Monday, 29 August 2011

Boats on the Avon, Summer evening

Last Sunday evening I went painting alongside the canal, just a short bicycle ride away from my flat. It was a lovely warm evening, the perfect time for a quiet painting session.

Boats on the Avon, Summer evening   12"x10"  oil on board

It took me a while to find a good spot because first I had to make sure the boat wasn't going anywhere ( I  found other attractive boats scenes before but the owners warned me they were about to go). 

Close-up of the water reflections

What caught my eye was indeed the beautiful reflections of light on the water and the contrast with the dark boat in the shade. I also love the patches of green that get brighter and brighter as they disappear in the distance.

As I was painting, I got several nice comments from people passing by, but one of them was a little bit weird. A lady came closer to have a look and said "Well... that's... interesting" (which we all know is a way to avoid saying that we don't like it!) and she continued "Do you find it relaxing? It's a nice hobby isn't it?" which sounded a bit like "It might not be great but at least you enjoy it - have you ever tried knitting?"
Or maybe I'm just being a bit too sensitive?;)

Not sure why I only used the right side of my palette??

The painting towards the end

Cycling back home with a wet painting was quite a challenge!


  1. Brilliant painting as usual Valerie. Photos are great also. You were not being sensitive Valerie,
    As you said, a funny remark from a strange lady thats all. You want to hear the remarks I get sometimes. When you get these remarks, you never know whether it is their way of saying its nice or bad do you? The comments you receive on the blog, tells you whether the painting is poor or lovely, and your paintings are brilliant. All the best Valerie.
    P.S. Have you ever tried knitting? Joke.

  2. I think many times people, here at least, don't know enough about art to appreciate art that is impressionistic or has looser brushwork. The more it looks like a photo they appreciate it.One thing people say here when they see us out is, "Oh, are you all in a class?" several of my friends are full time artists so I know this remark is not appreciated by them. Another thing is "Your an artist,I can't even draw a stick figure" or "I cant even draw a circle." This remark while meant kindly doesn't show much respect for the time, effort, and education many artists devote and receive to develope their art. Your paintings are amazing. I don't think you should every worry what random strangers say. Your drawing, color and depth are all just right in this one.

  3. Hi Valérie. I've had a couple of plein air experiences including one I blogged about recently where a guy watched me paint from beginning to end! I can only sympathise with you but I also agree with what Vic and Douglas have said. Your work is truly inspiring and the comments you get should reassure you that you are an accomplished artist. I love the brushstrokes in this one in particular. Oh, how I miss walking along the towpaths of the canal in my hometown :(

  4. ... Well, I am not an artist and I can't even 'draw a stick figure' :) However I think you need to focus on your work and no matter what other people say ...
    your work does reflect your personality, the stroke and the colour ...
    Keep up.


  5. Thanks all for your supportive messages! I can see I'm not the only one getting weird comments while painting! I suppose people don't always realise painting means so much to us and we're so hungry to get better and better and it's not just a pass time we do twice a year when the sun is out but a life long joy and also battle... Now your reboosted my confidence I'm ready for the next remarks;)

  6. Valerie, the "hobby" comment is the most common one I ever hear! Take a look at the video on Roy Connelly's blog, June 25th, that sums it up brilliantly!

  7. Nice one Valerie! Love the lush brushstrokes and the variations in temperature/light. You've kept the colours really fresh too....liking the warm ochre house against the cool blue hills.

    I don't know a plein air painter who hasn't had bizarre comments that could undermine their confidence if they let them. I once had a lady in Oxford say 'I think most of it is OK....apart from this bit (pointing disapprovingly at the flag which I'd yet to work on).....I'm an art teacher you know so I've got a good idea about composition'. I suppose there are several ways I could have responded but I guess I was too busy to hung up on it. Perhaps just as well :o)

  8. Thanks David, I think in terms of annoying comments you win here. I think I would have been much less polite than you!
    Ian, I love that video you're talking about, it just says it all!