Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dorset Coast At Easter

We had a great time based at Jackie and Dave Hall's house near Blandford - David Bachmann, David Pilgrim, Valerie Pirlot and that old chap with the glasses.  The weather was either lovely or lousy but we made the best of it, each doing a dozen paintings over the 4 days.

On Good Friday, David P (our driver), Valerie and I dumped the kit at Jackie's and headed straight for Handfast Point and Old Harry rocks.  I worked against the light for the first one, looking towards Swanage and then had a less successful attempt at Old Harry with the tide out.  The others plunged straight in with Old Harry, which was probably a better decision.

Handfast Point Against The Light

Valerie working with the light.  You need the umbrella to shade the canvas, otherwise there is a danger that the painting will be too dark.

David Pilgrim at Handfast Point - note the use of the umbrella for shade, again

The next day I led us on a fruitless trip round Holes Bay and Poole, until we decided to cut loose and head for the car park above Durdle Door.  Just as expensive as Lulworth but a much shorter walk.  Two paintings later we decided that this would be a great location for Easter Day, so headed back there on the Sunday with David Bachmann who had arrived from Seville on the Saturday.

                                            Back of Durdle Door - Saturday Afternoon

                                            The Downs above Lulworth, Holy Saturday
We blitzed the place on Sunday, each doing 5 paintings.  The crowds were amazing.  I had not realised that this part of my beloved County had become so popular.

                          Swyre Head and Bat's Head from above Durdle Door, Easter Sunday

                                                           Durdle Door, Easter Day
Easter Monday was a washout but we each struggled with an oil sketch of Lyme harbour.  I felt like throwing mine in the sea afterwards: the others fared much better.  We headed back to a big log fire and Richard Pikesley and Ken Howard on DVD in the afternoon. 

                                          David Bachmann and Valerie sheltering at Lyme
At this point the others were probably becoming bemused by the possibility that I might be related to half the county.  I still have loads of relatives in Dorset.  Dairy farmers and dairymen moved round inside the county but not generally outside it, inter-marrying all the time, so that by my generation we were connected to dozens of Dorset farming folk.  A few escaped to the New World: I still get e-mails from Deb Palmer-Redfern in Kentucky, with whom I share a GGGGG Grandfather.  There are no lords and ladies in any of my lines: I am a true paysan!

                                            Dorset Peasant Painting In The Rain, Lyme
On Monday night, whilst packing, Mr Pilgrim and Mlle Pirlot made the brave decision that we should head off very early in the morning, not home but for Old Harry because the weather would be fine until lunchtime.  What a brilliant choice.  The 4 of us did two paintings each of the brilliantly lit stacks with chalky water swirling beneath them before rain threatened. 

                                                     Old Harry, Tuesday Morning

Old Harry, Noon on Tuesday

We dashed back and just got Valerie onto her train from Salisbury.  David, who had driven at least 500 miles already, then took me home.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Long Time No Post!

The sap is rising: it is time to throw off the Winter blues and welcome the Spring.  I have had a patchy start to the year but sometimes that gives me the impetus to knuckle down to some worthwhile stuff once the weather warms up. 

I have been keeping my hand in with the pastels by doing small nudes as exercises.  Here are two of them:

Also, I have been attending the Brass Monkey sessions that the Wapping Group run in the Winter.  The one in the Inns of Court was very enjoyable.  Here is the second of two panels painted that day (I am following Valerie's advice and putting in titles):

Middle Temple Gardens 23 Feb 12
Sonning Lock was excellent as a venue and although I did not do it justice I had two honest attempts at it from different viewpoints:

Sonning Lock Looking Downstream 22 Mar 12

Sonning Lock Looking Upstream 22 Mar 12
I have been painting in the village in the fine weather, too:

Beckley High Street 26 Mar 12

The Postman, Beckley 28 Mar 12

Walkers, Beckley 28 Mar 12

Sorties to surrounding areas have been unusually few for me - probably because I am desperate to rescue my garden from 10 years of neglect.  However I have managed the odd oil sketch:

Oxford From Shotover Plain 21 Mar 12

Oxford From Shotover Plain II 21 Mar 12

Burning Hedge Cuttings, Eaton 10 Mar 12

Elsfield Churchyard 3 Mar 12

Sheep, Elsfield 1 Mar 12

I am now looking forward to painting with my pals at Easter, in my native Dorset.