Sunday, 4 October 2015

The cats garden

I haven't posted for a long time. Partially because I was busy getting married (yeah!!), but also because I have been working on several commissions which I only have recently finished. One of them is for a lady (Jessica) that lives just a minute's walk from my house in Bath, and owns a beautiful garden with wild flowers and many cats. She wanted me to capture the wild beauty of her garden and I produced 4 paintings (two in plein air, and two from photographs) from different angles. I have just delivered the last paintings to her and she really loves them all which is a fantastic feeling for an artist. 

Below was the first painting I did. I liked the way the sun was hitting some leaves and flowers and just a little bit of the cat's fur. The door half open is inviting us to come in.

Teddy's stroll in the garden  10"x12"  oil on board

Detail - Teddy


Below is a picture Jessica took from the top floor while I was painting in the garden. 
Can you spot me??

The painting below has a rather moving story. This cat - called Bertie - is blind and he was lucky enough to be adopted by Jessica. He is attached to a pole because otherwise he would simply get lost in nature. But that way he can enjoy the garden and the fresh air. And in the house he is let free and can find his on way. He seemed so content and peaceful.

Bertie's corner  10"x12"  oil on board



The painting below shows the lovely shed in Jessica's garden, with the cat Jessie wondering around. I liked the reflections of the sky on the shed windows and the wild foliage making you feel like you're in the jungle. 

Jessie and the shed  10"x8"  oil on board 



Finally, the painting below depicts the entrance to the house. It was a hot sunny day and it felt like we could have been in the South of France.

Path to the house  14"x11"  oil on board

For those who would like an insight into my method, here is below the painting in progress:

Detail of the finished painting

Detail of the finished painting

I really enjoyed painting these and I'm so glad Jessica can enjoy them now in her house. She says that way, "it is always summer in the garden".

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Painting the Battle of Waterloo - reenactment 2015

Last month, I was in Belgium in my hometown to attend the very exciting reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo at the occasion of its bicentenary anniversary. My parents' house in Lasne is 10 minutes walk from the battlefields so this was an opportunity too good to be missed. The event was spread over 3 days with shows at night and visits to the bivouacs (campsites of the armies) during the day. I invited along my painter friend Tim King who has a passion for the Battle of Waterloo so he was very thrilled to be there too. We did some sketching on the spot and I only managed one oil painting in the bivouacs. But I got so inspired that I produced a series of paintings back home from various photographs. Here is below the result, displayed in my studio in Bath:

Let me go through each one...

The painting below was the only one I produced on the spot, although I did add some details back in the studio. I was in the allies bivouac with Tim and we spotted this great scene of the 9th company having a break with the view of the Lion Mount in the background. 

Waterloo 2015 reenactment - The 9th Sandham's company  16"x9"  oil on board

The set up

Tim and I borrowed some seats from one of the re-enactors' tent. People thought we were a part of the event because obviously at the time of the battle, photography hadn't been invented and painting would have been the only way to record things so it made sense for us to be there. A shame we weren't wearing traditional clothes!

We are surrounded, but we won't surrender!



The painting below was done from a photograph I took on that day in the bivouacs. This illustrates the whole atmosphere there: tourists walking amongst people casually wandering in army costumes. When you stop them to ask which army they are from, some of them tell you great stories about their lives as re-enactors, others will stay in character and pretend until the end they truly are the Duke of Wellington or Napoléon!

Waterloo 2015 reenactment - in the bivouacs  10"x12"  oil on board


The painting below is the view of the Lion's mount, from a photograph taken by my mum just minutes away from the house. Although this fits nicely with the Waterloo Battle theme, for me, this view simply reminds me of my childhood home.

Waterloo - The Lion's Mount  10"x8"  oil on board


The last three paintings below are depicting the atmosphere of the evening reenactment show, which I attended with Tim and my mum. It was so impressive to witness this battle live, see the smoke, hear the guns (and the screams!). 6000 re-enactors, 300 horses and 100 canons. It gives you a glimpse of what it must have been like at the time, and it is quite overwhelming!

Waterloo 2015 reenactment - in the fields  10"x8"  oil on board


Towards the end of the show, there was a beautiful sunset light, enhanced by the presence of smoke. I remember taking pictures, already eager to get back home in the studio and paint it...

Waterloo 2015 reenactment - sunset and smoke  10"x8"  oil on board


The painting below was done from a photograph taken by David Whitehead, one of the re-enactors I met while painting on the bivouacs. He kindly let me paint from his beautiful picture. In the background you can see the lights from the stands where the public was seating.

Waterloo 2015 reenactment - The 5th Hussars  16"x10.8"  oil on board




Below are the few sketches I did in the bivouacs. I must confess I very rarely sketch, but I had great fun doing these. I mainly stayed in the scottish campsite area because there was a great atmosphere. One of the re-enactors asked me if he could keep my drawing. I accepted and decided to give them all to the people I drew. After all, those drawings would have been forgotten in my drawer back home, but in their hands, they will be a great souvenir of their experience.

And finally, here are a few pictures of the event. Below is a picture of Tim and I leaving my parents' house and ready to head to the bivouacs. It was so nice to be able to cycle there and not worry about parking etc... My daughter Louisa waved us goodbye and had fun all day with her grandmother while we were gone painting...

Some pictures of the bivouacs:

Some pictures of the reenactment:

My mum, Tim and I

And finally some great pictures taken by my mum:

All the paintings above are for sale and can be shipped worldwide. To purchase, just press the buy now button or feel free to email me at if you have any questions or would like to purchased it framed.