Thursday, 28 November 2019

Autumn paintings

Autumn seems to have arrived late this year, rather like me keeping up with this Blog ! Ha ha!
I don't think anyone really reads it but it's good for me to be able to look back at my artistic journey. To see what does or doesn't work .
I'm still out walking and posting pictures from my walks on my Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/138021407053592/
I'm also still busy painting and posting my works in progress on my art page here Paula Oakley Art

My Autumn quest started several weeks ago, I was looking for something a little different, a bit more challenging. My travels took me to Ditchling Beacon on the South Downs just as the sun was starting to fade away. The soft evening light was just wonderful , creating a blend of peach and purple hues.
These were new colours for me to explore . I liked the idea of focusing on the South Downs Way sign post as it gave a good sense of direction to my painting

                                     "The Twilight Way" 
                    (Acrylic on canvas 24"x18")
Painting of Ditchling Beacon at sunset
 Then I waited for the trees to change colour...and waited....and waited ...but nothing seemed to happen for ages ! Very slowly the yellows and oranges crept in and very quickly the rain came ! The weather was against me and my walks became few and far between. 
At this time of year I don't venture far from home as the light fades away so quickly and the low sun can make the woods seem very dark and rather eerie ! 
Luckily I am surrounded by beautiful countryside that constantly changes and a delight to see.
I headed to North Chailey and found just what I was looking for to paint .
                                        "Autumn Path" 
Painting the Autumn colours from my walk to North Chailey
  The break in the weather was short lived and once again I was housebound by the rain. I did try a couple of walks but the ground was so very wet and many of my paths were totally flooded . 
Again I waited...and waited until the sun eventually broke through. Once again I headed towards Chailey  where I have several favourite walks.
 There is a gate along one of the paths and whenever I reach it a Pheasant suddenly flies up into the air screeching . It always makes me jump !  Here  the rain had made large puddles that beautifully reflected the trees above. A perfect scene to paint ! 

                                                   "After the Autumn Rain" 
"After the Autumn rain" Acrylic painting on canvas
 

 

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
 
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