Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Paintings from my sister's Instagram pictures...

While looking for studio work inspiration, I remembered my sister's beautiful pictures on Instagram. She currently lives in South Africa with her family and takes magical photographs of her three beautiful daughters in their daily lives. I won't post the original photographs as I like to leave a bit of mystery, but here is the result below. I ended up doing three paintings and I really enjoyed it. I love the green colourful summery feeling about them, which is a nice change from the wet and cold weather we are having here in England. 

My partner and I have just returned from a trip to Johannesburg to visit them and I took the three paintings in the plane with me to give them as a present for having us. They loved the paintings and we had such a wonderful time.

The first painting below is from my niece (and goddaughter) Aliénor's 8th birthday party. This little group of girls opening presents in the shade, surrounded by cushions and bunting is just too cute. I loved the way the trees are framing the scene and I liked the point of view taken from above. 

Aliénor's birthday - Johannesburg  11"x11"  oil on board

Here are a few of images of the progress of the painting:

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

In the group of girls, Aliénor is the one opening the present with her head looking down. Her sister Colombine is seating back at us wearing purple and turning her head towards us, and her little sister Aprilia is on the far right of the painting, probably making a move to run on the grass.

Detail of the finished painting

Detail of the finished painting

Below is a painting of Aliénor playing with balloons during her birthday party. I just loved her position here and her subtle expression. She is an amazing little girl, sweet and sensitive, and this painting summarises it to me.

Aliénor on her 8th birthday  11"x11"  oil on board

Here are a couple of images of the progress of the painting:

First stage - the drawing

Adding the colours

Detail of the finished painting

Detail of the finished painting

And below are the three sisters on holiday looking at the beautiful South African scenery. The view is breathtaking. I would love to paint there! I loved the warm light shining through the whole scene and reflecting on the girls' dresses.

My three nieces in South Africa  11"x11" oil on board

Here are a few of images of the progress of the painting:

First stage - the drawing

I had a little help from my mini assistant!

After blocking in all the colours

Detail of the finished painting

Detail (Aliénor)

Detail (Colombine)

Detail (Aprilia)

For information about commissions, don't hesitate to contact me
by email

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 ( 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 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. 



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


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



I'm now taking commissions orders for 2015 so just send me an email at 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


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 for prices and availability and contact me by email at 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


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!