2017!

I think it’s some months since I posted here and now we’re almost at the end of January and it’s just begun to snow here in SW France.

What with my November exhibition in London (UK), then Christmas with the arrival of family and friends, my studio has been rather abandoned and then after the fun of New Year’s Eve we went to our old home in Tuscany for 10 days; wonderful!

I’m busy today with postcard size watercolours for a children’s charity in Eire and have just finished this one, which I worked from a small sketch, and a photograph that I took in Trapani fish market, Sicily. Lovely memories of sea, sun, very friendly people and delicious food and wines 🙂

trapani-fish-market

 

Out of the loop!

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 🙂

Three 30cmx30cm

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!

Framed2

Trapani-oil painting

TRAPANI oil:sea

GOLDEN BUILDING Oil on canvas 2cmsx30cms

I’ve been working on large oil paintings, which are really just too big for my studio, which means I have to drag them out into our bedroom, every time I wish to see how they are coming long; all a bit tiring really. What with all of that and the most atrocious early summer weather that I’ve experienced in a long time, I had a huge desire to be in the sun and feel warm again which led me to a small canvas and having a go at making an oil painting from the watercolour of the Trapani fortress.

Very luckily we’re booked in to stay with good friends, who are renting a house in Provence next week and so I’m really looking forward to painting outdoors again and with some warm sunshine; I hope! 🙂

Trapani-Sicily

Trapani fortress

Watercolour and gouache, 21cmsx31cms

Because we were there in September, the weather was perfect with warmth without great heat and there was plenty of movement in the sky; I don’t like cloudless skies when I paint in watercolour. This old fortress had a wonderful colour of ochres and golds in the late afternoon.

Here, in rural green France, I feel nostalgic for the blues and golds of Sicily.

Sicily-Trapani

TRAPANI3

TRAPANI 3 Oil on canvas 20cmsx20cms

This was the most wonderful place to watch light and weather change throughout the day.

I had planned to go back there, but this year has already filled with friends, people staying with us and my continuing work for my London exhibition at the end of October. This is also time to plant in the garden and then there are all the frames to sort for the show; so no Sicily this year 😦

Trapani-Sicily

Silvan's1

TERRACE VIEW 1 Oil on canvas 20cmsx20cms

It’s over a year ago that I started this little study and longing for the Mediterranean, I thought it was time to finish  this one.

I was very lucky to have found a tiny apartment, in Trapani, with a huge terrace overlooking a busy fishing harbour and so I spent much of my time there drawing and painting in my sketchbook. Nearby was a fabulous fish restaurant, good bar for morning coffee and a wonderful fish market which meant  I could invite friends for dinner on the terrace. For me, it was one of the best of holidays ever.

SHEEP TREE

SHEEP TREE; unstable weather 40cmsx50cms

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.

Paintings that have been important for me

ORANGE WRAPPINGS

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.