Monday, 8 February 2016

Bandits and Thieves






A couple of sketches from last week and a lovely morning sketching and listening to the sea and surroundings.  My favourite part of sketching outside is absorbing the sounds and sensations of a place that then become part of the sketch itself.




This time I was with the Urban sketchers group at a tiny harbour hidden away in the city.  While we sketched fisherman mended and prepared their nets chatting and telling us stories from the area.  Little wooden boats came in and out of the harbour, usually in twos as one with a motor towed another without.




The area we were in is known as 'La Bandita' and used to be a fishing hamlet in its own right.  Over the years it became engulfed by urban sprawl and went into decline, polluted and dirty.  Now it is struggling to survive, the sea seemed to be clean but the little beach was still littered.

The name Bandita has various legends and stories attached to it but the general theme is about a woman who kept a nearby tavern. This tough talking woman gave protection and shelter to bandits and thieves earning her the name of  La Bandita or a sbannuta in Sicilian dialect.


Yes I often use the back of my hand to clean my brush!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Painting Pears



oil on wood 20x20cms/approx 8x8"



2015 was a good year for pears...both on my tree and on my easel.  I have pear tree and most years it's weighed down with these little pears.  I can't resist painting them as being home-grown they are all different shapes and sizes.  They look to me as if each one has their own personality, especially if I put them in a row.

Oil on wood, 17x40cms/approx 7x16"

This isn't the first time I've painted pears and it certainly won't be the last.  I've come to the conclusion I quite like painting fruit and veg!

or

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Sketchbook Sunday catch up




I'm playing catch up...these are my sketches from December at the Zisa Palace, Palermo.

'La Zisa' was built in the 12th century in an Arab/Norman style and is set in peaceful gardens, designed as somewhere to relax, it even has a primitive form of air conditioning. A series of vent ducts and air tunnels captured the wind to maintain a cool airflow through the building.




I didn't have long there but from the park/garden I also sketched the S.Stefano church.
A beautiful sunny day, although now I'm sitting by the fire with far more wintery conditions!

or

Monday, 21 December 2015

It's that time of year again



oil on wood 20x20cms 
Christmas time is here again, this year has flown by. I have been concentrating on my oil paintings for most of the year, especially the small 20x20cms size.  They are fairly quick to paint and allow me to try out new subjects and techniques, I'm really enjoying them and getting a lot out of it so be ready for more in the next year.
I hope all of you have had  great year and I wish you a festive and peaceful Christmas!



Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Into the Blue




Oil on mdf wood  20x20cms (approx 8x8")

I know that in a lot of places it's freezing cold and wintery, so here is a memory of a warm summer.

This is the edge of an island, at the top of a hill... a view from a castle.  In the middle of Lipari town on the island of Lipari, Sicily, there is a steep walk up to what was once a castle and is now a museum.  The views are spectacular from all sides, out to sea and over the town

I'm always curious to see what's over the wall, round the corner or on the otherside, so if you are wondering what could be seen from between these trees......here you are.


To paint this painting I made myself use only a large brush for everything, which was fun as I often fiddle about too much. I liked it so much I haven't touched my little fiddly brushes since!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Purple Plants





Oil on wood 20x20cms 
I realised that I hadn't posted for a little while, but I have been painting... this is a terracotta vase filled with a purple plant called 'miseria'.  It's from the garden of a 17th century villa but I'm sure the vase isn't that old.  I was attracted to the shadows of the plant falling on the terracotta in the sun.


Here's the garden, my vase is near the house on the right of the pretty garden.



Monday, 21 September 2015

Lemons, lemons, lemons




Oil on mdf wood, 20x 20cms

These are lemons from my garden earlier this year.  They're not perfect, they're uneven shapes but they smell and taste wonderful.  Sicily is famous for its lemon cultivation, although  in recent years it seems to be in decline.  The price of  lemons on the market is so low that it is not worth while growing them.
When we first bought our house the fields around us were golden yellow in the spring with fruit.Wild fires and construction have sadly changed that forever.






This is my original sketch in watercolour, I decided to lose the reflection from the glass dish as it looked odd  and untidy.


                                                     


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