Thursday, October 15, 2009

Two days at glorious Pinmill, on the River Orwell 23rd & 24th September

Receding Tide at Pin mill  9" x 12" oil on panel 2 hours
For a long while I have been itching to be able to visit this tiny little part of Suffolk. Blink and you have missed its treasures, yet it is one of the most popular destinations for marine artists that can be found along the East coast of England. Pinmill is situated east of Ipswich in Suffolk, nestling along the southern banks of the great river Orwell. It has been painted so many times that locals think nothing of seeing an artist set up his/her plein air pallette and start work. We are, it is said, as common as a gull, and you know all said and done, that's fine. This tiny community is based around a 15ft slipway and a few hundreds yards of concrete walkway known as the 'Hard'  that extends out into the river across the expanse of mud at low tide, and one extremely old and popular pub called the 'Butt and Oyster'. You know on a good tide boats can tie up to the pub and be served their drinks whilst remaining on board their vessels. Believe it or not this Pinmill was the main point for early shipping imports to be landed, bound for Ipswich. It is also the location for the last known outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, now there's a thought.

Anyway enough of the history lesson. We arrived in the camper full of eager anticipation, paint boxes and cameras in hand.Sadly the sun was not really with us and the light was flat, but hey a little licence, and it was not such an issue. We arrived as the tide was reaching full height, by this I mean that it was over the wall and across the road, cutting the place in two parts, apparantly this is normal, and even more extreme on flood tides. I set up and started work immediately, I chased the tide as it left the road and retreated back across the expanse of mud. The colours were so rich and diverse, violets and oranges in the mud, all complemented by the famous Thames Barges now resting in the shallows, their rich red sails contrasting beautifully with the indigos and blue violets in the sky. The whole scene was idyillic, and transported one back a hundred years.

As the light faded we packed up and sat where we had been painting, drinking a pint from the Butt and Oyster and chatting about the fabulous afternoon. Catherine had sourced some great photographs along the way as I had  painted. We finished the evening over a wonderful meal and a welcome glass of wine whilst  looking out across the river from the pub. As the sun gave way to night so the mood of the river sank deeper and deeper into an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

                                        Beached Barges at Pinmill       9" x 12"   oil on panel

 This was a painting that I gave time to, it was started at 11am and was 2 1/2 hours duration.We had been up  at first light capturing the beauty of the area on film, so breakfast came late and we were paddling in the fresh mud of the Orwell at 6am.
After our well deserved breakfast, I settled down to paint the image above, whilst Catherine carried on with the camera,  the colours were now all different as the barges shone from their beached and trapped positions on the mud. Watery pools  lay as jewels amongst the reds and purples of mud and green weed attaching to ropes anchoring these great vessels. Once again the race was on to capture the essence and feeling of the scene before once more the tide returned to reclaim its land.

Relunctantly we had to say goodbye to Pinmill as the tide reached full height for another time, and we will wait for yet another time to revisit this fantastic place, I now see what Edward Seago saw, it was his great art that led me here, and I am thankful for that.
I hope that you enjoy this post and my art within it.
Best wishes Paul

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hythe Canal 19th September 2009

On this day I took the opportunty to paint the Royal Military Canal that runs through the centre of Hythe town close to my home. It shows the boating station further up on the left with all its dingies moored in the centre of the Canal. It was a painting that I started at midday and finished in 1 1/2 hours.

The Canal was dug out by hand upon the orders of the Duke of Wellington as a defence against attack from Napoleon Bonaparte . It is many miles long starting in Sandgate passing through Hythe and out into the Romney Marshes to Rye in Sussex. It was a mammouth undertaking and a monument to mans endeavour. It was a compliment to the much famed Martello Tower forts the he also commissioned to be built along the shoreline at this point.

I will post a new image of these large and unique forts shortly as an artist friend and I are planning to paint them very soon.

Best wishes Paul

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Making Ready at the Swale Barge Race 2009

Well I make no apologies for yet another painting of Thames Barges, they are so inspiring my painting right now, but I promise that I will serve up some more wildlife paintings  very soon, in fact as I am writing this I have a new Tiger image on the easel.

The Swale Barge match was a new experience for me, and I had gone to Harty Ferry the night before to document some of the Thames Barges and Smacks as the came down the Swale and dropped anchor in reddiness for the next mornings event. I slept over in the car park in my camper so that I could be up with the first light and get some great reference for later use.

Whilst working the previous evening, I had a chance meeting with a local gentlman fisherman who invited me out on his boat to enjoy the race. I jumped at the chance as you would imagine. I was so glad that I did, despite the later heavy wind and and swells in the estuary. Without his kindness and invitation my reference would have been severely limited, but it was anything but. I was able to capture wonderful colours, light, mood and atmosphere.

This painting 'Making Ready' depicts the first light of the day which was moody, misty and extremely atmospheric. The barges have prepared and loosened their sails for the start of the days activities.

I hope you like the image,

Best wishes Paul.

Faversham Creek 11th September 2009

I enjoyed doing this two hour painting of Faversham Creek  It is a place that I had been wanting to visit for a while, and on the 11th of September I did just that. It took me a while to find, but when I had got the position I wanted I was not disappointed. It was mid afternoon as I settled on the river bank and set up my paints. I was was looking into a bright descending sun which presented many challenges as the light was constantly changing. The painting was completed between 5pm and 7pm, after which I was cold and suffering a very stiff neck from the wind, but hey, it was an enjoyable painting exercise.
Faversham Creek is a well known home for old sailing craft and in particular the famous Thames Barges. There were few in when I visited as some had moved to Colne for the final Barge match of the season. A good reason to go back on another day, as if I needed a reason. The Creek offers so many painting opportunities to the plein air painter. A destination requiring many visits.
I hope you enjoy this painting which can be found on my website galleries.
Best wishes Paul

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Lucie B

This is a modern replica of an Oyster Smack with a Spitzal foresail, if I said all of that correctly.
I painted the image from the reference I obtained in the Swale Barge Race in 2009. Since painting this image I have been on board this fine vessel and it is awesome up close.
The painting will feature in a new show at the Francis Ilses Galleries on the 31st of October 2009 along with several other marine paintings of mine in a mixed marine themed show.

There are two versions I have posted of the initial sketch idea I made. To begin with it was way too small and then  I over compensated and made the vessel too large for the canvas.

I then rubbed all this out and started over with the whole thing being about a third less in size, happy with that I began to paint and ended up with the image above, hope you like it.

Best wishes Paul

Seven Sisters in Sussex

What a beautiful place to be. Catherine and I had wanted to visit this place of outstanding natural beauty for a long time, so when we were travelling down in the camper to the Marwell show, we decided to make a small detour. After seeing all our friends at the excellent Marwell wildlife show,( during which Catherine sold a tiger cub painting, which was great news), we stayed in the area overnight and then headed along the coast to Seaford Head in Sussex. The Seven Sisters is one of the most photographed sites in the world, and when  we first viewed the cliffs we understood why.

Even though the light was flat and the wind was doing its utmost to throw us off the cliffs, the view in all directions was astonishing. We braved the howling weather and set up our paints and began to work. It was not very comfortable, but at least we found a seat to work from which gave us an ideal vantage point.

The  session was not without its fun as the wind took Catherines watercolour off on a journey that was only intercepted by her camera tripod!

We ended the day happy and enjoyed a candlelit dinner in the van as we watched the sun go down on the beautiful cliffs.

The next morning we trekked down at first light and managed to gain some fantastic photo reference of the cliffs at sea level before the heavens opened up, at which point we began the drive home.

It was a great experience, and I am waiting for a chance to paint a studio image from the plein air painting and sketches made on the day.
Best wishes Paul

Friday, October 2, 2009

Recent marine painting

     Lady of the Lea

Well, I have recently started painting marine subjects. I have just fallen in love with turn of the century Thames barges. They used to work up and down the East coast of England right through to the late 1960s I believe.
Now they are the passion of those who have saved and restored them to former glory so that others might enjoy their beautiful lines and shapes
I recently enjoyed the hospitality of a gentleman in Faversham known as Blue and was invited to join him upon his trawler during the Swale Barge match in August. I had a great time, and this painting, an oil on gesso panel 12" x 16" is the first image to come from that experience.
There are now more paintings and they will be posted over the coming days.I hope that you enjoy this painting and  please add any comments below.
Best wishes Paul

Part two of Botany Bay

This was a one and half hour painting at 6.25am the next morning. The tide was out and the sun was shining brightly. Barnaby was away to my right amongst the rocks catching crabs on baited string. ( No harm was done to the crabs in the making of this sequel).
It is the scene from the other end of Botany Bay with the hole in the cliff which is Kingsgate Bay. After this was completed we trundled our way back home, but not before enjoying a hearty breakfast in the van.
Best wishes Paul