Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Statue in Hinton Ampner Gardens I

7 x 5 ins/17 x 13 cms
mixed media on paper

Hinton Ampner is an 18th century house and garden in the depths of the Hampshire countryside. The garden was completely redesigned in the 1930s, but in the 18 C tradition, and is thus still a developing project. It is an intriguing mixture of formal parterres, long walks that end in vistas over the open fields and woodland, and wilderness areas as contrast to the more organised planting. I love any kind of structure against this kind of backdrop, be it a building or ruin or statue, so these two stone figures were irresistible subjects.

Statue in Hinton Ampner Gardens II

7 x 5 ins/17 x 13 cms
mixed media on paper
sold - Private collection

This statue of Diana, the huntress, is at the end of a grassy walk, hedged with yew trees. There is apparently a little classical temple along the walk, which I missed on this occasion but would also be a very tempting subject. In contrast to the statue above, this one is much more formally attired and posed which made her very challenging to paint. In the end I was happier with the background than the figure, which is not unusual.

Prelude, December

7 x 5 inches/ 17 x 13 cms
mixed media on paper
Sold - Private Collection

In this painting the cellist has moved indoors, and I loved the way she was silhouetted against the brightness of the window. It was the second painting of this subject in which I have kept to a monochrome palette, which proved a very effective technique to accentuate the effects of light and shadow. Although it's not an obviously festive subject, I chose it as this year's Christmas card...

Sarabande at Ferriola

7 x 5 inches/17 x 13 cms
mixed media on paper
Sold - Private Collection

This is another view of the cellist playing on her balcony at Ferriola. It is now evening and she is illuminated by lamplight, the square beneath her house is in darkness, and the music is wafting across it in the night air. The Sarabande forms one of the six movements that comprise each of Bach's six Cello Suites. A Sarabande is literally a slow dance, originally from Spain, which makes it an entirely appropriate accompaniment to this painting.

Violinist at Pampaneira

7 x 5 inches
17 x 13 cms
mixed media on paper
Sold - Private Collection

Pampaneira is a whitewashed village high in the Alpujarras. Life centres on the square, full of cafes, and a few stalls selling local crafts - particularly hand woven rugs in fantastically vivid colours. I was sitting sketching there when this young chap appeared, almost out of nowhere, and started playing. He was silhouetted against the large church which dominates the square. Violinists move pretty quickly so I had to rely on photos as well as a speedy sketch. The village is a popular place with tourists, especially the Spanish, so I expect his summer earnings are fairly respectable.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Bach, Allemande

17.5 x 13.5 cms
Mixed media on paper
Sold - Private Collection

This is the latest in the 'Cellist' series. I'm experimenting with technique and medium to find different ways of expressing the subject. It is also part of a collection of Cabinet Paintings that I am preparing to submit to an exhibition. Cabinet paintings originated in the 17th century, as a more portable alternative to full size works. They are not mini versions but works in their own right. I like the restrictions of working on such a small scale and find it liberating, which seems illogical.

Evening in the Gardens

16 x 20 cms
Acrylic on board
Sold - Private collection
This revisits the gardens by the sea at nightfall, a time of day that I find incredibly appealing. My imagination is at work here; it was too dark to sketch or take a good photograph. I was aware of a slightly unearthly feeling as I painted, as though there were secrets in the shadows...

Summer Daydream I

29.5 x 20.5 cms
mixed media on paper
£225 sold
This is the smaller version of the Daydream below. I don't often work in watercolour but this was done as an experiment for a competition. The medium proved to be a challenge and it didn't win but the experience was invaluable. The idea of being in a room and looking outward intrigues me; as does the reverse, which is what I'm seeing as I sit here now, a winter's dusk with golden lit windows glowing against the darkness.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

The Gardens by the Sea

20 x 16 inches/50 x 40 cms
Acrylic on block canvas
£375 Sold
This is one of the first subjects I painted in Cornwall and I have revisited it often. Beautiful sub-tropical gardens surround an Edwardian bandstand and a path leads down to a darker, mysterious, sunken area with shell grottoes, a lovely camellia tree, masses of ferns and a tunnel. This used to lead to the seafront but nowadays one walks overground, coming out near a tiny chapel that overlooks the wide expanse of Gyllyngvase beach and a spectacular ocean view.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

The Folly at Wilton

12 x 14 inches/36 x 30 cm
Acrylic on board

Wilton House is an impressive stately pile. My visit was on a perfect summer's day and the grounds were much more enticing than the house itself which felt too stuffy and elaborate. This folly was visible on the wilder part of the garden, across the river. I longed to walk over the Palladian bridge and climb up to it, but it was forbidden to mere visitors that day. My sketchbook and camera had to cope long distance, but in the end I liked the view of it partially hidden amongst the greenery.

Monday, 6 August 2007

The Evening Kick-off, Chelsea

20 x 28 inches/50 x 70 cms
Acrylic on canvas
Sold Private Collection

This painting came about at the suggestion of a Chelsea fan who gave me some images of the ground as it was in the 1970s. It was a fascinating project, involving a lot of research into the original stadium buildings and even what the fans would be wearing. I also wanted to create the more dramatic atmosphere of an evening match, and that sense of anticipation in the crowd.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Summer Daydream II

12 x 16 inches/40 x 30 cms
Acrylic on board
Sold - Private Collection

I have been painting this during our lack-lustre summer - hence the title. It is loosely based on a beautiful walled garden in Salisbury that has a charming cafe at one end. I often start from a sketch or photograph but, as the work develops, imagination takes over and the end result may be quite different. There are two other smaller versions of this, one a preparatory painting (which I got so involved in it nearly became a finished one!) and one in watercolour, which is has been entered for a national competition. Fingers crossed...

The Cellist, Andalucia

12 x 16 inches/40 x 30 cms
Mixed media
Sold Private Collection

This painting was inspired by a recent visit to the Alpujarras in Spain. One evening our group of painters were invited to sketch a cellist as she rehearsed for a concert. We sat in the small village square, looked up and she appeared on the balcony of her whitewashed house. The strains of a Bach cello suite drifted over us as we endeavoured to capture her in our sketchbooks. The painting is something of a departure for me as I have not included a figure in any of my previous work. I've been really excited by this and am now working on a series based on this intriguing musician.