Thursday, 26 February 2009

Stepping stones

I've been to these magical stepping stones in Summer but not in Winter but it felt like Spring, it really was a perfect painting spot, the light was clear with soft shadows, the stream was trickling by and we were out of a cool wind and hardly anybody came by just a few Herdwick sheep glanced and wondered what we were up to.

I'm using my trusted paper stretcher but with pastel paper and watercolour applied first loosely and then the lights brought out with pastels, I really enjoyed doing this little piece it does make a difference if you feel relaxed and inspired when painting, my group of intrepid artists have been a real joy this week.

Lakeland wall, snowdrops and Daffs in bud

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Misty and Mild

Misty reflections at Rydal Water
I'm on my first four day 09 course and the weather has been very kind for two days, we've managed to paint outside it's been great to get outside and with no wind it's quite pleasant. Today we started at Rydal Mount with a delightful waterfall, the trees were not getting in the way as they do in summer so we had a great view to paint in pastels. After this we made our way through the Church gardens passing 'Dora's field' famous for Wordsworth daffodils and down to Rydal Lake shore, we did a quick few pencil sketches ready for Wednesday's demonstration in watercolours, unless we have glorious Sunshine.

Stage 1 waterfall Rydal Mount pastels on glasspaper
Stage 2 Waterfall

Monday at Faeryland, Grasmere Best Hot chocolate cafe view

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Chasing Rainbows

I've got really into skiing in the last few years, and so at the first free chance we hot footed it to Bonny Scotland, but just as we got to Glencoe ski ticket office they closed the lifts due to high winds, so no skiing! But there is nowhere like Glencoe and Rannoch Moor, some people find Glencoe spooky because of the past history, I find it one of the most dramatic and inspiring places. The mist was floating all around the mountain tops, showing glimpses of snow covered tops all perfect watercolour subjects, then when you think it cant get any better, the sun came out for a few minutes and the brightest rainbow entered centre stage on Rannoch Moor, you sometimes just need to be in the right place and obviously not skiing!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Come and have a look at what I'm doing

Robin's are one of my favourite little birds, they seem so tame here in the Lakes, I think it's to do with all the walkers giving them crumbs, this little chap came and perched on the end of my easel while I was doing an outside demo in Grasmere. I have a four day course next week starting Monday, I like to keep quite an open mind about what we will paint, you never know what will inspire you I'm hoping to do a session at Rydal and also the waterfalls at Rydal Mount, they are set in beautiful gardens which have recently been renovated and most importantly there is a smashing little coffee shop with fantastic home bakes, just what an artist will need after a few hours painting outside. The weather this week in the Lakes is a little warmer I'm hoping it continues for next week, and it's great to see lighter nights, I do so hate it when it's dark at 3.30pm.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Perspective in a blonde way

After a busy few days of art, watercolour workshop weekend and Monday night evening class, I should really not feel like getting the paints out, but it can get a little addictive like coffee and chocolate. On a Tuesday I paint with a group of friends and fellow artists (when do you call yourself this? I think when you know the difference between a rigger, hake or filbert and not just an emulsion brush)
So what to paint, I wanted to have a go at a balcony scene that I have painted in Italy in Acrylics, I have very fond memories of Nonna looking over the balcony with a wooden spoon in hand watching us painting her beautiful terrace and I'm sure a very tasty pasta sauce dripping off her spoon, there really is nothing like painting in Italy . But today trying to get my head round perspective and vanishing points was a difficult one, painting mountain tops and Lakeland scenes is much easier, but it is good to challenge yourself! So now I will take a couple of paracetamols and head off down to the Lake to help sort my muddled head out.

Friday, 13 February 2009

1/2 hour play

Why are we so precious about a painting, thinking 'this is the one' instead of always thinking about the painting behind a frame before we even start painting, and I'm a culprit of this, we should just have a play and see what the watercolour will do, it doesn't matter if it don't work, just enjoy the freedom of painting. I had a painting that wasn't going anywhere so I just started painting this in a little spare corner, it only took 1/2 hour and I learned from it. Have you heard about the new Winsor and Newton Acrylics that are coming out, I'm hoping to try some next week, keep watching to see how I get on!! Have a good weekend, just looking at the poppy above and wondering if I was thinking Valentine!!!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Snowdrops but no snow

When I see these little white maidens, I always think that Spring is on it's way, listening to the radio there seems a bit of snow about, but Keswick has non, we seem to be sheltered by the mountains and warmed by the Lake. I've been getting ready for my 1st course which is this weekend, it's a beginners watercolour, so I've got a few step by step Lakeland scenes to demonstrate and also a quaint corner subject with lots of techniques to try out. It's based inside at the hall in Portinscale, and a new venture for 2009 I've never done any weekends before but it's proved really popular, when I thought about this workshops what I wanted to do was an intensive watercolour therapy looking at students work who may have got in a rut and just need a gentle push in the right direction, there is sooooooooo much to learn in this medium that you never get bored.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The special one!!!

The Daffodils took four days to leave the bud and come out into full bloom even when they were popped on the radiator and had two lots of warm water but eventually they showed themselves for my evening class. I painted this with watercolour on Fabriano Hot pressed paper it was good trying out a new paper and this one certainly was a great paper to paint still life, BUT I'm still searching for the ultimate yellow I've tried Transparent, Cadmium, Winsor, Auerlin, Lemon and Gamboge just to name a few, the search continues..................

Friday, 6 February 2009

Cold tea

Didn't start painting till about 1.30 today, I couldn't get in the mood, I was wanting to paint some daffodils that I bought yesterday, but they are still tightly in bud, even thou I've had them over the radiator, on the windowsill and even in the conservatory that reached 19 degrees this afternoon, but no they are still in bud. I think I knew I couldn't paint them! but what I was really doing was putting off painting my foreground in this picture, sometimes you do doubt that you can paint, anyway I started and within 5 minutes I was enjoying it, I know this because two cups of tea went untouched!! Anyway I'm pleased with this afternoons work, just a little more tweaking and I think you can it done!! Then maybe the Daffs will be in flower!!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Derwent Island Weekend

I've just put the details out for a very special watercolour weekend on Derwent Island. I met Fiona a couple of years ago when she invited me over to the Island for Coffee! what can you say it's not every day you get asked to go across to Derwentwater to this beautiful Island. It was a cold February morning the lake was still with perfect reflections the fells had that pale misty blue glow. Derwent Island was a lot bigger than I thought, the house is on a incline in the centre so has picture perfect views from every window,with a grand staircase, period fireplaces and a drawing room that is fantastic for painting from, floor to ceiling windows lead onto a covered Italian terrace perfect for those rainy days we occasionally get in the Lakes!
The watercolour weekend starts with a private launch over to the Island morning coffee and shortbread is served in the drawing room, then it's time for the painting we've got two whole days with so many lovely painting spots if the weather is good 360 degree views of Derwentwater to choose from, flowers in the garden, views from the boathouse and old chapel are just a few to name. The days end with afternoon tea served on the terrace and launch back to 'the real world'
Watercolour Island weekend Saturday 7th and 8th June 09 Price £235 includes bed and breakfast, morning coffee, afternoon tea, private launch and all tuition. Numbers are limited so book early

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Big Canvas Little Brush

Well got up this morning to only snow on the fells, but a bright blue sky, I was torn in two today shall I go out and paint or shall I carry on nice and warm with the Grandes Jorasses?
Nice and warm won after yesterdays chilling encounter, I've got to the stage of this painting when I can't leave it alone!! I've been painting it now for over a week and it's the biggest canvas I've worked on in ages, measuring 30 x 24 inches but I'm using a lovely size 4 round sable, I'm a girl for detail!! I've still got all the foreground to put in so keep tunning in.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Happy Artist in the snow

I could'nt resist this happy face
Wonderful snow to wake up to, unfortunately had to cancel my evening class tonight so no painting of Daffodils tonight! I had a lovely walk to Castlerigg stone Circle and only one other person there, who was hugging some of the stones, strange things can go on at the stone circle! I wasn't bothered I just wanted a little sunshine to light up the fells. No painting done today, it was a little chilly to say the least. Hoping to do some tomorrow!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Mary Poppins!

Where to walk on a very windy, cold first day of February?Buttermere circuit is a lovely easy gentile walk in dramatic mountain scenery with Fleetwith Pike towering steeply over the Lake or maybe it should be called a 'mere'. I have walked around Buttermere many times and have climbed all of it's surrounding hills with lots of happy memories. I once brought a group of artists to the Lake shore, the weather was a little showery to say the least, but with Umbrella's, packed lunch and all painting gear we set up camp on the northern shore and tried to produce something worth getting wet for! It really can be quite fantastic watching the weather approach in the Lake District, and sitting under a large golfing umbrella you can quite appreciate it and keep fairly dry. On this particular day we had been painting for about one hour when I heard a little scream, one of the golfing brollies had taken flight and was swirling into the air and heading down the lake, luckily with no artist attached, the wind suddenly dropped and so did the brolly into the centre of the Lake and sunk straight to the bottom. Now I did feel a little guilty about littering up the lake, but it was a ' National Trust' umbrella, so maybe that wasn't too bad!!