Wednesday, 31 July 2013

An evening of music at Jour plaine

Early evening and we found ourselves on top of the Jour Plaine with super company. Musician's from the Geneva Orchestra and the backdrop of Mont Blanc to set the stunning scene joined in too.With the sun setting and beautiful music playing it couldn't get much better. Carmen and Brahmas set the highest standard and was perfect to enjoy the majestic scenery and let the mind wander.

The clouds lifted with the sounds of the violins and Mont Blanc came into view.

And while I was sitting enjoying the ambiance of this special evening, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a perfect French Window sill full of red Geranium's that would make a great painting!

And so the music finishes and we wander happily down to the Lake, all relaxed and look what we see!
Now I think these look like Wolves, but they did seem to be with a chap in a car, that was taking them for a run. I must add 'not on a lead' but running alongside the car!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A French Window

Number one contender

I feel the need to paint a French Window. With so many to choose from and all slightly different. I'm becoming too picky and too critical, or maybe 'The Special One' has not come into view yet. I fancy a loose watercolour with of course a pot or two of Geraniums, pastel shaded shutters in distressed wood, lace curtains maybe a little twee!And light, this is the important factor for lightening the stage and then ready for action.

Love the shutters, especially how they harmonise with the tall lupins, but overall a little too pretty.

 I like the singular pot, but not maybe the two hanging baskets, too symetrical

Another close contender, this old barn sits on the road down to the bakery, which could need another viewing and a good excuse for fresh croissents this morning.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Polka Dot Jersey, Annecy

Polka Dot Jersey
Painted in watercolours by Jane Ward
Size 17 x 12 inches
For Sale

 Here is the Peleton from Stage 20 at Annecy, the Polka Dot Jersey worn by Pierre Rolland is leading the pack out as he did on Stage 19 to win the jersey. Mark Cavendish is on his left wearing British Champions jersey, with a small Union jack on his shorts, Richie Porte is the super sky guy, Colourful BMC is Tejay van Garderen who was second on the mighty mind blowing Alpe d'Huez stage and next to Mark Cavendish is Marcel Kittel who won the final Paris stage.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Painting in the Samoens valley

 Early evening light and the shadows were moving rapidily in the Samoens valley. It's such a beautiful time of day to paint, but time was the essence. I decided to do a quick sketch to show mainly a few chalets, my aim was to capture the sunlight on the meadow before it disappeared. My other aim was to watch out for snakes in the grass! After earlier seeing one when I nearly stood on it while looking for a view to paint!!

The Pines are so colourful with mainy shades of Green towering above the small hamlet of Le Vivier. I added touches of  Pinks and purples into some of the buildings to help balance the painting.

Le Vivier painted in Watercolours

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Stage 20 Annecy Tour de France

 Sitting on the sofa, with a cup of tea, drying out, we thought shall we set the alarm, get up early and go and see the start of the tour in Annecy?
 We managed to get up close to Peter Sagan's bike. Can you see the art work on the frame, and the reason it's all green compared to the other cycles, Peter Sagan will probably be wearing the Green Jersey!! Technical stuff! Colour is important!!

Lake Annecy, soft shades of mountains

 A classic view of Annecy, a perfect place to paint?

 We walked along the promenade and found a bend in the road we thought would be great to see the riders  cycling  through. Sat next to Annecy Lake in the sunshine was very different to the thunderstorm of the previous day. The excitement overhead of helicopters meant the cyclists were on the way.

Here they come I can't tell you how exciting it feels!

The Polka dot jersey leads in front with Super Cavendish on his left, but where is the yellow jersey.
It's all happening so fast.

 Peter Sagan is next to our Sky man and behind is the Yellow jersey and Froome, I can't believe I managed to capture this when it's nearly over in a blink.

And there they go along the shores of Annecy

So what did I think, to my tour experience? It was magic and so inspiring.

Stage 19 Tour de France Col de la Croix Fry

After watching the Giro d'Italia earlier in May, I thought the Tour de France would be a little bit busier and a touch more theatrical. But boy it sure was. We parked the Vw early, 26 hours to be exact,  the small silver van with it's roof up. We were not alone for the night, with Italians, French and Germans to name a few fellow campers.

One chap even brought a horn for something to play. It felt like Glastonbury, with smoke fires and the sounds of Danny Boy coming from the horn!

We didn't wait long for the spectacle to begin

With freebies thrown in every direction. I did wonder how they got all the vans and floats up the mountain passes! It was dry up until this point and then with half an hour to go the heavens opened,  Thunder and lightening roared around the valley, it was going to be hard work for the cyclists.

And then cheers sounded from below and we could see from our position at the last hairpin bend, they were on their way. Here comes the leader Rui Costa emerging from a crowd of supporters

In this photo it's not the riders that I love but the Chickens are getting very excited

  But it's not just the chicken that is excited I'm shouting at the top of my voice for Froome, the excitement is amazing. The cheering and sounds of whistles, cow bells, the sea of colours polka dots, greens and of course the Yellow jersey.

 We make our way to the very top and not long  comes Cavendish and another loud cheer, I'm so delighted to see our second hero of the day.

The conditions of the day heightened the drama of the day on top of this mountain pass.

But not all were happy, this sad little wet doggie shaking with cold, just look at it's little face!

At the top of the Croix Fry

Now the paints and brushes are inspired and ready for action.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sunshine meadow, Samoens

Sunshine Meadow
Painted in Watercolours

I so enjoyed painting this stunning view from above Samoens.
Especially with each brushstroke done on site.
I had lovely company over the two afternoons it took to paint.
Talking through what we could see, colours we noticed, we wondered how to tackle the trees and the flowers.
We had to cheat a little as the farmer had just cut the meadow, but with flowers around the path and the bench we sat upon, there was plenty of inspiration and ideas.

To paint outdoors is such a magical experience, watching the wildlife, been aware of the weather, smelling the wild flowers and gazing at a view.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Painting in the sunshine makes happy artists

I hope the weather is fantastic where you are, what a difference the sunshine makes. It seems to light up everything and painting locations become endless from simple tubs of flowers to sunset landscape scenes.
This year I decided to have a break from painting under Umbrella's in the Lakes! And just look at the weather no raindrops forecast!
I've not given  up the paint brush in the Lakes, it's been great getting some new inspiration in the French Alps and it really opens the eyes to new projects to paint.

I'm still has busy with the Online Watercolour Courses and it's wonderful to see paintings coming from all over the Uk and behond and answering questions and giving lots of tips.

I have just heard from the Rivalago Hotel that one en suite room is available for my painting holiday on the shores of Lake Iseo.
This course runs from Saturday 14th to 21st September and is really suitable for either a beginner or a dabbler with some experience

If you would like more details about this wonderful place to paint just send me an email
 or you can see more details on 

The days are spent painting beside the emerald lake gently lapping at our feet, sampling the delighful Italian cuisine, an odd prosecco and relaxing in the wonderful ambience of the Rivalago hotel. We arrive at painting locations usually by ferry and sketches and paintings are inspired by Lake views, beautiful old buildings full of colour and flowers on every balcony. 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Mighty Col de Galibier

The 'Galibier' a Monster, a Legend and one of the most amazing epic adventures I have taken on two wheels.We started our journey in Valloire a pretty village in the Alps. I did not know what I had let myself in for. This Tour de France classic was described in 1911 as hard labour and not racing and certainly not sport.
This jewel of the tour de France some say is the hardiest itimidating climb and I was about to ride this!
So here we go!!

I can't say it wasn't hard, nor can I say that my I wasn't gasping for air. But going over the 2,000 metre high mark did make a difference. But what I can say is the scenery was so inspiring aound every corner Grand Galibier towered above. Jagged mountain peaks covered in Snow and lost valleys disapearing into the vast unknown.

Here the going gets tough and with an average gradient at 8% it was a slow ride to the top, giving plenty of time to enjoy the view from the saddle.

Into the snow line,  and round the hairpins.

Blue Gentian, Orchids and Forget me nots all crowded for space along the lofty grassy banks.

The road goes on and on, up and up, for the keen cyclists.

Finally when you can see the top the gradient gives one final kick back and pushes you up to 10% of climbing and you know there is no return.

Is it smiles of relief? or a smile that says I conquered the mighty Galibier, now it's just a free ride down.

Stopping at the cheese farm that sells the famous Beaufort cheese, this was even a giant Cheese compared to the 'Tomme'

 The road spiralling all the way to Valloire.

'To the Galibier'

Painted in Watercolour 


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Col Jour Verte

Col de Jour Verte.
We parked the van at Montriod Lake an Emerald beauty that reminded me of Buttermere.
Passed the lake and headed our way up towards the 'Goat Village' This is real Heidi country.
Alpine pastures full of flowers of every colour shinning  happily in the sun.

Around gentle hairpins! I think the flowers stopped the gradient feeling severe.

We passed the ski area, full of Mountain bike folk, behaving wildly,bombing down the steep slopes. The road bike gracefully made it's way through the most delightful woodland. This was the last 2 km up the Col Verte and cycling through this magical sunny glen of pretty Alpine flowers and Pine trees with birdsong the only noise for company was pure joy.

And we reach the top, with Buttercups leading the way and ski runs in the distance.

The ski lifts taking Mountain bikes to dizzy heights to descend at rapid speeds.

The Goat village a little pongy but full of cute Goats and cheese for sale.

Sitting in the shade watching the world go by

Flowers of every colour, I think this would make a simple painting? But what medium

Lake Montriod gleaming in the light with towering peaks.

Col Jour Verte a perfect Col to climb.