Monday, May 18, 2015

Painting in Provence, France

Painting in Provence, France

Lavender Fields near Sault, with Mount Ventoux in the distance

Last year we were fortunate to travel from Sydney and spend a week painting "en plein air" with Julian Merrow-Smith in the Vaucluse area of Provence. Julian is well known for his blog featuring the daily auction of his small paintings  "Postcards from Provence" .

In addition to Julian's expert mentoring whilst painting this wonderful landscape, we were accommodated at La Madelene, and what an exceptional experience it was. It is a beautifully renovated 12th century priory near Malaucene.  
La Madelene 

Our hosts Philip and Jude are exceptional hosts.  Click to read more

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Plockton, Scotland

Always enjoy visiting Plockton when returning to Scotland.  It has been 16 years since I last visited and it is still as beautiful & picturesque as always. The village is located on the west coast just about 5 miles north of the Kyle of Lochalsh where the new Isle of Skye road bridge meets the mainland.

Due to the currents the seas are warm but it is quite a surprise to see palms trees (similar to the Pandamus trees we have in Australia) lining the shore front. If you were a fan of the TV series Hamish Macbeth starring Robert Carlyle, then it will look familiar as it was the setting for the fictional town of Lochdubh.

Stayed in the pub and we had a great view from our bedroom over Loch Carron.  In the evening the loch is usually very quiet, but this evening we were lucky to see a regatta as a fleet of sailing boats in the distance - they emerged from "who knows where". One with blue sails joining them from the just in front of the village. We were able to get a few watercolour sketches done on the spot and afterwards an oil of the boat with blue sails

Watercolour over 2 pages of a foldout watercolour sketch book

Oil on Board  16 x 8 inches (40 x 20 cm)



Watercolour over 2 pages of a Strathmore Watercolour Sketchbook


More information on the website for "Undiscovered Scotland"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Santiago and Lima - Arriving in South America

After a 12 hour flight from Sydney to the other side of the Pacific Ocean, we land in Santiago, Chile. As we need to wait 5 hours at the airport for a connection to Lima in Peru, it is a good excuse to get the sketchbook out and test the small watercolour kit that I will be using for this trip. I have shrunk my usual kit down to basic essentials,which fits in a pencil case.(but a largish one)
 
It comprises of :-
  • A Winsor and Newtown watercolour field box, but I replace the standard pans with tube colours of my choice. I also leave dried colours on the palette as it gives me nice greys. The top of this box acts as a water reservoir. I bought this box online from the UK at 40% of what they sell for in Australia.
  • Two soft brushes for washes, which I wrap in the bamboo mat you see underneath. I have tried all sorts of expensive brush containers whilst travelling but they all end up bending the brush tips. Wrapping the brushes in the bamboo and securing with an elastic band is the best way I have found to safely carry soft brushes, and it cost all of $1.
  • A soft pencil 4b and a mechanical pencil with a putty rubber.
  • White gouache occasionally used for highlights and error fixing. Need to watch you don't use much as it can kill the freshness of a sketch.
  • A grey pen, waterbrush and a few water soluble colour pencils round the kit out.

Sketching enhances my observation skills and gives me a vivid and a detailed image in my mind of the places that I have been to. I don't get this quality of observation when using a camera and at times need to resist seeing a trip through a camera lens which provides a very constrained view. Another advantage to sketching is that it is an "icebreaker" and you meet many people who come up and talk to you.
 Santiago airport 
8 x 5.5 inches (20 x 14 cms)
Watercolour and pencil on Stillman and Birn beta Paper
  
Due to a temperature inversion layer, Santiago is usually very misty and at times the hills at the airport just vanished. We flew on to Lima, the capital of Peru which lies about 12 degrees south of the equator. Like Santiago we unexpectedly arrived in a mist. Lima is surrounded by desert and it hardly rains during the year. In fact it is one of the driest capital cities in the world. Water is diverted down from the Andes and public parks are watered by trucks. Hydro is used for power.

The mist was quite unexpected considering the location of both cities. It is quite humid and the unusual weather is due to the locations on the Pacific Ocean near the foothills of the Andes. The cool Humboldt current runs along the coast and reduces the effect of the tropical sun and producing the high humidity causing the clouds and mist. The Andes Mountains prevents the west coast of Peru from receiving tropical storms and rains from the Amazon basin .

We flew onto Lima and spent a couple of days there. Landing right in peak hour and the traffic was bedlam, it took over an hour to get to our hotel in Miraflores which was much quieter and had a lovely park named after J.F. Kennedy. The church below was beside the park with a square of restaurants adjoining. The park was full of dumped cats with signs asking people to adopt them. Lima is very clean with lots of street sweepers endlessly cleaning. Police were very visible which initially made me a little concerned, but they include "tourist police" who are there to help and watch over visitors. In fact we felt very safe where we were and the people very friendly, although tourists do get constantly approached to buy all sorts of things. I developed the impression that Peru is really trying to build its tourist business and is employing lots of people to make it a safe and clean destination.

Church of Virgin Milagrosa, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
8 x 5.5 inches (20 x 14 cms)
Watercolour, pen and pencil on Stillman and Birn beta paper
 
The "old" centre of Lima with its yellow buildings and ornate balconies

El Beso, The Love Park, Miraflores, Lima
 
The Love Park is located on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The walls are clad with mosaic tiles embedded with romantic quotes and this monumental statue of two lovers engaged in a passionate kiss. The sculpture celebrates the lovers who gather to watch the sunset, and evidently compete for the longest kiss under the statue.
 
Next it is off to the highlands of Peru and the discovery of pisco sours.
 
Click here to contact me 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Circular Quay from The Harbour Bridge, Sydney

One can climb steps within the south eastern pylon of the harbour bridge and get a great view both sides. This watercolour captures the view looking east of the bridge and back towards the city of Sydney. Some lovely reflections from the buildings. 
Circular Quay from The Harbour Bridge, Sydney
Watercolour, pen and goauche on watercolour paper
8.5 x 5.5 inches  (21.6 x 14cm)
This painting will be available from my next newsletter, click here to subscribe.
The Sea Princess had just come under the Harbour Bridge and is leaving towards the Pacific, where the Radiance of the Seas awaits her.

The Sydney Opera House watches over the traffic entering Circular Quay.

 
I have a new oil of the view from the Pylon looking west, at my painting blog "Painting Light"
 
Please note that the studio will be closed until early May, whilst I will be away in south america.
 
  
Click here to contact me 
 



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Congwong Beach, near La Perouse in Sydney

Congwong Beach, near La Perouse in  Sydney
 
Congwong Beach, Sydney
Watercolour and gouache on watercolour paper
40 x 15 cm
 
Painted this one a few weeks ago before the weeks of rain set in. Another new discovery in Sydney. Been to La Perouse many times but never noticed this beautiful sheltered beach before, which is located south of Sydney on the northern entrance to Botany Bay.
 
My weekly sketching trips are revealing so many new places that I have never been to before in Sydney. I have become a tourist in my own town. 

I also find that having sketched a place, the image cements itself in ones head. Sketching is much better at engraining a view in ones head than taking photos.
 
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Central Australia - East MacDonnell Ranges Part 2 : Trephina Gorge

One of the highlights of our trip to the MacDonnell Ranges was the day spent painting and sketching at Trephina Gorge, about 85 kms east of Alice Springs. The landscape consists of sheer red rock quartzite cliffs with a shallow sandy creek running through, fringed by river gums.

Trephina Gorge
Acrylic on Paper
 on 300gsm watercolour paper
I unintentionally, but consistently painted a face in nearly all the rock faces that I drew or painted.


Trephina Gorge 2
Acrylic on Paper
16 x 6 inches (40 x 15 cms) on 300gsm watercolour paper
 
It was quite a hot day and the acrylic paint needed to be consistently sprayed to keep it workable. I
used a "stay wet palette" & did enjoy using acrylic on this trip. I was able to get a less finished look than I normally get with my usual oils, The rougher paper texture helped, as well as the need to paint quickly before the painting dried.

I can be contacted at the following link  click here to contact me 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

First Light MacDonnell Ranges - Finalist St George Art Award

Continuing on from my previous post about my trip to Central Australia a few of us rose early one morning to catch the sunrise at a hill behind our camp at Ross River.

The light was something very special and as the sun peeped over the Macdonnell Ranges it sent out its first rays illuminating the river into a sparkling sliver of light.  So when I arrived back home, it was one of the memories that had to be painted.
24 x 24 inches (61 x 61cm)
Oil on Canvas
The 2012 St George Art Award is a national prize which has the theme of "New Beginnings". My painting capturing the start of a unique new day fitted well with this criteria. Fortunately it has been chosen as a finalist for the prize.

The prize will be announced on Friday 19 October 2012, and the exhibition will commence on Saturday 20 October - Sunday 16 December 2012 at:-
Hurstville Museum and Gallery
14 MacMahon Street
Hurstville  (Tues - Sat  10am to 4pm, Sunday 2-5 pm)


I have just released some new paintings, inckuding these shown below.

Pont des arts paris france oil painting Red PoppiesPainting Nocturnal St James Sydney
 


 
These paintings and the other new ones can now be seen at my website http://www.marshstudio.com./newpaintings.html