Here is an area where I really should do more. In the 90′s I always took a small watercolour sketch book and paints with me when I went anywhere special. However when I started to do acrylics and now oils the load became greater. Canvas, easel, paint, stool, brushes and thinners not to mention sundry rags, rulers, drinks and cameras. The watercolour bag just became one too many things and my knees were complaining as I toiled along the coast path. To put this right I’ve built myself a pochade box (I couldn’t find one I approved of so I had to build one myself.) which holds most of what I need and fits on to my lightweight camera tripod. So the watercolours can be reinstated.
The lovely thing about the sketch books I produced in the 90′s was the way in which they provided a pictorial diary which still brings me pleasure when I leaf through them. Memories of places and people come flooding back.
My late mother sitting painting. An onlooker might have thought we were not enjoying ourselves as plenty of muttered expletives could be heard as
we worked and hit snags. Watercolour no matter how experienced you are carries a very high possibility of failure. On the other hand if you pull it off
there is no fresher way to record a scene. I’ve made these as near as I can to actual size none took more than an hour and most only half of that.
Here is what we were painting. I had finished mine and then turned to paint my mother. The back
is inscribed Jumilhac La Grand. So France then.
Church of Santiago in Villafranca in Northern Spain. One of the last holidays I took with my parents
when they were getting quite elderly. We travelled all across Galicia ending up in Santiago Compostela.
Like a pilgrimage but with no religion and much less walking. We saw this little church in the day but
the light was too flat, so I walked up in the evening to paint.
Here is our destination, Santiago. This was a fiendish subject, with the light changing rapidly and in the
full public gaze. One little boy watched the whole process commenting in Spanish as I progressed.
Round at the back door of the cathedral. There were bagpipers making a tremendous racket and I was again the subject of much interest.
Mostly I don’t mind if people come and look, but I hate the ones who saunter round pretending they are not interested then suddenly
appear at you shoulder… alas it is the English who seem to make their approach in this manner, most other Europeans are refreshingly
direct. Americans try to buy your painting and don’t understand when you won’t agree. One such lady with fearsome spectacles took a
sneaky photo when I refused to sell my sketch and declared, “Well now I got it anyhow!”
Very tiny sketch I found recently. No idea where it is, if anybody recognises it let me know… in Worcestershire
Well hopefully the next post with watercolour content will contain new paintings. I’m off to beautiful Pembrokeshire soon so I should have no excuses.