Tuesday, 12 July 2016

"A glimpse of Marbled White" Painting the wild flowers on Malling Down, Lewes

Malling Down nature reserve, Lewes, Sussex
The arrival of July takes me on a walk up Malling Down on the outskirts of Lewes.
 It's quite a steep walk but worth every moment! The views across the Sussex Weald are magnificent
Views from Malling Down overlooking the Sussex Weald
and as you can see I couldn't have wished for better weather.
Malling down is a nature reserve renowned at this time of year for it's wild flowers and butterflies. I wasn't too sure what to expect but as I approached the steep slopes of the coombe the area became increasingly more colourful with the vast array of flowers and grasses. I spent quite a while here just taking it all in and watching hundreds of Marbled White butterflies dance among the flower heads.
Pure heaven!
This is also a great place to get a good view of Lewes town nestled among the South Downs.
The coombe, Malling, Lewes
All in all a perfect day and I really wanted to try and capture some of it's essence in a painting....

                                 "A glimpse of Marbled White"
                               Acrylic on canvas 32"x 18"x 1.5"
 
"A glimpse of Marbled White" 

Close up views of the painting...

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

"Beyond to Kingston Ridge" Painting the South Downs

The view of The South Downs looking towards Kingston, Lewes, Sussex
There's still a couple of areas on the outskirts of Lewes that I have not yet explored so I decided to rectify this and headed to the west side of the town . It was a partially sunny day , not glorious sunshine but enough for a very pleasant walk .
I set off by following the track that runs behind Lewes prison and headed off on a circular route over the downs as shown below by the dotted line.

The fields were golden and delightfully edged by vibrant red poppies swaying gently in the breeze.

  The views were wonderful !
 Looking south (over Ashcombe house towards the village of Kingston) the harvest fields  perfectly complimented the lush green slopes of the South Downs.
From my view point I could  also see the recently restored Ashcombe Windmill with it's unusual six sails  http://www.sussexmillsgroup.org.uk/ashcombe.htm  .
I just loved this view and couldn't wait to get painting!

                       "Beyond to Kingston Ridge"
                           
"Beyond to Kingston Ridge" Painting of the South Downs at Lewes, Sussex
                                   
Acrylic on canvas 24"x 18" 

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Friday, 17 June 2016

Painting the Seven Sisters 2016

The Seven Sisters at Cuckmere Haven, Sussex
I rarely paint the same subject more than once but there is something so magical about the Seven Sisters that I just can't resist!
My walk took me up the steep slope of Seaford Head and along the cliff top to Cuckmere Haven. it's a lovely walk with absolutely stunning views in all direction.
Seaford Head to Cuckmere Haven
Although very warm it stayed rather cloudy so I decided to explore the beach and rock pools at Hope Gap while I waited to see if the sun would break through.
Rock pools and groynes
It's a wonderful place for children to explore....... and me!
I continued on to the beach where the river Cuckmere snakes it's way into the sea. Even on a cloudy day it was an enchanting place to sit and watch the world go by.
video

After about an hour the skies started to clear and I was able  to take some reference photos for painting. I only intended to paint one but couldn't make up my mind which view to go with....so....I painted two!
                                         "Seven Sisters View "
                                Acrylic on canvas 24"x 12"
"Seven Sisters View" Acrylic painting on canvas
 

                        " Where the river meets the sea" (Seven Sisters)
 
Painting of Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters "Where the river meets the sea" 


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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Buttercups, tractors and the South Downs Society

Buttercups, tractor painting and the South Downs
It's been a busy but rather wonderful week. Summer is here and I've been out and about on several walks enjoying the sunshine and scenery.
In between I have also been  working on a commission painting.
 Earlier in the year I was asked if I would paint a vintage Fordson tractor. Now....I'm no tractor expert and although I was given a reference photo I prefer to work from my own. Not only can I  capture the angles and details that I need but it ensures that my paintings are original .
So my quest began! As luck would have it I spotted an advert for the Cuckoo Fair at Laughton ( just out side of Lewes) a big country fair embracing rural life from times gone by.
The Cuckoo Fair, Laughton,East Sussex
 On the day of the event the weather was bright and sunny and to my delight I found just what I needed!
Now all I needed was a backdrop to create a suitable composition.
I chose a landscape view from Lewes Brooks , at this time of year bright yellow blankets of buttercups fill the fields and the South Downs are rich green ....perfect!
The view includes glimpses of the picturesque village of Rodmell , Swanborough Hill and Kingston Ridge.
I have to admit that it wasn't an easy painting , it took about 45 hours and just as many cups of coffee! Ha ha ! But I got there in the end....
                              "Fordson on the Brooks" 
                                   Acrylic on canvas 24"x 18"
Painting a vintage Fordson tractor 

   ....and the fiddly, time consuming bits! 
Close up of the Fordson engine detail
 Now as you are by now aware I am a great lover of the South Downs .
 They are of course female....voluptuous curves adorned with floral gems and scented like no other! 
View East from Telscombe

I have recently discovered the South Downs Society. 
In their own words ...

"We fight campaigns against inappropriate development and fund conservation projects
We take an active role in safeguarding and improving the rights of way network and extending areas of open access land across the National Park
We encourage the public to learn more about the National Park
As the National Park Society we watch over the activities of the National Park Authority as a challenging friend including suggesting things they might do to enhance the National Park"

 A few weeks ago I entered a competition on their Facebook page , it required recognizing a particular image from the South Downs. It was by total coincidence a place that I had passed on my walk that very morning! On Monday I was delighted to be informed that I had won !
My prize was a goody bag selection of their gifts that can also be purchased from their web site http://www.southdownssociety.org.uk/support-us/merchandise-2/
A gift selection from The South Downs Society
 Never was a prize so perfectly matched to it's recipient ! (The box of chocolates didn't last long enough to be photographed )
Well, only one thing to do now and that's to sit out in the garden and enjoy the sunshine with a good cup of coffee...... just PERFECT!