Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The South Downs and "Lunch along the way"

The South Downs at Firle, East Sussex

Happy New Year!
I thought I would start 2017 off with a South Downs painting.
The blue skies and sunshine were too good to miss over the holidays, so we took  a trip down to Firle beacon for a break out in the fresh air.
 We obviously weren't the only ones with that thought , I couldn't believe how busy it was!
 My explorations are usually during the week so I'm used to hardly seeing anyone else but with such wonderful views along The South Downs Way I wasn't surprised .
I spotted some walkers taking a lunch break on the bench whilst looking out over  the  Sussex Weald as it faded off into the horizon.
 So many times I have done the exact same thing myself.
 Couldn't be more perfect for a painting!

                                 "Lunch along the way"
                           Acrylic on canvas 24"x 18" 
                   
"Lunch along the way" Painting of the view from The South Downs Way at Firle, East Sussex 
If you would like to see more then pop on over to my gallery page https://www.artfinder.com/paula-oakley

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Christmas time and back to the seaside !

Well it's been a very busy few weeks! I have now sold so many paintings that I can't actually keep up with the demand ! 
I have however made sure to make time for the little things that make Christmas a little bit more special .  A bit of baking...a bit of making and....... a bit of festive cheer :)  I thought this year that I would have a woodland animal theme for when the grandchildren visit . For something a little different I made a cake stand for the Yule log, it has 2 doors that hide a secret surprise .....
Tree stump cake stand
of course I can't tell you what's inside or it wouldn't be a surprise!

Now as you know I'm rather partial to a good ale and thought it was only right that I should enter into the spirit of my theme .....well...it would be rude not to ;)

Christmas is an odd season, you find yourself doing things that you wouldn't normally do . I dislike cooking but it wouldn't seem right if I didn't make a few mince pies, with added cherry liqueur and chopped marzipan. A rather sticky result but tasted pretty darn good.
I was however being watched through the kitchen window to make sure that I made them right...
he was more concerned about his peanuts than me !

Another thing I enjoyed was a visit to our village church, I'm not religious but couldn't resist going to see the Christmas Tree festival. I have to say it was delightful and
Newick church Christmas Tree Festival 
there's not many villages that would put Guy Fawkes on top of the tree..brillant !ha ha!
Newick bonfire society's Christmas tree 
So then, "what's all this got to do with the seaside? " I hear you ask.
Well, as I don't cope very well with the dark gloomy days of Winter I specifically planned to paint something colourful and lighthearted to  help keep me sane. The best subject of course is the Summertime seaside.  I decided to create a composition that would capture a typical day at the beach..
So I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and some wonderful Summertime memories x
                       "Joan and Nancy's trip to the seaside" 
                                  Acrylic on canvas 24"x 18" 
Acrylic seaside painting 
 A few days later........
So....did you guess what was inside the cake stand ? 
  Squirrel, Hedgehog, Fox and Owl !   

Thursday, 24 November 2016

"Downland Dawn" and "Old Spot and Spuds"

Walking up Kingston ridge with views towards Lewes, Sussex
My painting world has been so very busy over the past couple of months . It's now nearing the end of November and this year's sales now amount to 37....that's just brilliant!
 I always paint what I want to paint rather than creating something  because I think it would sell, so it's very reassuring to know that  my artwork is well received.

We've been fortunate with the weather this Autumn so a couple of weeks ago I decided to take one last  South Downs walk of the year . I wanted to see the sunrise but unfortunately I had no way of getting there quite that early.
I caught the 7am bus to Lewes and headed off along the old Juggs road towards the village of Kingston. By the time I reached the bottom of Kingston ridge the sun was just above the horizon . It was a beautiful morning, no breeze, blue skies and a low lying mist hovering over the hill tops.
The view south east from Kingston ridge looking towards Beddingham
It's not the easiest of walks as it's pretty steep but the views were splendid !
As the sun rose it gradually lit my path ahead causing the grass covered slopes to almost glow . This would be my fondest memory of my walk and my wonderful  inspiration !

                                            "Downland Dawn"
                                                Acrylic on canvas 24"x 18"
"Downland Dawn" Acrylic painting of the path up Kingston Ridge
 I continued along the top for about 3 miles before returning. By this time the mist had cleared so on my return to Lewes I stopped to have my lunch by Ashcombe windmill. It has recently been restored and this was the first time I had seen it with it's new sails...looks rather magnificent ....
Ashcombe windmill, Kingston
 Now, just I was preparing to paint "Downland Dawn" I received a request for 2 paintings. I don't often take on commissions. They can often come with such a long list of requirements that the whole thing gets to feel rather laboured and the enthusiasm wanes . These however were not only local subjects and views that I am familiar with but also fitted perfectly with the compositions that I have been working on this year. To top things off I was entrusted to do things "my way". 
The first subject is the farm shop in the village of Piltdown "Old Spot Farm Shop" . It sells a splendid range of quality and locally sourced food. Well worth a visit if you're in the area http://www.oldspotfarmshop.co.uk/
As you know I'm rather partial to a good ale but a good Sussex cheese comes a very close second!

  It's a unique building  .Looks like a Swiss chalet  in the heart of Sussex .  I love the quirkiness , the colours and it's originality. Autumn also seemed a perfect time to paint it ...harvest time ....
                                            " Old Spot and Spuds" 
                                                      Acrylic on canvas 32"x 16" 
"Old Spot and Spuds" Acrylic on canvas
 Behind the farm shop the view takes you over the trees and fields to the village of Fletching. This was the second painting. The contrasting shapes and colours of the Autumn trees with the farms and church spire in the distance....
                               
                                                    "Fletching Views"
                                                       Acrylic on canvas 24"x 18"
"Fletching Views"
 As I said, life's been busy and as much as my gallery needs stocking back up I have decided to have a painting break . I'm now busy cleaning through the house and getting ready for the oncoming celebrations of my birthday and Christmas....life is good! 
 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Dark days and painting a "Misty Morning"

As the days get shorter and the sun sits low in the sky it becomes increasingly harder to get good clear reference photos for painting. I dislike these dark gloomy months and try to find ways of using them to my advantage.
I have therefore been venturing out really early whilst it's still dark so as to catch the bright morning light with the rising sun. The air is chilled and the first frosts blanket the ground with an icy glow.
The landscape looks very different now and quite atmospheric . You never quite know what awaits you around a corner or beyond the hedge.
It was on one of these days that I watched the mist form in the fields as the rising sun appeared over the tree tops.
 I witnessed a painting being created. Nature was the canvas and the sun was the brush.......

                                              "Misty Morning" 
"Misty Morning" Acrylic on canvas. Inspired from a walk around north Chailey
The dark days mean that my walks will now be few and far between.
 However, on the bright side this means that I shall be working through my reference photos that I have been purposely collecting during the year.
 There will be moments of colourful Summer fun to brighten up my days once again .
For a start I am delighted to announce that this month's Artist and Illustrators magazine have included my painting "Large Cod and Chips" in their 2017 calendar ....I'm "August"....perfect! 
My painting "Large Cod and Chips" in the A&I calendar