Monday, 16 February 2015

Summer fair, Brighton

Some of you might have noticed I haven't painted much lately. I have been caught in wedding planning duties which is rather fun but it temporarily sent my painting blog to hibernation. However, despite the inactivity, I'm happily surprised to see I have quite a few new followers on blogger and Facebook. I'm now back at the easel so welcome all of you and I hope you'll enjoy my new posts.

I have been working in the studio lately because it has been a bit too cold to paint outside for my taste. When looking for studio work ideas, I have found a great website that gives images free of copyright for artists (www.photos4artists.co.uk). I prefer painting from life or from my own pictures but there is an element of fun about picking a picture from that website and see what you can do with it...

Below is my painting of a summer fair in Brighton. I loved the lights in the merry-go-round and the colourful highlights of people's clothes bathed in sunlight.


Summer fair, Brighton  18"x14"   oil on board


Below is the original photograph found on www.photos4artists.co.uk. I decided to crop it because I didn't want the merry-go-round to be in the middle of the composition.




Here are a couple of close-up details below. 

Detail





Detail

Lastly I just wanted to say that I will be doing a joined show in Bradford on Avon on the 2,3,4 May this year. I'll be posting more info soon but you can already save the date!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Lao - tubing on Nam Song river

A good friend of mine got married just over a year ago and my wedding present was the promise of a painting done from one of their honeymoon pictures. At her return from the trip, she chose a photograph of the moment they were tubing in those big buoys in Lao on the Nam Song river. This looks like fun to me! Here is the result:


Lao - tubing on Nam Song river  12"x10"  oil on board


Detail

I just heard from them and they love it so I'm very happy too. Talking about wedding, apologies for not posting much this month. The truth is, I have been busy trying wedding dresses! Indeed, I'm getting married this summer! I'm hoping to get back at the easel soon but there always seems to be something to do to prepare for the big day! 

Monday, 5 January 2015

A view from the garden to keep forever...

A friend of mine recently commissioned me to paint the view from her parents' house. They were just about to move house and kept saying how much they will miss the view and wished they could take it with them. Well, she made their dreams come true (ish) by giving them this painting for Christmas!

Apparently they were really pleased with it, which is always good news.

The view from the garden  8"x10"  oil on board


Detail


Detail


I'm now taking commissions orders for 2015 so just send me an email at valpirlot1@hotmail.com if there is painting idea you have in mind...

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Cloud study

The cold weather, short days and christmas preparations stopped me from doing any plein air painting this month but I managed to have some fun in the studio. I found a photograph of a beautiful sky taken years ago while on holiday in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. I decided to have a go at it and here is the result:

Cloud Study - beach in Fuerteventura  18"x11"  oil on board


Detail


That's it for this year. Let me wish you all a wonderful Christmas and fantastic new year. I hope all your dreams come true, that you are surrounded with love and that you succeed in everything you undertake. See you next year for more painting adventures!


All paintings on this blog are for sale. Visit www.valeriepirlot.com for prices and availability and contact me by email at valpirlot1@hotmail.com for queries.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Painting the Bristol Harbourside for the SOTA competition

I have spent most of the last month getting ready for The SOTA Prize exhibition at the Harbourside Arts Centre in Bristol. It is an art competition with multiple prizes for paintings depicting the Harbourside area in Bristol. I have just delivered my 4 paintings yesterday, so fingers crossed!

I spent two full days painting in Bristol and did some studio work too back home. Below is the first painting I did on a sunny Friday morning. I set up at the Waterfront Square, trying to capture a vibrant mix of boats, buildings and people. 


Waterfront Square, Bristol Harbourside  16"x9"  oil on board


Detail


The view I was painting


As you can see below, I primed my board with a pink background colour as I found the crisp autumn light had touches of pink in it and I wanted this to show through the finished painting.


I'm still wearing my Norfolk 'Brush with the Broads" competition cap!


First stage = blocking the colours in

Second stage= refining the edges

I didn't manage to finish the painting on the spot because the sun then disappeared and all the colours, values, contrasts are different when it's cloudy. Fortunately I had made good progress and the only things needed were details (such as the boats ropes, a few extra people, a couple of sails, etc...) which is easy to add in the studio from photograph references and memory.

Below here is a little trick if you have a wet painting but didn't bring your wet painting carrier: just clip a bulldog clip to a blank painting of the same size, and attach them together with a rope or tape so it doesn't move. This leaves just enough space for the painting to be protected.





After a nice break at a local café - where I got the chance to show off my french accent by ordering a 'pain au chocolat' - I went back outside looking for a spot for a second painting. On my left was the famous Brunel's SS Great Britain ship. It surely would make a great painting but I decided to go for something simpler and settled for this view of boats looking towards the Pump house. 


View towards the Pumphouse / Bristol Harbourside  14"x11"  oil on board


By then it was quite overcast but the colours in the water and trees had lost none of their intensity and I had great fun painting the details on the boats. As you can see below, I decided to prepare my board with a muted beige background to go with the cloudy atmosphere.


Quick drawing


Adding the colours


Starting to add the details


Detail of the finished painting



I came back two days later to produce an other two paintings. For my first one, I set up on Princes Street Bridge looking towards the Waterfront Square, painting the same boat as I did on Friday morning, but from the other side.

View from Prince St Bridge, Bristol Harbourside  16"x9"  oil on board


There was such a wonderful light. But gosh it was windy! I had to keep one hand on the board to prevent it from being blown away. One guy looked at me and said "you know it is only going to get worse, they forecast even more wind this afternoon!" That's the kind of supportive comment every plein air artist needs! :-)


The view from where I was


The first stage - the pink background is still showing through but it will gradually disapear


Holding my painting so it doesn't end up in the water!



Before adding the details

Again, I simply couldn't add the details of the boats here because it was too windy to do so. I usually finish my paintings on the spot but it is simply not always possible. In those cases, what matters to me is to get the essence of the place, the right tones and colours, and only focus on details at the studio.


Detail of the finished painting



For my second painting of the day, I painted the view towards the M Shed (a museum located on Prince's Wharf beside the floating harbour). I did find a good shelter from the wind so I managed to finish this one without interruption. I was quite pleased with the result.


The M Shed - Bristol Harbourside  14"x11"  oil on board



The view from where I stood


working on a pink background again


The sun came out and brought great highlights to the scene

Detail of the finished painting



I have always been told I don't paint enough on large scale canvas. So, I thought this might be a good opportunity to do so. Indeed I decided to do a studio version of the first painting I did. (Waterfront Square). As you can see below, I reproduced the drawing on a larger canvas and kept looking at the original painting (on the bottom shelve) and the computer which had the same image with a grid.




Then I started blocking the colours in (you can see the original plein air painting on the small easel):



Towards the end:



And below here is the result. I have entered this painting for the show instead of the small one. This is for me the best way to work on large formats. I couldn't have painted such a large painting in plein air, but I couldn't have achieved this result from only a photograph. 


Waterfront Square, Bristol Harbourside (studio version)  60cmx40cm  oil on board


Here are below my three smaller paintings ready for the show. I'm extremely grateful for my father in law who prepared the beautiful frames for me!





The show opens on the 6th of December in the afternoon at the Harbourside Arts Centre (Millennium Parade, Bristol BS1 5TY) and will run until the end of December. Click here for more info.
So do come along if you are in Bristol!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Day out painting in Bradford-on-Avon

I have lived in Bath for almost 10 years and yet I had never got around to go and paint in the lovely town of Bradford-on-Avon... until last month. People call it the "mini Bath"because it is as pretty and vibrant, but on a smaller scale. Obviously, I don't mean this is a little hobbit town with miniature cars, houses and people, although actually the streets are so narrow that they are probably better suited for elves and horses than 4x4 and family cars...

For my first painting I decided to paint the famous Old Town Bridge. The oldest parts of it date from the 13th Century. The tower I have painted here was known as a 'blind house' and was a lock up for the drunk and disorderly in the 17th Century. If those walls could talk!


The Old Town Bridge, Bradford-on-Avon  12"x10"  oil on board


I loved the autumn colours of the leaves reflecting in the water and the sun shining on the warm stone.

Detail

I set up at the back of a café to get the best view of the bridge. I know, any excuse for a slice of cake really.





My painting towards the end



Detail




For my second painting of the day, I wanted to get some street action and this scaffolding in the sunlight in Silver Street caught my eye. I loved how the buildings shadow naturally breaks the painting in two areas (light and dark) and I liked the rhythm of the curved street. The lady in red walking her dog was the perfect final touch to lead the viewer into the painting.


Scaffoldings on Silver street, Bradford-on-Avon  12"x10"  oil on board


For this one I ran out of time as the light was moving quickly so I had to finish it at home and add the details in the studio.




The set up wasn't easy because the pavement was rather narrow, and I tend to spread all my stuff everywhere, in a true artistic messy style. So I had to behave myself, stay close to the wall and prays nobody trips on my tripod and sue me for dangerous set up! Thankfully, I only received good reactions. I even got offered a cup of tea by the lovely Estate Agent people, which seems rather nice since I was restricting the access to their window and greeting any approaching client with the threat to be covered in paint!







Detail


I'm hoping to paint again in Bradford-on-Avon soon and I'm already looking forward to our joint show with two fellow artists (Bob Child and Andrew Taylor) at the Tithe Barn on 2-3-4 May 2015. Save the date! More info to follow soon on this blog.

All paintings on this blog are for sale. Visit www.valeriepirlot.com for prices and availability and contact me by email at valpirlot1@hotmail.com for queries.