Thursday, 8 September 2016

Painting from the heart.


Painted in Oils on Canvas.

 While cycling along the shores of Ullswater, I realised, I've stopped trying to paint exactly what I see. I want to delve deeper, I want to paint the joy that I  feel, the sheer  drama that the Lake District portrays. 
It came like a bolt out of the Blue, what have I been doing all these years.
Learning... maybe I'm a slow learner, I do become a little obsessed with figuring things out.
Not going to art college, but just painting each day.

This is my latest painting of the Langdales, the Oils are back in favour, it's not often I say this but I do like this painting. If like me, you are never quite pleased with the outcome of some paintings, it is a lovely feeling when you keep going and having a quick glance in the art room to see the painting  happily smiling back.

I think what I'm trying to say is sometimes we need to let go and paint from the heart, not what is expected. 

Happy painting today, maybe let go a little and see what the outcome is.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Pastel course

Misty Morning

Setting the scene
Morning Sail, was painted on an atmospheric day,  threatening rain clouds and soft mist in the mountains and a still reflected lake.

The horizon line is approx. 1/4 of the paper, this will aid a dramatic sky in the composition and create distance in the mountain scene.

 Colours were kept subdued working with tonal hues rather than exact colour shades, this will help to give a peaceful harmony to the painting.

Working on Fisher 400 pastel paper, this is project two on my online pastel course.
 It is a perfect course to start painting with pastels, with many handy tips, step by step instructions and clear photographs, materials explained  and above all personal feedback with each project. I have painted with Pastels for over twenty years, and find them such a wonderful medium. 

Why not start painting pastels this Autumn and sign up to the Pastel Online course

The price of the course is £55.00 , there is no time limit to the course.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Painting from reference photographs

Ullswater Mooring

I think this would make a great reference photo for a watercolour painting.
These shouldn't be copied to every pixel, but used as an idea, or for scale.
The horizon of the lake could be moved lower to give more drama in the sky.

More detail could then be added to the boat.

I would ignore the canoeists, not that I dislike canoeists, I would want to create a sense of space and tell a story about the single boat.

The mountains could be painted with more atmosphere and misty conditions with wet in wet and plenty of water. The trees on the shore could give a strong tonal value against the light tones of the lake. This would add more drama to the painting.

I would also imagine a few more reflections under the gorgeous Red sailing boat.

The float could be masked out with masking fluid?

The lake could shimmer with a little wax added.

I would keep to a limited palette of around four to five primary colours Cadmium Red been a definite contender.

So all it needs now is paint to paper.

If you fancy joining my Online watercolour course with personal feedback

Friday, 19 August 2016

Rambles with an artist Catbells

Start :Keswick Launch
Distance and Terrain : Four Miles on good fell paths, a steep short walk.

Catbells, possibly the most walked fell around Derwentwater made famous by Beatrix Potter in Tales of  Mrs Tigglewinkle. A super introduction into Lakeland walking, with stunning 360 degree views, this short but steep hill can be walked in a couple of hours without sketchbook and inspirational stops.
For aspiring artists the only way to start the Catbells ascent is by Launch from Keswick. Glide across the lake, view the mountain above picking out the path to the top and witness the reflected beauty of Derwentwater Lake. Make sure you have your camera at the ready for added wildlife of an Otter or Kingfisher. You may feel the need for a quick sketch, let the walkers go ahead and then you will have the peace of the mountain path to yourself.

The way ahead is upward in a steady ascent, through the wood and reach the cattle grid on the hairpin bends. You should see the small path heading up the mountain side, if the bracken is high you may need to look a little closer. 

Keep to the path and take plenty of stops to take in the views below and behind. Skiddaw,  the main bulk of mountain at the head of Derwentwater, it's partner in crime sitting proudly on the right is Blencathra, with Keswick nestling below.

The higher you climb and the views will reward. Newlands valley can be gazed on your right, as you walk along the ridge. Causey Pike the mountain with a nobbled top, along to Sail and the Coledale Horseshoe keep you company  Below in Newlands valley a tiny hamlet can be seen ' Little Town' made famous in Tales of Mrs Tigglewinkle. I wonder did Beatrix Potter  walked along this same path.

Take a well earned rest before the final ascent, the path becomes a  small rocky scramble but not for long and the summit will appear. A walk along Catbells any time of year will always inspire. You may have to share the top with other walkers, Sheep and even the odd Rook scavenging for left over sandwiches. A perfect place to get out the sketchbook.

When it's time to descend, take the path heading down towards the Lakeland head back along the lower Catbells terrace, with views at every step. The path can be seen before a stone wall that heads down to the lakeshore. Plenty of sketchbook stops next to the waters edge, silhouette scenes or Autumn colours even an odd boat or two gently moored in a secret cove.  

Cakes and Coffee will entice at the new Lingholm Kitchen and wall garden and afterwards you can catch the ferry back to Keswick.

painted in Oils

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Grasmere painting course

Fancy a few days painting at Grasmere and Rydal Water?
A small group, finding perfect locations, inspiration will come naturally.
Staying at the Glenthorne based in a quiet area of Grasmere, yet minutes from the centre.
Watercolours for Beginners and Intermediate, ideal for those who have never painted on location, or for those that already know what joy it will bring.

Monday 8th to Thursday 11th August
One single en-suite place left
Full board and all tuition £395.00
email Jane for more details

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.