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February 2016

January 2016

Uphill Wharf, Weston Super Mare, outdoor cafe scene


Weston Super Mare, England, 15" x 11".

An outdoor cafe scene at Uphill Wharf near Weston Super Mare, with some small cliffs to the left that overlook the estuary here.  The background, cafe figures and stone wall on the right were almost done in one go, making this quite a simple sketch, apart from some careful painting around other figures and the cars.  I think it would have been better to not have the left had highlighted roof bordered by the parasol - maybe a bit more roof to the left, or move the parasol to the right....


Weir Lane, Marshfield


Marshfield, England, 22" x 15".

A plein air painting from a sketching trip last year.  The scene is of a lane leading up to a farm behind the village, with some old barns to one side.  I introduced a few strategic puddles to get some reflections in.  Also when I was doing the first was of the lane, I left out little areas which easily became stones once a shadow was added.  Trees were done with an old mop brush in a fairly loose fashion.  The dark yew tree left of centre was done with thinker pigment and upward strokes to give the appearance of the way they grow.


Summer Streets. Montpon Menesterol, France


Montpon Menesterol, France, 15" x 11"

Something to warm up the Northern Hemisphere.  I started with the sky - mainly cerulean blue, and this was allowed to bleed with the ochre coloured buildings then the wash was cooler towards the bottom and foreground.  While this was was still damp, I painted the blue shutters top right.  When this was completely dry I painted in the background buildings and foreground shadows, carefully painting around the central figure left in highlight.  The couple of figures were last and then added some white gouache as extra highlights.


Uphill Wharf, Weston-Super-Mare, 3


Weston-Super-Mare, England, 22" x 15"

Another plein air painting from a trip out last year.  It's a small tidal estuary called Uphill Wharf and home to many different types of small craft and a few inhabited boat houses.  My subject here was the bow of a large catamaran - not sure if the was someone living in it underneath all the tarpaulin topside.  Where I was painting from was a small sheltered area as the wind was gusting from left to right here. I decided to put in the foreground figure to connect the foreground with the middle ground.  I think if it was over on the right hand side it would have conflicted with the background boats.


Avebury Stone Circle


Avebury, England, 22" x 15"

Avebury, and the prehistoric stone circle which runs around the edge of the village.  Unlike Stonehenge you can go up and touch the stones/boulders.  Sheep freely graze among the visitors.  This is a plein air done with a local painting group last autumn and I had the battle of fighting against the wind and the sun - both making drying times really fast.  I think the far hill, being a ploughed up field perhaps could have been less 'red'.  The earth really was that colour in my mind but it would do being a bit paler to push it back in the compostion.


Uphill Wharf, Weston Super Mare, 2


Uphill Wharf, England, 15" x 11".

Uphill Wharf at low tide - the area is a small tidal estuary near Weston Super Mare.  Here there's some small boats moored up and just beyond them is the tidal river.  The whole area is covered in long grasses or rushes, a golden colour in late summer.  These were given a wet in wet treatment.  Some watercolourists I know might do a bit of scraping out to give the impression of the stalks, but timing is everything if you do this - if the paper is too wet then the line disappears, too dry and you can damage the paper surface


Turkish shop alleyway - Just playing around


Turkey, 15" x 11"

A imaginary scene and almost a doodle.  I was just 'playing' around with a scene of figures and testing pigments and how they react together.  Then I decided to put in the Efes beer sign to make it Turkish!  I often practice my figure work on a plain piece of paper just drawing in many figures in different poses.


Waiting in a queue at the roadworks, Chipping Sodbury


Chipping Sodbury, England, 22" x 15".

Not a 'plein air' !  While at the front of the queue in some roadworks near me a while back, I took a quick photo on my phone's camera.  So the challenge is to make a painting out of a really ordinary every day scene.  I changed a few things around, but the main focus is on the middle ground and a row of almost connected things.  Had to use the white gouache of course for the traffic lights and the road sign writing!


Car Park, St Saud Lacoussiere, France


Car Park in the middle of the small town of Saint Saud Lacoussiere, in South West France.  I love painting car parks for some reason.  Maybe not a very commercial subject like a harbour scene, but I enjoy doing them.  While a lot of the different washes were still moist I added more colour/pigment to them to get different efects, and then when it is damp I add in clear water which causes some dispersal and small cauliflowers.  Then leave it to dry and resist temptation to go back in and do more.


Place des 3 Freres, Montpon Menesterol, France


Montpon Menesterol, France, 15" x 11"

A plein air painting of a square in Montpon, South West France, done from a roadside cafe/bar.  Parked cars are sometimes easier to draw/paint if they are all connected together.  I start by looking at the shapes of the car roof tops and it's just a series of peaks and troughs.  Then when that is done I draw in the windscreen followed by the bottom of the car, wheel arches and shadows.  It also helps if the cars are end-on rather than a side elevation.  A bit unusual for me to leave out some figures - must have been a hot day!