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...


  1. Valerie, great post. Very entertaining commentary and accompanying action shots :) As for the paintings...well...they really are superb! I would even go as far as saying some of your best ever work!! Great brushwork and colours...lots of energy and getting to the very essence of the Dorset landscape. A great set of paintings.

    I might be tempted to try your trick with the umbrella. I look like I'm happily holding mine but moments later I think it nearly blew out of my hand and over the cliff edge! There was a stiff breeze that day and I think you won the 'best umbrella strategy' award :) Look forward to seeing a few more!

  2. Very inspiring post and from Dorset! Outstanding! Nearly as nice as Kent! Just! Some really great photos - complimented by some equally great paintings of fantastic views - Lulworth brings back so many memories! Thanks for sharing. Mike

  3. Thanks David! Glad you like it and thanks for the lovely comment. I did feel quite at ease while painting during this trip; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, a real mystery, so let's enjoy it when it goes well! I do think indeed I deserve the best umbrella set up medal! Where is my medal?? :-) Anyway, looking forward to seeing your post!

  4. Thanks Mike for the lovely comment! Lulworth is a stunning place indeed. Watch this space as my next post will show 4 more paintings of Lulworth. Such an inspiring place!

  5. Great Post, Great paintings and all the snapshots-just one day, may be one day I'll be able to go on one of these trips with you guys!

    1. Thanks Adebanji! I'm sure it's not easy to combine work-family and painting trips but one day I'm sure we'll all paint together. Meanwhile, next time you're in Bath you can always let me know we and we go paint together. Take care. Valérie

  6. You are a very fortnite young lady Valerie. To be able to go with fellow artist`s for a few days painting. Well done and I like them all, including the shots. All the best Valerie.

    1. Thanks Vic! I am very lucky indeed and I make the most of it when it happens. All the best. Valérie

  7. What a great post. I love reading about and seeing images of your painting adventures. It looks like a gust of wind would have sent your easel over the edge. Glad that didn't happen. Your paintings are wonderful depictions of England. Any plans to do any paintings of Belgium?

    1. Thanks Douglas! Good point about Belgium. I only go there a couple of times a year and when I do, it's a bit of a marathon to see all the family and friends so I don't usually get any time for painting. I would love though to go back there to do a proper painting trip over several days. If I do I'll surely do a post about it :-)

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