Thursday, 24 May 2018

Painting The South Downs Way (Southease)

May brings the arrival of the wild flowers so I couldn't resist a walk along the South Downs at Southease.
At this time of year the grass lands between the brooks in the Ouse Valley are filled with Buttercups.
The lanes are edged with Cow Parsley.
The fields are a blazing patchwork of Rapeseed crops and the slopes of the South Downs are covered with favourite childhood flower .
All in all....just stunning!
The South Downs at Southease

Descending the steep slopes of Itford Hill brings you to the Ouse Valley where a welcoming break can be taken at the Youth Hostel and Tea room . From here the view takes you back up the slopes and the distant journey ahead .

                                            "Travellers Rest" 
                             Acrylic on canvas 24" x 18" 
Painting of The south Downs at Southease 
The flowers of Rapeseed crops are now fading but I have enjoyed some very colourful walks , especially around the Cooksbridge area ..
Rapeseed fields at Cooksbridge 

 There was a cottage right in the middle of the fields ....a perfect subject for a smaller painting 

                                                  "The House in  the Yellow" 
"The House in the Yellow"

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Painting the Spring Bluebells

Spring Bluebells
Yay! The Bluebells are out!
As soon as the sun comes out (between the April showers ) I've been out walking around my local countryside .
Either this year is particularly good for Bluebells or I've been fortunate to have chosen some exceptional paths . Either way the woods are covered in a blanket of blue and the air filled with the sweetest scent.
Sussex Bluebells 
This of course means I've been painting. It would be easy for me to paint several bluebell scenes but it would start to get a bit tiresome and my enthusiasm would wane. So each year I pick 2-3 scenes that really catch my eye here's the first of 2018 ...

                                              "Along Bluebell Rise" 
                                Acrylic on canvas 24" x 18" 
"Along Bluebell Rise" Acrylic painting of bluebell woods in Sussex
It's now a couple of weeks later, the season is coming to an end and the bluebells are starting to fade away .
I have enjoyed several walks that have taken me "off the beaten track "  . These are the walks that I enjoy the most, you never know what lies ahead!
Sometimes I turn a corner and I am greeted with a view that makes me stop ...stare...and just think "WOW!"
This is from one of those moments ....

                                          "The gates to bluebell wood" 
                                 Acrylic on canvas 24" x 18"
"The gates to bluebell wood" Acrylic painting on canvas

Friday, 20 April 2018

" From Caburn to Canopy"

Goodness! What a busy few weeks it's been!

I have been working on a commission which is top secret until the end of the Summer but I can tell you that it's sport related.
 Whilst painting it I was reminded of a delightful Summer walk I took up to the top of Mount Caburn on the outskirts of Lewes.
In June and July the slopes come alive with a mass of wild flowers and butterflies.
 From the top,  the views over the South Downs , Lewes Brooks and the River Ouse are just stunning!!!!
Views from mount Caburn
It's a very popular place for paragliding, the skies are often dotted with bright coloured canopies soaring and swooping in the breeze.
On this particular walk I stopped to watch,  envious of their flight of freedom above the Sussex countryside.
This was a perfect picture and a perfect subject to paint ...
                                             "From Caburn to Canopy" 
"From Caburn to Canopy" Painting of paragliding off Mount Caburn in Lewes, Sussex
 So, this is what I've been painting.
 On the other hand I've been re-landscaping parts of our garden. Laying new paths and tidying borders. Unfortunately this caused a trapped nerve in my neck which caused constant numbness in my right hand...the hand I paint with! Grrrr! Painting has NOT been easy! 
Now an unexpected heatwave has arrived :) 
In the mean time.....
The trees are turning green, the Bluebells are in flower and the Rapeseed fields are rapidly turning bright yellow! 
I am busy planning walks for next this space!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

A painting journey ..the ups and downs and lessons learnt

So...although I've always painted and created, it was only about 8 years ago that I found myself in a situation where I  was given the opportunity to concentrate on it.
So...there I am...full of enthusiasm...ready to paint...but...then what?
What direction should I take ? 
My thoughts were why limit my choices? (That still stands today) .
I read article after article about the process of learning...each was different..many conflicting !
What should I do ? How do I find my style? 
Well ..first I had to decide on what media I wanted to use. Acrylics...yes...acrylics! Bright , vibrant and colourful! :)
yes....acrylics...crude...course...and hard to blend! :(
Life had taken me on many journeys which resulted in me ending up in South Wales for nearly 30 years. Now , I'm not knocking South Wales but it's industrial and the mining areas have meant that wild flowers etc have not had the chance to establish . This means that it's all a bit bland and colourless. I remember when my daughter was about 14 years old and she embarked on a trip to visit her cousins in Essex and Sussex. I told her that the sky was bluer and the grass was greener. On route she text me and said "you're right! The sky IS bluer and the grass IS greener"  (there is SO much more to all this that I don't intend on going into)
So any way....many years later...I threw a few things into a bag, caught a train and headed back to Sussex  to be with the love of my life (Oh yes, we're married now )
Back to the painting. I couldn't see any reason to limit myself. It was all about exploration .
I had spent many years painting wildlife and animals but my problem was about composition, I could paint the main subject but not able to put it into context.
So..what about landscapes ? Oh God No! looking at art history they all look dull, dark...lifeless.
OK..what about still life? Oh God No! Again...dark and lifeless!
OK..thinks I...what if I make them bright , modern and colourfull?
Still life paintings by Paula Oakley
This all went really well,I really enjoyed putting together a composition and telling a "story" in my paintings . However, although they sold it was to a limited buyer. I'm a prolific painter and I was painting on box canvas with very little space to store them :(
On top of this I started to find that they were being copied and sold on various products  in China . The Chinese do NOT respect copyright and have no worries about selling badly produced products using poor quality images. Many of my paintings had had my signature or watermark removed  !
Oh my blood boiled!!!!!
So...what about people or animals ? Well, this works well for many artists but It's not really for me . Why? First I think that acrylics are a bit too harsh and secondly I don't want to get into painting endless pets or children . This would result in me painting subjects just for the income rather than the pleasure . No no no!
So...back to the landscapes...I've always loved walking, exploring my surroundings.  I'm now living in an area where a 20 mile radius will take me to....the sea...the seaside piers...the Seven Sisters..Ashdown Forest (Home to Winnie the pooh) , the wonderful South Downs ..and views that go on forever!
I will still go back to the still life paintings but whilst I'm still able to climb all those hills and see all those views .............<3 nbsp="" p="">
Acrylic landscapes by Paula Oakley
Over the past years I have learnt many things . Social media is amazing! Approx 40-60% of my sales come from them. 
Competitions are fine but only if you don't pay to enter ( Once they've received your entrance fee they don't care how you fare. Same goes for online galleries.
I've had many paintings featured in art and local magazines...this is great exposure!
Never...never....assume that because you sold "X" amount last year that next will increase!
Each painting is an exploration of colour, style, technique. Each is a personal challenge. Each is a special unique artwork. Each is just another step forward! :)
Each will be ...A little bit brighter....A little bit clearer ..and...A little bit more colourful than real life! 
Happy painting! 

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