Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Karnaprayag, Pindar River, India

My mum never ceases to surprise me. Some mums like knitting or doing crosswords. Well, my mum just came back from a motorbike trip in India. That's right. On a motorbike. On the rocky slopes of the Himalaya. I asked her what was the hardest part of this crazy adventure (was it the bad state of the roads? the cold and heat? the fatigue?). She replied "being stuck in the coach for the transfer"! She is the best!

She came back with wonderful photographs (she is a journalist and was doing a coverage of the trip). I fell in love with one the views over the valley and decided to take it to the studio to give it a try. Here is the result: 

Karnaprayag, Pindar River, India  12"x10" oil on board

This painting was actually painted on an old plein air painting I wasn't happy with. You can see below my setting at the beginning with the old painting. I applied a thin grey layer to try to make the old colours disappear a bit. Then I drew the main lines of the drawing on the top of it. It is a bit confusing at the start but quickly the new work is taking over.

Below you can see the new painting building up. I ended up keeping three areas of the original painting which were conveniently placed: a bit of the sky, the sand, and the signature!

Details of the final result:



Saturday, 24 May 2014

Painting in the fields of Waterloo

Here is a quick study done during my recent trip to Belgium. It was painted near my parents' house, in the fields where the battle of Waterloo happened. This is the view towards the next village called Plancenoit. I liked the swirly path in the fields and the hazy view in the distance, and thought it was telling a story.

Plancenoit from the fields  16"x9" oil on board


This is the only painting I managed to do during my stay because this trip was all about family and the house was full of kids and babies! I actually took my niece with me to paint this view and she did a lovely little painting by my side. 

my set up on the day 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Widcombe Footbridge - Plein air & studio versions

A few weeks ago I went on my bike in Bath looking for a spot to paint when this footbridge caught my eye. It links the Widcombe bank (left) to the train station (on the right). I loved the variety of greens and the reflections on the water. I set up in the glorious morning sunshine and gave it a go. Here is the result:

Widcombe Footbridge in the morning  12"x10" oil on board


Below is a glimpse of my painting 3/4 way through. You can see I decided not to paint yellow barriers... 

At this stage a woman came to me and asked if she could have a look. When she saw the painting she said "Oh dear, you still have a long way to go haven't you?" I thought of explaining that actually my style is rather loose and impressionistic and it is meant to look like this, but she was gone already!

Back at home I was actually quite pleased with the result. And since I have the opportunity to paint in the studio during my daughter's naps - and not so much opportunity to paint outside - I decided to try a large studio version of the painting. See below the process:

My original plein air painting is on the table on the right, which I used as reference. After applying a neutral wash on a large canvas, I reproduced the main lines of the drawing:

I then started blocking out the colours with large brushes:

I then added more details and richness to the greens:

Here is the final result:

Widcombe Footbridge in the morning (studio version)  50cmx60cm  oil on linen canvas

Since the main reference for me was the original painting (I didn't take decent photographs or done proper sketching on the spot), the painting ended up being a scaled up version of the small one, with no more details. I must admit that I do like that idea because I wanted to keep the same freshness and bold brushstrokes, as if the large painting had been painted in plein air.