon

Here is a recent painting I did of the river Avon in Bath. I set up at the bridge of the busy roundabout by the bus and train station. This beautiful scene caught my eyes so I had to stop and paint it.

The Avon, Bath, near the train station  10"x12"  oil on board

I could feel in my back the look of bored drivers queuing in the traffic, pleased to have some free entertainment available! Next time I'll try to juggle balls of fire with one hand while painting with the other to give them a full show!

It was a sunny but cloudy day which is the hardest type of weather for painting in plein air, because the light constantly changes and you have to choose to paint either the sunny or cloudy scene and stick to it. See below the two photographs taken seconds apart which shows the dramatic difference of light and colours.

Unsurprisingly I picked the sunny scene. Here is below the result after the first blocking stage.

That's me in action. On the right you can see my devoted bike,
 kindly waiting for me to finish the painting

Detail of the finished painting

Below is a quick study I did one evening just around the corner where I live. The subject is a bit random, almost abstract. I remember my baby daughter had a grumpy day so I felt quite on the edge and left home to paint as soon as my partner arrived from work. There is such a nice feeling about getting out to paint. My material is in a small suitcase so it even feels like going on a mini holiday! I remember painting the first thing I saw. The subject didn't matter, I just needed to paint! I came back home a couple of hours later with my little painting and my newly found sanity!

Path in evening light  10"x8"  oil on board

half way through...


I just came back from a holiday in the south of France so I will be posting my paintings here soon.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Commission for an allotment

Here are a few more allotment paintings done for a commission for a lady that owns a plot in Bath. Someone recently asked me what an allotment is. It's quite common in the UK; it's a wide communal space divided into private sections (plots) that people can rent on a yearly basis to grow their fruits, vegetable and flowers.

The paintings below are all of the same plot, just from a different angle and time of day. I really enjoyed doing these. I'm meeting the client next week. I hope she likes them!

This one below was done in afternoon. I liked the turquoise corrugated shed against the striking Bath views.

Monksdale road allotments 14c2 in the afternoon  10"x10"  oil on board


This one was done in the evening. I liked the soft warm evening light.

Monksdale road allotments 14c2 in the evening  16"x9" oil on board


And this one was done in the morning crisp light. Contrast were strong and shadows and edges were sharp and clean. I think this is my favourite one.

Monksdale road allotments 14c2 in the afternoon  10"x7" oil on board


After 30 minutes 

Half way through

The final result

Monday, 25 August 2014

Pintar Rapido event in London

Better late than never, here is my post about the Pintar Rapido event which I attended in London last month. 400 artists turned up on the day. The principle was to come at the reception on Saturday morning with a white canvas they stamp at the back, then painting in the street of Chelsea, before returning the work by the evening for the show and competition prizes on the next day.

It was such an exciting event for me to attend. Although I must say painting quiet allotments in the Bath countryside didn't quite prepare me for the busy city. I left home in my summer sandals in the pouring rain at 6am wondering what on earth I was doing. As I arrived at destination, I felt a bit like in an episode of 'Mr Bean goes to London': just as I got off the train and was thinking "London, here I come!" I got stuck with all my kit in the automatic door and got to be freed by a chuckling member of staff...

But then luck showed its face as the rain made room for the sun. Here is below the first painting I did on that day, which happened to be the one I presented for the show. I found a nice little spot looking at Battersea Bridge:

Battersea Bridge in the morning  11"x14"  oil on board


Afterwards, the sun properly came out and there was a lovely hazy shimmering light reflecting on the water so I decided to paint the view from Battersea Bridge toward Chelsea Harbour.

View towards Chelsea Harbour  11"x14"  oil on board


Then finally, in the late afternoon I did my last painting of the day, only a few meters away from my previous spots, this time looking at Battersea Bridge from the distance. I just loved the golden evening light sparkling on the water:

Battersea Bridge in late afternoon  16"x9" oil on board


I then headed back to the exhibition centre to drop my painting. It seems Mr Bean was back in the room... After dropping my painting on the floor, losing my paperwork, and taking half the hall space to frame my work, I finally managed to hand in my painting and then enjoyed a well deserved drink with fellow artists.

Here are below some pictures of the beautiful venue on the next day at the exhibition, with some of my favourite paintings on show:

Paul Weaver

Haidee-Jo Summers (if it was up to me, this would have been the winner!)

Tom Hughes

David Pilgrim

And me!

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to sign up for an other plein air painting event in Norfolk in September. Norfolk, here I come!