Le Soltaire de la Vallée

Le Solitaire dans la Vallée

LE SOLITAIRE DE LA VALLEE Oil on canvas 30cms x 30cms

Spring is coming in waves of heat and sunshine, then chill and grey. Mostly I’m concentrating on our out of control garden, but on those cooler slightly dismal days it’s lovely to pass the time in my studio and just paint.

I had found this old paperback “Le Solitaire de la Vallée” in our new French house amongst piles and piles of yellowing books and I had thought the cover was so amazing that I kept it as my possession. I’ve always liked books in still-life paintings, which is why I planned this smallish painting around it, I’m now thinking of a much larger painting!



Just to show that spring is springing and that it’s also time to think of painting outdoors again

A cabbage that missed being eaten!


PURPLE CABBAGE Oil on canvas 40cms x 40cms

It’s been a crazily warm and sunny winter, so it was a bit of a shock that we had a big fall of snow this past Saturday. Luckily, I happened to have a bought a very pretty purplish cabbage in the market which I was looking forward to eating, but since I wasn’t going to go outside I set it up as the main character for this still-life in my studio.

There is something delightfully pleasant about painting in the warm, with music playing, hot tea and biscuits to hand while I glance out of the window at the silently falling snow.


But it’s now all change again with a forecast for a Friday of brilliant sunshine and 20°C … crazy weather!

Charity card


LEMON Watercolour

This is my second card for the charity postcard to raise money for children with terminal illnesses … hoping this sells and helps a bit.

I suppose, in the aftermath of Christmas, New Year, visitors, going to Italy that it was going to be quite a clear-up before I could get back into my studio. Quite crazy really and now I’m almost at the end of all that and preparing to go to London to meet our first grandchild which is exciting. I am now preparing a layout for a large still-life that I can come straight back to after the London trip and then I can paint to my heart’s content! And then it will almost be spring 🙂


My October exhibition

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

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!




CITROUILLE Oil on canvas 20cms x 20cms

I love the summer, but I also love autumn and the inevitable approach of winter for the different and wonderful vegetables in our local market, for being cosily tucked up in my studio with a very brilliant wood-burner for company. However, this year has, altogether, been amazingly warm and the sun is still shining with a temperature of about 12°C, which isn’t bad for this winter-chilly area we live in.

My stove

My new (2nd-hand) stove

So, this is a time for still-life since I am certainly not going to set up my easel in the open country and it’s lovely to come back from the market with something fun to paint. Pumpkins are a favourite of mine for still-life and for the delicious soup to be made from them. Here, in SW France they are known as “citrouille”, which makes me immediately think of Cinderella and her pumpkin coach.

Crazy days

Oil on canvas 20cms x 20cms

I thought we were going to France for a wonderfully quiet time, but now that we are making friends here, it’s been a whirl of dinners and exciting things to do, as well as those important things to sort after being away for a while. Three weeks hasn’t really been enough time to settle in here and get into a good work rythm.

We are now packing again to return to Tuscany this week, so I should get back to my studio on a daily regime there … I hope!

Season of citrous fruits

Oil on board 12cms x 15 cms

First there was getting ready for Christmas, Christmas itself, travelling back to Italy from SW France, then New Year’s Eve with all of these events having much fun inbetween them and then the pay off …. influenza:(
It’s very nice to be back in the normal world again and with longer days moving us on to spring.

Back in France


Oil on board 10cms x 15cms


We’ve now been back in France for about two weeks and most of the time has been spent in settling late payments for bills which have stacked up while we’ve been away in Tuscany. I am still amazed by the help and consideration that I receive from French public offices in sorting out these sorts of muddles.

However, all these duties have taken my painting time away and I had just got going when the mild weather changed to bitter freezing winds and snow! So, I’m staying firmly indoors in my lovely studio until it warms up again.