Friday, 23 September 2016

Firle Hill Climb revival and painting "September Downs"


Bo Peep and Firle Hill Climb
September saw us jaunting off to watch the Firle Hill Climb. It's an event that used to take place between 1949 and1967 when it was ended due to an unfortunate accident. This is the second year of it's revival but now days the cars drive up the steep slopes of Bo Peep for fun rather than racing against each other.  It's a really good day out and great to be able to see a good selection of old and classic cars actually being driven.(The event is held to raise money for Chailey Heritage school.)
Firle Hill climb 2016
You can see more photos from the hill climb here https://www.facebook.com/paula.oakley1/media_set?set=a.10210109239225370.1073742124.1169430909&type=3
The weather was a bit cloudy at first but as the sun started to break through  the lure of the South Downs got the better of me and I wandered off to explore the route towards Alfriston .
The South Downs way, Bo Peep to Alfriston
It was a good walk and the views towards Cuckmere Haven were wonderful but impossible to photograph due to the direction of the sun .
 Looking north over the Sussex Weald saw a patchwork of freshly harvested fields .
 A short diversion off the South Downs Way took me down a chalk track where the view  just had to be painted! As the Summer draws to a close and Autumn enters in then so the colors of the landscapes change. Much more subdued with longer shadows cast by the early Autumn sun....

                                                 "September Downs"
                                     Acrylic on canvas 24"x 18"
"September Downs" acrylic on canvas
 

                                      

Friday, 9 September 2016

"The Enchanted Place" Ashdown Forest and Winnie the Pooh

Ashdown Forest and "The Enchanted Place"
About 10 miles north of where I live is  Ashdown Forest  where the author A.A.Milne lived with his son Christopher Robin.
 Their walks took them over the forest landscape..
 “in single file threading the narrow paths that run through the heather”
  inspiring the delightful stories of Winnie the Pooh.
This Summer our grandchildren came to stay and we thought it would be fun to find some of the places in the books so they could see them for real.
Now we couldn't possibly go on a "Pooh Expotition" without a visit to Pooh bridge and indulge in a game of Pooh Sticks . Although the weather wasn't at it's best our six  year old granddaughter enjoyed it, just like Christopher Robin ...
Playing Pooh sticks
We then headed off to find the memorial plaque commemorating A.A.Mile and E.H. Shepard . From here you can see some wonderful views over the forest and beyond.
 Most of the year the landscape is a blaze of yellow from the gorse bushes but in Summer the heather carpets the forest in purples and pinks.
The A.A.Milne memorial
Next we passed "Rue's Sandy Pit" (Old quarry) and headed off to  "Galleons Lap" (Gill's Lap)....
in the words of A.A.Milne....

“Being enchanted, it’s floor was not like the floor of the Forest, gorse and bracken and heather, but close-set grass, quiet and smooth and green. It was the only place in the Forest where you could sit down carelessly, without getting up again almost at once and looking for somewhere else. Siting there they could see the whole world spread out until it reached the sky, and whatever there was all around the world over was with them in Galleons Lap.”
–  The House At Pooh Corner; A.A Milne
Here at "The Enchanted Place" you could see what so inspired Milne to write his stories. The beautiful views, the vast array of earthy colours and the endless places for a young Christopher Robin  to explore.
I have taken a small piece of his inspiration and have used it to inspire myself!
Thank you A.A.Milne......
                                           "The Enchanted Place"
                                   Acrylic on canvas 24"x 18"
 
"The Enchanted Place" Ashdown Forest , Acrylic on canvas

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Painting the river at Fletching, Sussex

Painting the river at Fletching, Sussex
Sadly the Summer is fading away .
I didn't get to the seaside much this year due to the disputes of Southern rail. As a non driver I didn't fancy getting stuck miles away from home!
So instead I have concentrated more on the countryside which I enjoy just as much.
I took a stroll over to the village of Fletching the other day. It's only 2 miles away but I don't often go there. It's a picturesque village with a large church in the center.
Fletching church
It was all very quiet in the village so after a wander around in the sunshine I headed back to Newick . My route took me a short distance along te narrow country road and then a footpath across the fields.
I was almost at the footpath when I heard the sound of  babbling water coming from the other side of the undergrowth. Being curious....OK...being nosey  I couldn't resist crawling through the bushes to take a look.
To my delight the view that greeted me was just beautiful! The sun was shining through the trees and lighting up the leaves and ripples on the river as it flowed downstream.  I sat for a while mesmerized . This ......just had to be painted! ....

                                                   "Summer Ripples"
                                   Acrylic on canvas 182x 24"
"Summer Ripples" Painting the river at the end of Summer
 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Feature and flowers. Painting the wild flowers of the South Downs

Wild flowers on Mount Caburn, Lewes, Sussex
I think this Summer I have become obsessed with the wild flowers !
I am just in awe of their beauty and have sat for hours taking in my colourful and aromatic surroundings .
Wild flowers on Mount Caburn

Then of course there's the butterflies! So many and so many different varieties . I do however have a favourite.
 It is the small Chalk Hill Blue .
Chalk Hill Blue butterfly

To me it symbolises my return to Sussex ( I lived elsewhere for 30 years) the South Downs and the wonderful events that have happened since being back .

My recent walk took me up the slopes of Mount Caburn, part of the South Downs on the outskirts of Lewes.
 It's like being on top of the World and on a clear day you can see forever! Well....nearly.
View south towards Newhaven from the top of Mt. Caburn

With so much inspirational choice I decided to paint 2 larger compositions, each measuring 30" x 20" and both acrylic on canvas...

                                                     "Chalk Hill Blue"
"Chalk Hill Blue"
 "The Summertime slopes of Mount Caburn on the South Downs in Sussex. Here a carpet of beautiful wild flowers flourish among the grass and Chalk Hill Blue butterflies delightfully dance and flutter in the sunshine.
This painting is highlighted with tiny flecks of metallic paint that gently catch the light of the summer sunshine."


                                                         "Wild Summer"
"Wild Summer"
 
The scent of wild flowers fill the air as Peacock butterflies dance in and out of the colourful blooms. Summertime on top of the South downs in Sussex with breathtaking views towards Firle beacon.
This painting is highlighted with tiny flecks of metallic paint that gently catch the light of the summer sunshine."

 To top off my wonderful Summer I am delighted to announce that this month the Artists and Illustrators magazine have given me a full page feature ! WOW! 
My feature in this month's Artists and Illustrators magazine

                                     "