On holiday the other week we visited these gardens in Bexhill’s old town, in Sussex. The area was part of the old Manor built in 13th century and its remains can be seen. There are also other ruined buildings. These create small walled gardens and enclosed spaces. Many of the walls are made of flints, held together with mortar, a common method of construction here, as flint is found in the nearby chalk hills and beaches.
These gardens are well maintained and the present main building is used for weddings. The gardens are a favourite haunt of a lady who asked me to paint some views of it for her. This is the main rose garden and some of the buildings and ruins can be seen. This rose garden is used as a backdrop for wedding photos and garden parties.
The second painting is being worked up and I will post that on my next blog.
I have painted poppies before, and some might say too often, but spotting the setting sun on the oriental poppies in my garden drove me to having another go. It was only towards the end of the painting that I realised that the stars of the show aren’t the gaudy flowers but the tousled mass of spikey leaves that snatch the attention away from the flowerheads.
In the past I have been taken by the sculptural forms of leaves in strong light but have felt that they wouln’t make a good painting – clearly I must take another look.
A birthday card for someone special. Painting cards for family and friends can be like making a rod for you own back. When one is seen you get oblique and blatant requests for more – even my daughter complained about being left out and she doesnt even like the stuff I produce – funny old world. These days I am not doing as many, so there is less pressure. This one is of the begonias currently flowering on my decking.
I presented this as a sketch in April and the sketch has been floating around in my studio since then. As an inveterate fiddler it was only time before I had another go. I wanted to break up and explain the background better and pay more attention to the reflected light and give more deference to my wife`s flower arranging. At least this time its not on the back of another painting , which for me, is a step forward.
So on with the second of my demonstration pieces for next week, which I mentioned in my previous blog. For this one the client wanted a floral painting so I selected this subject as I had already demonstrated it last year and it seemed to go well. It incorporates a big wash with a lot of colour mixing on the paper and good interplay of light and dark.
On my first attempt below I felt the arrangement of flowers was too tight and for the second one (top) I brought in some chromium yellow to the centre to help bring out the purple blues of the flowers.
So there is a lot apparently going on with a few washes and hopefully the interplay between light and dark sets a rhythm going.
I bought some daffodils for the house and later, whilst cleaning, stood the vase on a worktop in front of a window and thought that it might make an uplifting painting.
I decided to crop the flowers to give the feeling of them bursting out and filling the frame. As usual I had a tussle with shading the yellows and I had hoped to get petal shapes in the background by creating some negative shapes, well, I tried, but I did manage to get a little movement there that, I think, adds to the energy.
For me there is nothing more symbolic of spring than the voluptuous forms of hyacinths that fill the space with their bursting form and fill the air with a penetrating scent.
I thought that I would do the group that sat on our window sill in close up. Half way through I was beginning to wonder why I had bothered, with the churning and twisting of forms making life very complicated. In the end I am quite pleased with the outcome and the presence imposed by the tight mass of flowers.
I got the pastels out for the last blog and thought I could do with having a stock check. This entails doing a few paintings and seeing what hues and tones I am short of. I found a shop in Liverpool which sells Unison pastels. Normally I buy them over the internet, but it is far better making sure that you get the right ones by seeing them in the flesh and trying them out. So here’s a scene of thistle seed heads in the sun. I was sat waiting for someone on a park bench this autumn when the sun came out and I was caught by the brightness of the seed heads and the way they seemed to glow against the shadows. So I snapped a few photos and here we are and I’ve got my list for a shopping trip.
I was taken by the variety of colours in my grapes as they were ripening and with the light picking out highlights and creating shadows I thought that it might make a good subject
The wine production here in Lancashire was rather small on account of the fact that I ate all of the grapes. I have a habit of nipping into my greenhouse and thinning out the bunches, to prevent them getting tightly packed and bursting. Sometimes I over do it.
In this painting I was unsure about the foliage, but a fairly loose rendition seems to have worked. The leaves proliferate and constantly need thinning out, so you get this busy green background which I feel I have portrayed.
A late entry to my upcoming solo exhibition of flower paintings. I have assembled 16 paintings to show at my framers next week. So I am spending time getting things ready, at the expense of painting.
I must admit to getting a bit down after putting work in a couple of mixed exhibitions of late and selling nothing, but last week I entered another and went to collect my work to find that I had sold three. One of life’s small victories which puts a spring back in your step. So I’m entering this one a bit more optimistically – but only a little bit.