Thursday, 28 July 2011

Series of paintings for a beautiful house in Holt...

I just finished a series of paintings for a commission for a lovely house in Holt near Bath. 
There were several views the owners and myself had in mind so I ended up doing four separate paintings...  Here is the first one I did:

The entrance to the house - Summer evening   10"x8"  oil on board

I did this one on an evening after work. The light hit beautifully the front of the facade so I tried to catch it before I disappeared. The house is made of that beautiful golden stone which makes Bath and most surrounding villages so attractive.

I did a quick 5 minutes sketch before starting
to make sure I had  the composition right

The painting towards the end of the session 

I set up where the view was the best - which was almost on the road... Fortunately Holt is a very small and peaceful village so apart from children playing football and neighbours having a sneaky look, it was rather quiet.

That's me on the pavement (I should have put my hat on the floor to collect coins)

So focused I didn't realise I was being papped...

The second painting was the house from the garden. I figured out the best time for light was around 3pm so I came back on a sunday afternoon to tackle this one.

The house from the garden in the afternoon    14"x10"   oil on board

I liked the way the house was illuminated from behind the trees

Here again, a quick preliminary sketch to decide on the composition.

I set up in the shade to avoid unwanted shining effect on my canvas

Back in the studio, after having finished the two views of the house, I decided to paint the conservatory from a photograph I took during my visit there. I loved the vertical and horizontal lines and the sunny garden framed by the window which reminded me of a "Ken Howard" type of subject. 

The conservatory - Evening light     12"x10"   oil on board

The drawing was particularly tricky on this one
because of all the different points of perspective

One of the photograph I used a reference

Finally, I did a quick study from a photograph of the lovely garden. As you might have noticed by now I just love greens and I couldn't help having fun with the different shades and the highlights of the flowers.

Evening sunshine in the garden    6"x8"  oil on board 

The reference photograph

I got the chance to present my work a week ago or so and was so happy (and relieved!) that the couple loved them all and decided to adopt 3 of them! 

The framed paintings before I had to say goodbye to them ...


  1. Val you're so talented, I'm glad you're getting so much more time to do your work ;)

  2. Thanks Claire! Glad you like it. I'm actually not getting more time to paint than usual but I'm now spending every week-end at it so that's why I've been quite productive... Love your latest pictures too by the way.

  3. You are truly talented. I love how you paint structures. Some artists paint buildings well but you make them beautiful. No surprise the couple wanted all three. What a great tribute to their home. Doug

  4. Well, I'm one of 'the couple'... and we truly are delighted with the paintings. They are currently touring our house while they find their best resting place! We're very proud of our unusual home and so pleased that Valérie captured it so well... You're amazing Valérie and we are honoured to have such a meaningful slice of your awesome talent in our home. Bill x

  5. Thanks Douglas, this is a lovely compliment. Glad you like it.
    Thanks Bill, it's a great thought to know that those paintings will be cherished at your place!

  6. Hi Valerie.
    If I had been the owner of that house, and could afford to have bought them, I would have had the lot, even the sketches. All are brilliantly done.
    You have done a fantastic Job here Valerie. Well done. I give you 10/10 for your skill here, I especially love the garden, beautiful. Good luck to you and all the best.

  7. Very nice indeed, like your bold and confident stroke ... Sarah

  8. Awesome!!

    Have you ever tried some knife work?!
    I mean I miss some sharp edges here and there,
    it would focus your view some what more, but that's purely personal. This works soo nice.

  9. Thanks Victor, Sarah and René!
    René: believe me or not when I started painting 6 years ago, I actually used to paint only with knifes and also used much brighter colours. But after a few years I got a bit put off by the harshness of it and stopped using knifes altogether for bushes, specially since being seduced by Seago's lovely brushstrokes and I also started using more subtle colours. But I take you advice in account and might try to use them again next time for some highlights...

  10. Ow I didn't know that, and it's even better I guess. It shouldn't be much but on the other hand, Trevor Chamberlain (also inspired a lot by Seago) uses his knife and finger for almost 80% according to Ron Ranson. It's more a focal point or a point of laying a baseline so to speak, same as key's on the value-scale.

  11. Hi Valérie. I came here from the Plein Air website via your main website and so glad I did!. Unmistakable Bath stone colour. You have some gorgeous work on here. I love your style of painting and those fabulous greens. I'm also a lover of Ken Howard's work.

  12. Love the brushwork and especially how you captured the light in these. Congrats! Ps, do you know if you can get the old Winsor and Newton pochade -style boxes anywhere? I have a lovely handmade pochade box, 8 x 6, from Abbey Easels (I think), but I`d like to have one for slightly bigger paintings nad different formats. any info would be appreciated. Regards, Judith, Ireland

  13. Hi Judith. Thanks for your nice comment. I'm not sure about where you can get the W&N pochade. My pochade box is "Guerilla french resistance" from Judson Art suplies but I had to import it from USA. If you're in UK I recommend you to have a look at, they have a lovely selection of different sizes and if you can't find what you like then don;t hesitate to contact them, it is run by a very talented painter called Antony Bridge which knows pretty much everything about pochade boxes;)

  14. I'm not a painter and I'm even good at art, but I really think that you've capture the essence of the house. The paintings you've made are just absolutely beautiful. You are a great artist.

  15. Thanks Brendan! What a lovely comment you made - much appreciated!