Saturday, 18 July 2015

Hougoumont Appeal At The Mall Galleries

This is just by way of a 'diary entry' to record the display I set up in the North Gallery during the Armed Forces Art Society's show, which ends today at the Mall Galleries.

The twin cabinets

The Waterloo Side

Quatre Bras, Ligny and Hougoumont

I was pleased with the way this panned out as I think it added extra interest to the art show and may generate more donations to the restoration work.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

May in Cornwall

I have recently returned from a great week with David Pilgrim, Michael Richardson and Michael Worthington in Sennen.  We stayed at Atlantic Lodge, our usual place, and the companionship, locations and atmosphere were as brilliant as ever.

We drove down on the 15th and just had time for a little evening study before drifting into The Old Success for our first pint.

Rocks and Waves, Sennen 10x8
On the 16th we took some time to 'bed in' and I felt particularly rusty.  After two early morning studies I clambered down the descent gully of Pedn Men Du at low tide so that I could catch a profile of the Irish Lady rock in front of Land's End.

Land's End From Irish Lady 10x12

While I was there several groups of climbers came down the gully and seemed surprised to find me at the bottom of the cliff.  I was tempted to join them for a route on Pedn Men Du as I had my boots, harness and helmet to hand but the pull of the Irish Lady was too great.

Our last painting of the day caught the atmosphere near the stone jetty.

Crashing Waves, Sennen 10x12

On the 17th we decided to venture further afield, starting at Mousehole. This is one of three studies I did in the morning:

Three Boats, Mousehole 10x12
 After a final session trying to capture St Michael's Mount in poor light at Perranuthnoe we headed home.

On the 18th the wind began to rise and gales were forecast.  However the weather was fine so we ventured over to Porthchapel where I did two more paintings:

Porthchapel from the Eastern Cliff 10x14
PorthchapelFromTheChapel 8x10
The wind was still rising as we returned home but David and I decided to brave the weather at the stone jetty in Sennen and try to capture something of the gale.  We stood behind the harbour-front wall, tied or stuck everything together and painted with spray misting our glasses and waves crashing over the jetty below us.  It was an exhilarating experience and both of us had that feeling of 'flow' when you are in the moment trying desperately to nail the scene despite the ridiculously difficult conditions.  
Gale Force, Sennen 10x14
The wind was still blowing hard from the North the next day (19th) so we decided to head for the South side of the West Penwith peninsula.  Michael W and I parked at Treen and walked down to Penberth cove through a delightful wood full of Spring flowers.  As we had hoped the wind was not so strong on this side and when Mike R joined us we had a good day's painting there,  I tried a little contre jour view looking out from the cove first:
View From Penberth 10x8
That was OK but I then got more into the groove looking from cliffs high up on the East side towards Logan's Rock:
Towards Logan's Rock, Penberth 12x10
Finally I tried a quickie from the other side of the cove:
Eastern Rocks, Penberth 10x8
The wind was still howling when we got back to Sennen and David and tried a reprise of our experience the previous evening.  We were a little later starting so I tried a 8x14 'letterbox' of the waves, with the jetty just showing on the right:
The Waves, Sennen Cove 8x14
There was still just about time to get in a 5th painting and I had another go at the jetty:
Force 7 Sennen Cove 10x14
By the next morning (20th)  the wind had died and we headed out to the North side, first to the valley that runs from Kenidjack to the sea.  From here you get a lovely view of Cape Cornwall:

Cape Cornwall 11x15
We then went to Pendeen with the idea of a view to Levant with the Enys rock in it but everything seemed very grey as the view towards Levant and Botallack was directly contre jour .  Mike R went down to the cove on the other side, I wandered round the lighthouse area, Mike W tried a study above the cove and David found a very windy spot above the zawn that separated the Watch from the Enys. The others settled but I was still without a subject.  In desperation I decided to flop down, look out to sea and just paint whatever was in front of me:
From Pendeen Watch 14x10
After lunch we headed down to the cove again for yet another wave study - this time with a rising tide:
 Incoming Tide Sennen 10x12
A quick sunset sketch and then we dived into that wonderful refuge, the Old Success.

Our final day started mild and fine.  I walked down a little way from the Lodge and painted the seaside cottages above Sennen beach:

Seaside Cottages Sennen 11x14
Then I moved further back and nearer the lodge for this view:
Sennen Cove From Sunny Corner 11x14
David and I then went to Mousehole again for a final boat study but mine was a 'wiper' and even when we returned I could not manage more than a small study of the beach and tide.  So, after 25 paintings in 6 days I was more or less 'painted out' and ready for our final evening meal in the Old Success.  

I would recommend Atlantic Lodge.  We cook for each other, play art DVDs on the non-pub evenings, use the utility room for 'gungy' jobs and store our wet panels temporarily in the outhouse round the back. I think it now has 4 'bits', the oldest being 'Victoria' where we stay.  I guess that Tracy will be giving 'Victoria' a makeover at the end of this year or in 2016 because although everything works it is a little dated compared to the other properties.  I love the fact that you can hire more than one 'bit'and make them interconnected. Anyway all the details are on the web site.  If I had the time I would go again tomorrow.

On the 18th the wind rose sharply and 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Back To The Blog With The Backlog

Yes, I am the worst blogger on the planet, possibly the universe.  I just didn't think there was anything worth writing about in the period leading up to Christmas yet my diary tells me I was very busy.  I must have been quite active because at one point I was working on 41 paintings at once!  I think that most of them were experiments with acrylic transfer techniques and have now been consigned to the recycle bin but some were more successful.

I had the usual fun time at the ROI Art Event evening in December but had a difficult pitch because I was painting Adebanji looking straight at me.

Adebanji At The Mall Galleries

The brushwork is terrible but I caught something of his sterner side I think.

I then had a really lean period doing my accounts and those of our local sewage plant!  At the end of January Tim Benson sent me an invitation to a Winsor and Newton study day at the V&A with Paul, their outreach officer, showing us what pigments and supports were available to Constable and giving us the chance to use some of them like Lead White and Rose Madder Genuine.  We also had a go at reproducing our own Constable using those early C19th paints before looking at the last day of the Constable show:

Sketch After Constable 10x12
I have also been planning two large paintings for the AFAS contemporary show this summer:  Hunters In The Snow (afer Pieter Brueghel Elder) and Rendezvous Manqué.  Both are based on WW1.  The trial piece for Hunters is crude but I think the full size painting will work:
Sketch for Hunters In The Snow
Rendezvous Manqué was going to be based on the Battle of Loos as it is the centenary this year but I wanted particular gas masks to be worn by the British and German soldiers and I feel sure that these types only came in later in the war:
Concept Sketch 2 for RV Manqué
The two figures are separated in later sketches (the German is put further back as well) and I hope somehow in the full sized version to give the viewer the sense of men floundering around in a gas attack.  These creations based on ideas rather than observation involve endless experimentation and it may be another month before I settle on a final design.

I have also managed two or three days out, painting on Otmoor below our village:

The New Hide, Otmoor 9x11
Reed Beds, Otmoor 7x9
I have also been doing a series of still life paintings in the early morning but using a crude 'light box'.  Here are some of them.  The Narcissi gradually died on me but as they drooped the shapes were possibly more interesting than when they were upright.

Narcissi in The Delft Vase 1
Narcissi in The Delft Vase 2
Narcissi in The Delft Vase 3
Cobalt Vase and Pinks
Galanthus 'Merlin' and Waterloo Lion
Last Thursday I went to the Pastel Society (PS) evening and chose to paint the guitarist David Buckingham.  Difficult as he was playing or talking all the time and I have not worked in pastels for a while.  I started the Kimono lady, thinking I had an hour but we were stopped after 15 minutes!  The PS are not as organised as the ROI but it's early days and I am sure they will get there.

Vuillard was right - the most important item in the studio is the chair.  Full concentration on one's work from across the room really does find the faults.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Return of the Native

At last I have a new machine and super-fast broadband.  Yes, fibre has come to sleepy Beckley.  It is wonderful to load Facebook almost instantly but  now I can see it properly I have been staggered by what is on it.  You could spend all day wandering through the labyrinth.

And so to the inevitable backlog.  Some of my painting pals must be wondering if I was with them on the Norfolk trip in September - yes folks it was me, the Old Git out on the mud with you!

We had a great time over those five days and I fell in love with the NW Norfolk coast.  Even the mud was interesting.  Seven Brits and 2 Americans, plus John Dobbs who came up to paint on the 19th.

Some of our valuable time was spent visiting Sandringham where we each spent a fortune only to be underwhelmed by the show of Seago paintings.  Nothing wrong with Mr Seago of course but we know how good his works in the Royal Collection are and we felt a little short-changed by the quantity on show and many were not his best.  Still any Seago exhibition is always instructive and it was a pleasant way to spend a dull afternoon.

Messrs Dobbs, Dakin, Terry, Bachmann and Connelly at Morston

David Pilgrim and Karl Terry working on the mud
My first efforts were on Wednesday 17 September, at Burnham - where we were staying - and then at Brancaster.

Slack Tide, Burnham Overy Staithe 8x10

Blue and white Boat, Brancaster 10x8

The next day we started at Burnham again.  In fact we just walked out of our kitchen at the Old Almhouses and started:

Early Morning, Burnham Overy 12x10

Then off to Brancaster again.  My first one was a 'wiper' and I wasn't too sure about this view either but it seems to have paid off.

Green Boat, Brancaster 8x15

Actually I liked this so much I enlarged it in the studio:

Green Boat, Brancaster 12x20

The 19th was dull and misty so we painted mud at Morston.  There was plenty of it as we were in the neaps while we were there and the low tides were really low:

Low Tide Morston 10x14

Our trip to Blakeney on the 19th was interesting but I was unhappy with my choice of subject.  Somewhere in the week I also painted more at Burnham.  All these are from very near our accommodation.

Low Tide Burnham 8x10

Five Boats, Burnham 8x10

Looking Back At Burnham Overy 8x15

Mike Richardson made a splendid job of the famous Crab Hut at Brancaster but my effort was pretty scrappy.  I would love to paint it again in decent weather.

The Crab Hut - After Rain  10x14

On the final morning, after everyone else had left, David Pilgrim and I installed ourselves in the picture window of the second floor bedroom at Burnham and did 'plein air' from indoors.  We were cheating of course but we had had enough of fighting the weather and we could sit with a hot coffee to hand and paint at our ease.  We both did 2 versions of the scene looking out NW over the flats. David's second one was a tour de force of quick, bold work and I am sure it is going to find its way into a show if it hasn't already.  I was quite pleased with both of mine but could have worked much bigger, as David did.

From The Window1, Burnham 10x14

From The Window2 10x14

Must go there again!

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Back Log 5 - Pintar Rapido

Once again this was a very enjoyable day, when I saw many of my painting friends on the streets of Chelsea.  We have all been pretty busy lately and it was good to catch up on news and paint together.  I met up with Valérie Pirlot first and then we found David Pilgrim down by the river.  I had actually arrived super-early so had done this little 10x8 opposite Gail's bakery in the Kings Road:

Gail's 10x8
David and I tried a river scene on the East side of the Albert Bridge whilst Valérie went up river and painted near the next bridge.  This was the one I submitted for the show on Sunday.  I told the organisers that it was an oil but they still managed to smudge the whole of the central portion!  I will clean it up some day.

Bunting By The Albert Bridge 8x10
David and I then moved to Carlisle Place where we found a shady spot in the corner of the square:

Carlisle Place 8x10
That was it for Saturday 19 July.  On Sunday 20th I was heavily involved with handing out our show from the Mall Galleries, including a long walk with a heavy bronze that I had promised to collect for a customer.  I had stayed at the Union Jack Club near Waterloo and by 6am I was painting on the Embankment side of the river.

Early Morning Near Embankment Station 12x8
I then went to the gallery but by 2pm we had finished the handing-out and I was able to get back to Chelsea.  I tried one of the Albert Bridge from Rober Falcon Scott's house in Oakley Street:

Albert Bridge From Oakley Street 10x8
My final painting was from West of the Albert Bridge looking looking up river contre jour.  The painting itself is a lot more colourful than this rather bleached out image:

Towards Chelsea Harbour from the Embankment 10x8
I really enjoyed getting back to 'proper' painting, despite being very rusty and the incredibly hot weather.  I did not sell my painting in Sunday's show but several of my friends did - Haidee Joe Summers, Mo Teeuw, Tom Hughes and others.  It was also good to meet up with Chris Miers, Roy Connelly, David Bachmann. Pauline Hazelwood and Paul Rafferty plus many new acquaintances.  Despite her new role as mother of little Louisa I think Valérie had lost none of her touch and her painting of the river from next to Battersea Bridge was probably my 'fave' with the two that David did being the usual gems.  My money was on Haidee for the big prize but I am not sure who got it.  There is always next year - or Pintar Rapido Amsterdam!