Thursday, September 29, 2011


View of The Guildhall, Bath, painted from the roof of the Abbey.
Been pretty busy and I couldn't get over to Bath last week, but wanted to paint the Guildhall. On Sunday I drew the outlines with watercolour on  a gesso-board, at street level. 100's of people walking by, and buses, kept blocking the view. Drizzly rain finally beat me to a stop before I could get into painting properly.
Then I  joined a  tour of the Abbey roof and tower; the sun came out, so asked if I could paint from the roof. As a special circumstance the tour guide generously agreed and I returned on Monday morning, climbed the 212 winding steps and spent several hours up there over two days trying to process so much information and capture something of the complex scene.

The painting still needs a little finishing. By chance I had Vivaldi music on my walkman player, and in the glorious sun was somehow reminded of  Canetto's painting of Venice.  However right now I feel I've had my fill of painting buildings  and  something simple like a tree or cloud  and landscape would be a great alternative.

A view towards The Circus on the steps of no.16, the top of Gay St., a ring of buildings built by John Wood and Son ( 1754-1768. (Thanks to the kindly residents who allowed me to stand on their door steps, they had to negotiate their way around the easel). The Circus is said to symbolise the Sun, whereas the Royal Crescent represents the moon,   Here you can see a great Aerial photo of both and  a virtual site for exploring  architectural Panoramas of Bath
The middleground looked a bit empty so I added the two main figures afterwards. Tricky, trying to make them look natural without getting fussy on the detail.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Salisbury Plain, Everleigh, Nr Upavon

A recent small 10" x 8" commission. It was a beautiful day  but got very windy/gusty after a while, and I nearly got blown away finishing this.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Allottments, Sion Hill, Bath

A beautiful peaceful view. Enjoyed my visits there, meeting people coming and going with their gardening tools, baskets to collect their produce, fruit and veges etc. I had to get those sunflowers in :-):-)
This painting is featured along with others, on the promotional brochure for the Bath Prize 2011

Friday, September 09, 2011

Wild Scarlet, Queen Street, Bath.

When registering to enter the Bath Prize Painting Competition, one  is first allocated  a particular place in the city to paint, however one can submit other paintings as well. A coincidence - the first place I ever painted plein air in Bath, in April this year, was very near the same allocated place of Queen Street, but viewed from the other side of the arch in Trimbridge (see below).
A prominent detail above is a 'manikin' in the LH corner which had displayed a blue dress. Here is an earlier stage of the work ....

 The thoughtful woman in the shop even left it out for me to paint a while longer when closing up at 5.30. However 2 weeks later ...... returning to finish the work, she had placed an eye-catching RED dress outside. Making a rather instant decision, I decided to quickly paint red opaquely over the Blue dress before she took the red one back in - I think the red works well and have given the painting the quirky title  "Wild Scarlet, in Queen Street, Bath" - referring to the two shop notices of the 'Wild Cafe', and 'Scarlet Vintage' dress shop.
I always felt hungry whilst painting outside the cafe, seeing people enjoying their tuck, thinking "Later I'll get 10mins to have a nice rest and a coffee" -  but I never did manage it, parking time always ran out, etc. I  recommend the Scarlet Vintage dress shop with the helpful proprietor woman, displaying the most elegant colourful dresses I've seen for a long time (I don't usually take much notice of such shops).
Having been to the site to work 4 times trying to get the right light, etc, I felt there was a danger of loosing freshness and spontaneity so it is good to finish the work; hopefully I can loosen up do something more lively.
Below is the first painting in Trimbridge done in April. a it is lot smaller and so executed more quickly. I think I'm pleased with the sense of light in this one.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Plein Air meet at British Camp, Malvern.

Another meeting of the UK plein Air Society proved a very enjoyable day, blessed with great weather. After starting the meet with a coffee together at the British Camp Hotel, catching up, and getting aquainted with new members etc., we climbed, recovered our breath(!),  and painted towards the North first, with  a view one of the peaks above Malvern Town  ( the town is below the peak to the right and out of the picture)
We'd all set up first on the NE side looking  towards the Beacon peak.  Peter Cronin - foreground, Roy Wilkinson - far left, Anthony Bridge - far right, GlynisDray -  has just been checking progress on the others and heading back to her easel,
 Moving round the ramparts, a longish walk to the South showed another stunning view from the Black Mountains and round towards Cheltenham and Gloucester.  At the new site, I always seem to be the last to settle and start painting, with the wide choice of open vista. I could see rain towards the Black Mountains so turned my back to that to include the southern tip of the hills;  this painting is a bit literal but I couldn't resist adding colleagues at their work; Roy Wilkinson and  Anthony Bridge, perched against the skyline. . We could see rain in the north, felt  a few scattered drops but the raincloud barely missed us and I heard they's had a good downpour in Malvern. Lucky - it is very exposed on the hill.
My easel, just before packing up at 4.50pm,  the models (posing for free) had long gone for coffee at the hotel a mile or so below so I had to hurry to catch up.