Thursday 17 May 2018

Harting Down, South Downs, West Sussex UK

Glorious Sunshine on Harting Down today, (South Harting Carpark) walking towards Cocking.  We walked up Beacon Hill and onwards for an hour to Pen Hill.  View East looking towards Treyford Hill and Linch Ball.  We saw lots of Hawks, Skylarks and Cowslips.  It was a wonderful day.  Did this quick 30 minute sketch with soft chalk pastels on Kraft Sketchbook paper.

I just love being outdoors, in the wilderness,  finding a nice view that inspires me (usually a DOWNWARD VIEW), sit down on the grass and study it.  This is pure enjoyment.  The more I paint, the more I want to just be outside and do quick studies. It's all about the journey!!!

Thursday 16 November 2017

Details of my hinge for the cigar box.

I get these hinges made by a copper smith in Mauritius, where I used to live.  Here is a picture of the hinge which opens flat.  I have two sizes, the length of the flat piece which screws onto the box is 2 1/2" then the knob then 2 1/2" other flat piece,  for my small cigar box.  The hinge for my larger box is 3 1/2", that too opens flat - it is heavier and the knob and thickness of the copper is larger.

Saturday 4 November 2017

Cigar box/Pochade Box

my little cigar box 23 x 18cm fits my 6 x 8" panels

The back showing my quick release plate on my Manfrotto Be Free light tripod

Cigar box front, elastic and copper clips poke in to hold painting in place

 clips coming in from the back, made in copper.

 My new palette I made which folds up and goes inside, corks on the corners stop the painting from smudging onto it

 Palette fits nicely inside

Palette (MDF 3mm painted grey) with a wooden batten on the left to stop wet paint from being 
squashed when I fold the palette in half) taped with duck tape to keep together and allow to be
folder in half.  Drilled holes on left for brushes.  I clip it to the box with a large clip

Detail of how the hinge works, copper

 Detail of plate which quick release plate screws into

 Detail of hooks to hold picture in place, copper

 hinge to hold box open

Back of plate which pops into hole, screwed onto back of cigar box
looks like this when placed in hole

Hankley Common, UK

Hankley Common 2016/2017

I have been walking my dogs here since I moved to the UK in May 2016 and love it here.  It is wild, quiet, hilly and has heather, pines, silver birch and many more wonderful plants.  I love watching the seasons and the colours change, everything goes from green to pink/orange/rust/ favourite colours.  I can be quietly painting in the bushes and nobody can see me,  it's wonderful!  The dogs have a great time running around chasing rabbits and deer (!) but keep coming back to me every so often.  Kelly, the female, sits down quietly and keeps me company, Spike, the male, goes hunting!
Everyone's happy!

With painting, I take a long time to get to know my subject, but that's ok.  I spend months just walking it, stumbling on things at different times of the day and with different weather conditions.
Getting it right is just a fluke...the right time of day, the right climate...the right mood - but that's the fun of it, you never know when you're going to do a good one!  

Below I did a nice watercolour, (third down) I haven't done watercolour for years, but it's nice and light for carrying so I packed it in my backpack and had a go. I also had a small box of (dirty) pastels for adding highlights, which can be quiet effective.  I like the dusky pink and orange in the watercolour, and as Christopher Cole, my teacher pointed out, I have soft edges in the watercolour and hard edges in the oil, something I must think more about...! In fact, in nature, all edges are soft.

I am now trying an abstract in oil, below is a small one, 6x8" but I have started a larger one in the studio.  I never know where I am going when I paint, I just try and see what happens.  I often feel very motivated in the beginning then I leave them for weeks, months not knowing what to do, then one day, I start on them all again and finish them...painting is really an odd thing, you just have to
wait for the perfect day when it all fits together and comes out.

Oil, 6 x 8" fits in my cigar box, nice and light for carrying

 Oil 14 x 11" done onsite 

Watercolour 22 x 18cm Fabriano watercolour sketch book (I always use a 'middle page' incase it's a good one and I want to cut the thread and remove it!  Good tip!)

8 x 10" Oil on MDF done onsite

6 x 8" oil done on site in July/August when the heather was in bloom,  looking at composition with the path going down.

 80 x 60 cm done from a small oil sketch 

8 x 10" oil on board, done from watercolour sketches trying to simplify the masses

120 x 80 cm abstract, done from sketches in the studio.

Sunday 12 February 2017

I have been painting with Barry John Raybould last week, January 30th- February 5th.  We went looking for spots around Churt, Surrey, UK and found quite a few nice things to paint around Bentley.
Below is a picture of a lovely farm and the fields nearby.  The weather was atrocious but we

I am looking at an interesting arrangement of abstract patterns in the scene, lights and darks,
with a good composition and lead in.  The puddles made good leads in for the eye!

I was also looking at warm and cools in the subject.  For example the sky was warm and the puddles were cool, so were the distant trees.  The buildings in the farm scene were predominately warm with cool grey roof and gates/barn doors.  The painting must have a dominant temperature, either warm or cool with some of the opposite to balance it.  Here they are both predominately warm with some cool.  I was also looking to simplify the shapes and look at the VALUES very closely.  Asking myself: is the shape I am painting cooler or warmer, lighter or darker than the ones close to it.

They are small studies on board, 6x8" and 8x10"

These paintings were done in Mauritius and the island of Rodrigues in November 2106, also with Barry, he was visiting me.

                                          Bellemare Plage. Mauritius 8x10" oil on board.

                                         Trou d'Eau Douce, Mauritius 9x12" oil on board

                                          Trou d'Eau Douce, Mauritius 9x12" oil on board

                                          Rodrigues Island, Rodrigues. 9x12" oil on board

                                          Bamboo Mountain, TDD, Mauritius 9x12" oil on board

                                          Local Houses in Rodrigues. Rodrigues Island 9x12" oil on board

                                         Onion Fields, Mauritius TDD, 65x50cm Oil on canvas

                                          Rough Sea, Souffleur, Mauritius 60 x 50cm Oil on linen canvas

                                           Beach at TDD, Mauritius. Oil on board 8x10"

Monday 25 April 2016

Two more painted on site.  The first one is looking more at the pools, I got the idea from looking at a Monet, the waterlilies, where he just paints the water and no sky.  It makes it more of an abstract 
painting.  I used palette knife and brush for this one. The second one is done very quickly, in one sitting of 2 hours.  It was a windy day with a cyclone hovering near the island, hence the cloudy sky and the rough waves int he distance.

120 x 100cm oil on canvas

117 x 90 cm oil on canvas

Monday 11 April 2016

Trou D'Eau Douce, Mauritius.

I've been painting these very large canvases on site in front of my beach house.  They are views I have done many many times so I know them very well.   I swim in the waters and walk on the beach every weekend, this is important, knowing your spot is very important.

65x50cm oil on canvas.

120 x 90 cm oil on canvas

120 x 90 cm oil on canvas

120  x 90 cm oil on canvas

120 x 90 cm oil on canvas

Saturday 11 April 2015

Le Souffleur

I went back again and worked some more on the final painting, trying to put some light into it.

I went back to the Souffleur view point yesterday and after studying it again, finished an old painting:

These were the steps.  I have been working in this spot over the last 3 years doing lots of different studies and paintings.  I always work en pleine air, meaning outdoors on the spot.  I love being outdoors and only feel inspired when actually at the place.  I follow my intuition and paint what interests me on the day. Sometimes I don't know what I will paint but when I get there I always find something that inspires me. It is such a pleasure working, drawing, walking, painting outdoors this is why I do it, for the pure pleasure.  I always feel very satisfied when I've been out painting and go every day.  Sticking to a routine is good too, just get in the car and go! At the moment I go first thing every morning with my gardener (always easier to go with somebody rather than on your own) and come back around 1pm. That way I have time to do my errands in the afternoon, or carry on painting as I'm in the mood. What comes out at the end of the day is of no importance.  As you can see it has taken 3 years to get this painting out by building up slowly and surely and by going back and back. Patience and determination in hand!

Photograph of the spot.

quick sketch

Notan, studying the shapes

6 value study

4 value study

122 x 90cm painting done onsite

122x90cm corrected sky, sea, clouds, 2 years later! Clouds still need some work!