I’ve been painting on watercolour paper (W&N) on my plein air travels but I have recently returned to using my sketchbook. I bought a small square sketchbook for black & white studies, exactly like the one I used in London five years ago and have drawn a couple of sketches in between paint outs.
Also I have returned to a larger format sketchbook which has been unused for a couple of years and like the informality it offers.
Thames at Shepperton
Barn at Cranleigh
Hay Stacks at Ripley
Royal Festival Hall
Another busy month painting. I’ve returned to some of my favourite places and found some new ones with the two art groups I’m supporting.
Early August weather was wet and at times cold but the second half has been glorious.
Boxhill looking towards Denbies
Dorking from Steers Field
Bushy House, Bushy Park
The Weyside, Guildford
The Wey Navigation at Pyrford
Towards Norbury from Mickleham
Walsham Gates, Ripley
Big Pond at the Nower Wood, Headley
Ride London, Leatherhead
Following our trip to Dorest in the Spring I’ve finally begun to get round to painting some of the places we visited. I’m using my own photos and trying some new watercolour/ink techniques.
We stayed in a village called Muckleford, which is situated by the river Frome. Every time went out we crossed the river over an old double bridge. This painting is from a photo I took on a walk to the local one evening.
River Frome, Dorset
Over the last couple of months I’ve been trying out layering techniques with watercolours and ink. This is an extract of a photo I took at Lulworth Cove, where I’ve taken the darks to their maximum, layered the greens and added the boat for interest.
Man O’War beach, looking over the cliff to the cove below. On the other side of the cliff is Durdle Door
Man O’war Beach
A friend introduced me to the art gallery & framers in Leatherhead , Black Dog Gallery, after hearing they were looking for local scenes painted by a local artist.
I visited them last week and they agreed to take some of my latest plein air pictures. I’ve mounted and wrapped nine paintings and they’ve accepted all of them!
Also I’d painted their shop earlier and they bought the sketch!
I’ve asked them to frame up these two paintings and put them on show when they are ready. All very exciting!
Yew tree in Norbury Park
Mayfield Lavender Farm
I’m continuing to get out and about where the weather permits. Its either been hot or wet this month so its been variable.
The pen and wash method continues to work for me and I’m progressing with new ideas and techniques. But its slow progress. Somehow when you are outside you just see the view and don’t really think how to get the best from it.
I’ve been out with the Leatherhead Art Club and Surrey Hills Plein Air group but also just Molly and me!
Lindas House, paint out with LAC
Bookham Common, with LAC
Dapdune Wharf with Surrey Hills
Box Hill with LAC
Newark Priory , with Molly
Ripley with Molly
West End with Molly
Pyrford Lock with Surrey Hills
Brockham Fair with Surrey Hills
Cranleigh Dog Agility Show, with Molly & Laura
Mayfields Lavender Fields with LAC
Winkworth Arboretum with Molly
Apart from dodging the rain bursts I’ve been using the warmer weather to get out and about with Molly. Sometimes I’m out with Surrey Hills, others its with Leatherhead Art Club or its just Molly and me.
My focus is watercolours, using the panoramic format, which I think works well.
St Johns Road, painted while at my Open Studio
Newark Abbey, near Woking, with Molly at my side
Dorking Mill, also just Molly and me
Reigate Priory Junior School, with Surrey Hills group
St Nicholas Ch, Leatherhead with LAC
Wey Navigation at Send with Surrey Hills group
On 22 June I made my way with Denise to Chelsea Town Hall for my fifth Pintar Rapido. Pintar Rapido is a painting competition, where artists have to paint and frame a painting in a day and then its displayed and hopefully sold in the Town Hall on Sunday.
I took two watercolour sheets and two frames with the idea to try to paint two watercolours over the day. Two years ago I attempted an oil painting, which I didn’t finish and failed to sell. So this was a tall order. I’d planned to paint the ‘Boy & Dolphin’ statue near Albert Bridge plus the building behind it. The statue is well known and represents the area. I set up in direct sunlight, which was hot and noisy at the busy junction to the bridge. After sketching the statue and building in the sun I moved back in to shade to apply the paint. I was pleased to finish a larger format painting by lunchtime and achieve a decent representation of the view.
I met up with Denise in Battersea Park and we had a quick sandwich and drink to refresh our artistic ‘elbow’. I then took off again to find a spot to paint my second picture.
I settled at a spot just round the corner from the Town Hall and opposite the Sydney Arms. The pub was spilling out on to the pavement and they appeared to be watching the horse racing. I knew I only had enough energy to draw a part of the street and paint the the pub. I managed to make the final washes after about 90 minutes but I don’t really remember looking at the painting much afterwards. I framed and priced the two paintings back at the Town Hall and made my weary way back home.
I was with Molly when Denise contacted my to say that not only had I sold the Sydney Arms painting but that it had also won the Hampstead School of Art prize!! To sell was great but to win a prize in such a big competition (over 200 artists) was amazing and totally unexpected. To win it with the sketch/study was really unbelievable.
Use this link to see my painting and the other winners
My first Open Studio was a great success for me. Lots of lovely people came to see my work and many bought paintings, sketches and cards.
Many thanks to everyone who came to see me and Molly, it was really great to hear your words regarding my work and especially my sketchbooks. I was able to look at my work over the last three years in one place and review where I am and where I could go next.
Special thanks to Clare Conner for supporting me through facebook postings, Jade for also posting on Leatherhead Living, Annie for helping out on all three Saturday afternoons, plus friends from Leatherhead Art Club, Tango Dancers and Malden Bowmen. Cathy Brett made sure I was included on the Leatherhead trail and pushed many people on from her and Tania’s studio. Plus Jill, Linda and Brett for their OS support.
A few figures of interest from the 8 days of Open Studios
30 cards & 19 paintings sold
of which 3/4 were watercolours
People liked Polesden Lacey, local scenes and Venice.
So lots of things to mull over, for the future but I’m pretty sure I’ll be painting watercolour sketches in the near future.
Its been a busy month for me with my paintings being shown in many places….
Denbies Vinyard, Gallery for one week
Woodlands Park Hotel, Grounds for a day
Guildford House Gallery, Guildford – Surrey Wildlife Trust Art Competition
Surrey Open Studios, Leatherhead
I’ve been painting out where I can recently, adapting my work to a more sketchbook style, using line & wash.
I’ve really enjoyed these sessions and feel confident in creating finished but sketch based results. I’ve shown my old sketchbooks to quite a few people and they all love them, so I’m moving into producing more work like this, but not in a sketchbook. The paintings can then be framed and shown as individual pieces.
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Gomshall Mill, Surrey