Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire (Day16/365)
Today's Postcard: "Top of the Hill"
Missed dawn and the rain, happy dog. Three birds on a rock, gull jackdaw, crow. Thought it may have been a rook but they're rarely solitary, crows rarely grouped. Black backed gull swaggering like a bouncer. Watson (WJ) left me at pace to meet his "uncle" Ralph, a very similar dog (but not all Cairn. Watson not all there). Ralph is always very happy and his neck always at snack o'clock. Ralph's mate Basil (dachshund) non-plussed.
Warm, not Autumn. Please pass it on.
Today's Postcard is Back Lane by Eloise's mum and dads'. Behind me the lane runs down towards Wisemans. Very steep and short, long in the (muscle) memory afterwards. The brightest of ferns (Harts' Tongues smooth and scallop-edged) nod amongst deep shadows. Jay and a Yellowhammer! I never see Yellowhammers. Ash trees now a pale sage, lane aflame with loveliness. Hazel coppice soft and slender, the odd pale roof down a bank.
Paint (on top of my homemade "Ritec Red" ground, just peeping through the oils): deep inky shadow base is Sap Green, Permanent Mauve and a touch of Viridian. Lane is Lapis Lazuli and then some Lapis/Phthalo Blue/Titanium White for the half-tones. Cadmium Green Pale, Light Green tint, Sap Green and Oxide of Chromium green for the remaining banks etc. Sky King's Blue White. Roof Flesh Tint. My head and nose Indian Red (tint).
Brush: Size 1 Filbert, bristle. That's it, no faffy fiddly fine stuff.
Evening walk: more dogs (including sage Ruby, happy Caspar, lovelyloony Bronwen) than there are characters a in a Russian novel. On the doormat was a card to say thanks for having us from J and her little boy after a sandy stay here. Yellowhammer on the card.
Hope you like the painting,
Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire (Day 15/365)
Today's Postcard: "Rescued Bottles"
Wow, a morning of Naples Yellow sky merging into a soft mauve, Gower and Worms Head floating on a shimmering ice floe. And Watson still digging. Then he nicked lovely Gill's poodles' ball and paraded his dribbling skills like a pro. For ages. It was getting embarrassing. Then we got it off him. Then he got it back. Any plans today Guy? Nope, not now. Another slightly slower day than planned...
When we moved to our perfect petit palais at Coppet Hall one of our first finds in the garden was a perfectly preserved glass inkwell. Then another. And on the beach , especially after a good storm, we (actually, Eloise) have found several little bottles. The central one in this Postcard reads "Dr Browns Cough Bottle", "Jesse Williams" and "Chemist Cardiff" in a lovely Gill font. So I lined them up and painted them.
Paint: (on top of handmade "Ritec Red"): Blu Turchese (bought in Venice, somehow aptly); Flesh Tint, Indian Red, Dioaxine Purple, dash of T.White, Kings Blue Deep. Smell of kelp.
Brush: Size 2 filbert, size 2 round, 00 round "mini scuffer".
Somehow going to watch "Swallows and Amazons" this pm ties in with today's slowness and the painting of old bottles: the softer chink of older alchemist's glass like beads brushing; men sporting fine braces (in the film, not, sadly chez nous); kids in cotton shirts and itchy jumpers...I suggested we drive to the pictures in the '62 Morris 1000 but Eloise said she wanted to see the start of the film as well as the end).
Hope you like the painting.
Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire (Day 14/365)
Today's Postcard: "Fig and cheese"
Our niece's dog Alfie is built for neither speed nor endurance (being a CavaMuppet or similar) but he's adorable, a bit cabbage patch dog. He and Watson J play "not now Cato" by stealth-attacking each other (noise, not teeth) from all angles. I escaped the two-dog duty by going of to paint a muriel (before the heat dried the acrylic on the brush). But not before a fifty yard detour to see Monkstone at early o'clock. How do heron's fly so slowly and stay up?
Still life: figs need timing. A friend likened them to peaches, there is only a one-minute window of perfect ripeness. I'd say pears too. Figs also need looking at reverently, with the minimum of contact, fuss, and paint. I failed threefold. But at least they tasted beautiful together. The cheese is (was) a delicate Pont Gar Blue from near the Afon Towy, by Carmarthen.
Paint: Figs (in my vast fig-painting experience) need more blues than I thought. So Kings Blue (Light and Deep), my Venetian Blu Turchese (heavenly) and the (ridiculously extravagant birthday blue from my brilliant wife) Lapis Lazuli (Series 7, 7!) And I needed it. I probably needed more such as a Cerulean. And I used Permanent Mauve, Ivory Black, Light Green, Burnt Sienna. (I'm still on the fig...)
Brush: I'd like to say that I used a cavalier approach and with a flick and a pas de deux with my doughty Size 2 filbert I was done. But. I used seven different round size 1s and 2s besides the filbert. Ridiculous faffing.
There we are. Hope you like it. Tomorrow I'll paint a tribute to Rothko with my Jewsons 2" nylon.
Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire (Day 13/365)
Today's Postcard "Three oaks and an ash"
The sky towards Gower from Coppet was as if flour had drifted two-thirds down a piece of slate. We missed the early early birds but oystercatchers peeping and two wandering kittiwakes gave Watson the eye. He was digging of course, head down, bum up, sandy chops.
Home for a heroes' breakfast: laverbread/oatmeal patties fried in butter, touch of white pepper. Chunky flat mushrooms (spruced up with a dab of Dijon, dash of balsamic); eggs. Pause. Strawberries (as a separate course). Pink Gins, Club Soda. Tilt at a windmill.
Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire Day 12/365
Today's Postcard "Curry Night"
I was away for the day so Watson Jones had a walk with the morning reserve team. I looked for him in case he was up for an early wander but WJ had traitorously found our guest's feet to warm...somehow not having a wander at the start of the day feels odd.
It was Curry night last night but there were spare raw materials aplenty for today's Postcard. I settled on the holy trinity of gingerchilligarlic. Most of which I could still taste, un peu trop d'ail peut etre? Looking for the subtle none-whites on the garlic's papery skin was trickier than I thought.
Paint: (on homemade Colby Bank ground colour) then Indian red, Burnt and Raw Siennas for the ginger plus a daub of Kings Blue Light; the chilli was a juggling act of Viridian, Sap Green and Permanent Green Light; also a touch of Bright Green Lake. Be careful with Lakes, they derive from "lac" and are glazey rather than truly opaque.
Leaving the beach this evening found me in a conversation with bats and a speckled wood butterfly under the trees, weaving around like soft ash from a bonfire.
Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire (Day 11)
Today's Postcard: "Field by the path"
Eloise away at her sister's. CJ returned to his humans. Just me and Watson on Coppet. And a primitive heron languidly leaning over the rock pools at Wisemans. And an egret, white as a wizard. Reminded me of watching them in the paddy fields in Goa.
Tonight is curry night. El's coming home with friend Lorelai in tow for the weekend, so I made a dal/curry thingy in readiness. Before I cooked I was going to paint some of the ingredients for today's postcards. But. This afternoon I took Watson for his second walk (I do other things too) and we took the path "up and over" from Coppet to Wisemans. Then this field. Dazzling: a slight breeze, wild grasses, deep shadows under oaks, purples by the yellows, colour theory. Shimmering. The redoubtable Watson napping missed a rabbit.
Paint (on my homemade Ritec Red ground): hedge darks in first (Permanent Mauve/Phthalo and Sap Greens in spirit wash) then P.Mauve/PhthaloBlue/T.White striped with a Phthalo Green/Kings Blue cool green for the grasses in shadow, woven together. Cadmium Green Pale and Naples Yellow for sunshine stems. Sap Green /Lemon Yellow Pale tints in the trees. Kings Blue Pale sky. Snoring dog.
Brushes: Size 2 Filbert, Size 2 synthetic round.
Birds: grey wagtail, wren, blackbird, scalding jay, raven on the bass.
Curry: courgette glut, greenhouse chilli, El's folks' beans, enough garlic to take on Transylvania.
Hope you like the painting,
Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire (Day 10/365)
Today's Postcard: Towards Wiseman's Bridge
Sometimes the best things sneak up even though you know they're there. Walking down the tramway as I have for the whole week with CJ the mad sweet collie and Watson (there's no excuse) Jones at 7.30 a.m. , and seeing this delicious, nearly blinding light with the land lump towards Monkstone, and the shimmery lane and late summer ferns, all has to be well. If it's not, time to stop and look for longer than you're used to perhaps. I know I'm guilty of not.
I started this painting with a sketch in oils and a glance over my shoulder to check the dogs were ok. Then Watson ran off after a squirrel or a leaf, CJ followed him so I did the same, mumbling politely under my breath. Then other things came up (including my lovely painting class) and then home. Then I walked the dog in the rain with my in-laws and their CJ. Then back to paint, with a tired soggy dog ready for his nap.
Paint: on top of my homemade Tir Penalun: dark inky trees and leafy canopy with Permanent Mauve/Hooker's Green mix (HGreen better in a mix I think) with white spirit so it dries really quickly. Then Sap Green/Cadmium Green Pale/Lemon Yellow melange depending upon what was needed to get the push/pull of the trees right. Kings Blue Light with T.White for the sky, P.Mauve/Phthalo Blue for the land mass. Flesh Tint and P.Mauve /T.White tint for the lane lights.
Brushes: big Size 18 splodger for the ground/earth colour; Size 2 round, Size 2 filbert.
Confession: it felt odd finishing this summery painting this evening after getting home dripping wet. But this morning was such a sunny a memory so there we are, I look to the light more perhaps.
Hope you like the painting, I have doubts about it's roughness maybe,
Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire (Day 9)
Today's Postcard: Waterwynch Lane
Very early start, hoping to be up before the dogs and get painting but to no avail so out at the crack of something, just light. But on the plus side: a returning barn owl, a soft bluey haze and a warm breeze. At the ironworks (Stepaside) CJ stopped short: rabbits everywhere. His fast stealthy approach caught my breath (I had visions of carnage) but fortunately Watson took off in very loud pursuit. Can collies sulk?
Yesterday I was torn between the cherry tree on one bank and, on the eastward side and down Waterwynch lane was this view, so here we are. The leaves are pinking, the blackberries very pickable (although I was told only to pick in September, is that right?) and the slithers of light are full of pinks and soft blues and P.Mauve tint. Add white for a tint.
Unprimed canvas stretched and glued around plywood. Then I prime it, dry it (oven is good if you're doing lots, 50-70C, is Bake Off starting tonight!!??) then I chose my homemade Tir Penalun/Penally Earth to "warm up" the white - thanks to Rich and Clare RD for their soil);
Paint: again, Permanent Mauve, Viridian and Sap Green for the inky shadows in the trees and hedges' "body colour". Then Flesh Tint, Cadmium Green/T.White tint for the highlights. And two yellows: Naples Yellow (which in Michael Harding's paints is an ochre in all but name; their Lemon Yellow is a buttery delight). What really helps is the ground colour, warm enough yet dark enough, leaves a grainy texture so the canvas doesn't have too much "tooth". PhthaloBlue/Zinc White miex with a tough of P.Mauve again for the cooler shadows on top of the inky stuff.
Brushes: Sizes 2 & 3 filbert; 2 round (synthetic bristle). Big round Size 18 splodger again to start.
Duck egg tortilla with leftover cooked new potatoes (how did they remain uneaten?) for supper. Hope you like the paintings
Welcome to Postcards from Pembrokeshire (Day 8)
Today's Postcard: "Cherry near Brynhir"
Apart from a raven cronking over the tramway near Wisemans, Watson gruffling after a squirrel (or a leaf) in the hedge and CJ covering the bank, all was very still on dog duty early this morning. Even before it was hot it felt it, stones already warming and the dogs seeking the cooler shadows. Dog days. I thought that meant dogs hiding from the heat but I looked it up: the Dog Star, Sirius is ascending during what should be the hottest time of the year (hmmm).
Paint (on top of my homemade Ritec Red ground): Permanent Mauve with Viridian for the shadows; Sap Green and Kings Blue Pale for the far trees; Cadmium Green (Pale) and a Burnt Sienna/T.White tint for the grasses. Ivory Black for the tree base (I never use IB but it's a handy dark dark when you need one.
Brushes: big Size 18 round splodger; Size 2&3 filberts; Size 2 round for the details.
More "three fruits" (greengage, apple and bramble) crumble in a moment. Heat = evening hunger for me.
Hope you like the painting,