The Last Days of March!

The Last Day of March. oil on canvas, 70cm x 80cm.

The Last Days of March. oil on canvas, 70cm x 80cm.

Two years ago this view ovelooking a small village called Sasseta in Northern Italy was completely different…bramble, brambles and more brambles!

Now after some clearing we have managed to plant more exciting things and with some artistic license I improved some of the cabbages!

Mimosa

Mimosa.  Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm

Mimosa. Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm

A few wonderful facts about the Mimosa:

1. It lights up the winter with its bright yellow flowers

2. It inspires a delicious recipe for an italian cream cake called Torta Mimosa.

3.  A champagne cocktail is named after it (one part champagne and one part fruit juice).

However when I came to painting the tree it was almost as frustrating as trying to spread cold butter on an even colder pancake!

Mimosa and Sunflowers. Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm.

Mimosa and Sunflowers. Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm.

Portrait Sketch

Painting children from life is difficult, I guess you need a good memory to finish any details incase they move which they do all the time so I decided on a longer pose using Winnie as she slept as an excuse but then again a true portrait of her would be bouncing and running around…..but that is easier said than done!

How did Sorolla paint the finest details in blinding sunlight as the children he painted ran along beaches and splashed in waves? He definently had magic in his paintbrush!

Winnie Sleeping.  Oil on Board.  20cm x 25cm

Winnie Sleeping. Oil on Board. 20cm x 25cm

Waiting for Spring

Last Autumn.  Oil on Linen, 80cm x 100cm

Last Autumn. Oil on Linen, 80cm x 100cm

With the arrival of Spring I am looking forward again to planting the seeds of these pumpkins, sunflowers and the sweetcorn which were growing in our vegetable patch last Autumn.

Even though some of us are waiting for Spring, in Southern Australia Autumn has only just begun!

Have your feet ever FROZEN to the ground while painting?!!

A Frosty Morning on the Lambourn Downs at Sheepdrove Farm. Oil on wood, 20cm x 30cm.

A Frosty Morning on the Lambourn Downs at Sheepdrove Farm. Oil on wood, 20cm x 30cm.

Tip of the day: When painting in the English cold or any cold weather keep moving your feet or they will freeze to the ground. Tried and tested while painting here!

Luckily I had wollen fingerless (cashmere wool which I couldnt get dirty because they were my sisters’!!) mittens for my hands which kept them warm enough compared to my feet.  I also read that to keep your hands even warmer you can wear a wool sock with a small hole in the end which allows you to hold a paintbrush with your bare hand and still have all the control you need, while the paintbrush tip pokes out from the end with no mess. I am looking forward to trying this as I am not sure how tricky it would be changing over brushes.

Also standing on a piece of cardboard can keep your feet from touching the freezing cold/snowy ground whereas helping to keep your whole body more comfortable which leads to longer comfortable sessions…but I guess hand knitted 100% woollen socks could help too!

Lambourn and the surrounding downland is a really pretty area best known today as a major horse racing centre and the Downs have many nice views to paint.

Marridge Hill, England.

Afternoon Light on Marriage Hill.  Oil on panel, 20cmx 30cm.

Afternoon Light on Marriage Hill. Oil on panel, 20cmx 30cm.

Marridge Hill in afternoon light on a cold but sunny winter’s day is a view I have always wanted to paint and its been around a long time. Almost unchanged since the 16th Century it is British farmland at its best!

The hill is made up of chalk which lends well to its reflecting colours from the sun enhanced by the dark trees in the foreground. Painting either in early morning or late afternoon light provides good shadows and a palette that is richer in reds. I hope to post more paintings soon from a recent trip to England!

River in Winter

Happy New Year 2015!

Painting outisde in the winter is almost my favourite time of year as the woods are richer in colour especially after a rainfall, last years twigs and leaves decomposing with earthy umber tones, yellow, reds and grays . Enough of green which i find hard painting!
This river is actually a torrent and so it fills up pretty quickly and the water level is always changing, I painted this view from a window inside because outside was wet and cold, the sensible descision was to paint near a warm radiator at this time of year!

River in Winter.  oil on panel, 20cm x 30cm
River in Winter. oil on panel, 20cm x 30cm

Meadow in September.

image

I know it is December but here is a painting from September! The meadow is near where i live and this year hay was continuously cut from it due to a long and rainy summer. The grass just kept on growing!

Florence Walls

During a trip to Florence i managed to paint the famous walls on the Oltrarno. It was so busy because it was an important festa, (The Feast of the Immaculate Conception) and I was unable to find a position in the centre and there was no way i was going to stand in the middle of a million tourists as i would loose my concentration in a second and probably end up in Japan! This is a view from the walls between Porta S. Giorgio and Porta S. Miniato, one of the entrance gates to the town as well as an old watch station, then to the left is the old gate of San Niccolo, standing 60 metres tall it is the tallest of the towers still standing today.

Florence Walls.  25cmx 27cm, oil on board.

Florence Walls. 25cmx 27cm, oil on board.

In the Garden

In the Garden. 30cm x 40cm, oil on linen.

In the Garden. 30cm x 40cm, oil on linen.

In the garden during a summer morning is a distant memory with all these autumn rainy days!  The darkness of the trees contrasting against the sun shining on the stone walls was helpful in this painting as it set off the dark and light values.

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