P1020449(1)a  Two more from my painting trips of last week. Since then I haven’t been out as we have been getting a lot of much needed rain. Presently I am working this sketch of a tree up into a small painting, so I’ll be putting that on the blog soon.


I might even work this one up as well. There is a great view on the other side of the cottage and the overhanging tree and cable poles give it character. Hopefully the good weather will make a comeback, but at least I don’t have to water the garden.

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Well, the sun continues to shine, so I’ve been out on my bike again. This is an old track I used to ride down a lot on my way to and from work. I loved the variation of the trees and the line of reeds. After painting this I went back to where I painted Down Holland Farm (earlier post) and found my metal pallet in amongst the stinging nettles.


This one is an old cobbled canal bridge, looking into the sun. I had to stand in the middle of it to paint in order to see the buildings and light on the hedgerow. It is a bridge from an old farm track over the canal to nowhere (I cant understand why it was built) yet as I worked 3 dogwalkers came past, then a pony and trap and finally to people riding horses. Each time I had to move my gear to let them past. It’s tough out on the road, or bridge in this case. Though I might develop this further as I liked the scene and I haven’t done justice to the main tree.


Out in the early morning: this was a bit of a problem, as although the sun was shining, the air temperature was around 2oC. So the washes didn’t try very fast so I did a lot of pacing around whilst the painting sat drying on the grass in the sun. Still it’s great to get out and as I returned home I saw a couple of sites well worth painting on another visit. Always good having somewhere to go rather than wasting time looking around for a subject.

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P1020442(1)With some better weather of late I at last got out to do some painting last night. I cycled inland a little way and painted this 17th century hall and farm which stands by the Leeds Liverpool Canal. The canal is hidden between the foreground – a field of broad beans – and the first row of trees/bushes. I sat on a mound of stinging nettles where I think I left my palette and to round it off I got another puncture. The joys of painting plein air.

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I was having a cull of my old sketch books the other day, trying to keep my old paintings and drawings down to a manageable size. I came across these drawings done, at various times,  in sanguine crayon.


I must admit to enjoying working in this medium on toned paper, but I would end up doing loads of them to the exclusion of trying new things and experimenting. I find the slow construction of them meditative, yet forms are quickly built and I suppose I could use them for more detailed pieces if I had the mind to.


So perhaps I might have another go on larger sheets – these are all  from 16×12 ins pads. Its good to have a look at what you have done in the past and at least I can easily get around  that pile in the corner now.


Here’s to a trip free future.

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Moving up to the North Brittany coast into the Gulf of St Malo. I did some sketches as we walked along the cliffs. The above is at Val Andre looking south into the afternoon sun.


This again is from the Cliffs at Val Andre. The shoreline is much more rugged here than at Le Cloisic, our last stop. The building is a lookout post for marauding Brits (amongst others) they may be building more as Brexit unfolds.


Another small cove on our walks.


And here, in the low morning light, the cliffs at Pleneuf. In the distance is the start of a sandy beach that went on for a couple of miles, with egrets, terns, cormorants and the odd naturist popping up from behind the rocks.

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We moved down to southern Brittany, in France for a few days. Right at the point where the Loire empties out into the sea. Le Cloisic is an old port, once exporting the salt to the rest of Europe. It still retains its old charm and they still pan for salt around here. When the fishing boats land their catch there are queues at the market.

Well worth a visit.

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Over the last few days we’ve had some good weather so I’ve been out on my bike. This first one is Formby Golf Club from the rough. I had gone out to do a woodland scene, but a dogwalker was nearby when I wanted to suss out the scene and she might have thought me predatory, so I went on and found this instead.


Another dog walker came by when I was doing this near Hesketh Bank and was concerned that I was doing a drainage course which is officially called the River Douglas and flows into the Ribble Estuary. He offered to pose  for me, but it got withdrawn when I demanded he remove his clothes – perhaps another time.



This is from the old railway bridge of the dismantled Cheshire lines which is now a cyclepath between Southport and Maghull. I don’t think I got the mood of the evening. There were more variations in the greens and the low evening light gave some great tonal contrasts which have eluded me here. I was having to work quick as the light was going and I had quite a long ride to get home without any lights. I might have another go at this.


A view of the old Clieves’ Hills into the morning light.


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