Month: June 2014

Cambridgeshire

I spent a relaxing couple of days at my brothers in Comberton, a village close to Cambridge in June 2014. I visited the beautiful city and some idyllic villages and spent some time sketching there.

I first visited Houghton Mill , which is an impressive building in a lovely setting, on the Great Ouse. Run by the National Trust I bought a sandwich and piece of cake in the cafe before starting. I sat by the mill pond and spent an hour sketching before finding the location became too popular by other visitors.

This is the sketch I produced in that hour.

 

Houghton Mill

Houghton Mill

When I was home I added colour washes using some fan brushes a good friend gave me for Christmas

Houghton Mill

Houghton Mill

(Addition – I’ve painted this scene again but allowed for more sky and mill pond. I’m unhappy with the result but I feel I should show you this version as it provides a view of the ups and downs of painting. I want to have another go soon and will publish this as well)

Houghton Mill, version 2

Houghton Mill, version 2

 

In Houghton village centre is a pump house with a seat looking down several roads, each with a delightful view of old cottages and pubs. I worked up a quick sketch and painted on location in my small sketchbook.

Houghton

Houghton

I then went on to St Ives, with it’s fascinating bridge and lovely setting.

The next day I cycled into Cambridge (about 5 miles) searching for inspiration. There are so many great views but many limited in scope by no place to sit. I eventually found the edge of a small bridge over the Cam looking over the water to the Clare College bridge. The water was teaming with punts, taking Chinese tourists for trips around the Backs. The sun was out the gardens looked stunning.

I felt a little rushed as I was on a wharf used by the punts for bringing their charges on and off the boats. So the resulting sketch is not great – something to work up when i have more time.

Clare College Bridge

Clare College Bridge

Following a particularly busy period of passenger transfer i cycled off to find a place where I was not in the way and where I had more time. However, I was hungry and tired from the cycle ride and when I did find a place I was not in the best frame of mind for concentrating on a drawing. But I gave it a go.

Kings College, Cambridge

Kings College, Cambridge

I plan to add colour washes and I’ve since corrected the lean to the left hand tower.

There are a couple of paintings I plan to work on from this visit and will add them to this post later.

In the evening I danced at CamTango, where I had a lovely time with some beautiful dancers.

 

 

 

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Devon

Since 2010 I’ve travelled to Brambles  several times to learn to paint with Janet and Peter. The area has a wonderful variety of scenery for painters; Dartmoor, the river valleys, villages, coastline and farmland. From brambles you don’t have to travel far to find these treasures and if the weather holds its possible to spend blissful days focusing on art.

Below are a collection of sketches and paintings I’ve produced since my first stay at Brambles.

 

Lifton Bridge

Lifton Bridge

Lifton Bridge

Lifton Bridge

Line and wash

Dartmoor

Calstock Viaduct

Calstock Viaduct

Devon panorama from top of the lane.

Devon panorama from top of the lane.

 

Brambles

I renewed my interest in painting and drawing when I started visiting Janet and Peter in Devon, at their art retreat, Brambles. I first went to stay there in November 2010, where Janet started me off with watercolours and Peter gave me a beginners guide to oil painting.

Their inspiration and skills has provided me with the foundation of my art and also the through their holidays the motivation to continue. I’ve been to Greece twice with them and Florence in 2013. I’ve returned to Devon on a number of occasions where I’ve always learnt more, had time to relax and enjoyed the company of the other guests.

Janet is a wonderful cook and I’ve spent many hours in the old kitchen discussing art, life and chilling out. In and around Brambles there are always animals and when there is a spare moment they can be used as models for quick sketches.

Brambles…

Devon cottage

Brambles

Honey in the studio

Honey in the studio

Cockeral

Cockerel

 

Hens

Hens

Flea bitten hen

Flea bitten hen

My next post will contain some of the artwork I’ve produced whilst in Devon……

The Rookery

I’m planning a painting of a small hotel near to where I work called the Rookery. As Janet has instructed in previous posts I thought it was best to pre-plan the piece. Looking at composition, tone, colour and detail I’ve worked up some ideas in my sketchbook.

Here is the first page.

First page of ideas

With the first sketches I wanted to make a decision on composition and format.

Portrait or landscape?

Portrait or landscape?

I also worked on colour and tone with the portrait shape.

rook5

I knew the shop lettering would be tricky so I sketched a detail of this part of the picture.

Detail of shop front

Detail of shop front

In the end I preferred the landscape shape, making the most of the alleyway, so I drew a more detailed sketch.

Line work before painting

Line work before painting

Next is the scary bit – laying in the washes ….. I’ll tell you how I get on….

Well here it is. The washes have been laid and the sketch is finished. It was tricky to get the brickwork without painting every brick. I ended up using three colors and blending them as I worked, with an undercoat of yellow ochre.

Watercolour

Rookery

Next, another go using proper watercolour paper, a larger size and a week to work on it. At the moment I need a break from the subject but I plan to return. When I do I will add to this blog.

 

 

 

 

Florence

A glorious holiday drawing and painting in Florence in 2013 was a milestone for me. I learnt new techniques and felt more confident in my work. However, it was not all straightforward as I found it really tricky to paint paintings rather than sketches.

This is of the Ponte Vecchio. I  found a place to sketch, out of the sun and peoples way.

Pencil drawing

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

 

I was inspired to draw some more in the evening and sat in the main Square drawing the statues

Rape of polyxena

Statue in Florence

I needed to start painting and so set off the next day to another bridge where I found a lovely spot to paint the Ponte Vecchio

Line and wash

Ponte Vecchio

A group of us wanted to try the very complex Duomo. We needed to keep out of the sun and crowds so we found a spot in one of the small alleyways. We sat under a toy shop window until lunch.

Sketch

Duomo Florence

I painted and drew more during the holiday but found I needed to get home to produce paintings rather than sketches. This is one is looking over Florence at sunset

Watercolour

Sunset over Florence

I used the drawings from the trip to help paint the Ponte Vecchio again

Watercolour

Ponte vecchio

 

Lisbon

On a work trip to Lisbon in November 2013 I sketched a view of the harbour, from Edward VII Park. It was a cloudless day but the wind was cold and the trees were turning golden. I sat until I got too cold but felt I had captured the panorama.

Over looking the harbour at Lisbon

Pargue Eduardo V11, Lisbon

Once home I made a couple of sketches from photos I took while walking the city.

Looking towards the Assembly of the Republic

Travessa Arrochela in the Barrio Alto

This painting captures the city levels from street up to the castle, with a tram, taxi and crowded streets, with the shoppers mostly in their winter coats. Viewed from Praca Dom Pedro IV

Tram and castle, Lisbon

Sketch of Lisbon Street

I visited a couple of Milongas in the evening and had a wonderful time dancing.

 

 

London Pubs

On my daily commute though London I pass some very attractive and original pubs. Thinking a little more, it makes sense for pubs to attract custom by being outstanding and attractive but they seem to do this better than most other retail outlets I know.

Below are a couple of sketches, both started as line drawings which I drew in situ but I’ve added a watercolour wash afterwards. They are in a small Windsor & Newton sketch book that has really sturdy paper.

There is such a wealth of  interesting pubs in London this could become a book – with the bonus of a beer afterwards (and a toilet, sitting for a length of time in the cold has its effect)

 

Line and wash sketch

The Bishops Finger, West Smithfield

Blackfriar Pub, Blackfriars

Blackfriar Pub, Blackfriars

Amsterdam

On a recent short break to Amsterdam I managed to find some time to paint. Unfortunately it started to rain the minute  started to draw so I returned to the apartment and sketched in comfort.

100_1974 100_1977

 

I only had limited time in  Het Jong Schaap for a small sketch so the other windmill pictures are from photos.

100_2082 100_2001

Farringdon

I’ve recently been sketching around my work in London, mostly during my lunch hours. There is so much history in the area, I’ve learnt a lot more about Farringdon, which has meant I’ve spent more time looking and thinking about my art. crypt Farr7 Farr6 Farr4 Farr5 Farr3 farr1 Farr2