Monday 30 October 2017

Up on the hills in the Highlands

A few days in a particularly magical part of Scotland,
Bruar Lodge nestling in a deep glen,
Hills rise up two thousand and more feet on either side.

This is the home of Kate and Mike.
Close by the lodge the River Bruar runs wantonly over dazzling stones,
On the ridge of each hill stags bay defiantly, protecting their hinds.

An enchanted place, a full forty minutes, along a track, from a turning off the General Wade's road, the A9 between Perth and Inverness.

A landscape that changes colour constantly as the weather, umber, sienna, ochre viridian and alizarin.

Each day up on the hill stalking and or perhaps casting a fly on the small loch a short walk away. Brose, a highland pony, alongside the stalkers bears deer down the hill.  

Each night we all return to the lodge, hot baths, cocktails and a delicious supper over which the triumphs and tribulations of the day are shared and applauded.

We are blessed who stay at Bruar Lodge.

Sunday 15 October 2017

Inktober Week 2 The full Monty

Well with workshop in London it has been a case of grabbing opportunities where I was able.

Fortunately my locations were on the south back of the Thames so some interesting sights.

Shored up by still life set-ups on the kitchen table.
Sunday: Beetroot

Monday: Rudbeckia with Watering Can

Tuesday: Marylebone

Wednesday: from the Sea Containers Building

Thursday: Tower Bridge

Friday:  The days of wine and radio

Saturday: In homage Yutaka Takanashi

Sunday 8 October 2017

The Inktober Initiative - EXCITING!

31 Days 31 Drawings

Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year. Full story

Anyone can do Inktober, just pick up a pen and start drawing.
1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).
2) Post it online
3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2017
4) Repeat

I've got some catching up to do - it's day 8  

Fortunately since last Saturday I have been drawing.. 

Saturday 7 October 2017

Kingfisher Butcher

The Kingfisher Butcher

Daisy Siggers, head designer at posh outfitters Frank and Grace
asked that I illustrate this fly as a motif for some fabrics they are creating and F&G.

A nice commission and I was intrigued as to whether this dry fly had any history….

It appears that Messers Moon & Jewhurst of Tunbridge Wells, created this dastardly lure in the seventeenth century.

It was originally named 'Moon's fly'. However in 1838 it was renamed 'Butcher' after the their trade as butchers. The colours of their trade being white and blue apron splattered with blood.

The slick of turquoise on the fly signifies its ‘kingfisher’ moniker.

For fly fishermen the Kingfisher Butcher has continued to be a killer for the best part of two centuries on still waters and rivers.

Thursday 5 October 2017

Berkshire Gates

The Gates of Hampstead Marshall  21 x 21 cm Watercolour on Paper

This painting was inspired by churching in west Berkshire. Last month Ricardo and I visited St Marys at Hampstead Marshall, just west of Newbury.

Walking through the churchyard and then through a gate in its high wall we came upon these wonderful gates, alone and quite ignored by the sheep grazing nearby.

These are all that is left of a great palace…

The Berkshire Historical Society tells of the widowed mother of the William Craven, the son of the Lord Mayor of London of the same name bought the estate in 1620 for her young son.

Later he is said to have fallen deeply in love with Princess Elizabeth, the sister of King Charles I and the dispossessed Queen of Bohemia.

To win her heart, he decided to build her a grand palace. In detail, it was to be a miniature version of Heidelberg Castle to remind her of the home she had lost.

The Princess died before construction works even begun, yet the Earl still pushed the project onward. In 1663, began to erect the building as a tribute to her memory. The great palace is supposed to have taken thirty-four years to complete!

Sadly, the splendid palace was destroyed by fire in 1718, with the exception of these superb gate piers.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

The Ridgeway

Along the Ridgeway  Watercolour and Ink on paper 30 x 40 cm

The Ridgeway is a surprisingly remote part of southern central England. It travels in a northeasterly direction for 87 miles (139 Km) from its start in Wiltshire.

This is Britain’s oldest road and still follows the same route over the high ground used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers
and parts of it cross wonderful west Berkshire.

Occasionally I have cycled sections with good chum Ricardo, enjoying wide views of rolling chalk downland and passing  Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts - an archaeological romp.

After the west Berkshire Churches trip in September I went through photos taken on previous rides; I came across one which I knew I must have taken to make a painting one day.  Here we are at last.

Sunday 1 October 2017

The wonders of West Berkshire

Hampstead Marshall – St Mary’s lovely wood carving

West Berkshire Three Churches

If you drive one hour in a Westerly direction chances are you will come to some lovely countryside. West, along the M4, turning off at junctions 13 or 14 takes you into some lovely Berkshire Downlands.

Racehorses, the gallops along which they are exercised everyday and mansions for senior Vodafone executives are dotted here abouts.

Land intersected by the Ridgeway.

This is Betjeman country; A memorial window, designed by John Piper, in All Saints' Church, Farnborough, Berkshire, where Betjeman lived in the nearby Rectory.

This is a part of the country that I discovered on cycle rides with my good friend Ricardo.

Now he and I did return in September, churching with three particular churches in mind, selected from Jenkins’ Bible - England's Thousand Best Churches, by Simon Jenkins.

Lambourn – St Michael, a cathedral in the downs

Wickham – St Swithun, elephants in the rafters