A visit to Barcelona with theBath Bach Choirlast October - I went 3 days early and managed to paint a little, though not nearly as much as I had planned. I just needed to keep exploring and looking with hungry eyes. I couldn't seem to make myself stop and paint. By the time I'd seen enough, sung in 3 concerts and spent time with friends, I was ready to commit to painting, but ... it was time to return to much cooler UK.
View from Tibidabo, the high hill above Barcelona
Another painting done immediately after
And painted on an absurdly small board (it should have been wider at least), the view from Parc Montjuic, a South West position.
Yesterday the day felt different and I took myself off to the Wye Valley. I've probably not been there for 10 years or more and a sudden yearning to do so has been popping insistently into my head for a couple of weeks, since I saw the program, "A great Welsh adventure" with Gryff Rees Jones, recently shown on TV.
It is very hard to find a clear view of the Abbey from this north side (despite it's size). This was painted from the fenced in footpath above the field.across the river. I eventually found a gap in the foliage growing up the wire fence. Several people stopped to talk, and it was a very pleasant 2 hours spent there
As well as painting, music makes the world go round,
The Bath Bach Choir preformed their summer concert in Malmesbury Abbey. We did a set of Tchaikovsky Vespers and the Requiem by Gabriel faure, which we'd sung the previous week, jointly with members of Darius Millaud Choir from Aix-en-Provence who had paid us a return visit after our trip to sing with them Aix in 2013.
This is a rendering of a short encore piece. Otche Nash (The Lords Prayer) by Nikolai Kedrov which we sang in Russian and were required to memorize by heart, (a very difficult task!).
Two weeks later I had to return to Cornwall so grabbed the opportunity to paint when I could.
Did two studies of the harbour at Portscatho near Falmouth. It was a wonderful breezy day with sharp clear light,. The sea in so many blues and full of energy in the sunlight.
Another speedy oil-sketch above, attempt to catch something of the scene
... and a view form my friends veranda, the estuary of the River Fowey, looking across towards a china clay loading factory where huge ships arive to take the clay. There is one docked there, the prow can just be seen on the RH side past the trees, green and dull red above the waterline, it needs slightly enhancing to make it more noticeable. The tide was out but also my supply of white paint so I could't render the foreground as well as I'd have liked.
This was a small commission for someone who had lived in All Cannings. Looking towards the Village in the Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire . This is a spectacular and beautiful part of the county, wheat farming land, where crop circles often appear, and the hills stretch for some miles. I should paint more of that area. 20" x 10"Oil on gesso board
A recent trip to Cornwall, helping a friend with glass-work installation but I managed to grab time off to paint as well.
I popped back into their house,( yards away, on the waters edge) for a quick chat and coffee, but when I came out 15mins later the tide had gone out, passed the boat, so missed painting the lovely water reflectins here. Lesson of the day: The tide waits for no one!
10" x 12" Oil on board.
The next morning I had
a lift on a small motor dinghy, to the town of Fowey (pronounced 'Foy')
across the river. It was a dull, cold drizzly start - very people were about,
feeling conspicuous, very overburdened with easels and paint gear I
eventually found somewhere quiet to paint, on the quay for a boat tour to
Mevagissey, The town perched precariously above a cliff of complex layers
of rock strata, with ancient rusting hanging ladders, but beautiful
moving water, I settled to paint, probably for a good hour till the tide
went out ........... at the time feeling the cold, hungry, lack of
sunlight, etc the painting seemed drab and a total disaster - but
now it somehow looks OK.
A few yards behind me was a shelter and seats
overlooking the view of the river meeting the sea,, a memorial gift from
American Forces who'd been there in WWII. Apparently the harbour
was full of landing barges, preparing for the great invasion, the 'D' Day
Landing. "You could cross the wide river by climbing over the
closely packed barges" so the notice read. Then one morning they were
suddenly all gone -'D' Day had arrived".
12" x 10" oil on board
Another view of the the blue tarpaulin boat from my friends Veranda, Tide was out again, but a spray of white Blackthorn blossom and lots of early Spring growth catching sunlight on the wooded slopes behind.
(Needing to catch up here). This is an Autumn painting from last November. I nearly got blown away in the process. 6" x 8" oil on gesso board.
And I nearly got frostbite doing this one below, early in the New Year when we had freezing tempreatures for a couple of weeks. The trees still need more branches and some stalks of foliage would help - will do that when my fingers warm up, hopefully by midsummer:).
the Lake Shearwater near Longleat Estate. I lost the light and had to quit, so some bright fresh leaves needing to be added hanging in the middle from the RH tree. I particularly liked the tangled root stretching toward me. I ought to get round to adding those leaves still ....
Sketch book below, planning the composition, and making notes for a drawing lesson I was giving the following day.
This column of chalk has great character; at Botany Bay, one of the most Eastern edge of Britain, recently visited but long way from where I live. I'd love to do a painted series of it to track light changes through the day. 'Chalk Stack' instead of 'Haystack' (re: Monet :). Perhaps a projecct for the future ( if enlarged you can probalby see some sea-sand grains on the paint surface)
Below, a very speedy 10-15 minute sketch done after the first