Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Autumn Glow painted in Oils

I've been waiting for the leaves to turn to rich shades of Autumn to paint this Woodland scene.
Watching each day, the colours change, knowing they could all blow away or maybe not change at all!
With this been our first Autumn in the Alps, I've not known what to expect.
But wow what colours and it's all happened nearly in a few days.
From Green to Gold to Russet.

So with all this in mind.
Out came the Oils, a square format was decided on.
A new approach using Masking tape to keep the light on the tree bark was applied.
Transparent Colours applied with a brush and then a palette knife.
Music was playing ' Yellow' by Coldplay
Now came the tricky messing bit, removing the tape.

With tape all removed the palette knife came back into play. Opaque colours started to bring the painting together adding lights.
 I wanted to keep a loose approach and not get bogged down in detail but keep bright colours alive and the sparkle of an Autumnal wood.

'Autumn Glow'

Painted in Oils on board 

Inspired by a Wood and Coldplay.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Pastel Demonstration Leisure Painter

Sixt Cheval painted in Pastels

I'm delighted to see my article on how I painted this pastel scene in The Leisure painter magazine today.
I started with a very loose watercolour under base and then added the pastel.
Painting this wonderful mountain vista lent itself to the pastel medium. I know it can be a messy medium to work with but the colours are instant and often have a wow effect.
I remember my first ever pastel painting, it gave me more encouragement than the years I had painting watercolours, it suddenly looked like the image I had imagined and opened up a world of painting subjects.
Painting for me is something that is a never ending story and trying out new mediums just adds a few new chapters.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Striding Edge Alpine style

A nice easy walk, along a flat plateau with stunning views towards Mont Blanc. A picnic was packed, art gear was popped in the bag and sunshine was ordered.
Leaving the Col Joux Plane we made quick time to the small lake, the map was brought out to be studied.
The compass also made it's first debut, I then thought maybe I should check this walk on the map!

The easy path to the lake is seen on a short breather up the grassy ride. We have lost the easy path by this stage, but the walk is offering stunning views at every stop.

The grassy scramble up the steep incline is over and we have reached a viewpoint across to Mountain peaks  into Switzerland. The scenery becomes breathtaking, as does the walk. I had mentioned at the Lake that the path had 'red dots'on the map which meant a dangerous route, but was told we're not going along there it's an easy walk!

Striding Edge and it's terrifying ridge did not seem that far away at this point. Concentrate Jane and if you have to fall make it the right hand side it's not as steep!

The views are worth it, I kept telling myself with legs becoming jelly like.The wind was whipping up so we didn't pause for long. Nearly there my trusty climber told me.

Round a sheer edge and 'The red dots' came into action! I was told that the wire rope is to guide and aid, not cling and swing on as I did. Why does the wretched thing have to move. You can see the lake below which I can now appreciate I didn't dare look down at this point.

And then we were safe back on a lovely bike flat path heading our way down to the Joux Plane and what a view to walk towards. The colours are stunning at the moment, but I fear that Autumn could be fast and the golden leaves disappear very fast.

Fancy a painting holiday in the French Alps at Samoens with stunning scenery 
and an amazing chalet to stay at

Friday, 18 October 2013

Van Gogh and St Remy de Provence

What a bizarre week, first I find myself two foot deep in snow and then a quick trip down to Provence and back to lovely Autumn sunshine. I'd heard somewhere that St Remy was a nice place and 'Arty'.
  Van Gogh spent a year at St Pauls Mausole and painted over 150 canvases here in just a year.
I reckon that must be about one every two and half days, quite something.
We first took a walk around the town in the famous man's footsteps. He was allowed to paint away from the rest home but only a mile away.What came across most was seeing the textures he made from the landscape before him and muted colours of Prussian Blues with light showing through. In this part of Provence the light is very special and colours do seem muted and much more opaque.

Next we entered St Pauls Mausole and walked peacefully through the wing which is open to the public.
We stepped inside his light and airy room, what a lovely view from the window. Standing looking out of the same window and I imagined Van Gogh standing there gazing looking across the Olive trees and gardens full of texture, colour and light. I could see how he painted all these paintings.

The view from his bedroom window

Looking back to St Paul's from the garden full of lavender and lemon smelling Rosemary

While enjoying our time in the garden, I glanced over with miles and miles of Olive groves and vineyards in the distant view there was mighty Mont Ventoux.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Winter ride to Col Joux Plane

Winter ride to Col Joux Plane
Painted in Watercolours

The adventurer in me fancied seeing what the snow looked like at the top of the Joux Plane. Most people would probably be happy just imagining the white stuff. I have a annoying habit that needs to see it and be in it, if it's there! So with Number one art critic not too happy about what lay ahead, we set off up the Col.

The first few miles was easy going, getting above 1200 metres and things changed. Into the woods and snow was on the road, a steep 10% incline and the ride became a little tense.It was difficult to turn the VW  round, easier to just head out of the wood.

Through the mist and out into the sunshine. The road improved and we made our way to a Winter wonderland 

With nearly two foot of snow fallen through the night, it was unbelievable and I think not normal for October.

But snow inspiring

Barely a whisper of wind, so reflections at the lake were incredible.And look at the Blue sky

 The mist started rolling in again and the sky looked rather dramatic,we thought better make it back down, safely I can now add.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Painting snow while it melts

 I wanted to do a blog this week about the Autumn weather change in the Alps, but the snow beat me to it!
Swirling mist, opened to reveal snow clad trees and moments of light striking the stark white mountain tops.

The cloud sank deeper into the Giffre valley, the paints came out and I tried to capture swirling mist, Spruce and Conifers glistening with snow and a  few chalets at Vercland disapearing into the cloud layer.

First Snow 
painted in watercolours
Winsor Blue, Cadmiuim Yellow and English Red Ochre

A few hours later, bright green fields and a dusty of snow on the tops and all is revealed.

Fancy joining my watercolour course

Monday, 7 October 2013

Sunshine Moorings, Lake Iseo

Sunshine mooring, Lake Iseo

Painted in Oils on board
Size 12 x 10 inches
Price £250.00
Includes P&P

Late afternoon sunshine and wonderful warm reflections on an Italian Lake.
For more information email lakelandart@hotmail.co.uk

Copyright J.E.Ward 2013

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Bedoin to Mont Ventoux

Driving down to Provence the white top of Mont Ventoux came into view at sixty miles away it filled me with a little intrepedation. Our base was the pretty town of Bedoin this been the classic route up and also the hardiest! As we drove into town the views towards the mighty Mont  framed with pine trees and ripe grapes on the vines, some had just been picked and loaded into trailers and pulled along by old tractors.

We had a perfect sunny day with barely any wind, great conditions for cycling. Mont Ventoux is famous for its diverse weather on the top. The strongiest winds have been recorded at over 200 miles an hour, so I was told as I began the cycle up. Note the top of the mountain in the far distance.

The local people of Bedoin had decided to plant a wealth of Pine, Oak and Fir trees in the late 18th century on the lower slopes. I must say 'thank you' they provided wonderful shade and colours of warm Autumn which helped to take my mind off the miles of steep gradients.
Arriving at the famous cyclists Chalet Reynard, with most of the steep gradients done a very well earned rest and a time to catch my breath before the next un shaded section. Looking around there were many cyclists of all ages enjoying the sun and maybe like me slightly daugnted and thinking about  the next famous section. Would I make it to the top!

The bare scree with barely anything growing, lucky for me it was a lovely temperature and no wind

Not many cars or motorbikes just cyclists struggling on. I was now starting to feel emotional, thoughts of the English Olympic cyclist Tom Simpson who died on the slope.This barren but beautiful iconic landscape certainly brings out the passion in cyclists.

Not long to go, I felt like I was cycling towards the ends of the earth, round a bend and the end is in sight.

The last 500 metres to go and 11% for a final kick

The last bend to the top, and I remember seeing Chris Froome lead the way. This is one of the joys of cycling you too can do the same course!! Mine was much shorter. And may I say slower!!

But with the clouds below, here comes the final bend.

I made it!! What joy and also a very proud moment and a couple of tears!! 
Well I am an artist who likes the colour pink!!

Looking back down and what a glorious day, this is a Must for any cyclists a true classic and beautiful ride.

Down hill all the way and back to try out some of the local wine!
Also to put a tick in our Mountain High cycle book this was our 13th ride out of 50,
glad I didn't know that before!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Mont ventoux

Just a very quick blog to let you know I survived and conquered the mighty Mont ventoux
It was tough especially for an artist that likes pink but I can now  wear the tee shirt
More lovely photos will follow and what an area to paint