Sunday, 27 July 2014

Colourful Annecy

Love how these bikes are parked, not sure if one of them will fall into the Canal.

Annecy is a lovely city, full of light and colour. I'm sure it's because of the Lake, it reminds me of a mini Venice but without the Gondoliers. Pretty street side cafes, perfect for a little people watching. It's a place that's definitely appeals to the artist or photographer with subjects round every corner.

With lots of different shots to be taken, not sure why, but this chap caught my eye, notice his dog patiently tied around his waist.The girls behind and to the side all taking photo's.

This little beauty certainly deserved a shot, each little bit was savoured with joy, even the tag was Chocolate! Betty's of Yorkshire certainly have competition in France! By the way it was delicious, all that biking and this artist certainly needs a few treats!

A Watercolour Course for Beginners and Improvers, cake friendly

My Paintings from Annecy

 'Bella Donna' painted in Oils

Sundown Annecy painted in Oils

Annecy painted watercolours

Floating painted in Watercolours

Sunday Afternoon Sail painted in Watercolours

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunshine oil

Stage One
I had prepared some Arches Oil paper with an underbase of Pink and Orange. I decided on a high horizon line, quickly blocked in the background, I wanted to keep this loose. The Lake was then painted in with a few different shades of Blue getting darker into the foreground. I applied the paint negatively around by bathing beauty. Styled her hair and popped in some dark shadows in her legs and arm. She was then left overnight to relax.

Bella Donna
Stage Two
The lake was painted in blocking in the jetty at the same time. Skin tones were applied and her lovely floating white top. The Sunglasses caused a bit of a problem, but the basket was great fun. The hands and feet certainly kept me quiet and were chopped off a few times and started again.
I'm leaving her again to dry out for a few days, her yellow towel is wet through

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Cat Mountain

Lac Bourget noted for it's beauty by many artists and poets. 
Much quieter than Annecy but equally as rugged and beautiful. It reminded me of the Italian lakes with it's vineyards growing on the hillsides and it certainly was warm.
Perfect weather for cycling up the two noted hardest cols in France, which I can agree totally with.

'Mont Chat' aka 'Cat Mountain' was the first devil of a climb with gradients between 9 to 11% all the rotten way. Dappling tree shade most of the way and glimses down to the lake below. The vista opens up with views down to Chambery and across the alps to Mont Blanc. With a massive radio mast at the top, which reminded me of Mont Ventoux

The top was reached finally, I did get off and do a couple of sneaky pushing the bike when nobody was watching. Also thought at the last kilometre to go, I don't need to see the top but it's amazing what you can do when there is a cold refreshing drink at the top.

Recovered and it feels on top of the world!!

Lac Bourget below amid the wild flowers growing on the edge.

Day two finds us at the foot of Grand Colombier. This mighty hard climb featured only once in the tour de France a couple of years ago.Here I am admiring the view, and also muttering words that I cannot repeat. The road was melting below our tyres this gauges the heat of the day.

The views from the saddle were spectacular, the reason why I do this mad mad thing. I'm not looking back but across to the might Mont Blanc below. Figuring how to paint the sky with these cotton wool clouds.
We are joined at the top by a group of other balmy cyclists all happy and enjoying the vista.

Great seeing these famous names from when Wiggo won in 2012, I wish they were both racing this year.

I thought the Cormet Roselend was picturesque but this was quite stunning and a wonderful free ride down after the battle uphill on 14% at a couple of places. Number One Art Critic passed a sign and said happily 'look a 8% ' it read 8.9 I call that 9% Saying all of this I'm delighted to have cycled this famous hard route.And quite proud.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Col de la Cayolle

Another nice easy cycle ride I thought!!With a height gain of  1440 only to climb. Heading out of  Barcelonnette you find the Col de la Cayolle. Named as one of the Top 30 most beautiful cycle rides. The scenery was certainly stunning the light seemed brighter as it does in Provence, herbs of Rosemary and Thyme and fragrant Pines lined the way up the gorge.

We passed through a pretty mountain hamlet with a welcome bar, church and row of washing drying along the road side. A wonderful happy elderly lady crossing the road with a tray full of drinks for thirsty riders. I've later sadly read that she serves delicious homemade Ravioli, we just had a Coco cola!!

Following a gorge with deep ravines turquoise clear water splashing by. Next come grand old bridges with room for just one car and vertigo drops either side.We were amazed to see a bus come down the steep pass.

The gradients start to increase through the open pastures.Cycling past a herd of Sheep and Goats shaded  under trees with a large guard dog watching protectively.

A final bridge is reached gradients I'm sure of 9% make the last few kilometres seem hard work. Plenty of happy cyclists passing giving words of support in between gasps of breath.
A fine climb. The city of glamour 'Nice'  was signposted at the top a mere 70 miles below on the other side.

A super descent with great tarmac, not much traffic on this beautiful col that clings to the ravine zig -zaging back to Barcelonnette for a well earned glass of wine.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Step by Step Oil

Stage One Aguille Verte

Thought I'd give the Arches Oil paper another whirl. Still a little undecided on the surface. Blocked in quite madly with complementary shades of colour. I do like to have some bright primaries underneath, these seem to shine through later on like little Gems!!

Stage and Day Two.
Starting to shape the mountain, trying to forget it's a piece of flat paper. I want to give it more dimension and shape. The paper worked better the next day, I felt like it dried and soaked in too fast on day one.

Stage and Day three

Starting to put a little detail in, trying not to overwork and get too fussy. Not sure on what to do with the sky and mist, so I'm leaving it to dry for a few days, and hopefully will have a thunderbolt moment!!

Heard a few Bells outside the window, look who was running down the street.

The Watercolour course for Budding artists

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Cormet de Beautiful Roselend

I thought that Cormet Roselend would be a beautiful ride, and it did not let me down. To say truly stunning is more like it. We started in the pretty village of Beaufort, famous for cheese not like Wensleydale! With gradients ranging between 6 to 8% the going was shaded and not too hard.

Barrage Roselend soon came into view nestled into a pretty valley. Peaceful with wild Orchids and the famous Mahogany coloured Beaufort Cows above the turquoise lake.

Cycling round the lake was a joy, a brief look up to see the uphill above with the cormet another 7kms away.

We see the Col du Pre the hill on the left above the lake our next top after the Roselend.

I'm not in Yorkshire for the Tour, but been on the top of this gorgeous top on a sunny day is pretty special.

The scenery was stated to be like a Scottish glen and I can see why. Lovely quiet roads back to the Barrage.

The next obstacle was cycling across this mighty Barrage, I was surprised to see cars crossing but also slightly perturbed at the signs on the road declaring steep hairpin descents. But I still had to get to the top of the Col Pre.

Looking back to the road we had just cycled between the cliffs to the top of the Cormet.


A single attractive  track leads steeply up the 10% gradient that got me up out of the saddle. The scenery was occupying my mind, the blue sky above and just been able to cycle this magical ride.

Looking back down and having a little rest!

And down we go steeply round and round hairpin bends making our way down the step grassy slope back to Beaufort. I hope you enjoyed the cycle ride of Roselend, I certainly did.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Geranuims in watercolour

I love Geraniums, they don't smell sweet and I always have to spell check them! But I have loved painting them for years, it starts well full of inspiration and ideas.But the little red devils catch me out everytime.
My first attempt of today didn't go well. The colours were to harsh and the tonal values were all wrong and Number One Art Critic declared the colour was wrong. I kindly asked if he would care to mix the suitable shade!
After thinking about what  went wrong, I tried again this afternoon with a much looser approach, I'm happier now, the colours still not quite right so a visit to the Red paint department is needed.

  Stage one

Cadmium Red hue, Cadmium Red deep, Lemon Yellow and  Phlalo Turquoise


Fancy painting in watercolors and not sure where to begin.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Online watercolour course three

 Project One
Alpine Mist.
Atmospheric mist and Pine trees and a little candle wax.

I'm delighted to share with you my new online watercolour course Three.
It's little different to the last two courses which mainly featured Lake District scenes.
It leads on with many new techniques with scenes from the Alps to Italian Lakes. 
Like the last two courses in watercolour all projects come with a sketch, colour tag, step by step photographs in a word document and personal feedback and extra tips.

A perfect holiday watercolour course, either to get you ready for a trip abroad or just to enjoy at home over the Summer.

 Project Two
Turquoise waters, Annecy
Masking fluid and tape and beautiful colours to mix with.

Project Three
French Doorway
Terracotta Pots, shadows and wonderful Geraniums

Project Four
Mont Blanc
A real classic mountain scene creating distance and drama with a few easy colours.

Project Five
Daisies and Buttercups in a Jam Jar
A still life with easy steps on painting glass and tonal Flowers.

Italian Village in Watercolours

Project Six
An Italian Village
From colourful buildings and reflections in  warm Italian waters, this final project has it all.

The Online Watercolour Three
Price £55.00 for Six projects, includes mixing tags, sketches and easy step by step and personal feedback with each individual project.

For beginners why not try Course One to get you started
See here For more information check