Saturday, 27 September 2014

Norfolk trip (2)

On a particularly murky morning we all headed up the coast road to nearby Morston which never fails to offer up subject matter. I've never really had a go in overcast conditions so it was interesting to take on the mud and all the greys reflected from the foggy sky.

'Boats at rest, Morston' - 11x14in, oil on board

It's surprising the colours you find in these sorts of conditions and I wanted to make the most of the tonal range that was on offer. I drafted in some distant boats, taken from elsewhere, to aid the sense of depth. Note the hints of a Land Rover and someone on a moped on the distant bank, quietly suggested so as not to draw too much attention. The one below shows the same boats but I was perched up on the jetty behind, looking towards Blakeney church in the far distance. I felt in the mood for a bigger board but it was very cold and breezy and towards the end I started to feel a bit of a nip. 

'Grey day at Morston, towards Blakeney' - 12x24in, oil on board

'Wet mud, Morston' - 10x12in, oil on board

Roy, David and Karl lined up for action

There was a great little boat moored up on the bank at Brancaster Staithe and I think it has real personality, if a boat can have such a thing! I've painted this boat in the water at sunset on a previous trip but it was a different sort of challenge this time.

'Orange top, Brancaster Staithe' - 11x14in, oil on board

'Boats and buildings, Brancaster Staithe' - 8x16in, oil on board

On the final day we actually had some decent sunshine! Tim and I decided that a view from the house was too good to resist and since the wind was really whipping if made good sense. We had the window open to make it feel more like a plein air outing!

'Blowy day, Burham Overy Staithe' - 12x16in, oil on board

After the first attempt I decided to have another go and loosen up a little on a slightly bigger board. At one point we had a squally shower and we couldn't see a thing through the window but the rain drops soon got blown away. I might be tempted to use these as reference for a bigger piece in the studio at some point as the window was huge and I like the idea of re-creating that sense of a giant vista!

'Bright and breezy, Burham Overy Staithe' - 14x18in, oil on board

David Bachmann painting from a chilly perch at Morston

Karl, Tim, Roy and Tony painting from the back of the house

Careful when you take a step back Mike!

Tim, content with his masterpiece!

Norfolk trip (1)

I've just returned from a lovely painting trip to North Norfolk with some friends last week. Excited by the prospect of a few days of uninterrupted painting I dived straight in (not literally...the mud wasn't that inviting) after arriving at Brancaster Staithe.

'Boats with mud and fog, Brancaster Staithe', 12x16in oil on board (click images to enlarge)

I was surprised how long the tide remained low for this one.

We stayed in a fantastic location at Burnham Overy Staithe and had stunning views literally on our doorstep. It's not hard to see why the likes of Seago got so inspired by Norfolk.

The view from the back garden!

The group included David Bachmann, Roy Connelly, Tony Dakin, Marc Delassio, Jory Glazener, Tim King, Mike Richardson and Karl Terry. We also met up a few times with John Dobbs and his eight month old Alsation Dixie (I couldn't find a web link for Dixie!)

The photo above doesn't reflect the majority of foggy/murky weather we had but luckily the sun did come out on a couple of mornings. Mind you, we quite enjoyed painting in the grey conditions and it helped emphasize the local colours of subjects. The next morning we started up on the harbour at Burnham Overy Staithe which always offers up interesting arrangements with the boats and buildings.

'Grey morning, Burham Overy Staithe' - 8x16in, oil on board

I had work quickly on the study below just at the back of our house at Burnham Overy Staithe. The tide was rising, the sun kept coming in and out and the boat on the right was spinning round like crazy! Subtle colour/value shifts to contend with and the boats end up being quite tiny (yet critical) marks on a smaller scale. I tend to stick to small panels when the subject is likely to change quickly.

'Rising tide, Burham Overy Staithe'  - 6x10in, oil on board

Below is another small panel of the harbour at Burnham Overy Staithe. I do like the way the buildings and masts provide an interesting mass on the left and I was able to balance this with the jetty and the boat with a maroon sail which was heading out for a final run of the day. The light was really fading so I keyed this a bit higher and by the end I couldn't see much through my specs as the drizzle had rolled in! I tried to keep the values and colours crisp to avoid the dreaded 'veil of drabness'. 

'Last sail of the day, Burnham Ovey Staithe' - 6x14in, oil on board

There was quite a lot of drawing in the one below, along with close values and colour shifts which needed some close attention. I was keen to suggest rather than describe anything too heavily, aiming for an overall harmony of some sort.

'Boats moored at Blakeney' -12x16in, oil on board

I enjoyed painting something a little different with the jumble of fishing gear and the marsh water in the background. Again, it was very overcast so I decided to bring the emphasis closer in and get a fell for all the clobber that gets strewn around the boat yard at Brancaster Staithe.

'Fishing jumble and marsh, Brancaster Staithe' - 8x10in, oil on board

The painting below was nice to do, not least because the sun came out. As is often the case, a few boats were moved around to make a better composition and the muddy bank on the right hand side seemed to balance up the diagonal line of the three main boats quite well. Even on this medium sort of scale the boats can be tricky to paint and a wayward mark can ruin the effect. I try to simplify the shapes and observe the essential elements without getting snagged on unnecessary details.

'Resting boats, Burham Overy Staithe' - 11x15in, oil on board

More Norfolk paintings to follow shortly in the second installment.