Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition, 11th – 20th Oct, Mall Galleries, London.

My oil painting ‘Lifting Fog on Ducie Beach, Bembridge’ has been selected for the Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition in London. I very much enjoyed looking around the show last year and it felt nice to be in a gallery surrounded by paintings inspired by the marine enviroment, it had a good feel with everyone exploring all the many diversities of the one subject, the sea, and I had hoped to take part in it one day. So ‘one day’ has arrived and I am looking forward to visiting the exhibition next week. Most of the paintings are of the British coastline including mine that was painted on a beach in the Isle of Wight which is an island in the south where part of my family are originally from.

liftingfogbembridgebeach_annadennis_oilpainting
Lifting Fog, Ducie Beach. Isle of Wight. 50cm x 70cm. Oil on Panel.

I had hoped for a completely different feel when I set out to paint this one March morning last year, the sky was blue when I set out and I had planned to paint the view of the Bembridge Lifeboat Station with the tide breakers on the beach. I think that is why the sea is so fascinating because nothing can be planned and it all changes so quickly, the fog rises while the tide goes out, reflections in the water are there for a moment then they disappear while I am still trying to paint the sky and what is not there in the distance!

Google Maps have put together an interesting map of everyones paintings showing in the upcoming Marine Exhibition and where they were painted along Britain’s coast. Here is the link:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1KdnitVappPMStHVfMI5KDfxCOe86_Trq&ll=50.7731686837871%2C-0.6744136582030933&z=10

My painting comes up under Bembridge along with other artists paintings too. You need to pedal down south to the Isle of Wight. It took me ages.

But it is a really cool idea….here is a zoomed in screenshot.

mapliftingfog_annadennis_oilpainting

I look forward to the exhibition next week and I hope to see you there!

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Some Inspiration for 2016

This year 2016 the Italian goverment has given 500 euros for each 18 year old to spend on museums and cultural events. What a shame that I am not 18 so here’s to 2016 and maybe a lottery win (!!) to dream and spend on a round the world ticket to go and see these well known paintings from life that inspire me.

giorgio belloni
Giorgio Belloni, Mareggiata. Oil on linen. 40 x 60.5 cm, 1911

Giorgio Belloni (1861-1944) was a well known artist from the north of Italy.  He painted Italian alpine scenes and portraits and specialised in seascapes which were painted from life during summer stays near Genova and the Ligurian Riveria near to where I live.  His paintings are distinguished by a poetic and evocative atmosphere and I love his use of light in this painting.

sorolla
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. “Cosiendo la vela”, 1896

I enjoy looking at Sorolla’s (1863-1923) beautifully painted representation of a group of Spanish fishermen and their wives (?) sewing the sails under the dappled sunlight of Valencia in 1896. Measuring 222 x 300cm it is a big canvas and full of life.

arthur streeton_the purpl moon's transparant might 1896
Arthur Streeton. The Purple Noon’s Transparent Might, 1896

Authur Streeton (1867-1943) is known for his landscapes that capture the unique light and colour of the Australian outback. Often when he painted he bought with him poetry to read, ‘The Purple Noon’s Transparent Might’ is a title influenced from a poem by the poet Shelley that embraces the natural world, the sun, sky, water and mountains. Apparantly the painting was painted in two days while experiencing a fiery trance due to the sweltering Australian heat!

John_Singer_Sargent-An-Artist-in-His-Studio__1904
John Singer Sargent, An Artist in his Studio, 1904.

Here we are looking over the shoulder of the Italian artist Ambrogio Raffele while he paints in his cramped and untidy hotel bedroom during a summer holiday in the Italian Alps with Sargent and his friends. I think this painting is one that Sargent has handled with an extraordinary display of brilliant brushwork. My eyes keep on looking at the back of the artists head as he contemplates his painting.

All the Best for 2016 and thankyou for your support and inspiration!

Beach Etiquette

Al Mare. Oil on board, 14cm x 24cm.
Al Mare. Oil on board, 14cm x 24cm.

Last week I was having a conversation with an Italian about the differences between the English and Italians on the beach in Italy. We noticed that when an English person embarks onto the sandy shores they will hunt for a secluded spot in the shade, lather on a fair amount of sun cream and immerse themselves in a book, remaining quiet and semi clothed until the midday temperature rises when they will use this opportunity to go and sizzle in the sun.
On the other hand the Italian will be heard arriving 1km away, habitat the most dinstictive spot on the beach and occupy unneccesary quantities of umbrellas and deckchairs. They will then stand around the deckchairs and talk non stop about food, last nights’ terrible sleep due to the heat and why it is too hot to even be at the beach.

This painting was done in the shade under the pine trees (being English) at the beach in Liguria I often go to. I liked this little view with Porto Venere and the Palmaria in the distance (once you get past the couple having a loud discussion about how “Basta!! This place is rompendo i coglioni and we have to go away to another beach immediately because someone has taken our reserved sun lounger”!  Finding shade is important when painting outside because working under the sun is hot and uncomfortable not to mention having sunlight on your canvas and pallet which will cause the values to be misjudged, i.e when you take your painting indoors you will find out you have painted everything too dark. If you have to paint in direct sunlight without an umbrella then you can mix your values lighter to compensate and if you have an umbrella dont attatch it to your easel on a windy day, you can imagine what would happen…it would be a case of a rompicoglioni moment!

The Palmaria, Portovenere. Italy.

Punta Secca, Portovenere. 25cm x 35cm, oil on board.
Punta Secco, Portovenere. 25cm x 35cm, oil on board.

The Palmaria is a small island near the Cinque Terre that lies infront of Portovenere and you can reach it by boat either from La Spezia or from Portovenere. With cool sea breezes and clear, clean blue waters it is by far the best place to be, both for swimming and sunbathing and especially painting. I look forward to going back and walking around the island which you can do in about one hour to search out more painting spots.

The first painting I did is looking toward the Gabbiano beach in the afternoon, the clear sunny colours and the beach stretching out into the sea inspired me to paint this view.

Sunbathers, Porto Venere. Oil on boad, 25cm x 35cm.
Sunbathers, Portovenere. Oil on board, 25cm x 35cm.

The second painting I did while using the same spot and same time of day when I painted the first painting but just turning around 180 degrees. Now the light was coming towards me so the church of San Pietro and the sunbathers were silhouetted against the sky which is an idea I like in this composition probably because the painting process was quicker as I was using a less colourful palette and concentrating mostly on the shapes.

Ciao for now!

La Chiesa di San Pietro, Porto Venere.

Chiesa di San Pietro, Porto Venere. Oil on Board, 20cm x 30cm.
Chiesa di San Pietro, Porto Venere. Oil on Board, 20cm x 30cm.

Last week I was lucky enough to go and visit Portovenere which is a small medieval Italian fishing village near the Cinque Terre. The houses are each painted in bright colours, tradition being the fisherman would find their way back home easier from the stormy seas.

The Church of San Pietro was originally a 5th Century Pagan temple dedicated to Venus and was then consecrated in 1198. It is small and simple inside with a great sense of history and an incredible position thanks to the Pagans who chose to build their temple over looking the sea on all three sides. Luckily for me it wasnt stormy weather when I happened to visit and I found the perfect painting spot, not because of the view as I am sure with more time on my hands to look around there would have been many more interesting compositions to choose from, but because I had found an old washed up tree with holes just big enough to hold my brushes in 🙂

A personal brush holder!
A personal brush holder!

Painting out of the sudio can be uncomfortable if you are not well prepared which sometimes I am not so I was glad to come across this spot. Portovenere is a great place to visit if you are visiting the area, you can get a boat from here to the Cinque Terre or if you feel energetic walk along the rocky cliff paths from here as far to Monterosso in 6 hours, just watch out for the sheer drops down to the sea!