Wednesday, 30 September 2009

After the cloudburst.

Worked on this today, it's a full imperial size watercolour, so quite daunting when you start. Wish I didn't feel daunted, but I do!! It's been backwards and forwards to the sink, I wanted to get the feeling of rain over the hills, at one stage it looked like a deluge had hit Cumbria, I had to mop up the kitchen floor! The water bill and electricity bill will rocket if I carry on painting in this style!! I've an exhibition starting Friday 9th October at Moot Hall so feel that the pressures on with lots of work to do, to get ready.It's funny but I often want to paint what the weather is doing on that day.

Monday, 28 September 2009

10 Watercolour tips for painting trees

Here am I sat painting trees last week beside the river bank.

1. Try using rigger brushes a couple of different sizes for twigs, branches and trunks.
2. Observe trees. Don't just think that you know what they look like.
3. Leave gaps for birds to fly through the foliage.
4. Use a sponge for leaves etc
5.Simplify don't paint ever leaf and branch.
6. I often have three mixes ready for foliage,a light watery, mid tone and strong darker tone.
7.Start at the bottom work your way up just like it would grow.
8. Make your own Greens with any Blue and Yellow mix, if it looks too artificial put a little red in
9.Take branches and trunks out with a damp brush to reveal light branches.
10.This is a Jane secret tip !When painting a Silver Birch or any tree really; remember to paint a shadow on the bark, that is if the suns shining!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sheep up on the fell

Two Wainwrights today Harter Dodd and Caudale Fell both with magnificent views across to Ullswater and towering over Brothers Water.The cloud layer was low again, but with pleasant temperatures and not too much wind it was perfect walking conditions.

From the summit of Caudale views towards Windermere with a glimmer of sunshine on the lake

I love sheep and can't resist taking photo's of them, these two were shy to begin with!'Ok take a photo now, make sure you get the lake in'

'This is my best side, don't you think'

' I don't want to smile, I forgot to put my teeth in'

Here's another Autumn photo, it would have been better with a little sunshine.
An old wife's tale is; if there are lots of Rowan berries it's going to be a bad winter!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Rocky road on the rocky path.

A grey day with heavy clouds and gusts of wind was the weather for 'Wetherlam' A big hill near to Coniston Old Man. A walk with lots of different terrain and wild views. We started in the tiny hamlet of Tibberthwaite and headed up along old miners paths, with glimpse's onto deep gorges, views towards the Langadales and steep scrambling to the top and into the clouds.

The start of the walk and a tiny sprig of Heather still in flowerThe rocky scramble down where we stopped for Fiona's tasty 'Rocky Road'

The cloud lifts and the 'Old man nearly appears'
One minutes sunshine on the walk up, Blea Tarn is on the right, the langdales are behind the cloud.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Grasmere artists

What a beautiful day we had on Wednesday in Grasmere, painting on the shore and out of the reach of the swans!!We watched the lake change in front of our eyes from calm to glass like with unbelievable reflections. With sunny skies to warm our backs it really was a perfect painting location. A walk along the shoreline looking at a painting around every corner and smells of Autumn to entice the pallette. The artists were certainly inspired and ending the day at 'Faeryland with a hot chocolate and another beautiful view.

Perfect reflections
Today we painted alongside a pretty river bank, the sunshine did not make an appearance but with pretty trees and reflections to keep us busy, a very pleasurable morning was had by all.
' Goody Waterfall' painted on location 24th September 09

Monday, 21 September 2009

Watercolours in Easedale valley, Grasmere

1st day of 'Watercolours at Grasmere' and we found ourselves painting a misty Easedale Valley. We set out with a little mizzle and it turned into pretty wet drizzle, a bit tricky when you are painting outside in watercolours. The view looked lovely though, it lent itself to the watercolour medium, misty grey skies, silhouetted mountain ridges and a lonely farm house. I let out a cheer when I noticed the farmer had a fire going, this just helped the painting with a thin wisp of smoke to add even more atmosphere.
I love the way the fence dances into the picture

Michael dry and warm under the red brolly.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Haystacks from Buttermere painted in mixed media

Started this painting on Tuesday, It's 'Fisher 400' glass paper, I've used this paper a few times but fancied having a play about. Fastened it down well, it was in for a bit of a ride. Acrylic wash on first, I let this dry and then started to get some pastels on. It responded lovely no buckling of paper, no loss of texture and grip. It is quite an abrasive paper and didn't mind the old toothbrush attack. It is a lovely paper to use.

Stage 1 Acrylic under base
Not quite sure if it's finished yet, it's still up on the easel.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Autumn Light

Well day two of Autumn, It's been another glorious day here in the Lakes, fingers crossed for next weeks watercolour course in Grasmere. I've asked students to bring Sunshine and forget to pack rain!! This is a photo I took in York, I think that it shows the end of Summer and the start of Autumn, the light is that little bit crisper, but the colours are still warm and the trees are just starting to change colour. I love the chap sat on the bench and think it would make a good watercolour.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Tarn Hows in Autumn

Tarn Hows

Every Autumn I try and visit Tarn Hows near Hawkshead in the Lake District. My visit visit to the Lakes took me to this special place and since I have taken many friends and family round this 'man made' tarn. It is boasted to be the most visited place it the Lake District, I've never found it too busy, every corner has a view worth painting in each season. But the Autumn colours are magical. This mornings workshop went well I think even though my painting did have a sink appearance. But it's sometimes a bonus seeing how to sort out a mistake or enormous cauliflower!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Autumn Paintings and photographs

While giving my paint brushes a quick shampoo and condition, they are Kolinsky hair so without a little conditioner they do look a bit frizzy, and can loose their point. I decided Autumn is here, and because I love this season I'm going to try and have a painting or photograph each day on the blog! To celebrate Autumn.
All alone

Just finished 'Waiting for the ferry, Sulzano' painted in Watercolours.
I used some sketches and photographs from this years painting holiday in Italian Lakes.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Swirl How re vistited

Long may this fantastic weather last. We decided to walk up the Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag on Friday. I can't believe it's the 1st wainwright we've done since the beginning of June, it's been a busy few months and also the weather has been a tad damp! Anyway with Brilliant blue skies we headed off towards Grasmere and took the up and over tiny back road to Coniston and then up onto the fell. It's quite a drive but with the sun shinning the Lakes looked quite supreme with the first glimpse of Autumn shades catching the sunshine. So Dow Crag was bagged 1st with quite an exhilarating craggy top and then onto Brim Fell. I did mutter along the path 'I didn't think it was this far' but with the sunshine and enjoying the fabulous scenery I trotted along. But after 30 minutes of walking the map came out and we were back on Swirl How, a hill we had visited about 3 months earlier and not meant for today! Oh well it was a nice day for a Big walk. Back along the track I trotted to Brim fell and then onto 'the old man'

Walking towards the summit of Dow Crag

Looking back towards Dow Crag

Coniston water from Dow Crag

Last up hill section 4th summit in one day Coniston old man.

From the top

While walking along, I often think of paintings and can suddenly get inspired. I have a workshop on Wednesday morning and think this will be great to demonstrate a real wet in wet a touch of sponging and sheep.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Summer or Autumn?

Autumn is on it's way. I can see Walla Crag from the bedroom window, and for the last few weeks I've wanted to go up this tiny little mountain top to see the pink heather, it's lovely to see at this time of year. I wasn't sure if I'd missed it,with all the rain we've been having; but with a lovely evening and Walla Crag beckoning, off I went.
How do we know when the seasons are starting? Well for me brambles on bushes, bracken turning brown, the fells looking more Ochre than Green and oh yes what I saw today xmas cards!! can you believe it.A lovely Silver Birch near the top of Walla Crag with Bleaberry Fell in the distance, notice the Ochre fells.
A few I can never sicken of, the top of Walla looking towards Derwentwater and on to Bassenthwaite, with lovely pink heather in the foreground.

One of the things I love about Keswick and it's surrounding countryside, is that it is a wonderful playground for outdoor activities.Especially on warm sunny evenings, I met Kate about to take off from the top of the fell, rather her than me! Up, Up and away

I've painted a small oil before of cows bums, the light was beautiful and soft.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Sausage dogs and beach sketches

Here are a couple more photo's from Alghero, I'm back in the Lakes now and the weather is not quite Sardinia standard.We had a lovely relaxing time the sun shone everyday, the food was glorious and I managed to get some good material for paintings for my next exhibition in October at Moot Hall, Keswick.It's a lovely feeling coming back my fingers are itching to get back into painting. I fancy having a go with Acrylics and maybe some Gouache but we will see. I did go to Alghero with the idea that it could be a painting holiday venue, but on reflection I think it's too busy, a bit too hot, the watercolour would dry in seconds and too big a resort. It made me realise what a little gem Lake Iseo is with it's beautiful scenery, friendly local Italians and a painting round every corner.
The main port area of Alghero, always bustling with locals chatting, tourists enjoying Authentic Red Indians playing pipe music fully clothed in war dress and the Lemoncello take away bar to name a few.

Colourful boats in a turquoise clear sea.

A quick sketch from the sandy beach across to old Alghero. The Customs officers could not make out my little palette and had it scanned 3 times. I was more interested at the time watching a cute sausage dog have it's lead and collar removed and did wonder if it would run through the xray machine, but no it was carried through.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Sunsets in Sardinia

I've been having a little R&R this week in Alghero in Sardinia.It's the 1st time that I've been to this Italian Island.The weather has been fantastic, we've had Cobalt Blue Skies ever day with amazing Golden Sunsets finishing the day with a glass of Prosecco .I can see some sunset paintings been created in the next few weeks. I was hoping to do a little more blogging but the only internet connection I found is on the church steps, now I do wonder who this broadband belongs! It's been great practising the Italian language, I'm slowly getting there, maybe in another ten years I will be fluent? The food has been very tasty with some delisious pasta and scrummy ice cream. But the best thing about been in Italy is people watching and soaking up the Italian culture.