Thursday, 31 January 2013

Balloons above Samoens

We had a trip to Annecy, it's only one hour from Samoens, so makes a great day out on a non ski day.
And with all those calories burned off this week, I felt no guilt picking a yummy 'Theatre Tartlet' 

I think artists do enjoy eating something that looks so appealing.

I've only visited Annecy once, many years ago and remember doing a quick sketch just here, it is a classic shot and did look very different in June.

This week, nearly every morning between 9.30 and 11am, seventeen Balloons have taken off from Les Carroz and floated majestically over the skies of Samoens. It's a 20th anniverary Balloon meeting 
What a wonderful thing to do! great watching and counting them, I bet the views are amazing.

Today was our last ski day, the photo above shows NOT how bittery cold and windy it was.
  Still very beautiful, in a raw icy wind.
The snow conditions have been so different this week from heavy snow causing massive moguls that either had to be bypassed or ploughed through and today sheer ice that on red runs certainly got the adrenalin pumping. With wonderful quiet pistes all to yourselves and no lift queues, Samoens is a super place to ski.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Name this mountain?

Sixt fer a cheval from Samoens 
Painted in watercolour from Chalet Anpie

I'm trying to find out the name of the background peaks they could be

Tete Pelouse translated into English 'Head Lawn'

or Le Cheval Blanc translated into 'The White Horse'

I hope it's 'The White Horse' this was probably my first mountain climb in Yorkshire!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Samoens it's not all ski

Here are some photo's of the last few days in Samoens.
It's not been all skiing, we had a lovely walk to Vallons.

 This small farming village on the outskirts of Samoens has some interesting painting subjects
round every corner.If you fancy joining me in September
 I'm running a painting holiday in this wonderful
part of the French Alps.

This is the first time I've seen a bicyle decorated with festive bows.

This morning we woke at Chalet Anpie to more snow and a soft icy cloud inversion.

Then the sun came out.

 The snow that's fallen in the last few weeks in Samoens

A perfect watercolour wash sky, looking towards Flaine.

Samoens, seen in late afternoon sunshine from the ski lift

Another shot from the ski lift, number one art critque
spends his time tutting as I click. I love this intimate view, it inspires me to get the Oils out.

Another favourite and one that could see a paintbrush. 
With nobody else on the piste skiing here is a joy. 
Hopefully no nasty skateboarders to knock me flying face down into a pile of snow

I've nearly finished a watercolour from chalet Anpie, I'll post it fingers crossed tomorrow

Friday, 25 January 2013

Cloud inversion and the River Giffre in Samoens

'The Criou' painted in watercolours this week peeping through the cloud inversion

Mighty Mont Blanc what more can you say!

 Towards 'Buet' with silver birches catching some winter sunshine

A Winter wonderland walk along the River Giffre on a day off from skiing.

Number one art crytic was checking the fishing conditions while I was figuring out
some lovely river compositions down on the Giffre. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

After the snow in Samoens

A misty morning

Then it snowed, I had to have a walk to the bakery

Across to Samoens and no sunlight yet

Ski Van in action

On the bubble lift with Criou in the distance

 A tree Sparkling with snow

On the bubble back down to Samoens
A perfect day of fresh snow and sunshine

Monday, 21 January 2013

Finding snow in Samoens

So I leave the UK because I need a little snow action, and what happens!
It snows everywhere. I know that some people don't like the white soft sparkly stuff, but been here in Samoens is truly magical.The  view above of Criou from the bedroom window, how good is that and see the layer of snow. I've had the sketchbook out and now ready for the watercolour.

The strongest tree in Samoens, bring on the snow I heard it whisper

An artist that loves Pink

The living room view another painting.
I love the soft cloud inversions perfect for watercolours

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Painting trips for watercolourists

This was the view from my bathroom this morning ,glorious snowy Grizedale Pike. 
You can see just the fell tops in Keswick have a little snow, unlike other areas of Britain.
I'm not too sad about this, I'm getting ready for a trip to Samoens in the French Alps.

And this is what I'm expecting to see next week, fingers crossed. 
The Art gear is first to be packed, I'm taking watercolours, gouache and a few 
watercolour pencils this time. They shouldn't freeze on the slopes
Would love to take the Oils but cannot imagine skiing  in a Cream coat 
and  keeping it that way! 
Number One art critic would have a fit, if he saw me with the Pocade box on the ski lift!!

I thought you might like a warmer tantalising view?
Imagine Prosecco in hand, a warm breeze blowing, the sun setting on the Island and Lake below
The Best Home made  Italian dish about to be served 
And your thinking I painted a super painting today
Life is simple Check out the dates and see if you can make it

Saturday 22nd to 29th June 2013

Saturday 14th to 21st September 2013

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Walls and bridges in watercolour

My Monthly watercolour group are all such wonderful inspiring artists, never negative and always up for a challenge.It is such a joy to share a fun morning with them painting.At the last session I asked what they would like to paint ' Walls and and Bridges' 
I felt this lovely scene of Watendlath in the Lake District would be ideal. 
I had a practise run the day before, sketched a couple of thumbnails, decided on a square format, left the building out,chopped a few trees down and replanted one, it's exhausting work before you even lift the paint brush.

 Firstly a weak base colour was painted over the entire paper, cool colour and pale tones were used to paint the background. Stronger tones and warmer shades were used for the bridge and the Trees behind the bridge. I left the stream fairly untouched but did paint the reflections at the same time as the grassy bank and bridge I find this ideal using the same strengths of colour.

Stage two
I find foreground work needs a little thinking about.
Not too much detail but just enough without overworking.
In Stage two I washed out areas to reveal more of the path.
Decided to paint movement in the stream and a few larger rocks with stronger tones.
The grasses in the front still need extra tones and a touch more detail
These Winter days do give more more time on reflection, I don't like paint in artificial light
Tomorrow I hope to finish Watendlath!

I think this will make a great online project 
 plenty of colour mixing ideas, watercolour techniques including masking out and wax
 and how to paint Trees and moving water
If you would like to join my watercolour course and start watercolour painting

Monday, 7 January 2013

Sketchbook tales

The view from Chalet Anpie, Samoens

I thought I would share with you a few quick colour sketches from my sketchbooks. I think there is nothing more enjoyable than sitting watching the world go by, be it a busy market or a still mountain scene and even a pounding waterfall rushing and gushing. I love a new sketchbook and always have one with me on my travels, I would feel quite lost without one, a couple of  brushes, a small palette of colour and a waterproof pen. Twenty minutes is all you need and you have a lovely reminder of a place in time.

The depths of a snow storm in Les Houches, Chamonix

Market day Iseo and the fruit stall

L'ombrello giallo, Iseo town

Over a cappuccino I caught this bustling flower stall

A morning sketch at Friars Crag, with Newlands valley

Rydal Falls painted inside the Folly, where I think there is a ghostly kind artist spirit!!

I hope you enjoyed a look inside my sketchbooks.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Painting ideas

Dusk, Derwentwater 
painted in Watercolours

I sit here at my desk with a blank canvas ready for some colourful action, do you have the same problem, what to paint? The weather over Christmas was a little dire and grey, perfect for lounging on the sofa and watching sloppy films while eating chocolates.! Not all the time, I really enjoyed working slowly on ' Dusk' as you know  my favourite view of Derwentwater.
But now a new year has dawned and so we need inspiration, more colour and of course direction. I find I do need to be inspired I wish sometimes a magic wand could be waved and wooosh a painting idea pops in to my head.

But really it doesn't take very long, I find a walk out is all it needs at times.

If you fancy a little direction and learning some new watercolour techniques, why not join my correspondence course at £75.00 for six step by step projects and personal feedback with each project