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The Southern Fells, June 2016

And so to the annual trip to the Lake District.

This year we were blessed with the warmest, sunniest and driest week I can remember (possibly ever). We stayed at a place called High Ground, which lived up to its name admirably and had the most extensive mountain view from its patio.

I managed to get a couple of pictures completed.

I spotted a natural composition on the day Kate and I went up Harter Fell, this was near Birks which is where the path up turns north and goes steeply up through the forestry plantations and on to the summit. In this view we are looking SW from the path on the approach to Birks, in the background are the Dunnerdale Fells.

Rough A5 compositional sketch to get light and dark contrasts

Rough A5 compositional sketch to get light and dark contrasts

 

Looking SW towards Dunnerdale.  16 x 12 watercolour, wax crayon, inks, pastel.

Birks, Duddon Valley looking SW towards Dunnerdale.
16 x 12 rough paper  watercolour, wax crayon, inks, pastel.

 

On a family walk from Dalegarth after visiting Stanley Force we stopped for lunch above the trees on the side of Green How, which afforded a splendid view straight across Eskdale to Scafell. I did a compositional sketch and returned in the late afternoon to do a ‘plein air’ painting. I happily got lost in the process and had 85% complete. I have to admit that the foreground was completed indoors; when the best light had gone at about 7-30pm my tolerance of the midges suddenly collapsed and I beat a hasty retreat.

The fells in view are from left to right; Kirk Fell, Great Gable (just visible), Scafell looming over Eskdale Fell, then the distant hazy horizon showing Esk Pike, Bow Fell and part of Crinkle Crags. The sun was mostly but at times during the evening broke through adding the contrast I have tried to capture.

Reasonably considered A5 sketch, done to get to know the view

Reasonably considered A5 sketch, done to get to know the view

 

Work in progress, I blocked in main areas and then added detail top to bottom

Work in progress, I blocked in main areas and then added detail top to bottom

 

Scafell from Greenhow  - looking North across Eskdale Completed picture 14 x 10 rough paper, watercolour, wax crayon, inks and pastel.

Scafell from Greenhow – looking North across Eskdale
Completed picture 14 x 10 rough paper, watercolour, wax crayon, inks and pastel.

 

And lastly some notebook extracts.

Notebook Extracts - Lakes 2016

 

Between the Showers

November and December (so far) have been extremely wet. We made two visits to Askrigg and one to York; most of the time it rained so most of the works below are done from very brief sketches and photographs – but they were done at the locations and not in the studio in an attempt to keep the sense of the light and atmosphere.

In November the autumn was well under way but in sheltered places the leaves were often still green (as the packhorse bridge shows).

Packhorse Bridge - Grange Wensleydale

Returning from a walk on the path from Worton Bridge – very boggy underfoot – this is from the side of the river near the stepping stones with Askrigg (and a beer by the fireside, at the Kings Arms) beckoning

Askrigg in November

A trip over the tops to a favourite walk along the Swale between Keld and Muker – the low sun and shade from the valley sides made for striking contrasts.

November Sunshine -River Swale near Muker

On our December visit to Askrigg we caught the edge of storm Desmond which caused all the flooding, we were very lucky. On a late afternoon when the rain briefly stopped we managed a walk near Semerwater where the slanting sunlight was stunning (lemon yellow here to keep it cool).

December Afternoon Sun - Semmerwater

One day the weather was too bad to venture out (except for a brief constitutional) and the lighting too dull for a local painting. In desperation, because I was not getting any useful local material I resorted to working on a a mixed media of Low Petergate from a trip to York the previous week.

Low Petergate after rain - York

Exhibiting 29th October – 1st November

I have entered these pictures into the 2015 art exhibition being held in aid of St Gemma’s Hospice between 29th October and 1st November.

NOTE the exhibition is actually at Leeds Grammar School. The exhibition catalogue can be downloaded as a PDF from their site

http://www.st-gemma.co.uk/artexhibition/

 

Warton-Common-looking-West-wm55156c3f436a1.jpg

Winter-Sun-Derwentwater54c6292fa0059.jpg

Spring-Evening-Arncliffe-wm55420f424d3ca.jpg

Squals-and-Thistles-Littondale-wm5526a2a971132.jpg

Digging-for-Bait-Scarborough-watermarked.jpg

Standing Ready - Flamborough - watermarked

Towards Thackthwaite wm

Lorton Valley wm

 

 

Cornwall

What seems to be becoming an annual trip to Cornwall provided a good opportunity for sketching and painting outside.

Watercolour sketches

The weather was mixed so I only managed one 10×14 watercolur sketch – this is of the cliffs looking towards Pencarrow Head in the early evening.

We did a few sections of the Cornwall coastal path, this is a late afternoon view looking SW towards Pencarrow Head. The light was changing all the time and the water was shimmering as the sunlight broke through.

We did a few sections of the Cornwall coastal path, this is a late afternoon view looking SW towards Pencarrow Head. The light was changing all the time and the water was shimmering as the sunlight broke through and the dense gorse really did tower over us.

 

Pen and Wash

When time is short the pen and wash 5×7 format sketches can be completed in about an hour. It is a great way to take in the view and there is less to carry. These sketches were also done on hiking expeditions on the Cornish Coastal path from our base near Looe.

This is the view from the south on top of Chapel Cliff looking down into the harbour.

This is the view from the south on top of Chapel Cliff looking down into the harbour.

 

There is a great view down the river looking along the frontage of Fowey from Catherine's point.

There is a great view down the river looking along the frontage of Fowey from Catherine’s point.

After leaving the area around Looe we stayed at Marazion before going on to Scilly.

After leaving the area around Looe we stayed at Marazion before going on to Scilly. This is a classic view of a a well known landmark.

 This is a classic view of a a well known landmark.

From the Sketchbook

And here are some sketchbook extracts.

Sketchbook 1 Cornwall

Sketchbook 2 Cornwall

Spring Evening – Arncliffe

Although its been cold we have had some gloriously sunny days. After walking from Arncliffe to Malham Tarn and back the quality of the evening light was fantastic – it was about 6-30pm in strong sunlight giving long shadows, strong contrasts and an overall golden glow which brought out the warn earth colours in the dead bracken on the hillsides and highlighted Brayshaw Scar.  I have tried to capture it in this studio acrylic which is the view from the Monks Road path into Arncliffe looking north towards Litton.

A warm glow lighting up the valley with strong contrasts.

A warm glow lighting up the valley with strong contrasts.

 

Acrylic of Littondale

It seems strange (after the good weather this Easter) but only 2 weeks ago I was waiting for the weather to improve and wanted a change from watercolour. I decided to get a 6×4 sheet of MDF cut up into A2, A3 and A4 pieces and get back to acrylics with a looser style.

I remembered a great walk with dramatic squally weather in Littondale. Rummaging through last years sketches and photographs and found what I was looking for; a very striking expanse of thistles in Littondale.

This is a view looking back to the south from the path near Halton Gill.

This is a view looking back to the south from the path near Halton Gill. A2 Acrylic on board.

Wenslydale in the studio

Using sketches and photographs gathered on our February trip to Wensleydale I worked up a couple of studio watercolours. I love the way that painting these views later brings back the feeling of being there.

These two views are from opposite sides of the valley.

This is from the route along the north side of Warfdale between Bainbridge and Sedbusk. The cloud was gradually overtaking the blue skies.

This is from the route along the north side of Wensleydale not far from Bainbridge near Yorescott, the sunlight on the far hills is Bishopdale. The cloud was coming in from the north-east & gradually overtaking the blue skies, but as it turned out it didn’t snow.

This view is based on a rapid lunchtime sketch and is almost due south of the picture above.

This was a picknick stop for lunch. Warton Common is on the flanks of Adelborough - its almost opposite the previous picture.

This was a pick-nick stop for lunch on a round trip of Addleborough. Worton Pasture is on the southern side of Wensleydale directly above Bainbridge and Askrigg (hidden in the valley). Great Shunner fell in the far distance.

Kicking off 2015’s “Plein Air” Painiting

To begin 2015’s “plein air” painting sessions what could be better than the Wensleydale with snow on the hills? To paraphrase Lawrence of Arabia (in the screenplay) “of course its cold, the trick is not minding that its cold”, it also helps to have the right clothing.

It was altogether a splendid week; the snow had fallen the previous week and the weather was (on the whole) bright and sunny – lots of white stuff with sunshine has a great effect on the light. At the start of the week it was actually too cold because of a wind chill but I managed to get out and find some sheltered spots towards the end of the week. I also got back with a fresh batch of quickly drawn notebook sketches and photos that I can work on in the studio.

This view of Wensleydale is looking West from a plantation just below Heugh, this is higher up on the path from Newbbigin which I painted in October. The plantation made a great windbreak and it was almost balmy in the sun despite some ominous looking clouds from time to time.

Looking West below Heugh - on site

Watercolour

Watercolour

 

This is by the river on the path from Askrigg. The sun was so bright when I started that I had to wait until it went in to get a photograph – the light was fading fast and I had to work loose and fast, the whole thing took about 90 minutes. By the time I finished the light was too poor to get the painting in the picture. The sunset that developed was even more spectacular but I “locked in” the light as it was at about 4-00pm.

Late Sun Ure and Wetherfell - on site

Watercolour

Watercolour

 

This view of Yore Bridge was done over a 4 hour period during an afternoon, the bridge itself was built in 1793 by John Carr who was the surveyor of bridges in the North Riding from 1772 to 1803.

Yore Bridge Bainbridge - on site

Watercolour

Watercolour

 

 

Studio Watercolour

With dodgy weather and a bout of flu stopping me getting out as much as I’d like I took the opportunity to do some studio work. I was still inspired by Derwentwater (see June 2014 post) and found some older photos from an earlier walk in misty weather.

Combining the sketches and recent work with the earlier ones allowed me to create “Winter Sun, Derwentwater”

Winter Sun - Derwentwater

An afternoon by the Warf

With such glorious autumn colours and some sunshine in the offing I was moved to visit one of my all time favourite views and knock out a watercolour sketch (A3). This is by the River Warf at Appletreewick looking towards the plantations under Simon’s Seat and Carncliff Top.

Painting in the open is a great way to get talking to people, they ware all encouraging and complimentary.

Painting in the open is just so different to working in a Studio – though its also a great way to get cold! People passing by on this section of the Dales Way were encouraging and complimentary.

I managed to get on site by late morning, by then the the first sunlight had been replaced with clouds so it was an act of faith to set up. I was lucky, the afternoon just got better and better with increasing sun all the time. It finally dropped below the hills at 3-30pm (an hour before sunset). I have added the finished sketch to the watercolour gallery.