Friday, 28 February 2014

Back at the easel - painting in Belgium

After 6 months without touching a paintbrush, after about 1000 nappies changes and a couple of hours of sleep from time to time, I can say that I'm back at the easel and it feels good!! My little bundle of joy called Louisa was born in November, and as much as I enjoy being a mum, my need and passion for painting hasn't gone anywhere and I've finally managed to get out and paint. This was possible thanks to my own mum who took care of Louisa during my recent trip to Belgium, which enabled me to paint my lovely childhood home in Lasne. It is surrounded by woods and views which gives plenty of painting subjects! (which is fortunate since I had to stay at hand for feeds between paintings!)

Here is the house from the drive. I was blessed with sunshine which gave some lovely rich greens:

Bois Eloi from the drive, February  12"x9" oil on board

The set up - you can just about see the house in the distance

Look - I have a little visitor!

Indeed, Louisa kept me company for a bit while my mum was stopping by during her walk. She was well behaved and carefully made some mental notes about my painting techniques of course. On an other topic, I'm sure you will be pleased to see that haven't lost my sense of fashion. The latest style trend is the combo cap-hat-hood. Why choose when you can have all three?


The next painting below was done just outside the house looking at the views over Maransart. The strong winter sunshine brought some nice contrasts to the scene. 

Sandpit and view, Bois Eloi in February  12"x10"  oil on board

The little visitor is back! She just can't get enough...


I then did a couple of studies of the view from the window of the warm living room. Once in the morning, and once in the evening, to show the subtle changes of colours.  I like to think that if I open the window every now and then it still counts as "plein air" painting.

Here is the view in the morning:

View towards Maransart, February morning  7"x10"  oil on board

The set up in the living room

And here is the evening version (done while Louisa was cooing at me the whole time):

View towards Maransart, February evening  7"x10" oil on board

The set up from the living room


For the next painting below, I headed to the woods, which I have always found rather magical and fascinating. Many memories of walks, treasure hunts, and tree houses here while I was young. It is the perfect time of the year to paint because the leaves are not out yet so there is light and you can see the views in the distance.

In the woods, Bois Eloi, February morning  12"x10"  oil on board

My set up in the woods


On the last day, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise showing through the trees from my bedroom window. By the time Louisa was dressed and fed it had already gone, but I managed to paint it quickly afterwards from a photograph I took and from memory too. I like the way it almost looks like fire.

Sunrise from my bedroom window, Bois Eloi, February  7"x10"  oil on board

The picture I took when I got up. It doesn't have much colour information
so I only used it as a rough composition guide.

It is the view I have seen every morning for 15 years so I was pleased to be able to do a little painting to remember it.


A quick note about my material for those who are interested: while pregnant and still now, I have switched to the "Artisan" range from Winsor & Newton which are water mixable oil colours, so I didn't have to use toxic substances like turpentine or white spirit. I also use only "hues" of toxic colours such a cadmiums. I must say I'm very happy with the quality of the paint and have decided to carry on using it for a while as I find it safer while I have a baby in the house. 

I'm hoping to go painting in Bath in the next few days so hopefully I will be posting again soon!