Saturday, 31 December 2016

Painting all year

Some of the paintings I've enjoyed painting this year, I hope you have enjoyed them too.
One of my aims was to paint more in 2016 and I think I managed to do that, although I'm sorry to all my friends and family who have had to put up with me shutting myself off and just doing what I love. Sometimes you just have to.
Happy 2017 to all blog friends, thank you for dropping in ....see you all next year!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

It may be cold outside....

Oil on wood panel 20x20cms

We're into winter now and it's getting a bit chilly,. So just to remind us of how warm it was in the summer here's a young boy sitting on a wall looking out over the sea.  I think he was actually looking for a fish to catch with his net and he reminded me of my own son when he was that age.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Quiet mooring

oil on wood panel, 20x20cms
Walking around a small local harbour here in Sicily there are moored alongside the sleek yachts, little wooden fishing boats. Just as interesting to look at but not quite as posh!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Cool Green

Oil on wood panel, 20x20cms

Cool light from my kitchen window falling onto some crunchy green apples.  They have been eaten and are no more...I always like it when my subjects taste nice!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Ancient Times

Oil on wood 20x20cms

 This is my interpretation of the top (capital) of an 'unfinished' Doric column.  It's part of the ancient Greek temple of Segesta here in Sicily. I tried to capture the texture and age of the stone.

Segesta is one of my favourite places, best seen off season when there are less tourists.  The setting is stunning with the Sicilian hills and countryside as a backdrop.  The temple was never finished, it is unknown why. It never had a roof and the columns are missing the classic Doric fluting.

Also to be seen at the same site is a magnificent Greek theatre up on top of the hill alongside the remains of a Norman castle. Fantastic views are to be had of the surrounding area.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Three's a Crowd

Oil on mdf panel 20x20cms. Available from my Etsy shop

In any Sicilian village or small town square you will always find groups of old gents sitting and chatting, playing cards or just snoozing in the sun.  In this case one man has even brought his own chair, just to make sure of a seat.

Oil on mdf panel 20x20cms. SOLD
It's quite possible that the wives of these now retired gents are fed up with them at home and send them out to be with their friends!
I've noticed I have a preference for painting groups of three...

Friday, 7 October 2016

Under the Stars

oil on  wood, 20x20cms On Etsy

At the end of September I took part in an exhibition of 30 local artists. The exhibition was set up in a small park between houses and 17th century villas and took place in the evening. (We had a lot of lighting set up).  We were allowed 2 easels each and as my paintings are fairly small I 3- 4 paintings on each, including the red apples above.

I also agreed to be one of the painters demonstrating all evening.  I'm used to sketching and painting in public so a bit of oil painting was much the same, besides I knew it would get me a chair for a very long evening! 

The event was part of an event organised by local shop keepers designed to get more people to come to the town instead of heading to the big new shopping centres springing up everywhere.  There was an endless river of people walking through the exhibition all night so something was working!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Red is the Colour

20x20cms, oil on wood here

I love painting tomatoes as much as I like eating them, so I painted two!
I used to think that red was a hard colour to paint with and had a love/ hate relationship, forcing myself to use it.  

20x20cms, oil on wood here

Now I really enjoy painting with red....yellow is my least favourite painting colour now, just one slip and it becomes mucky grey!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sun Seekers

Oil on mdf 20x20 cms available
After having lunch at a bar on the seafront I spotted these two ladies sitting on the rocks.  They looked very similar apart from the colour of their cozzies, quite possibly sisters.
I know I shouldn't sneak up on people, perhaps there's even a law about it...but you can't see their faces so it should be alright!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Morning Coffee

Oil on mdf wood, 20x20cms Available
What's the first thing you look for in the morning? For me it's got to be a nice hot cup of coffee...


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Hiding Under the Geraniums

oil on wood, 40x40 cms
 It's the summer holidays here and also very hot so I while away many a morning in the garden with my grandson.  He's in the paddling pool and me...well sometimes I'm in the paddling pool too!
There are no trees and apart from my umbrella the only shade I can find is up by a big clump of geraniums, so that is where you'll find me hiding.

Geraniums are available  here

Paintings available to buy here


Sunday, 10 July 2016

White not White

oil on mdf wood 20x20 cms (available here)

White carnations in a white vase....colourless? Nooo there's plenty of colour if you really look.

Your eye can be trained to see a whole spectrum of colour in the whites you find in flowers, china, cloth etc.
There are some subtle colour and value changes and then the reflected colour from surrounding objects, but you will also need  to mix some beautiful greys to set off the delicate whites.
There is very little actual white in a 'white' painting, and if you use too much you'll get a chalky, opaque result.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Back of the Houses

40x40cms oil on wood
The older houses in Sicilian towns are often very beautiful with balconies, terracotta roof tiles and old doors, just to name a few of their interesting qualities. But sometimes the view from the back, although unadorned can be picturesque too.
In the mountain-top village of Erice in Sicily the winding cobbled streets are a magnet for tourists to admire the old and historic houses but round the back there are some great views too.  This row of  houses and the light falling on them caught my eye.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Fresh Lemon

20x20cms, oil on wood click here to buy

At the end of the winter the lemon trees around my house are full of juicy fragrant lemons.
When I first came to live here the whole length of the dusty lane was so yellow with lemons you couldn't see the leaves on the trees.  Over recent years the lemon groves have diminished as the price of lemons has dropped and many prefer to sell their land for building purposes.
I still can't resist a lemon straight off the tree, with all its lumps and bumps, not at all like the too perfect ones from the supermarket.
I love to paint them and eat them.

Sunday, 22 May 2016


20x20cms Oil on wood
Persimmons, kaki or cachi as they are known around here.  These are from my friend's garden, painted on a textured surface. The challenge to myself was to paint the smooth skin of the fruit on the rough gessoed board.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Cipolle, Onions, Oignons.....

20x20cms oil on wood click to purchase

When I get stuck for something to paint I have a look around my kitchen.  Fruit and veg are always a good standby and onions are actually very beautiful if you look closely.  I set them up by the window with lots of natural light and watch them glow.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Bright Red Poppies

20x20cms (approx 8x8") oil on wood.
Click here to buy
Every year at this time the dusty lane becomes  lined with beautiful poppies, swaying and bobbing in the breeze. Each day I drive past and want to stop to admire the evidence of spring on the roadside.

The reds vary from orangy red (technical term here) to a deep scarlet, brightening the dullest morning!

Saturday, 30 April 2016

What makes you want to paint?

40x40 cms, oil on wood. Click here to buy

What makes you want to paint? What should you paint?    I recently read a magazine article where the artist said paint what you like and chances are someone else will like it too.  I don't remember the artist (sorry) but I think it's a good way to approach what we paint.

I am often inspired by my friend's garden.  It's an unusual garden with hidden corners and vintage objects given new uses or just displayed because they remind my friend of her parents and childhood.  The above painting is a group of old jugs with a jam jar of flowers was just outside the back door.

 These are just a few of my other paintings inspired by sunny mornings or afternoons spent with my painting friends in the garden ...there are many more!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Sketchbook Sunday

These are my sketches from a sunny but windy morning with the local USK group.
The first is an abandoned ceramic works which I sketched sitting on the side of a busy road.  Lorries and cars hurtled along but I always enjoy sketching these types of buildings so didn't notice.

The  above park is nearby, called 'Acqua dei Corsari' which means pirate's water, legend has that pirates were saved by a fresh water spring in the area.
We sat overlooking the sea and ancient watch tower in an amphitheatre built by the local council a few years ago in an effort to give some life back to an area ruined by industry and pollution.  The whole area is now sadly overgrown and desolate once again.

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!


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!



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