Thursday, 26 April 2012

Dorset trip - Part 3

Here is my last post from the Dorset trip. Click here if you have missed the first and second post with my first 8 paintings of the trip.

Day 4 - Monday

After having been blessed with sunshine the day before, we had to face a proper wet, damp day. It was the plan to go to Lyme Regis so we went, regardless of the nasty wind and pouring rain! As we got out of the car after a rather long journey, we made a pact: nobody is allowed to complain about the rain! Just get over it! :-)

Here is the little painting I did of the harbour:

Lyme Regis harbour on a wet day   10"x8"   oil on board 

It was painted from the only covered area we could find! That's me and David Bachmann trying to avoid the rain dropping on our painting! We looked ridiculous and we knew it! Still, I was quite pleased I had my fashionable waterproof poncho with me that protected my legs from the rain...

Since I was "stuck" on my bench, I had to paint what was in front of me, and decided to do a close-up of the boats and the distant hills.

David Pilgrim (below), who first insisted that the rain had stopped - and really, no need to set up in the covered area - could be heard minutes later cursing about the water covering his entire canvas and the paint not sticking anymore... I had to stop him a couple of times from throwing his board in the water!

David is not amused

Below, Tim is earning the appellation "plein air painter" by braving the wind and showers. The rare passers-by looked at us with much amusement and really thought we lost our mind!

When there is a will, there is a way!

I was quite pleased with my set up and decided to paint on my laps to avoid the rain:

The painting towards the end


After this one we headed back to the accommodation; we decided to take it easy in the afternoon and recovered with a good cup of tea, a comforting fire and watched the latest Ken Howard painting DVD. (what a nice bunch of geeks we make right?)

Everyday we would leave our paintings to dry in the conservatory, and by that time we started to build an impressive collection!

On that evening, Tim (below) decided to "tweak" his Lyme Regis painting. I say "tweak" because he usually tends to change it completely!

Tim painting and David sketching

This scene of the "Artist at work" was a rather tempting subject so I decided to do a very quick oil sketch of him:

Tim painting in the conservatory   10"x8"  oil on board

This was done in approximately 30 minutes. I didn't have more time because the daylight was disappearing and also because Tim decided to put an end to his fight with the painting.

While Tim and I were painting, David P. did a little sketch of both of us which I absolutely love!

Sketches from David Pilgrim sketchbook (portrait of Valérie and Tim)

Day 5 - Tuesday
Last day of the trip. Before heading back home we decided to make a last stop at Old Harry and were greeted by a beautiful sunshine. This is the first painting I did:

Old Harry Rocks, Handfast Point, Dorset, morning    oil on board   12"x9"

The water is amazing to paint, you just can't get bored of it:

That's me, properly wrapped up to cope with the wind!

My painting towards the end


Tim, David B. and David P. produced fantastic work on that day - it seems everybody was inspired!

Tim King and David Bachmann

David Pilgrim

We all managed to squeeze a second quick painting before we had to leave. As usual, it happens to be my favourite painting of the trip, as if you finally start to warm up when you have to go, typical!

Old Harry Rocks, Handfast Point, Dorset, at noon   10"x8"  oil on board


That's me below enjoying the last few moments of bliss before going back home. It was very windy so I secured my tripod by hanging my bag on it:

Back home, I framed this last painting with a spare frame and I have it now above the fireplace as a reminder of this lovely trip.

I invite you to have a look at my fellow painter's blogs and websites to see the beautiful work they've produced during this trip:

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Dorset trip - Part 2

Here is the second post about my recent painting trip in Dorset with a further 4 paintings (click here to see the first 4 paintings):

DAY 3 - Sunday

Lulworth Cove: We just didn't get enough of it the day before, so the four of us returned for more painting thrills. The "boys" decided to head rather early to avoid the mass of tourists. I played it cool as if I was used to waking up early but I ended up sleeping the whole journey at the back of the car like a baby. It became a bit of a habit actually; I can hardly remember any car journey as I fell asleep every time! We arrived before the hoards of tourists and enjoyed a quiet painting session looking down on Swyre Head:

Swyre Head and Bats Head in the morning, 
Lulworth Cove, Dorset 
7"x10"   oil on board

Tim, David P. and I "living life on the edge" (literally):

Enjoying the peace and quiet before the coaches of tourists invade the place:

I thought it would be a wise choice to go for a small panel to start with and save my bigger formats for when I'm properly woken up:


After this nice little warm up we decided to have a try at the Durdle Door which was just 45 degrees to our left so no need to move, just turn around a little and start painting again. The water had beautiful reflections and the sun was slowly coming out behind the rocks...

Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Dorset   12"x10"   oil on board

At this stage we were surrounded by tourists talking with excitement and taking photographs. I thought our moment of fame had come but I soon realised they were trying to get a good snap at the views we were somehow obstructing... It was fun listening to some of the comments. I remember hearing a group of young schoolboys rating our paintings and saying out lout which one is good and which one is not! I'm glad I couldn't see them pointing at the paintings...

The painting after 20 minutes

Detail of the finished painting

After finishing this second painting, we gave ourselves the luxury of a 5 minutes break to swallow our sandwich and then we were off looking for the next spot! The sun was properly out by then and we all found inspiration on the other side of the Cove, looking towards the beach.

Lulworth Cove

I decided to go for a long format to fit most of the coast:

Lulworth Cove from Durdle Door in the afternoon, Dorset
16"x9"   oil on board


Painting experiences in plein air don't get much better than this!

I reached this perfect view after climbing up on the hills. That's me below, enjoying nature and getting a break from the crowd:

David and Tim kindly took these pictures of me from the opposite hill where they set up to paint:

Tim (left, in green) and David P.

It does look like we got into an argument and went separate ways but I promised it wasn't the case :-) We just found inspiration at different spots... Meanwhile the other David (below) was getting some attention from the tourists as he stayed on the main passage:

After this third painting, I thought we would finally get a break, but before I could say the word "break", the guys were already starting their fourth painting back at the top. I surely didn't want to look like the "poor weak lady" of the group so I gathered the energy I had left and produced the quick study below. I started last, somehow finished first, and ended up being quite happy with it:

Lulworth Cove, evening, Dorset   10"x8"   oil on board

You might notice the fact I painted the same view the day before. Click here to have a look at my previous post.

The painting towards the end

David P. and Tim - unstoppable painting machines!


Check this blog in the next few days for the story about my last 4 paintings of the trip....


To be continued...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Dorset trip - Part 1

I've just come back from a painting trip in Dorset with 3 talented fellow painters (David Pilgrim, Tim King and David Bachmann). We had such a wonderful time. It was pretty intense too... I did 12 paintings in 4 days! Here is the post about my first 4 paintings. (Thanks Tim and David for the action pictures!)

DAY 1 - Friday afternoon - Just off from the train. After quickly dropping our bags at the accommodation we headed for "The Old Harry rocks". I loved the chalkiness of the rocks and the colourful water:

Old Harry Rocks, Handfast Point, Dorset, afternoon1   12"x9"  oil on board


Old Harry Rocks

It was a lovely sunny afternoon. To avoid the sun shining on my board, I used my umbrella so my painting would be in the shade. It was very windy so I came up with a little trick to keep it in place: instead of fixing it on my easel, I decided to fix it to the most stable/heaviest thing possible - and that's myself. I tied it in a strap (originally for my luggage) which I wrapped around myself and also stretched it to my chair and easel with a couple of elastic bands to keep it in the right position: 

In every plein air painter, there is an "inspector gadget"!

my painting towards the end

Here is David with his umbrella too doing a great little study of the place:

My painting finished, and after a little nap in the sun and a couple of chocolate bars, I started a second little painting, a close-up of the previous format. The sun had just disappeared and the tide was going down but I found interest in the puddles of water which had great reflections and colours in it: 

Old Harry Rocks, Handfast Point, Dorset, afternoon2   7"x5"  oil on board

My board was so small that I had to use my rag to secure it on the easel. And if you look closely, you'll see that my rag is actually an old pair of (clean) underwear from my partner (isn't that romantic!)

That's Tim, well inspired and producing a masterpiece:

DAY 2 - Saturday

We're off to the beautiful Lulworth Cove where there is plenty of choice of scenes for painting. Tim, David and I had a try at the beach from the top of the cliff. Here is my painting:

Lulworth Cove, Dorset, morning  12"10"  oil on board


All ready to paint

Pretty close to the edge!

Tim in the foreground, David a bit further, and my easel in the distance.
Applying the finishing touches

After a pretty steep walk back to the car, we gathered the energy left to do a second painting, this time, of the views over the distant hills. The lazy me would have been more than happy to paint it from the car park, but David dragged us to the top of the hill to get better views. It nearly killed me but I had to admit he was right! What a view!

Foggy hills in the afternoon at Lulworth Cove, Dorset   16"x9"   oil on board


I must admit I almost gave up in the middle of that one as I was tired and unhappy with the result. But I got encouraged to carry on so I did, and I managed to turn the painting around and produce something I'm pretty pleased with.


To be continued...