Friday, 22 July 2016

Pennine Fields in Acrylic

Pennine Fields painted in Acrylics

The Lake district is looking Green. Not just Green but hundreds of shades of Green.
 I was talking to a chap from Australia, who was visiting the Lakes. He couldn't believe how Green it was compared to the dry landscapes of Australia. I stated that as an artist we are sometimes overwhelmed by the 'Green!! His startled expression, made me realise, I need to saviour and appreciate the Green.

So with this in mind, I have opened my eyes to the Landscape at the moment. 
And indeed feel truly inspired. Especially the Green fields leading the way to the distant mountains.
I have lots of ideas buzzing around, from tonal values and textured foregrounds with colourful hints of wildflowers adding complimentary jewels.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Rambles with an artist Lantys Tarn

Lantys Tarn

Lantys Tarn painted in Pastels 

Start: Glenridding Gallery, Ullswater.
Three miles with approximately 530 feet of accent.
Walking boots recommended.

I was lucky the sun was shinning, skies of Blue and fabulous light, for this pretty trek up to lovely Lantys Tarn. This  easy fell walk  is suitable in just about any weather or season and time of day.
 It's a tarn that is like Marmite!!! It will either capture your heart or you will wonder where I see such beauty! I'm sure artists, photographers and poets all love it's simplicity and  peacefulness. Nestled between Scots Pines just off a well worn busy track to the summit of Helvellyn.

I started from the Glenridding gallery where you can see my painting of Lantys Tarn in pastel. Take the road between the shops and the quiet stream, which became a roaring river cascading down the fell side in the terrible floods of December 2015. Passing the Public Hall  on your right before the road turns into a track and begins this pretty walk through the wood, taking the left path sign-posted to Lanty’s Tarn, Helvellyn . If the light is right the stream is an interesting painting subject, or maybe a quick sketch. Watch out for a single yellow arrow pointing you left towards Lanty’s Tarn after the last pretty cottage, if you're quiet you may be lucky and see a Red Squirel.

The next section is the steepest on the walk, not very long and today with plenty of wild Foxgloves to stop, admire and catch the breath. I have decided that I think the Foxglove should be the flower emblem of The Lake District. What do you think? After the short steep section a wonderful bench appears like magic with stunning views across Ullswater. This could be another perfect sketch and we've not reached the tarn yet.

After contemplating the view from the bench, continue along the path, which, again briefly gets a little steeper, but with gorgeous views across to the surrounding fells, you will not notice. Reaching another gate DO NOT GO THROUGH IT, but bare left,  follow the path  sign-posted Striding Edge, Grisedale and head for the brow of the hill.  An oasis of trees can be seen down the path, a glimpse towards the secret tarn.

Here the sketching can begin, through the gate, which could make an ideal viewpoint with the old wall adding character. Stand and admire the fairyland pool, still water with reflected trees, drafts of light bring sparkle to the shallow tarn.

 On a day in  July,  clumps of soft hazy blue forget-me-nots grow on the waters edge adding a mystical feel. Decide whether to take the dry well walked path or the boggy barely trodden lake edge route, they both meet at the far end. It's probably there where the sketchbook will come out. A perfect place for a picnic or to enjoy the pure beauty of this Lakeland gem.

When you are ready to leave, the decision is yours either back the route you walked or after the tarn the path dips down a hill and, at about 300 metres, the path splits into two with a gate on each path. Views into the valley below will grab your attention with towering peaks in the ditance for the Wainwright bagger.
Take the left path and turn left and downhill after the gate. Head straight down the fell taking care on the steep accent with Sheep roaming and grazing all around. Head through the swing gate and onto the tarmac road heading right towards the main A592 Ullswater road passing a small caravan site next to the river. 

Turn left and carefully cross the road onto the pavement opposite. Continuing along past the Glenridding sign, with the lake coming into view taking the easy path through the trees. The path crosses back over the road and heads back to Glenridding  or a stopover at the lakeshore for a challenging sketch of colourful  rowing boats with many angles to get just right. I find a rough figure of eight can help with the shape. Or take the easy route and find a place for tea.

The Inn on the Lake is set in a stunning setting and Afternoon Tea is a total delight.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Painting an Italian lake with Watercolours

You arrive by boat, to the small fishing village of Sensole. Find a shady spot under the Olive tree but close enough to the Lake edge. Silhouetted misty turquoise trees in the distance, a few Villa’s some with warm terracotta and Yellow Ochre walls, a few glistening white with shadows of cool Blues. 

Olive Trees and  Poplars, easy to paint fill the landscape down to the lake edge. A few Geraniums add splashes of Red to compliment the Green foliage. The Lake totally different to an English lake seems more opaque with shades of light Turquoise to dark Emeralds and flashes of reflections from the above landscape. With Cerulean Blue stripped posts placed strategically  to help lead the eye into the scene. 

If you would like to learn how I painted the scene above to the one below with watercolours. 

I've wrote a step by step tutorial that you can download through Etsy

Sensole. Lake Iseo

Painted in Watercolours

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Foxgloves in watercolour demonstration

 Each new month brings a flower that I feel I must paint. Snowdrops started in February, March embraced Golden  Daffodils, Tulips and Iris  jostled for attention in April and of course Bluebells filled all of May. June is the month of Foxgloves and slightly overlapping into July. Simply because they are still out in bloom, swaying gently on the Lakeland fells.

Saunders Waterford Not 200lbs
Opera Rose
Permanent Rose
Cobalt Turquoise
Winsor Blue
Winsor Yellow
Masking Fluid

I started with an outline sketch and added Masking fluid to preserve the white of the paper for highlights on the flowers.
The paper was  dampened softly around the Foxgloves. Using a pale tonal value of Opera Rose the perfect shade for Foxgloves, Stronger tones are added for the Flower heads. Clean water was dropped into the centre of the flowers to create more depth.
Cobalt Turquoise added softly around the flowers for foliage is left to merge softly into the background.

By painting the negative shapes around the foxgloves with Strong tonal values, the flowers will emerge magically. Winsor Blue and Permanent Rose mixed together create a wonderful strong tone, adding Cobalt Turquoise will vary the shades. Permanent Rose was used to shape the inside of the trumpet flower.

The flowers are beginning to take shape by painting the background. Winsor Yellow with a touch of Winsor Blue mixes to a variety of shades of transparent Green ideal for leaves and foliage. Learning to paint  negative shapes for leaves produces lighter tonal values and a softer approach.

Foxgloves in watercolour

Final stage : Masking fluid was removed when the paint was dry to reveal highlights. Splashes and splatters can be added for the inside of the flowers and help to bring life and texture to the painting. Some areas are left soft and not detailed this helps to give the painting a restful feel.

For more watercolour online courses 

or check out my Etsy page 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Rambles with an artist Latrigg

 Latrigg, a small hill with stunning views over Keswick and the surrounding fells. This four mile walk is perfect for a couple of spare hours, when you need a little inspiration. Two Lakes Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite, a glimpse into Borrowdale and Newlands valleys and a few of the highest peaks Helvellyn and Skiddaw. On a clear day Scafell Pike can be viewed  from the bench positioned ideally on top.

An ideal start is Spooney Lane, a quiet bridleway that crosses the busy A66. Pass Spooney Green a Bed and Breakfast with a variety of Hens running freely in the gardens. You should notice the sounds of birdsong  walking  by the side of Brundleholme Wood. Red squirrels are about so do keep a look out. Head straight up the track between Yellow Gorse, Broom and wild flowers. Glimpse through the shaded trees, a patchwork of Green fields towards the tiny hamlet of  Applethwaite and  Bassenthwaite. This is the steepest section of the walk and only lasts a short time.

Follow the path round to the left ignoring the gates on the right into Brundleholme wood. The first viewpoint towards Derwentwater is reached. I often stop and sketch, not able to wait any longer. 
 Sun rays glisten and sparkle  on the Lake and light up the sides of the fells into the valley of Newlands. A painters paradise. This low level viewpoint is often more sheltered than the summit top of Latrigg. 

Back to the path and through the peaceful woods leading to a gate to reveal views towards Grizedale Pike and on to Bassenthwaite. Flat pastures with old Chestnut trees dotted around casting useful shadows. The mighty flanks of Skiddaw are well viewed ahead, covered in Heather, a wonderful spectacle of colour in the month of August. Especially with the light on a late Summers evening.
The path soon comes to a crossroads, take the right hand path and zig zag up the side of Latrigg. 


Newlands from Latrigg
Painted in Pastels

Views open up, a few Sheep grazing on the hillside could be an useful lead in for a photograph
Nearing the top, the Bench will be spotted, fingers crossed it as no weary walkers sitting taking in the lofty view.
The Slate roofs of Keswick below towards Derwentwater, Borrowdale  with Great End and Scafell Pike on the distant horizon. Helvellyn and the Dodds on the left with Grizdale Pike and Bassenthwaite shouting for attention on the right. 
This is a perfect place to stop for a break, just watch out for the strong winds if you do get the painting materials out and a few walkers passing by.

Head back down the track you came up, plenty of photograph opportunities along the way. After reaching the first viewpoint, cross the tiny stream and head through the gate into the woods. In the month of June wild foxgloves will skirt the track through the woods, a wonderful sight to see, especially with the sunshine lighting the way through the pretty woodland.

Foxgloves, Brundleholm Wood painted in Pastels.

The path comes to a crossroads, take a right to head back and join the Spooney Lane track and back to the start of the walk.
The filling Station, on Crosswaite Road is an ideal place to stop for Coffee and cake or for a well earned pint the Pheasant Inn opposite.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Online watercolour courses

Here are the paintings for the first two Online watercolour courses

Each course has six projects which comes with a sketch to guide and simplify a scene, colout tags to help with colour mixing, a material list and with each project personal feedback with  helpful hints and tips on how to improve your watercolour painting.

Course One

Project one 
Derwentwater  Posts 

Project Two
Blea Tarn

Project Three
Windermere Sunset

Project Four 
After the Snow

Project Five
Red Boat Windermere

Project Six
On the Rocks

Online Course One £55.00

Course Two 
Watercolour Course

Project One
Ullswater Daffodils

Project Two
Tarn Hows

Project Three
Above Windermere

Project Four

Project Five 
Derwent Isle

Project Six
Bluebell Wood

Online Course Two £55.00

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Sketchbook Walks in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter

Catbells home of Mrs Tigglewinkle.

I grew up with the books of Beatrix Potter her words and beautiful paintings inspired me, to paint and have an interest in wildlife. On visiting the Lake District many years ago, my first stop was Hill Top at Near Sawry to see where this wonderful lady had lived and painted. 
Now living not too far from Derwentwater  is a pure joy, to be inspired along the lake shore when taking my sketchbook on a walk. Stopping when something catches my eye for a quick sketch. I find this an ideal way to get material to work from at a later stage or back in the studio, you see much more than a photograph.

Sketchbook Walk around Derwentwater
Tuesday 19th July 2016

The day starts at 11.00am with a sketch before heading on the Launch across
  Derwentwater to a peaceful location. Sampling stunning views as we walk along the foreshore, stopping occasionally for an inspiration sketch.
 Heading towards Lingholm Estate where Beatrix Potter spent many Summer holidays here.
Finishing around 4pm back at the theatre by the Lake.

Learning to draw and observe are essential skills for the landscape artist. A sketchbook is the perfect place to practise and refine your drawing and painting skills. You may record memories of places visited with comments jotted down alongside. Learn to secrets of sketching and drawing in a loose and lively style.

This is a great introduction into outdoor sketching
Materials needed
Sketchbook, 2b (0.7mm) clutch pencil, small watercolour travel set, water soluble pen, a couple of brushes, Pentel or Derwentwater water brush, small water holder, sit mat, camera, umbrella just in case, packed lunch and a rucksac to put it all in. 

Price £50.00
email Jane to reserve your place

More dates for August coming up.