Friday, 24 October 2014

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, England


I consider Gold Hill my first real painting. 

When I lived in Cardiff away back in 1978 several of us took advantage of a bank holiday weekend and headed to a friend's house near Cirencester on the edge of the Cotswolds where we were given a guided tour of that beautiful part of the world. Shaftesbury was more southerly however and we went there out of respect for the 'Boy on the Bicycle' 1973 television ad for Hovis my favourite commercial at that time. I wanted to walk up that hill humming the theme tune from Dvorak's Symphony No 9. However I'd no bicycle and no brass band and what words from the ad I forgot, I simply made up. If all this makes no sense, it'll all become a bit clearer when you watch the two YouTube clips below. Sorry about the quality of the first one below. It looks like it was recorded from a television with an early iPhone.

A few weeks earlier the Two Ronnies (Barker and Corbett) had spoofed it so my version was probably more like theirs! It was interesting to note the lack of ivy and other greenery climbing up the walls back in 1978. 

 I was already planning another few paintings from that mad weekend with the crazy hockey girls – my besties at the time. I remembered a scene from our day out in Lower Slaughter when Georgie and I just sat on a little wooden bench and soaked in the beauty of the cottages, the pond and the mill with its working waterwheel in front of us . And another either from the bridge at Castle Coomb or Arlington Row in picturesque Bibury! Two more places I now hold with deep affection.  

Best seen at this link 

Friday, 3 October 2014

Pastel pencils

Somewhere along the way I discovered pastel pencils. I am sure it was after I enrolled in Dawn Allen's Monday night Pastel Class at the Island Arts Centre. Several people were using them and as I'm a detail person I had to investigate their possibilities.

That meant a trip  to YouTube where I came across Colin Bradley's channel. I signed up on his website and received a course which I never followed through as I didn't want to be drawing a cute little kitten. Male macho patheticness – I know! I was quite surprised by how small Colin's paintings were. I had visions of working at around A3 size but as his were closer to A5 I needed to rethink.

I loved his website and I learned a lot from various videos and I'm grateful he give me a nod in the direction of Faber Castell Pitt Pastel pencils and as no-one else was likely to buy them for me they were a Christmas present to myself. Just in time too as I was just finishing off a painting of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, England and the cobblestones were giving me huge problems. I had laid down too much soft pastel and was finding it nigh impossible to get the pastel pencil to define the cobbles. On Dawn's advice I took drastic measures, put on my yellow coat and safety helmet and ripped out every cobblestone with a stiff haired paintbrush so I could start again. Fun? Hell yeah!


I did get it right second time around. See the next post. I used soft pastel for the ground base and then the pastel pencils to build upon that layer.