Thursday, 22 July 2010

Motor Caravanners' Golden Jubilee


In June of this year, the Motor Caravanners' Club held its National Rally.
This was to be a special get together, to celebrate the Clubs' Golden
Jubilee. The chosen venue at Newark is situated in the centre of
the British Isles, and very near to the beautiful cathedral city
of Lincoln. Early in the year, I became involved in a
small way, being asked to produce this  painting
to display in one of the many exhibitions to
be held during the five day Rally.

In all, the rally attracted  nearly 1200 members from  24 groups that
comprises  the club, groups that  covers the different areas of the country,
with special groups such as photographic, country and western etc.

Every night seemed to be a gala night, this was when each group decorated their tables to illustrate 
their area. Below Marie from Lancashire puts the finishing touches to our groups' table. Marie is one
of many stalwarts in the Lancashire group, a group I've been proud  to be a member, but I'm biased.

In a moment of weakness I'd Volunteered  to give a Watercolour demonstration
in an afternoon of arts and crafts. below is the painting I had to dash off, during that afternoon.

And finally Clare, our dog triumphed at the not to serious dog show. She got a
first,  judged to be 'Prettiest  Girl'

Sunday, 15 November 2009

My Watercolour Portfolio

A brief look into a half fogotten portfolio of watercolours that have never
been framed or seen

I was surprised how many of the paintings were of subjects from
the English Lake District, this is a view of Wastwater

 A painting of Blea Tarn, a tarn is the local name for a small lake, usually
half way up the Mountains. In the background are the Langdale Pikes

The same Pikes that sweep down into the Langdale Valley

The time is late winter, a favourite time for me. The greens of summer gave way
to the tawney colours of gold and brown. In this detail,  the last of the
winter snows are depicted by just just leaving the white paper unpainted

Leaving the lake District, this scene is Haworth at dusk.
Haworth of course will always be associated with the
Bronte sisters who lived there lives, only a short distance away
from this view point

My choice of colours, or palette as its called dosn't include white (remember
the snow) or black. The detail below shows that by mixing blue (Ultramarine)
with brown (Burnt Umber) I can get a more lively dark

We are now looking at a scene in Ireland, the mountain known as
Ben Bulben. The close up below shows my treatment of lichen,
that covers our trees and rocks in this part of the world.
For the technical minded the colours are Viridian(green)
and Burnt Umber  

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Golden Retriever, our favourite breed

 Our lovely dog, 'Cindy' we did'nt know at the time but this
was to be her last spring

She was the reason we started to spend all our spare time
touring the British Isles. I don't think there was ever a time when
she did'nt accompany us on our trips

It took over four years before we could come to terms with her sudden lost.
This was our first meeting with Cindy's succeser 'Clare', she is the one
on the right being greeted with Mum, and Dad (nearest the camera)

Getting another dog reminded us that it can be a change in life style. so the week
before we were to collect her from the kennels, I fullfilled a desire I had long
held. This was a visit to 'Castle Howard' in Yorkshire, not realy a
practical place to take a dog

Castle Howard
is an enormous country house, lived in by the aristocrary, it is full of national treasures
from all over the world, that can be enjoyed by all who wish to visit it

it was chosen as the backcloth of the film 'Brideshead Revisited' This brought a touch of glamour that no film studio could match

In early August we brought 'Clare'  home at eight weeks to be part of the family

We leave Clare on the day she was five months old,
she is growing at a great rate

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Photos from my Travels

Our motorhome on a campsite above St.Ives.
We have been able to spend many happy times in her
travelling all over the British Isles, including Ireland.
Our biggest trip was last year, when we had six
weeks touring Europe


    Scotland was where this picture of the stag was captured
Still in the Highlands of Scotland,
after a day of rain, the sun finally broke through,  for me to get this shot  

this cannon at Culzean Castle caught my eye for a picture of colour and texture

Nearer home in Yorkshire is this view of the river Wharfe, at Bolton Abbey

You will have guessed by now that I love to be by water,  this photo was the view from our motorhome in Interlaken, Switzerland. The old boat is steam driven,
and takes tourists around Lake Brienze

Five thousand miles away, one of our  favourite places, Yosemite Valley, USA
This next picture of the Elk, was taken in Yellowstone National Park

Adjoining Yellowstone, in Wyoming is another of America's superb
National Parks, The Tetons

Back home, and the onset of Autumn

Winter comes to the English Lake District

This is a photo of the North Sea in Yorkshire

Finally back to where we started, sunrise over St.Ives

Saturday, 24 October 2009

East Lancashire's Industrial Past in Water Colour

When growing up in the fifties this scene was typical of the tired old cotton towns.
Before leaving school, I use to deliver meat for the local butcher. When the clocks were
turned back, and the shops were still open, the whole place was to my eyes transformed
into a magical place as I pedalled on my delivery bike. Of course every house and
factory was belching smoke, which trapped the mist.
As far as the painting goes, the technique is perhaps the most difficult, Wet in Wet.
The location is the hilly town of Colne on the north of Pendleside

         This is another example of Wet in Wet
  My painting 'The Entrance to Gannow Tunnel'. The
      horse that towed the barge, was led over the hill here in Burnley, while the man legged 
it on his back through the tunnel

The Leeds and Liverpool canal was opened here in 1804, cutting right through
Burnley, this area is well preserved, and remains more or less just
as it was when I painted it in the eighties. Cotton mills were
built all along the banks, this part is known as the
Weavers Triangle

The old from the new, the new was a multi storey car park from where I first got this
view of the town. The old has now gone, the river Brun as been cleaned up 
after its pollution from iron ore deposits.
The viaduct is where the railway crosses Burnley, A little
known fact about Burnley, is that at the begining of 
the nineteen hundreds, more cotton was woven
here than any where else in the world.
Back in the sixties, the town was a forest of factory chimneys

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Oil or Water? Painting Techniques

In my opinion there is only one way to paint one of our English Skies. The medium must be Water Colour. When I'm asked how long did it take to paint that sky? the truthful answer is about ten minutes, the smart answer could be thirty years. Just as we write our signature in a flourish I think water colours should done and left.

A closer look at the forground on this painting 'Rag  and Bone man, Nelson', shows
single brush strokes, get it wrong and and its not as effective
The stonework however was done wet in wet,
and could take some time

In complete contrast, is this detail from my picture 'Sarlat-la-Caneda', reflecting I hope, the  hot
colours of France. This is an oil painting, with thick buttery paint
applied with a painting knife

The last of the mediums I have used is 'Pen and Wash'. Allied to watercolour,
the image is drafted out (in my case) in waterproof Indian ink, drawn
with a reed pen. The pen can be made from a piece of cane, which is
sharpened to a point. The effect is an attractive irregular line,
hopfully seen on this close up of the fishing boat

This water colour 'A Beach in Donegal' is a subject that is particularly
suitable for water colour. The dry brush work on the breaking
waves takes us back to the 'one stroke flourish'. I spoke of
at the start. The white bits are the untouched paper,
I never use white paint, truly transparent
Water Colour