Autumn.

Here are a couple of paintings just before we move into winter!

cachitree_annadennis_oilpainting
Kaki Tree. 35cm x 45cm, oil on wood.
winniewoods_annadennis_oilpaintings
Picking Chestnuts. 20cm x 30cm, oil on wood.
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Lunchtime.

Here are a few paintings of what wasn’t eaten…

fish_annadennis_oilpainting
5 Red Mullets. 32cm x 26cm, oil on wood.
peasandbowl_annadennis_oilpainting
Peas and a Bowl. 35cm x 45cm, oil on wood.

…except in this painting so far most has been eaten, it is our polytunnel during the winter months – as long as salad is popular no one will starve!

saladsinthepolytunnel_annadennis_oilpainting
Salads in the Polytunnel. 70cm x 55cm, oil on canvas.
radishes_annadennis_oilpainting
Radishes. 17cm x 30cm, oil on wood.

Yellow Roses

yellowroses_annadennis_oilpainting
Yellow Roses, oil on wood. 30cmx 40cm.

I had some yellow roses growing on a wall and with all the sun and dry weather this summer the blooms were at their best!  This is an oil study I painted before they all disappeared.

In this painting I mainly used a flat brush. For me brushes are an important part of my equipment and the flat brushes especially because I find them to be the most versatile because you can make many different strokes, a wide stroke, a narrow stroke and then by twisting a triangular stroke which helped with the petals.

This summer I have been busy with lots of new works and I will post some them as soon as my computer is on the mend 😉

May

lavillaabbandonata
La Villa Abbandonata. Oil on wood, 30cm x 40cm.
wisteria
Wisteria. Oil on wood, 30cm x 40cm.

In Italy during May gardens are at their best, even when they have been forgotten but where everything still grows anyway.  I stumbled across this villa and the garden that is almost abandoned and it was fun trying to put some long awaited colours into the greenery, with the spring grasses long and overgrown and the little wild flowers reaching through!

Frogs, a cat ‘n dog and a fairy. A few sketches.

When I draw or paint a subject outside from life that doesn’t move much I find the painting process can sometimes give to longer sessions which in a way is a good advantage but then again also a disadvantage.  Things can start to get fussy because areas of the painting get rubbbed out to be seen in a different way and then painted over again, and so loosing the first impression.

Sketching moving things is a good exercise because your brain only has a short amount of time to memorize and decide on how to tackle the subject before putting it down in paint. There is no going back after the first brush stroke because there is probably no chance to do it again.  It’s a take it or loose it situation! These are good and fun exercises in learning to be more spontaneous with the paintbrush and in finding quick and simple compositions.

Painting the frogs was really interesting, even though they are not my favourite reptile I did get to respect and learn alot about who there were as they swam about in their habitat.  At the moment it is mating season and rivers and ponds are full of frogs and toads, they are not shy at this time of year and some can keep still for a quite a bit. These two who didn’t have hot dates were sulking at the bottom of the pool, giving me enough time to paint them.

frogs
Sketch of Two Male Frogs in a Pond. Oil on wood, 20cm x 25cm.
daisychain
Daisy Chain. Oil on wood, 20cm x 30cm.
catanddog
Cat and Dog Sketch. Oil on wood, 15cm x 17cm.

The Orange Tree and La Damigiana.

orangetree
Orange Tree and a Damigiana. Oil on canvas, 30cm x 40cm.

 

Finding a title for a painting is a sometimes a struggle! I chose this view because I liked the effect of the afternoon light on the house and the orange tree with the glass damigiana in the foreground but when it came to finding a title nothing very interesting came up.  In Italy the glass bottle in the foreground is called a ‘damigiana’ and in English a ‘demijohn’.  The word damigiana is definently a more elegant term than the blunter English word demijohn which I wouldn’t have put in the title !

Traditionally in Italy a damigiana is used for wine making and you are always sure to find a good selection of empty ones like this in most rural Italian families although nowadays they are used less due to the more modern ways of wine making. Except you can’t beat a damigiana full of wine compared to a bottle!

During the Summer.

duringthesummer
During the Summer. Oil on Linen, 100cm x 120cm.

I am really pleased that this painting of our vegetable garden “During the Summer” has been chosen to be exhibited in the Royal Society of Oil Painters Exhibition in the Mall Galleries, London from the 2nd Dec – 13th Dec. The exhibition will be showing over 300 paintings from 120 artists and I’m looking forward to seeing all the works on show.

This painting is something I worked on during this summer, it’s bigger than usual and a nice change to working small, I feel I can be more imaginative with more space on the canvas. Bigger brushes and less to worry about!

There is an art to selecting the site to grow vegetables and deciding what to plant in a small time limit, this summer in Italy was extremly hot and from experience painting is sometimes more simple than growing vegetables! Just like oil painting growing things requires alot of learning by mistakes and the best advice we get is from the local people who pass us down knowledge learnt from their previous generations working the land.

I painted this scene to remember what was growing here during the summer of 2015 and be reminded to bring about new changes for 2016. Next year it will be a completely different layout because seasonal scenes like this only last a couple of months before plants get eaten (the vicious cycle of life!) and new plants grow.

It would be great to see you on the 2nd December at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2015 – See more at:

http://www.mallgalleries.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/royal-institute-oil-painters-annual-exhibition-2015#sthash.H33vZJBc.dpuf

Have a good weekend!

 

Autumn Rose Oil Painting Studies

Rose Study with Trees, oil on wooden board, 20cmx 30cm.
Rose Study with Trees, oil on wooden board, 20cmx 30cm.
Rose Study #1, oil on wooden board, 20cm x 30cm
Rose Study with a Rock, oil on wooden board, 20cm x 30cm

I decided to do a couple of rose studies while the roses were still flowering, for me roses and the soft autumn light this year is more inspiring than what was offered in spring. Autumn brings the most colourful season and it feels good to be outside painting it! While the undergrowth turns away for winter and the possibilities of summer are gone I noticed the little things that still hang on like the flowering roses, beautiful soft pink roses clashing with the autumn decay!

I tried to define the rose leaves and petals with a flat brush, cutting into the wet paint to “sculpt” the petal or leaf without drawing it was easier. There is alot to look at when painting foliage so it was time to forget about each individual leaf and look out for the areas of darks and lights.

The Back Terrace

The Back Terrace. Oil on Board, 25cm x 35cm.
The Back Terrace. Oil on Board, 25cm x 35cm.

Zinnia flowers are the lazy gardeners best friend. Last year I started off with just a few and this summer they had grown everywhere, a forest of colours attracting so many butterflies and hummingbird hawk-moths. They are late summers last burst of sunshine and even though autumn is here the sun is still shining on this terrace!

What struck me to paint this scene was the way that the brightly coloured flowers light up against the dark background which I think helps to break up some of the bushy leafy greens.  After a bit of experimenting to get the flowers to jump out I decided to dull down and darken the green leaves while using different variations of colour, value and chroma to keep the green interesting. To express the brightness of the flowers which bring a bit of excitement into an otherwise big area of green I tried to keep the reds as saturated as possible, paint does not come close to real life’s value range and it is suprising how colours in nature are brighter than the colours you can make on the palette!

Ciao!

Summer Evenings…

Winnie Drawing.  Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm.
Winnie Drawing (with Gwen and Lenny). Oil on board, 20cm x 30cm.

My favourite time of day for painting is in the early evening, around 5pm when the light is softer and the shadows a little longer. I am glad to show my daughter that painting or drawing nature is a valuable lesson and it is helpful for her to notice the small and simple things as well as all the wonderful colours that it offers which can sometimes go unoticed. P.S. My dog Gwen who is a retired sheepdog likes to keep watch over the cat now that she has no sheep!