Paintings that have been important for me


ORANGE WRAPPINGS Full size sheet of Arches watercolour paper

I’m working hard on large oil paintings at the moment and it will be quite some time before I post a small painting again, so since I had fun going through my archives for a Facebook invitation to put up five paintings I thought I’d repeat this here. I chose five paintings that meant and still mean something to me and that I no longer have in my life, since they were sold.

I have found it interesting to look back and see how things have changed for me and my work and although I still love the subjects that I have enjoyed right from the very beginning, life changes and now that I live in France my subject matter has also changed. I am now much more involved with weather and changing light, whereas in Italy the weather was so much more stable that I could work outside on a large canvas without too much fear that it might all completely change the next day. Not the case here in SW France!

This first painting was one of a series and I think this one is my favourite. I painted this after several trips to Napoli and not only did I fall in love with the city, but I totally fell in love with the myriad citrus wrappers there. All of them were fantastic, so colourful, amusing and each orange and lemon felt as though it was specially wrapped for a special Christmas present.

I painted this series (about 10 paintings) in the late 80s, when I principally worked in watercolour which seemed to be the ideal medium for painting the semi-transparent papers.

Mount Soracte

Soratte:from another angle Oil on board 30cmsx20cms

MOUNT SORACTE Oil on board 30cmsx20cms

This is the last of my little paintings of Monte Soratte (which I now realise, in English, is called Mount Soracte). The foreground was terribly busy since I’d put in nearly every flower when I painted it, so I’ve just simplified that and it seems to work much better.

This is another angle on that amazing mountain which turns out to be a very long mass of travertine and quite different from the usual, more compact view that I have usually painted.

We were painting in a sublimely lovely area; just us and nature, apart from a sudden frenzy as wild boys and their sheep dogs came hurling by on their bicycles; wonderful 🙂

Wild boys & dogs!

Civita Castellana-trees

SHEEP TREE Oil on canvas 40cmsx50cms

SHEEP TREE Oil on canvas 40cmsx50cms

In early May, I had three very enjoyable consecutive mornings painting in fields near Civita Castellana, Italy and the sheep came everyday to shelter under these two trees making a really lovely addition to my painting and kept me company. I have developed this larger painting from the three small studies I made on board at the time.

SHEEP TREE oil on board

SHEEP TREE 1 Oil on board 20cmsx25cms

SHEEP TREE 2 Oil on board

SHEEP TREE 2 Oil on board 20cmsx24cms

SHEEP TREE 3 Oil on board

SHEEP TREE 3 Oil on board 20cmsx24cms

Monte Soratte

SORATTE Before the rain Oil on board 20cmsx25cms

BEFORE THE RAIN Oil on board 20cmsx25cms

This is the last of my small en pleine air paintings that I needed to just finish because of wild weather and rainstorms arriving at the last moment.  I packed up very quickly and fled for shelter!

Here, in SW France, after weeks of sunshine, we have the beginnings of winter with much needed rain and I really enjoy these studio days where I can catch up on unfinished paintings, start new ideas and create still-life ideas. I always look forward to spring, but I also love this down time of January and February.


Monte Soratte

SORATTE rainy day Oil on board 30cmx24cm

RAINY MORNING Oil on board 30cmx24cm

At last all that festive stuff is over! Not that it wasn’t hugely enjoyable, but it’s also a wonderfully fresh, cleansing process to take down decorations today on the 6th January, Epiphany and get back into the normal rythm of life. For me this means back in my studio and back to ideas I had abandoned since all that merry making got going.

I’m now working on quite large paintings, which take me time and in between, I have started to complete some of my “en pleine air” paintings which I never quite finished. This is a small oil, which I painted on a warmish morning in one of my favourite Italian locations, but downpours of rain put a finish to it very quickly!