Sunday, 27 January 2013

Snow snow snow!

Last week we were blessed with snow in Bath - I know it is not a blessing for commuters trying to get to work, but it is heaven for painters! Obviously painting in the snow means braving the cold and losing a finger or two, but it's so worth it!

I couldn't take the car or the bike as the roads were slippery so I went painting just around the corner from my house in Oldfield Park in Bath. I moved here in November and I'm still exploring the area for painting spots which is very exciting. I found a little alley with a beautiful view over Bath and I liked it so much that I ended up doing 3 little paintings at the same spots (over two days) to show the change of light. Here is below the study I did in the morning:

Claude Vale, Bath, in the snow, morning   10"x8"  oil on board

Snow is so great to paint because it reflects light in a beautiful way. What one would think is simple white is actually a multitude of colours, highlights and shadows that turn the ground and shapes into beautiful sculptures. More true than ever, painting at the scene is almost essential because the camera doesn't always capture those subtleties. 

Here is my set up towards the end of the session. As I packed up, my clumsy old self managed to drop the painting face down in the snow! That's what I call really "getting a feel of the place and putting this on the canvas". Fortunately it dried up when I returned home...


Here is below my second painting of the same view, done in the late afternoon/early evening, when the light was disappearing and the city lights were showing up:

Claude Vale, Bath, in the snow, evening   10"x8"  oil on board

My painting after around 45 minutes



Finally, I did a final painting making the most of the last minutes of light before it was completely dark. This was really a race against time and I could hardly see anything. I painted the same tree but this time showed the view on the left.  Just for a few minutes there was that amazing intense blue light in the sky so I rushed putting it on the canvas. Shortly after this, it was pitch black. 

Tree in the snow, Claude Vale, Bath, evening   7"x10"   oil on board


Here is below a painting of a street just around the corner where I live. I loved effect of the snow on the roofs and cars and the lovely purple view in the distance:

Dartmouth Avenue in the snow, Bath   10"x7"  oil on board

My painting towards the end


Finally, here is a bigger painting made on park just at the end of my street which is a cul-de-sac. It was a bit of an adventure getting there as the road leading to the park is rather hilly and very slippery - most of the time it felt more like iceskating than walking. Add the challenge of carrying a painting kit and a wet painting on the way back and one might start feeling like an adventurer on a mission!

The view from the park was beautiful and the families playing in the snow added a lively touch to the scene.

(Apologies for the painting image below overlapping on the right, but I wanted to show it big enough to be able to see the details. As usual you can click on the image for full view)

First snow, late afternoon at the park on the top of Ivy Avenue   9"x16"  oil on board

Below you can see my set up towards the end. When I left the light had completely gone:



The snow has now melted so I'm now already looking forward to spring with its longer and warmer days and its variety of beautiful greens!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Landscape in Belgium

A friend of mine recently posted a picture on Facebook of a sunny path in the Belgium countryside and I automatically wanted to paint it. So, after her permission, here is below the quick study I did. I kept it lose and spontaneous and tried to capture the essence of the scene:

Landscape in Belgium  10"x8"  oil on board

Below is the original photograph which I cropped to adjust the composition:

copyright Delphine Simon


On an other note, I went to London this week with other painting pals to see the amazing show of one of the best plein air painter alive to my opinion, Ken Howard. It was a show of 80 paintings at Richard Green Gallery to celebrate his 80th birthday and the work was simply stunning. (click here for the catalogue

It was also the launch of his latest book "Howard's Switzerland" which is a painting journey retracing the footsteps of Turner.  (click here for more info)

We had the chance to meet Ken and his lovely wife Dora (thanks Adebanji Alade for the picture!):

Left to right: Roy Connelly, Ken Howard OBE RA, Tim King, Dora Bertolutti Howard,
unknown, Haidee-Jo Summers, David Pilgrim ROI, and myself

This really inspired me to go back at the easel and become the best painter I can... Let 2013 be the best painting year so far!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Pregnant Life Model and blue cushion

Here is a nude I painted last year at the Bath Artists Studios. We were blessed with our usual model which this time was showing beautiful new curves due to her pregnancy.

Pregnant Life Model and blue cushion  12"x16"  oil on board

The painting after half an hour


 I really enjoyed this session and hoping to get the chance to paint more life models in 2013. Best wishes for the model which I understand is due to give birth very soon.