Monday, September 21, 2015

Some more Road Sketches

I am keeping a road sketchbook, every day as we travel about, it is growing into a nice record. That's the beauty of sketchbooks, they develop with time, almost out of sight, they become better with distance!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pigments, Rain and Grasse

I got myself some pigments from The Ochre Mines of Roussillion, with gum Arabic and a little honey I am set to make my own watercolours. As soon as the weather stops being so watery, and the sun shines again and we have set up camp again I shall paint an extreamly large watercolour ofRoussillon using pigments from there mixed with lavender honey! In the meantime here is another whopper, 4 foot by 5 foot or 120 cm x 180 cm done en PleinAir of the view from Grasse towards the Mediterranean.

 I have some more road sketches but that will have to wait for dry weather to photograph them and then some wifi to post them, until then we travel on...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Up sizing Watercolour Painting

I decide to test out my "easel" for the larger paintings. This is a painting from the high road of Col de la Bonnett executed in pure watercolour. 
It measures about 4 foot x 5 foot, which is approximately 120 cm x 150 cm. large enough. It does require some energy to paint that big, especially in watercolour, working wet in wet fast in the hot Provençal sun.

Here is the set up... Now back to work...


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Working in the Rain

Not quite as extream as it sounds, last night and all morning we had a huge thunder storm, which is always exciting in a tent.
This morning, having mopped up all the leaks, I set up a tented studio. I am supposed to be working on this trip, doing some commissions and working towards a book. So today I painted, photographing each stage of the work as it developed. I used an image from my iPhone and the sketch that I did yesterday.  It was a beautiful little productive courtyard opening onto an small lane in Bargemon. With a tiny door and two stone troughs catching water from a little water spout. This is in oils, kind of half PleinAir half studio work!



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pure Provence

After the high road we swooped down to the glitz and madness of Cannes and Antibes, stayed in a camp site underneath a viaduct and beside the sea, got up before dawn to watch the sun rise over the Mediterranean. Then on up to Grasse, the perfume capital of Provence, through tiny alley ways with towering thin houses of ochre and terracotta. Lunch in Bargemon beside a moss covered fountain with plane trees throwing dappled shade across the houses.
Now we are camped beside a rushing river in the gorges of the Verdon, staying put for a few days to tackle some bigger work.



Friday, September 11, 2015

Up the Mountain and Down to the Sea.

Traveled up the Col de Bonnet today, the highest paved road in Europe.

Past milky blue lakes and rushing rivers up to where no trees grow. Along tiny roads that twist and turn and have absolutely no safety rail, I was too scared to stop and paint!
This one is in the early morning, in the foothills, I shall gather my senses and maybe do a post mountain painting.
After the mountain madness we entered another world, that of Niece, Cannes and Antibes. Apart from the obscene displays of heavily tanned wealthy flesh, the coast line, with blood red rock, sparkling blue sea and dark green cypress is something to behold. I shall catch some of those colours tomorrow.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

French Roads and Early Morning Rivers

 Very early morning mists on the south side of the Loire, traveling through beautiful white stone villages beside the river. Then along miles and miles of perfectly straight roads as far as the eye can see, through avenues of trees then past fields of sunflowers, all brown and seed loaded, like frenzied ink marks against the sky.
Up into the volcanic mountains before a grand vista of Clermont Ferrand, an amazing "urban landscape" if that is one of the things that I am looking for... Which of course it is!



Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Selected and Camping in France

How bizarre, while sitting in the evening sun beside the Loire, waiting for a watercolour layer to dry, I checked the results for selection for the Discerning Eye and found out that my entry had made the grade! 

It's a tiny moleskine watercolour sketchbook with 29 paintings of roads all set in a beautiful opening frame (made by my very excellent framers Sullys of Penryn.) So you can have a different painting every day if you wish. I believe that Sketchbooks are the essence of everything that I do as an artist, they are the starting point, the runway from which you take off, so it seemed a good thing to have framed up for posterity. Anyway, I am very pleased to be included in the exhibition.

Today is the first day of my five week working trip across France. This is a little sketch done early this morning  just after leaving the ferry at Roscoff, as we  drove over "Wolf Mountain" in Brittany, a stunning view that always feels very ancient to me. 

Tonight we are camping beside the Loire a few miles south of Angers. There were flocks of water birds all gathering up to do their evening river swoop as I painted this. They are the little dots on the sand banks. Now it's time for a celebration whisky and to bed under canvas.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Getting Ready

Getting ready for the road trip, various easel holding contraptions have been added to the van and now I am testing "blog on the go "apps. I have a few commissions lined up, some brilliant places to visit and a couple of books to work on as I go, I am even planning to make some short films of painting exploits, so no pressure.
At least I have the most excellent hat.