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 🙂
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!
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! 🙂
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.
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 2 Oil on canvas 20cmsx20cms
I woke up very early on the last morning in Trapani and was startled by the full moon, glowing beautifully over the sea. I immediately got up, grabbed my sketchbook and camera and tried to make the best of it at the time; this little oil painting followed on when I got back to the studio.
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.