Having had a very busy season in Beer last year, I decided to return to my studio in Branscombe for this year, but found it very hard to get going again- I evicted the spiders, rearranged the furniture, washed the walls and ceiling, re-organised my paints and materials… everything except paint.
It was a little disconcerting to lose any inclination to paint when it had become such a big part of my identity, but I decided to not worry, and trust that it would come back- and it did after 6 months- with a slight departure from the usual style and subject matter.
It was great to remove any preconceptions, and plans about any particular outcomes; I just started and carried on until I felt like stopping, one brush-stroke leading to the next.
It’s great to be back!
Sometimes when the light is just fading, you get a magical moment when everything becomes still. The beach at Beer can be a busy place on a fine day, but once the day-trippers have gone home, the beach hut cafes are closed and the boats are pulled up onto the beach, I can find that I suddenly have the place to myself- apart from the seagulls, that is, but even they go quiet at dusk.
Now available as a limited edition print- ‘The Red Boat at Beer’ is a double-mounted giclee print, measuring 24 x 30cm, yours for £55. Contact me directly to order yours.
The original painting in oils on linen, hot off the easel is also for sale.
Now it’s one thing to get big, messy, risky and experimental on your own, slightly different when people are coming in to see the artist at work…. I had every intention of doing some freeing up, but I hadn’t banked on having so many visitors to the studio that day (see previous post), so ended up snatching moments here and there, between chat to work on whatever came to hand- and at the moment, due to a bumper harvest, what comes to hand seems to be apples. Maybe the wild stuff I need to reserve for a private moment….
and the results shared with you, of course!
Not sure what I will be working on today- a new landscape? or new still-life, maybe something autumnal….mushrooms??? With infinite choice of subject matter, sometimes it is hard to get started. Writers often talk about the tyranny of the blank page. For me, and I suspect other painters, it is the tryranny of the blank canvas. When I feel this way, I need to get messy and just have fun! I’ll post the results later…
After a very busy two weeks of Open Studios, I’ve been enjoying some unseasonably warm autumn sunshine, and a few walks on the coast path.
Beer can be very busy at times, with working fishing boats, pleasure boats, swimmers, plus all the deck-chairs, lobster pots and fishing paraphanalia. Occasionally, however, you can catch it at a quiet moment, the tourists are still having breakfast, and the sun has just come up, and this is how I like it best.
I’ve experimented with putting figures in my landscapes, and interestingly, whilst I am a sociable sort and love working from the figure in a life-room, I like my landscapes empty of people! For someone who really can do dynamic people-filled scenes of seaside life, music festivals and beauty spots, check out the paintings and drawings of fellow Devon artist and friend, Michel Buckland.
The process of painting is for me, not disimilar to a walk in a wild place- it’s a solitary exploration, a mediatative space, where the busy-ness of our complex lives falls away, and I am alone, but not lonely.
Am busy getting ready for this year’s Devon Open Studios from 3-18 September.It’s a great opportunity for artists to show what we do- and where we do it! This year there are 146 venues open all over Devon for the two weeks- so many talented people doing amazing work. I’m hoping to get round a few on my day off.
So it’s full-steam ahead with lots to do in the run up- printing more business cards, ordering new cards and prints, and completing commissions. Come and visit me in Beer at The Bomb Shelter-special Open Studios opening times are Tues- Sunday 11am-6pm, open til 8pm on both Thursdays (closed Friday 9th September).
Free guides are available from the Bomb Shelter, other participating artists and public places e.g Tourist Information Centeres and Libraries- or click on above link for downloadable maps and guides.
Hope to see you soon!
After a week away from the studio, recovering from a lurgy, it’s good to be back. Lots of visitors today- including David, from Florida, who seems to have brought some fantastic weather with him.
A few weeks ago I headed up on the coast path from Branscombe in glorious sunshine, and paused here to look back, take some photos, do a quick sketch (and give William the dog chance to catch his breath…)
Sometimes some time out pays off, as I was able to come back to the studio and with fresh eyes, and found the finishing brushstrokes that had previously alluded me.
For those of you not familiar with this area of England, this is the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site, and the hill directly infront is The Anomaly at Branscombe- check out the Beer and Seaton Geological Field Guide, by Ian West, for great photos and an expert description of the amazing geology of this beautiful area.
With the schools on holiday, and the weather having warmed up it’s been a busy week in the studio, with lots of visitors, but I managed to get some painting done in-between chatting and cups of tea (I’m never too busy for a cuppa).
Always a dodgy moment, taking a wet painting outside to photograph it- it’s surprising how far a bit of oil paint will go, (often on my face) plus there’s the risk that it may end up being an elaborate piece of fly-paper. We seem to have had something of a mini plague of greenfly back at home- (tiny green aphids)- minutes after putting a fresh coat of gloss on new sign boards for the studio, I realised my mistake…
This week’s painting is a reminder of childhood summer outings in Dorset, and is fly-free.
Having painted a postcard for the ‘Trees for Life‘ exhibition (see previous post) and enjoyed thoroughly doing so, I’ve done a larger version!
This time it’s a more substantial 50 x 40 cm, and oil on board.
The view down the lane from my house provided the inspiration, and does so on a daily basis- always looking different- from snowy, to carpeted in blubells, to russet brown as the bracken turns in Autumn, with horses, sheep, deer, rabbits and the occasional escapee pig.