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.


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


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!


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.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Morning hot air balloon ride over Bath

I recently got the chance to go on a hot air balloon ride. What an amazing experience! And what better place to do this than flying over the gorgeous city of Bath. It was a beautiful sunny morning in August. We took off from Victoria Park and flew over the city, then Bradford-on-Avon, and finally landed in a farmer's field in Trowbridge. Now, before you get the wrong idea, no - I didn't take my easel and brushes on board. I might paint quickly, but I'm not speedy Gonzales. However, I took several photographs during the flight and did many little studies back in my studio. I just love it when I get inspired by a series/concept and paint various paintings with a theme in mind. Here is below the result, the paintings are shown in the chronological order from the flight:

Morning hot air balloon ride - the back of Marlborough Buildings  10"x6"  oil on board


Morning hot air balloon ride - The Royal Crescent  10"x8"  oil on board


Morning hot air balloon ride - The Circus  10"x8" oil on board


Morning hot air balloon ride - overlooking Bath  10"x8"  oil on board


Morning hot air balloon ride - countryside between Bath and Bradford-on-Avon  10"x8"  oil on board


Morning hot air balloon ride - fields near Bradford-on-Avon  10"x8"  oil on board


I have done these paintings gradually during the last three months and I might do more in the future, or maybe scale up some of them as this is a subject that really inspires me.

Below here are a few photographs taken at take off and during the flight.

The happy crew - I'm at the back on the left with my partner Jon

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Lunch at the Pump Room, Bath

I haven't posted for a while but actually I have been busy painting painting painting! I have been working on a series of paintings of Bath seen from the hot air balloon, and also did some plein air painting in Bradford on Avon and in Bristol. I will post all this very soon!

Meanwhile, here is a painting of the Pump Room in Bath done for a commission. This is such a beautiful building and impressive room. You can see the fountain near the window where people can taste the hot spa water which has been used in Bath for curative purposes for two thousand years and was the reason behind the famous Roman Baths.

Lunch at the Pump Room, Bath  10"x8"  oil on board



Sunday, 5 October 2014

Painting the Broads in Norfolk

I just came back a few days ago from a fantastic painting trip in Norfolk. It was a 4 days plein air event/competition. Beautifully organised, lovely people, amazing landscapes and subject matters, and fantastic weather. And to make all this even better, I'm happy to announce I have won the first prize of the show alongside the first prize for the Norwich quick draw event. I couldn't be happier!

Here is below the painting that won the first prize. 

Boats at Hickling, late afternoon  16"x9" oil on board

I really enjoyed painting this. I set up on the path leading to the pub and had a nice chat with people walking pass. The pub owner even brought me a nice cup of tea which helped me finish the painting. The late afternoon sun made some lovely reflections on the water.

My set up

The finished painting

Detail of the finished painting

Below is a painting done close by in the morning. I had fun painting the sky and reflections on the water.

Morning light, Hickling  12"x10" oil on board


I discovered a lovely spot near Horsey one evening and started this little painting below. I could only paint 30 minutes until the end of the sunset so I came back the next day a bit earlier to finish it. The place was beautiful and tranquil, which I have tried to convey in the painting.

Evening reflections at Horsey  8"x10"  oil on board

The painting after the first session

The painting after the second session on the next day


On the Sunday, there was the Norwich Quick draw competition, where all artists were required to produce a painting of the city of Norwich in two hours maximum. We all had to gather when the time was up to make sure nobody was going over the allowed time. The warm stone building of the Academy of Arts against the lovely greens caught my eyes. I'm happy to say I won the prize with the painting below.

Norwich University of the Arts, St Georges Street  12"x9" oil on board

The finished painting

The view

All artists were wearing the special event cap to be easily spotted by the public. (Although having a brush in a hand and standing in front of an easel is quite a big clue already!)

Adding some highlights to the street

Detail of the finished painting

Below is a painting done in the countryside near Horsey. I was on my way there when I spotted this beautiful rural scene and felt the urge to paint it. I love painting greens so this subject is really my cup of tea! I painted the sheep as simply as possible so they would naturally merge into the background.

Sheep near Horsey 12"x10" oil on board

My set up


After the boats and the sheep, I decided to head to Winterton beach, a beautiful sandy beach where Seago has painted masterpieces. What a beautiful place. I painted three paintings there; one long view of the beach and sea, one study of the dunes, and a little study of a group of people wearing white tshirts building a sandcastle.

Winterton Beach  16"x9" oil on board


Dunes, Winterton Beach  10"x8" oil on board


Sandcastle and white tshirts, Winterton Beach  10"x7" oil on board

Detail (on the left: a little girl with her big balloon)

Finally, here are four of my paintings framed ready for the show on Monday night. 

I couldn't stay for the show as I was needed back home for baby duty, but I got the phone call on that evening to let me know I won the prize!

Posing in front of my paintings as I delivered them in the morning

I would recommend to any plein air painter to register to next year's event ('A brush with the Broads' www.abrushwiththebroads.co.uk). It is great fun and a wonderful place to paint.