I have found that I still have a few of my Florentine hand-made frames by the wonderful Pier Luigi, which fit my very small oil paintings perfectly.
Since I now have quite a few large paintings for my exhibition, it will be nice to show these since they will cost a lot less than the large canvases!
Everything is a bit frantic and chaotic here as I now deal with the exhibition publicity, framing and the last touches to the large paintings … and of course, here is the question; “Will it all fit into our car?!!”… oh dear, we might well have to find a trailer or send stuff by a carrier; I think I had better do a practise car-loading next week.
FLYING Paintings from France and Italy
54 The Gallery, Shepherd Market, London W1J 7QX 25-29 October 2016
Opens daily 10.00pm
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!
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!
THE OLD MILL
Oil on linen canvas 30cms x 30cms
Here in France, there are beautiful views over the golden hills that I have been wanting to paint, but I’ve been finding that it’s far too hot and when the flies came buzzing in I rushed down to the nearby river. It’s beautifully fresh there without another soul, except for an occasional fisherman and there is the wonderful possibilty of jumping into the cool waters and float downstream when it all gets too much!
I now have a happy routine of setting off down there with my hot dog, throwing her into the water after a quick walk and she settles down nicely beside me. I am finding it quite a challenge since the light changes not only on the landscape, but moves rapidly over the water at a rate I can hardly keep up with. However, until cooler days, I am hoping for more river painting.
POPLARS, MISTLETOE AND OIL SEED RAPE
Oil on board 15cms x 20cms
The weather has now changed, from days of brilliant sunshine and warmth, to rain, but at least I have managed to complete some outdoor painting in the good weather. This view caught my eye as I was heading home from shopping, so I stopped to make a quick sketch and finished it in the studio just as the rain arrived.
Oil on canvas 24cms x 30cms
With the recent wonderful weather I wanted to get outside and paint in the countryside, but I was rather hampered by only having a bicycle. I loaded it impressively, but found it far too wobbly and unstable to ride, so instead I just used it like a donkey to carry my heavy load.
We are having a wonderful spring here in SW France and all the colours of emerging foliage are dazzling.