Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Painting streams and rivers

Ashdown Forest
Oh my! What a Summer! All my plans went astray! Trying to coincide weather, destination and transport  failed! To most people this would be trivial but for me as an artist it has been very frustrating! On the other hand it has made me think. It's the first time in 10 years where the pictures in my head have not been obtainable . It's made me realize how easy it is to get stuck in a rut...the easy option. I've had to think harder to get what I want.
My first exploration was to Ashdown Forest. A wonderful area where the author AAMilne lived and wrote his Winnie the Pooh stories, Sounds great but in reality there's very little to offer an artist. Few focal points. So I explored. Heading to the village of Nutley I followed a path that lead me to the old mill stream, it's heritage from the iron works of the Sussex Weald. It was amazing! The tree lined stream, leafy reflections mixed with the glowing orange of iron ore was amazing!

                           "The Old Mill Stream" 
Painting the mill stream on Ashdown forest
 My next outing was very different and  took me to Shoreham by Sea. An interesting and diverse town. I headed towards the river , walking along the path beside the wonderful houseboats 
Shoreham by sea 
 I loved the view over the river where a small abandoned boat sat among the vegetation and bobbed in the tidal water....

                         "High tide and Riverside" 
Painting of an old boat on the river at Shoreham

Friday, 26 July 2019

Summer and the frustrated painter!

Well here I am right in the middle of the Summer.
 As a landscape artist I should be in my element......but I 'm not!
I'm surrounded by beautiful countryside and wonderful beaches, so many places that I wish to walk, so many views that I want to paint.
It's the weather that frustrates me so much. Each time I venture out to explore, the clouds appear, the light dims and my quest becomes futile. Yes, there have been some wonderful sunny days but they have either been far too hot for walking or I have had other commitments .
(I don't drive and as the busses are so few and far between my trips need planning in advance . I can't just jump in a car when the sun comes out. )

So I sit here at odds wondering what to do .....
I  make so many demands on myself  ...
perhaps too many ?
Should I persevere ? Change my artistic direction? Explore new ideas?
It's hard to think clearly when your head is full of clouds and your journey ends in disappointment.

I did manage to get to the Lewes Downs on a day when the sun broke through . It's a stunning area in the Summer . There is such a vast array of colourful flowers and so many beautiful butterflies and insects  .
 A frenzied dance on a warm scented breeze. ...
The Southerham nature reserve on the Lewes Downs
My trips here never fail to inspire ....
                                             "The Butterfly Path" 
"The Butterfly Path" Acrylic painting on canvas 
 After a few fruitless outings I decided my best dose of self medication would be to spend a day at the beach. A colouful and fun filled trip to Brighton.
 Seaside, sticks of rock, deck chairs and the new up-side-down house was sure to put a smile on my face! 
Brighton Summer 2019

 It was a good day and just what the doctor ordered!
 It also reminded me that as we near the end of July that my painting "Joan and Nancy's trip to the seaside" is the August picture in the Artist and Illustrator's 2019 calendar .....now that's a bit special :) 
My painting in the Artist and Illustrators calendar :)
 To mark the occasion I thought I would have a similar bit of fun including the old West pier .....
                                               "Sun, Salt and Seaworn" 

A fun seaside painting "Sun, Salt and Seaworn"
The "Sun" is for sunbathing.
The "Salt" is for the tattooed sailor .The tattoo says "sink or swim", which I felt was very apt in regards to the fragile state of the pier.
The "Seaworn" refers to the West pier ruins

For now though I shall go back to watching the weather forecast ...
back to thinking....
thinking of what to do .

Thursday, 13 June 2019

"Castle Heights" Painting Lewes castle

Lewes castle from the mount
I live just a few miles from the town of Lewes. The county town of Sussex.
Situated within the slopes of the South Downs it is steeped in history and wonderful architecture.
Over the past few years I have  painted  2 of the views overlooking the rooftops
Two of my previous paintings of Lewes
This time I wanted to paint the castle and some of the surrounding buildings. After much thought I decided on the view from the Mount near the Priory ruins. No one really seems to know what the mount actually is but there are some great views from the top and further information about it here  The Mount, Lewes
I went up it last year but unfortunately trees obscured the view  . However on a recent visit I noticed that the trees had been felled ....happy me!  The view was just what I was hoping for! It took a lot of work to paint but I enjoyed every brush stroke .

                                                   "Castle Heights" 
                                    Acrylic on canvas 24" x 18" 
"Castle Heights" Painting of Lewes Castle
The South Downs above Rodmell
The Bluebells faded away and the countryside turned to lush greens and brilliant whites . New crops  growing in the fields, Cow parsley along the verges and Hawthorn blossom adorned the trees .
The sun came out and it was a perfect day for a walk over the Downs .
My path took me from Rodmell , past Telscombe and to the sea at Saltdean.
It was a lovely walk with amazing views !
Views from my walk from Rodmell to Saltdean
On my way I passed the vineyard at Breaky Bottom . It sits nestled among the patchwork fields that curve and slope around it . A perfect composition to paint !
                                        "Blossom over Breaky Bottom" 
"Blossom over Breaky Bottom" Acrylic on canvas
Arriving at the coast I was greeted by the colourful flowers that grow wild along the cliff tops at Saltdean . Thay made a vivid contrast against the white chalk and sea views.
                                                      "Wild by the sea" 
Painting the wildflowers on the cliffs at Saltdean
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