Riverside Trilogy, Ulting

I received the application form for the annual art exhibition in Langford and Ulting Village Hall as a friend and I were planning a kayak trip from Hoe Mill Lock. It was the perfect opportunity to take some reference photos of the beautiful Ulting countryside along the banks of the River Chelmer as we paddled to Paper Mill Lock and back. 

Being so low, sitting on the surface of the water, lends an unusual perspective and, as my kayak buddy pointed out, these pen and wash landscapes actually have the orientation of portraits.

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It was the striking silouhettes of the towering teasels I noticed first, I love the way they frame this little rural scene. water, langford and ulting village hall, art exhibition, countryside,ulting, river chelmer, riverbank, riverside,silhouette, landscape, essex, burnham art club, pen and wash, drawing, painting, illustration, watercolour, watercolor

I was struck by the lush green of this riverside field in contrast to the backlit branches, still bare, on the cusp of spring.

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And lastly, the beautiful old church appears to grow out of the vegetation on the riverbank.

The exhibition will celebrate local artists and raise money for the village hall:

Langford and Ulting Village Hall, Langford Road, CM9 4SS

Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April 2023, 10am-5pm

Burnham Art Club – Winter 2022-23

Happy to present the remaining pen and wash paintings I made between December 2022 and February 2023.

sunset, trees, winter, silhouette, landscape, sky, clouds, essex, mayland, essex, burnham art club, pen and wash, drawing, painting, illustration, watercolour, watercolor

Above and below, a couple more attempts to capture the colourful sky as the winter sun sets behind our neighbours’ poplar trees.

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And since I’m partial to a silhouette, here’s Asheldham church backlit by a January sunset.

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While taking a short, time killing wander around Maldon one December evening I noticed these illuminated leaves still clinging to a tree behind the Blue Boar pub.

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It never ceases to amaze me how winter pansies can continue to bloom after being repeatedly frozen, aparently solid. 

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The two beauties above live in the neighbourhood.

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My mum bought this beautiful Singer for £32, 12 shillings and thruppence in 1962 which is worth between £658 and £873 depending on your inflation calculator. 

Burnham Art Club – November 2022

Even if I can’t get to Burnham Art Club meetings on a Tuesday morning, to either paint out in the open air or inside the Art Club meeting hall, I set time aside to make a new painting at home.

These are the paintings I made in November.

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I actually made a version of this view of Tillingham Church about six months ago in May. I drove to Tillingham on a bright morning and sat drawing in the street until the chill from the wind got a bit uncomfortable. The passersby were mostly curious and friendly and the guy whose house I was sitting outside kindly offered me a cuppa. He’d overestimated the warmth of the sunshine too – he came out wearing shorts and no top!

I was out of practice back then and although the painting  came out ok, I wasn’t happy with the composition so I redid it this month.

cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, pen and wash, drawing, painting, illustration, food, homegrown, watercolour, watercolor

We’ve still got tomatoes growing in our greenhouse here in Mayland. I was struck by the elegance of this particular branch as it draped over the bamboo cane. I also love the colour gradation of the fruits as they ripen at differnet rates. 

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And finding this beautiful rose blooming in our neighbours’ garden while I was house  sitting recently was a lovely surprise. Its scent was diivine but, sadly, capturing that was beyond me!

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You may recognise the form of the trees above from a painting I made almost exactly a year ago.

It’s the view from my bedroom window, and by November the sun has crept around the house to set behind the neighbours’ poplars, with Mayland Hill in the background.

Although the silhouette of the trees is basically unchanged, there’s huge variation and sometimes drama in the sky colours as the sun goes down. 

Burnham Art Club – Autumn 2022

Back in September I joined Burnham Art Club – a group of painters formed in the 1960s based in the beautiful riverside town of Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex.

It’s been a joy to meet other like-minded painters for the weekly discipline of painting in the open air, especially since the weather this autumn has been (mostly) glorious.

Apart from the Autumn Acer, I started all the paintings shown below on site, adding the finishing touches in the comfort of home. They’re all pen and watercolour on 30.5 x 23 cm 300gsm 50% cotton Fabriano paper which has a lovely ‘woven’ texture.

Number 7

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I was invited in for coffee and a little house tour by the lovely owners of this gorgeous 250 year old Dutch built property, which they used to run as a combined antique and tea shop.

The Clock Tower

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This stunning clock tower, which is the focal point of Burnham High Street, was built in 1877 in memory of Laban Sweeting, a local oyster merchant and philanthropist. The original plan was to put up a clock in his honour but donations came in so fast after his death that there was enough money to build a tower to house the clock.

I got the bones of this drawing down while perched on my little stool in the High Street, but once the cold rain showers joined the chilly wind I retreated inside to add the watercolour.

Green Door

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After tackling the clock tower with all its bricks and angles I was in the mood for a simpler subject the following week. I was drawn to the beautiful colour of this front door and the calming symmetry of its setting.

Autumn Acer

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At the suggestion of the art club chair person we took a break from street painting and took on autumnal still lifes in the meeting hall. I plucked this acer branch from our garden as I passed because I was struck by the lovely contrast of its reddish leaves against the sky. Hence the blue background.

Wallasea from Burnham Quay

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For week five, I decided that it was time to tackle some boats. I settled on this view across the River Crouch to Wallasea Island, home to a wetland bird sanctuary, from Burnham Quay. That obliging seagull kindly stood on the post for long enough to have its picture ‘taken’. 

Blue Boat, Low Tide

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I loved the dramatic angle that this blue boat made with the horizontals as it leaned over at low tide. The River Crouch is an estuary, so tides flow in from and out to the North Sea twice a day. Of course the tide came in as I was painting, the blue boat started to float on the water, and all those angles changed. The people who came up for a look and a chat were a bit confused by the difference between my painting and the actual view!