Each year there seems to be a race on as to whether our lilies will flower or be devoured by the rapacious lily beetle and their even more rapacious grubs. This year the lilies won – just – so here they are – though I may have exaggerated the number of leaves that remain from the onslaught.
My last post was a pastel and after I completed it I started developing an abstract with them as I find pastel quick to get ideas down with. The abstract wasnt going too well, so I so, with the pastels, I started to play around with a study of some horses I saw on a walk in the Cotswolds we had last week. I liked the way they stood back to back allowing views from two different angles. The richness of the pastel really brought out the lustre of their coats.
I mentioned a visit to Wells in my last blog and I was well impressed with the town. I also loved these two, sitting outside a cafe in the town centre like a pair of bookends, each watching the world go by.
I decided to tackle the scene in pastel. However, the amount of detail I included reduced the opportunities to dwell on facial expressions and despite opting for a tight colour range now feel I may have been a victim of it. I find small details with pastel quite tricky – but then, that’s the point, I suppose – the challenge.
Painting opportunities were sparse this week despite the scenery. We walked around Slad, where Laurie Lee (Cider with Rosie) lived but had to dive into the Woolpack – his local – for a cider, naturally, because of the rain. The next day, the sun only started to come out as we left Wells – a fabulous town I’ve never been to before, but it lead to a sunny evening in Bath where we stopped for a meal by the river.
So yesterday morning I took ther opportunity to snatch a couple more sketches of Leighterton before we left.
With having our own visitors and visiting others, things have been busy of late. We are with friends in the Cotswolds and this morning I got up early and ventured into the fields to do some painting.
It was a dullish morning and generally I would turn over and go back to sleep, but I needed some paintings and it was a new place to explore – so I gave it a try.
Without sun, objects were a bit flat and washes took ages to dry. But despite the problems I wasnt too displeased with the results and came home with wet feet to a well earned breakfast. I can relax for the rest of the day.
I initially had a notion of this painting from a side view incorporating the steam from the soup against a dark background. Looking for suitable images to use I came across one of my dad, but a frontal view. Unfortunately he was wearing a hat and had no shirt which was a step too far for me, so I changed that, and added a book.
The real problem came in filling the 50x65cm sheet. I rescoped the head a couple of times, to try to ensure that sheet was filled, but despite all this I only managed 2/3 of the paper and with all the chopping and changing I lost the likeness – well, it’s a bit like him, but I’ve done better – perhaps a candidate for another attempt.
Compared to that the reworking of the Cambodian woman (an image I posted a couple of weeks ago as a smaller sketch) came out so much easier on this larger format – perhaps there was more to squeeze in so I was struggling to include rather than fill it out.
I might do a bit of tweaking to this yet, but in the main I am happy with it. Perhaps this larger format allows more detail and nuance giving it, for me, more authority.
On Monday morning the forecast was for a clear start so I got up early hoping to take advantage of the light as we have had some mixed weather of late and are about to get some more rain this week.
I’d decided to cycle to the moss, a low lying, drained area, now mainly now used for agriculture, which is behind the sandy coastal strip where I live. Arriving soon after 5am, to my surprise, the whole place was shrouded in mist.
I decided to make a start near the higher coastal belt, and set up alongside one of the many drainage ditches.
As I worked the mist slowly dispersed and the trees in the background appeared – I thought that they were clouds at the start- and then houses also came into view – though it was too late to include them. The picture directly above was the result. In the damp, cool conditions drying the washes was difficult and parts were still glossy wet when I packed up to leave. I carried the painting open on my bike, hoping to dry it as I wobbled along, searching for another subject. By now the sun was out and I eventually found a path across the fields as a subject shown at the top.
The week before last I was visiting my ailing mother on the southcoast and did some paintings as I sat around beside the sea in between preparing lunch and tea.
The last one is my stepbrother’s cafe in St Leonards, Sussex which I might work up into something more finsihed later.