Thursday, December 15, 2011

Robin - watercolour

Watercolour on Bristol Board 24 x 16cms

Anyone wondering when I'm going to get sick of robins?  I'm still experimenting with watercolour on different grounds.  Bristol board loves graphite and pen as I recall but it didn't allow me to achieve the effect I am after with watercolour.  So now I'm painting some acrylic gel on hp watercolour paper.  I might spare you the results.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Robins - watercolour on gold ground

Robins - 18 x 18cms
transparent watercolour on gold acrylic ground

Exploring abstraction and still obsessed with gold grounds.  Finally settled on a combination of abstract and figurative styles for this favourite subject.  The presence of robins in our grey garden at this time of year is such a joy.

I decided to limit myself to transparent watercolour for this painting but I'm really missing a touch of white gouache.  Sometimes just putting a painting up on my blog gives me enough distance to decide if it's working. Perhaps you can help me decide?  The scan doesn't do justice to the richness of the gold shining through the transparent colour.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Driven to Abstraction!

Volare - acrylic on paper 38 x 28cm

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gouache on a Gold Ground

Gouache on HP paper - 28 x 38cm

Monday, November 07, 2011

After Giovanna Garzoni - still life

After Giovanna Garzoni - oil on canvas 34 x 50 cm
(Click the painting for a larger image)

This could be called 'Biting off more than I could chew'.  I started the painting a couple of winters ago trying to come to terms with oil paints.  I chose for the exercise to copy a combination of two tempera on vellum pictures by Giovanna Garzoni (b. 1600 Ascoli Piceno, Italy, d. 1670 Rome).  This Italian female painter  was among the first to paint decorative still life and gain fame and fortune as a professional artist.  

 Giovanna Garzoni - 35.5 x 49.5 cm
Firenze, Galleria Palatina

 Giovanna Garzoni - 27 x 35 cm
Firenze, Galleria Palatina

And what have I learnt from this exercise?  That Giovanna Garzoni is an inspiration and not to bite off more than I can chew!

If you'd like to see some more of Garzoni's paintings, I found this delightful video on You Tube.


Friday, November 04, 2011

Granada Gouache

Granada - 33 x 35cm gouache on Khadi paper

Some of my favourite things about Granada.  

I didn't actually see a Song Thrush in Granada but there was what looks like a tiny one on a beautiful tin of Pimenton Picante that I had to have.  We have thrushes in the garden here in Tuscany at the moment but they refuse to sit and pose for me.  I owe the reference for this little fellow to the generosity of photographer Dick Daniels - Birds of The World - An Online Bird Book.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Owl in Watercolour

 I painted this little owl to celebrate the birthday of a special friend who shares my love of birds, particularly owls. 

Every May, as part of the medieval festival in Castiglion Fiorentino, there is a brilliant opportunity to get up close to these beautiful birds of prey.

The Usual Suspects

 This year for once I had my Nikon and my sketchbook.

Talk about a patient model!
So my watercolour for Felicity was made from my sketches and photographs. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sketches in Spain

Watercolour postcard - Alcazaba, Alhambra

In September we were very fortunate to have three days in Granada, Spain with dear friends from Sydney. I took the opportunity to climb up on to the roof of their holiday house to paint a postcard for Alison S, who was next on my list in the A Postcard from My Walk exchange.

Granada is a stunning little city blessed with beautiful scenery, wonderful weather, great food and the fantastic historical Alhambra palaces. Of course three days and only one visit to the Alhambra was not nearly enough! Anyone planning a trip to Granada, make sure you book tickets for the Alhambra well ahead of your visit. We only scraped in at 7pm on our last day.

The city has the best bus system in the world. Sydney take note. See the M.C. Escher Sky & Water print on the back of the bus. He was inspired by the fantastic Moorish art of the Alhambra, particularly the patterns of tiles. I almost wept when I saw how much there was to see and how impossible, in the time available, to absorb even a fraction of it.

I didn't attempt any sketches of the Alhambra apart from the postcard for Alison but I know it will be a powerful influence on my future paintings and prints.

Meantime I did manage another couple of quick sketches.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Collage can be scary

A cage is a cage - gouache & collage on Khadi cotton rag
25 x 30 cm

This painting was always intended to be collaged. It's the fourth in a series. Then I got to the point where I thought, I really like the dove. Am I going to ruin it with the fan tail? Thank goodness for Scotch Magic Tape - in the short term it will allow me to change my mind.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuscan Farm in Gouache

My Nonna has a farm in Toscana

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Framed and Sold - Gouache

This gouache/collage was sold at Christmas but has had to wait until now for its owners to return to Tuscany to choose a frame. Now it's deciding where to hang.

There are few things that make me happier than to see my work beautifully framed. I'm inspired to have the other two in this series framed in exactly the same style.

Artist reflected in her own work!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Still life with bottle and apricots

20 x 18.5 cm oil on Canson oil sketch paper

The little stoneware bottle is one of my treasured finds at the antique market at Isle sur la Sorgue in Provence. The apricots are Italian.

I've been inspired to give oils another chance after the delight of watching Sarah Wimperis painting with them in Bedoin. Before I left, I crept into Julian Merrow-Smith's studio in the hope that I might find a mote of brilliance floating in the shifting light. It would appear that I now need to apply myself for twenty years or so.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Watercolour Pot, Mug and Apple

Watercolour sketch - David Garland pottery

These beautiful pieces of David Garland pottery are now a vivid part of my memories of Ruth and Julian's house in Provence. This was a quick sketch to treasure since I couldn't carry away the real thing.

Those of you who know Julian Merrow-Smith's wonderful still life pictures Postcard from Provence will know how he celebrates these objects in his paintings.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Still Life in Provence and Antique Market

Gouache on handmade rag paper

This still life was painted in the dining room in Julian and Ruth's house, where I'm cooking dinner in their beautiful and extremely well-equipped kitchen while I write this post.

The turquoise pitcher is my new favourite object (along with two others yet to be revealed) that I found at the famous Sunday market at L'Lsle sur la Sorgue here in Provence.

I could have shopped until I dropped but I kept it within reason. Below are a couple of photos of the beautiful town.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Painting Provence

'Home' in Provence - Watercolour

Here I am living the dream in a beautiful artist/writer's house in Provence. I could stay a year and still not have time to appreciate the ambiance, the art, the books, the cats (sorry Dermott!), the terrace, the view, the mountain!

If you want to share the dream buy Ruth Phillips beautiful new book, Cherries from Chauvet's Orchard, about how she and her husband, Julian Merrow-Smith made their wonderful life here. My limited edition copy was waiting for me when I arrived. I'm reading slowly, not wanting it to end.

Quite a lot of sketching and painting is being fitted around a great deal of eating and talking with Sarah Wimperis, Katherine Tyrrell and for four delightful days, Ronell van Wyk.

There are great days and wonderful days and there are Watermelon Days....

Ochre Bluff - Watercolour

This magnificent feature is a short walk from the house. Like a little Uluru in Provence. Sadly I made it look like a wedge of watermelon.

I'm having enormous pleasure and great luck to have the opportunity to look over Sarah's shoulder as she paints a couple of oils before breakfasts, and a few watercolours before bed. Inspiring. Katherine is keeping us entertained with wonderful sketches of our restaurant meals and making a great fist of her first oil paintings - ever! All of this you can see on our group blog Four Go Painting in Provence.

The Ruin - Watercolour and pencil

If any of you are wondering how La Bianca is getting on in France - she headed straight for the nearest vineyard. Like owner like car!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Tomorrow I set out to find my artist friends in Provence. Nervous as hell!
What am I worried about? I have an Italian drivers' licence. I'm legally entitled to drive as badly as the rest of them!

So as they say, see you when I'm lookin' at you!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dream Car - Fiat 500 watercolour sketch

La Bianca - pen & watercolour

I've been wondering how I am going to get to Provence for my two week painting holiday this month. Anyone who has tried to plan a train journey from Tuscany to Avignon, France will have a fair idea of the problems. Of course I could drive, if I wasn't absolutely terrified of the Italian Autostrada and if our old Mitsibishi would make it.

Anyway, since I first laid eyes on the revamped Fiat 500 or cinquecento, as she's called here in Italy, I've been in love. Now La Bianca and I are an item.

Anyone who wants to follow us to Provence - not too closely, please - should follow the blog, Four Go Painting in Provence.

Sweet eh?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

EDM #131 - Draw a Spray Bottle

Last day of May. Last sketch of the EDiM Challenge. I can't say I'm not relieved. Trouble is there are still a few empty pages in this sketchbook. I should have done more double page spreads.

Now I'm free to dream about Provence. We have a special blog for our painting holiday - Four Go Painting in Provence. If you fancy a free virtual trip to the South of France at this perfect time of year you could subscribe to the Blog or follow us on Twitter - 4PP

Monday, May 30, 2011

EDM 129, 130 - Nearing the End!

This is the second last sketch of the Every Day in May Challenge - 2011

This is the sketch I am least happy to have in my book.

There was no shortage of models yesterday for 'Draw People Doing Something', it's just that none of the blighters would keep still! I settled on the annual brass band competition but even musicians are a fidgety lot. Took about six sketches to get to this one which I then copied into my EDiM sketchbook and added a bit of watercolour.

So I guess I have to practise sketching people. Groan. Or maybe I just sketch dogs. Dogs are the best people!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

EDM 127, 128 - Skyscape, Doorway

I have sketched this view from the terrace before - in gouache
It's not far to walk!

One more sketch to catch up and then two to go after that to the end of May. I haven't made it yet but I'd give you odds on that I will.

P.S. I forgot one!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

EDM #125 - Draw a Bird

It's taken a while but the collared doves are now happily at home in our garden, competing with the sparrows and pigeons for the food and bath. This one sits peering into the bedroom at me while I peer back through my binoculars. They are so dainty, I love them.

Still dragging the chain with my Every Day in May Challenge. You can see everyone's drawings on the flickr group:

I need to catch up by the end of the month so I can post #131 on May 31 and pretend I kept up the discipline of painting every day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Postcard for Charlene & EDM 120 Flashlight

postcard 6 x 4"
Val di Chio from Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany

This is the postcard I painted for Charlene Brown - 1150 Words - in Canada as part of our Sketchercise postcard exchange A Postcard from My Walk.

And of course, I have another EDiM sketch for you. Believe it or not I'm getting faster with these, which is one of the reasons the challenge is worth doing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuscan Terrace watercolour plus EDM 118, 119

watercolour 19 x 20cm

Our Wednesday watercolour group met yesterday on an artist's terrace overlooking a garden olive grove. Delightful.

I've finally caught up with the EDiM Challenge ... until tomorrow.

My first thought for 'Draw some hair' was Dermott:

Where's Vidal Sassoon when you want him?
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