Monday, 22 August 2011

New studies from Bath

Last weekend saw the opening of the exhibition with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in Bath at Gallery Le Fort. I've got several works on show and managed to sell these two on the night.

'Low Tide, Wells-next-the-sea' - oil on board (6x8)

'Sunshine at the Radcliffe Camera', Oxford - 10x16 - oil on board

Funnily enough, neither are of Bath but I'm hoping the Bath scenes will attract some red dots as the exhibition progresses :o) It was lovely to see everyone at the preview night and I was lucky enough to have a nice chat with the gentleman who kindly bought my painting of Wells. It's great when you can meet the buyer as you get a real sense of the connection they have with the painting :o) My friends and painting pals Tim King and Valerie Pirlot joined me at the show and we headed out for some easel action the following day.

The main session was done at the allotments on Sion Hill. This is a great little spot, well away from the crowds and on a slope that looks over towards distant hills. Tim and I had been hunting around fruitlessly for a while and weren't overly inspired as the light was really flat. We took a turn off Lansdown Crescent and stumbled across Sion Hill. I seemed to remember Peter Brown had done something down there so I thought it would be worth checking out. When we arrived we were greeted by a feast of green and other colours from the allotment. Perfect! I chose a tall slim format and it was quite a decent size, 10x16in I think. The sun kept coming in and out but I stuck to my guns and made it predominantly 'in' but with the distant hills lit up a bit. Valerie joined us not long after we'd started and we all happily painted away, enjoying the tranquility....even the distant chimes of church bells could be heard. Lovely. Valerie and Tim both did the scene full justice with their paintings. This is my effort from the session.

Tim and I headed for the Crescent as last effort to find a subject to paint. We were both a bit tired but had a go, vowing to approach it as a quick sketch more than anything. For some reason the wind really picked up and we ended up having to hold our easels with our free hand!

Believe me, you almost need sunglasses to look at the grass. It really was a bright, acid yellow/green. This is quite toned down, believe it or not! I wish I'd shifted things a little so the tree was a bit further left but hey ho, in the heat of the moment with the wind buffeting the easel you have to make fast decisions. I was more interested in getting the tones and colours judged accurately. I made a conscious effort to simplify the buildings and not have it descend into an commentary on Georgian windows! The sky is a little bleached in the photo...there's more tone to be seen in the painting.


  1. David, congratulations on your sales. That is wonderful. I'm so pleased for you.I had read about this on Valerie and Tim's blogs. I was hoping to see your paintings that sold. No wonder they sold, they deserved to. I believe that it is a good thing that the same buyer purchased both paintings. Developing collectors is a key ingredient of success. I really like the two new paintings that you posted.I love the dynamic color in both of these as well as the brushwork of your figures. It is interesting to see your works as well as Valerie and Tims from the same view. Isn't it great to have friends to paint with? You are a truly talented group!

  2. Thanks Douglas. I did push the colour a bit more in these and green is quite a tricky one to manage! Yes, it's nice to having friends to paint alongside. It makes a difference....we kind of spur each other on and it's a more sociable experience too. It's always interesting to see how another artist takes the same view and does something totally different with it. We don't get the chance to paint together that often but when we do we always have a happy and productive session. We're trying to get things ramped up over here on the plein air scene and I think it's easier/better if we try to pool resources. I'm in another group called the 'plein air brotherhood' and also a member of the UK plein air society. Personally, I think plein air is having a bit of a revival and it's about time's been so overlooked in modern times but we're determined to promote the plein air cause over here :o) The plein air scene in the US seems quite well set up with lots of networks, conventions and supporting galleries (well, that's the impression I get from what I see on the web)

  3. Nice post David. And I like the Crescent painting which I didn't get the chance to see before. I'm specially impressed by the way you paint people, something I definitely need to work on. I do like the idea of a plein air revival in UK as you mentioned it - and Douglas will be our official US porte parole;)

  4. Amazing work Dave! I know what you mean by the acidic state of the grass there, I did it in my marathon and so it was!
    Congrats on the sale! You are going places bruv!
    Keep it up and keep the brushes wet!

  5. Four very good plein airs. I particularly like the Wells pic. In the allotments pic a masterly treatment of foreground interest and distant hills. Captivating.

  6. Thanks Valerie. I enjoyed working on those figures....just a general suggestion of tone and colour. Nothing more seemed to be needed. Yes indeed, the plein air revival is here and now :O)

  7. Thanks Adebanji. I suspect your quite familiar with the Crescent and all it has to off the painter! If it hadn't been so windy I'd have probably taken your lead and done another panel to stretch things out a bit! See you at the preview on Thurs.

  8. Ian, very kind of you to say so! Glad you approve of the allotments. It's always rather tricky when there's a fair amount of green to manage. I didn't want the foreground to take over everything since it was the light on the background hills that offered the biggest potential. I tried not to get too carried away with the sunflowers. I don't know what it is about allotments but I really enjoy painting them. Generally they're peaceful, with plenty of colour and notes of contrasting light. Also quintisessentially British in my mind (though I suspect plenty of other countries have them too!)