Sunday, 3 July 2016

Clouds, sheep and boats

Here are a couple of paintings done in plein air in the countryside between Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon a few weeks ago. These outings have become rather rare lately because it is getting harder to carry my painting kit at the same time as my ever growing baby belly, not to mention the risk of breaking my chair! I would love to say I'm being inspired by this pregnancy and doing some interesting studio self portraits, but the truth is I'm spending my evenings instead watching the sound of music and eating chocolate... Still, the optimistic person I am just thought it was the perfect time to buy a new easel so I will do my best to use it before the new arrival end of next month...

For the first painting below, I wanted to use big bold strokes and keep things very simple, using the minimum amount of marks possible. I had fun painting the clouds and suggesting the sheep with a few brushstrokes.

Clouds and sheep, near Bradford on Avon  10"x12"  oil on board 

The painting towards the end

A few close up details below:



Below is my second painting of the day, done just a few minutes drive from the first painting location. What caught my eyes was the variety of greens and the light piercing through the trees and hitting the roofs of the boats.

Narrow boats near Bradford on Avon   10"x8"  oil on  board

As you can see below I like to live life dangerously as I was painting pretty close to the edge. Anybody that didn't like my painting could have sent me in the water with one push!

The painting towards the end



Saturday, 4 June 2016

During a walk in Bath...

Here is a painting I did in the studio a few weeks ago but forgot to post it. It is the view from the path I often use to go to the local shops. I was with my daughter when I saw this beautiful light so I couldn't stop to paint but I took a picture and rushed home to produce this painting in the studio.

Bath from the Linear Park  10"x8"  oil on board

This painting is for sale on my website here:

Detail 1

Detail 2

By the way, I finally signed up to Twitter so you can now follow me on @Valerie_Pirlot

I have also launched a brand new newsletter so if you want to be kept up to date then please enter your email address here:

Friday, 20 May 2016

Show now on in Belgium: The Battle of Waterloo in paintings

After 10 years of showing my work in UK since moving in England, I'm finally doing a show in my homeland, Belgium. For those who follow my blog, you might remember my series of paintings done last year around the Battle of Waterloo and surrounding countryside at the occasion of the 200th anniversary event. Well I'm glad to say those paintings are now on display in the Tourist Office of Waterloo and the show is on until the end of August.

The tourist office is situated in Waterloo centre, Chaussée de Bruxelles 218, 1410 Waterloo. Click here be directed to their website. They have put large banners on the facade so you can't miss it! This is me posing proudly in front of it! 

This is a small exhibition but it includes a variety of things such a paintings, sketches, artist material and original antique objects from the battle:

And this is me during the opening reception that took place a few weeks ago. In case you are thinking I have eaten a bit too much belgian chocolate, you are partially right, but I probably should mention that this growing belly is also the sign of my next big creation that we will be welcoming at the end of the summer :-)

Here is below a sample of the artwork on show. Most paintings on display are for sale and can be purchased on the day at the venue. For those who can't make it to the show, it is possible to purchase the available paintings directly from my website. They will then be reserved for you during the show and shipped at the end of the exhibition. Click here to go to my website.

And to finish, some pictures of the re-enactment that took place last year:

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Less is more... and a little sketch of a French landscape

I just wanted to share the great honour I had discovering that the artist/instructor Jeanne Mackenzie wrote about my painting 'Cold Winter Day - Alexandra Park' (see image below) for her series of articles titled 'Why This Works'; where she discusses why a contemporary painting succeeds as a painted image. This was published for PleinAir Today, the weekly enewsletter for PleinAir magazine.

She describes better than me why I  like to keep things simple and almost abstract. I hope she won't mind me sharing her words because they perfectly express my approach to painting:

"From a distance, this painting tells a story with a lot of detail — parks, buildings, roads, hills, trees. But as you look closer, you see that the story is told with eclectic spots of color and shapes. The viewer loves to fill in the rest of the story with information that they bring to the painting. As simple as this application of paint seems, it is difficult for an artist to just leave well enough alone when it comes to detail. We want to make it more real with windows and branches and cars. That can often have the opposite effect. This is a beautiful example of ‘less is more.’"

Cold Winter Day, Alexandra Park  10"x8"  oil on board

I like what she says about "the viewer filling the gaps". I've always liked the idea of an active viewer to my paintings that can see and imagine the details I'm not including and make the painting his own. This reminds me of a theory I heard at University years ago. This was originally about music but it can apply to painting too. It said that when the listener hears a song/ music piece that is easy/finished/obvious/catchy, he might like it at the first listening but gets bored of it very quickly because he is not involved in the listening process. But if the song is more subtle/abstract/unfinished/complex, the listener will have to be personally involved to try to decrypt it and give a meaning to it, and will not only make it his own, but also will keep rediscovering new layers at every listening which will make him want to listen again. Well I would be very happy if my paintings have such an effect on the viewer.



If you haven't fallen asleep yet with this long wordy post, then I'll just take the opportunity to post a new little sketch below. This was done after a trip to the South of France. I wanted to capture this quiet early morning light before the heat kicks in.

The courtyard, sunrise - Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt  5"x7" oil on board

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Spring is here...back to the allotments

Most of you know that I have an everlasting love for painting allotments. And now spring is here, this is the first place I'm heading to. I just can't get bored of it. It always looks and feels different to me. This one below was done in the morning just after dropping my daughter to preschool. A real breath of fresh air and freedom to be able to get out and paint while someone else is looking after her!

What caught my attention was the contrast between the dark wooden shed and the bright green cover at the back. All this leading to the beautiful views over Bath.

Monksdale road allotments, early spring  7"x10" oil on board

This painting is available for sale here on my website where you can see a larger image of it.

After about 40 minutes

Detail 1

Detail 2

The painting below is a small sketch done at the week-end in the morning. I did paint this plot before for a commission but couldn't resist going back for it as the vibrant colours were calling me.

Mini series - Allotments 6    5"x7"  oil on board

Preliminary sketch

Blocking in the colours

The painting at the end


This painting is available for sale on my website