There’s nothing like a long bout of ill health to make you feel amazingly perky and energetic at the end of it.
All painting and blogging came to an abrupt end towards the last week of June, when I raced around the local supermarket and got my left foot trapped in a new cabinet thing which sent me flying to the floor while frantically trying to keep my right hand in the air as I thought, “Oh no! My painting!!!”
I lay on the floor with a friend saying “Don’t move!” while slightly amazed shoppers edged around me. Very quickly I was picked up and carried off by four handsome firemen to the local hospital, where my leg was operated on the following morning and there I stayed for 8 days while being wonderfully looked after in a private room.
So, no week long holiday, painting in Provence with favourite friends, no more working in my studio which is up a flight of steep twisty stairs and all in all, a rather painfully long 6 weeks to follow. But now all is well and I’m back on stream … thank goodness! And the “new cabinet thing” was apparently hastily removed from the shop 🙂
In this last week, since I was still a bit wobbly, I decided to concentrate on framing my small paintings for my London exhibition in October 24th-29th. The frames are really nice and made locally by a great intiative for teaching handicapped youngsters a trade, which in this case is woodwork and they are overseen by a delightful older artisan. They’re in plain wood, then I paint and varnish them to suit the painting. All of this I’m now doing in the spare bedroom so I can keep my studio free for painting … it seems I’m really taking over the whole house!
UNSTABLE WEATHER Oil on canvas 40cmsx50cms
Another painting, from a slightly different angle, which I developed from the oil sketches I made in Civita Castellana, Italy. This was a fabulous painting experience, working in these fields in the company of a flock of sheep, which repeatedly returned to the shade of the two trees despite the efforts of the shepherd to move them away.
Although the weather was warm, it was a bit stormy during the time I was there.
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 🙂
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 1 Oil on board 20cmsx25cms
SHEEP TREE 2 Oil on board 20cmsx24cms
SHEEP TREE 3 Oil on board 20cmsx24cms
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.
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!
MOUNT SORACTE & CLOUDS
Oil on paper
€150 (includes shipping)
Payments accepted via Paypal, or bank transfer.
Encouraged by those artists of the 1800’s like Corot and Turner, who always painted oil on paper, I thought I would give it a go on this trip. It turns out to be rather wonderful, because since the paper is more absorbent, the oil paint dries very quickly, so you don’t have the problem on cool days of it turning into a smeary slimey mess and I found I could complete a painting in the allotted time … excellent!
I used 140lb “hot press” good quality watercolour paper, which in conservation terms is very good. This can be mounted on board and treated like a conventional oil, or simply put into a mount and framed like a watercolour under glass; I’ve just tried this and it looks good.
20cms x 25cms
Oil on board
€300 (includes shipping)
Payments accepted via Paypal.
I painted this on the same day as the previous painting I posted.
Everything looked beautiful, but our very long wet spring hadn’t quite given up yet and gave us storms and pouring rain at midday. I painted this in the afternoon, as the sun came out and lit up some of the pale limestone at the top of the mountain.