Saturday, 19 May 2018

Holme Wold Farm - A Royal Picture?

The town was very quiet this morning. Unusually, several stalls were empty in the colourful Saturday Market, all very strange.I wondered why until someone reminded me of a wedding taking place. I visited Carluccio's for a coffee and a catch up with a friend and then returned home. On the radio ...... THE WEDDING commentary ! So, I gave in and put the television on, vows were being exchanged, then some wonderful singing from the choir followed by the excellent cello playing of Sheku Kanneh-Mason. I found that I was actually enjoying it all. Well all the best to them for a happy future.

It was a lovely sunny day, off I went, into the South Dalton area again. The cow parsley in the hedges is at its peak. Wonderful. Hawthorne hedges, bridesmaids bouquets, is also gloriously covered in flowers, May blossom. Trails of beautiful white flowers, flowing from the parent plant exude a heavy fragrance, which on passing lifts the spirits. The hedgerows continue to look wonderful, bluebells here and there, slashes of crimson pink campion, in particular, and some subtle wild flowers whose identity eludes me. I parked up in the shade of a dense copse, and made sure George was comfortable before setting up. This view is looking towards Holme Wold Farm. Most of the farm is hidden by the surrounding trees. As I painted the soft chirruping noises of foraging partridges could be heard as they approached me via the tractor 'runways'. On seeing me they exploding into flight and cruised off into the distance. Otherwise the day, was very quiet. Ethereal. A distant call, a mewing sound, alerted me that there was a buzzard, or was it a red kite, above me. It remained invisible until closer, on broad wings it soared past effortlessly, scouring the land for food. Orange tipped butterflies are still to be seen and are now joined by small blues. I also spotted a lone plover fly past. Again, I felt rather sad, as, as a young boy I would see huge flocks, so I adjourned to the Pipe and Glass for a coffee.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Lair Hill House, on the Middleton-on-the-Wolds road, near Holme-on-the-Wolds.

A cool day, though not a bad as yesterday when we had an artic wind... in mid May!
So, out again. Not too far, near Holme on the Moor, on the Middleton on the Wolds road, passing hedges full of cow parsley, campion, buttercups, cowslips and trimmed hawthorn hedges with fresh reddish growth sprouting into life. Yellowhammers are numerous and I think I saw a cuckoo flying along a low hedge in a strange undulating flight as I approached it flipped over the hedge and out of sight, is it too early? Perhaps not, even the swifts are here now,
This view, good for my art students, is looking up at Lair Hill House. It is beautifully situated with lots of interesting outbuildings and surrounded by a protective bank of trees. As I painted lots of huge vehicles passed by, massive tractors with raised rolling gear and agricultural bulk carriers. All courteously slowing down as they passed. A beautiful day.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Wolds view from near Lund, East Yorkshire.

The forecast is for rain but not until later, over here on the east. So, on a bright sunny morning, after making sandwiches and a flask, I set off. My intention was to visit Lund village and see if anything caught my eye. Approaching the pond, my breath was taken away.... almost. What a wonderful sight, the entire pond was ..PINK. The nearby cherry tree had shed a lot of petals and covered the pond. I tried to find a spot to paint it, but it is difficult and so I moved on. Another location, this time... a pink road, appealed as the cottages either side may have made a good picture. However, a nearby cottage is having a lot of building work done and the associated traffic precluded painting. So, moving on past the now familiar buzzards and red kite, past verges of wild garlic, bluebells, plantain, cowslips and embryonic cow parsley, to this spot above Lairhill Farm. In an adjacent field a farmer in a massive blue tractor was busy tilling a brown, speckled field with a Power Roll XL 1200. I noticed it had five wide rollers on a large rig and guessed it was 12 meters wide. Anyway on with the painting. A distant farmhouse could just be seen behind rolling fields which looked interesting. The main feature however is the sky, A big change from yesterday suggesting rain could be here soon. Occasionally the sound of a shotgun reminded me of this area being a different world from the small town of Beverley, yet only a short fifteen minute drive.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

View from Wold Farm, Lund, East Yorkshire Wolds.

Today is forecast to be the last of the recent hot days, so I set off, and eventually stopped, via a walking tour of Lund, and inspecting the pond at North Dalton, to this spot, near Holme on the Wolds. As I drove to the site, I saw a huge, low flying buzzard, slowly flapping its massive,  broad wings, flying unhurriedly as it ignored  a pair of attacking crows. Further along, I saw a red kite, soaring effortlessly, it's forked tail busy articulating as it flew. Suddenly, a crow appeared and tried to chase it away with no effect. In fact, the kite wheeled round resulting in the crow flying away, the kite prodding it along. I set up the Pochade box and started the painting. In front of me a field with serried rows of embryonic cereal, revealed at a  distance, the silhouette, of a lone hare sitting upright. The  calls of a plover made me look up in time to see the characteristic broad winged dive, always so dramatic. Sad, however to see just this lone bird, as a child I would see flocks of hundreds. As I painted, a car pulled up and a man got out and walked through the cereal field. Later as he returned, we talked about the crop, I assumed he was a farmer but in fact, he was an agronomist. I mentioned the need for rain, and he agreed saying "though not too much".  We reflected on the wildlife and how rich it was in this area in particular the numerous French partridge. A local resident passed with his lovely, curious golden Labrador, which was carrying a plastic bottle, all the time wagging his tail. I finished the painting and adjourned to the Pipe and Glass for a coffee, feeling the weather was already changing.

Lairhill Farm, near Holme on the Moor.

Travelling home, after painting at Loaningdale, I stopped and saw this view of a distant farmhouse near Holme on the Wolds. I stopped and took George for a walk and then gave him a good, long drink on this, still, very hot day. With the car parked in the shade of an adjacent wood, thus protecting George from the sun, I started painting. The canvas size is rather small for these huge vistas, making any real detailing difficult. Yet, I feel quite happy with this composition. The farm in the distance is Lairhill Farm situated in an area known as Lund Wold. To the right of the farm is an intriguingly steep cleft called Hugill Dale. It is invisible from the road, investigation being somewhat limited as a huge, active bull, is resident. Again, as well as abundant numbers of pheasants, partridge, and even quail can be see popping in and out of the hedgerows. Yellowhammer numbers are also strong. To the left of the farm, on the Goodmanham road, a field containing horse boxes could be seen. Later, as I painted, several drove past me heading for Holme on the Wold.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Loaningdale, Yorkshire Wolds, East Yorkshire.

Today the weather was very hot, as I set off, I encountered heavy traffic heading for the coast. Hence a detour at Bainton, past Chalk Pit Wood, and via Middleton found me here. I had never heard of this area and was surprised to see the name 'Loaningdale' referring to a delightful small valley situated behind the cottages. This section of road, like many in East Yorkshire is part of a Roman Road, being dead straight. With my imagination working overtime, I  pictured soldiers marching, with determination, talking loudly and thinking of food and rest at their next camp. Perhaps they were heading for York, that famous Roman City. Regardless, I set up and started painting. Occasionally, huge agricultural vehicles passed by, elevated drivers smiling down at me from their giant air conditioned armchairs. As they passed, they created huge clouds of dust, I had to quickly close my pochade box until things settled. As the weather was so hot I was anxious about George, in the car, getting too uncomfortable and so I rather rushed this picture. However, I think I like it, and may revisit the area soon. I spotted a small group of trees and thought they could be a future subject.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Warter village - Tour de Yorkshire.

Oil on canvas 12 x 10 inch
After walking George I popped into Beverley and had a coffee at Carluccio's. The town centre was wonderfully alive with lots of entertainers and a huge video screen showing the progress of the womens' race ( The Tour de Yorkshire ). I decided to continue the 'East Yorkshire Wolds' theme and found myself at Warter. The pond was unusually calm reflecting adjacent colours. I was surprised to see shoals of roach in the pond, having not ever seen them before. However, I digress. I settled on this spot and began by sketching out the scene, using a pencil, directly onto the canvas. The mens race was due to pass me in an hour. The leaders of the race, a breakaway group of about 6 riders zoomed past as helicopters, filming, flew overhead. The entourage with loud horns blaring signalled the main peloton a few minutes later. Very dramatic.
Hope you like it.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Looking towards Holme Wold, South Dalton.

Oil on canvas 12 x 10 inch.

Late afternoon looking over fields with bright yellow oil seed rape starting to bloom. The distant call of a Peewit (Lapwing) made me smile. I remember seeing huge flicks of these birds, with their broad blunt wings, and recall, how during the flying display of the male bird, the dramatic, sudden tumbling dive towards the ground was a wonder to see. This view is looking towards a hidden Holme Wold House with St. Mary's spire at South Dalton in the distance. The wind made the canvas flap a little which is another hazard of painting outdoors, as well as causing small harvest flies to get stuck to the canvas. Behind me was an intriguing, deep little valley. When I peered into it I saw lots of fine red cattle with calves. They found their way to the gate beside me and became very inquisitive. 
Fortunately the H U G E bull remained at the bottom of the valley. Behind me also, to my left was another farm Wold House Farm, a future subject.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A view from Huggate.

12 x 10 inch oil on canvas.

Another warm day saw me driving down meandering lanes, passing large, rolling, arable fields protected by neat hawthorn hedges, eventually stopping at Huggate. This view, looking north, on a still, slightly hazy, sunny day appeared possible. The house seemed to be protected by the trees around it and the huge barn reminds us of the agricultural relevance of this area of the Wolds. The distant horizon was a little paler than I have shown , though not significantly more so. I liked the very pale pink of the lower horizon and the foreground sheep.  I laid out the essential details and visited the next day to continue the painting. The public house, The Wolds Inn, is just to my left and I decided to partake of it's hospitality, having a sandwich and an apple juice ( cider ) while sitting outside in their beer garden. Driving away from Huggate I stopped and walked George. After a few minutes I discovered some hidden valleys, very dramatic, making me think about a future painting. Then, as if from nowhere, lots of horse riders passed me. After a canter from the valley below they slowed to a trot and then a walk, and, as they passed we exchanged some views about the weather, and I noticed the last rider had number 302 on her back.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Twixt Goodmanham and Middleton on the Wolds.

A very very hot baking day, record for an April day, what a change. I found some shade, which was not easy and saw this building, it is called Station Cottage. Halfway through painting, a huge wagon with attached huge trailer passed me. It was carrying lumber from the distant woods. Yellowhammers were again calling as I painted, and George lay chewing a branch, in the shade. I started by having a coffee at the Fidler's Cafe in Goodmanham, ( the name relates to the old fashioned, manual fiddle used for sowing seed ). This spot is 5 minutes drive away. Whilst I was painting a car stopped, out popped an ex colleague who had just left Fidler's where she had taken her mum and sister. It always amazes me, that in the middle of nowhere friends pop up. Celandines were glowing golden yellow in the verges looking luminous. The chalky ground in the fields was evident here and there, reminding me that crops grow under a heavy regime of fertiliser and spraying. Indeed, I cautiously moved George as a huge crop sprayer approached us at one point.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Holme on the Moor, East Yorkshire. ( WOLDS COLLECTION )

Plein air, oil on canvas 12 x 10 inch
This took me two visits, most done yesterday, with today just to finish off details as yesterday was very blustery making the pochade box wobble ! Though this is not an obvious view to paint I have found it delightful. This shows the western approach to the hamlet with daffodils still in bloom on the verges. Celandines are now also at their best and are scattered along the grassy roadsides. As I painted, the quietude made one almost meditate at times. I was fortunate to see a hare emerge from a hedge, and then casually move along it before crossing the lane. I also saw lots of partridge in the hedges, both grey and red legged as well as hearing the 'krarkk' of pheasants in the fields. The peace would occasionally be disturbed by passing farm vehicles and at one point a low flying RAF trainer plane. Sheep, to my left,  with very young lambs completed a lovely, serene, bucolic experience.

Monday, 16 April 2018

South Dalton, looking at St. Mary's Church.

12 x 10 oil on canvas
Hi everyone, I set out mid afternoon to finish this painting as the weather was sunny and I thought it would be nice to paint in the warmth of of a spring day. I had thought about not doing this view but as I looked I saw various points of interest including two distant horses. The large beech tree provides good framing and, in the end, I like it. It is a view which is probably more interesting to paint at this time before the greenery develops on the tree. At the moment painting, though a joy, is also a little challenging and I hope, as time passes, it will be easier.
A cheerful sight of a bright yellow, yellowhammer, made me smile as i packed up....'a little bit of bread and nooooo..... cheeeeeese"
Hope you like it.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

South Dalton and a red kite.

12 x 10 oil on canvas
After seeing friends in Beverley, I drove out in the late afternoon, to South Dalton. I pulled up and saw this view of the distant St. Mary's church, across bare fields. I liked the way the tree framed the spire of the church. In front of me were pools of water after all the rain we have had, even today was misty in the early morning and only improved slightly. The cold became penetrating and with my hands freezing I packed up and headed for the Pipe and Glass for a coffee. I had a lovely chat and sat near the fire to thaw out. On leaving, I looked up and saw a magnificent red kite circling lazily on outstretched wings, it's forked tail being just evident. I have kept this painting quite loose and not over worked it.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Barn near Bracken, East Yorkshire

!2 x 10 Oil on canvas
A quiet day started with a visit to Beverley Minster, to hear the visiting The Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge, going through some practise before Eucharist. I then left and set off to find somewhere to paint. The sky was overcast, dull though the sun was trying to get through. I found myself on this road again, leading to Bracken. Growing on the verges alongside these quiet roads are wild primroses and anemones auguring in the developing spring. I set up on the edge of the field. The quiet location encouraged many cyclists to ride by, away from nearby busy roads. Vintage motorcycles also passed noisily with names from the past on their tanks. Two horseriders, having passed earlier, returned and said hello. I have put them in on the right hand side.  I have moved the left side tree closer to the barn, to help the composition. All the painting was done at the site and is a little loose and not overworked.
Back in Beverley I met the mother of one of my students ( AG ) and we had a lovely chat, as a fellow artist I hope you like this picture.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The road to Bracken, East Yorkshire.

12 x10 inch, oil on canvas.
Another showery day with aggressive skies threatening, at any moment, to open up and force a retreat. I saw this barn just off the road to Bracken, East Yorkshire. ( That will have a few of you looking it up -  it is near Lockington ). Hope you like it.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Holme on the Wolds, East Yorkshire.

12 x 10 inch, oil on canvas.
Driving around the South Dalton you come to this junction at Holme on the Wolds,

( ... always makes me feel like singing
 " Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day....)

anyway it is a small farming hamlet. It has rained so much recently I have wondered about building an ark, and indeed I managed only to sketch this onto the canvas before it rained again. So I had to finish it at home. It will be so good to get some dry weather. I hastily moved over to the Pipe and Glass, at South Dalton for a bowl of soup.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Holmedale Farm, near South Dalton

Tootling around South Dalton before we had all this rain I saw this elevated farm, Holmedale Farm. Feel it needs tidying up really but wanted to post it.May just tidy uo the windows and also review some colour, may even remove the gate.

Monday, 26 March 2018

A road to Middleton on the wolds.

It was a lovely day today and after some essential jobs, I decided, quite late, to try another sketch. I found myself on the road to Middleton, and saw this view. I set up the pochade box and after a short while met a local farmer. Very interesting chat about past weather. He could remember the winter of 1947 when he walked on snow which had settled at telegraph pole height !! The cottage in the distance is Firtree Cottage, the road to South Dalton via Hotham Hall turns right just before the cottage. Though quiet, the song of a yellowhammer made me smile, ' ...a little bit of bread and no cheeeeese..' Huge agricultural machines passed by having done their work in the huge adjacent fields and horse riders came over to us. A lovely day with D'reen very much with me in my thoughts.

The set up.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

South Dalton

The quiet tranquil road lead past grazing horses, indeed, coming towards me along the road were two horse riders, heading for the nearby equine training centre. A rural scene. The trees planted along this road are magnificent and border the local estate of Dalton House. The quietude, no motor car noises, is unusual and bird noises seemed especially clear. Sudden, loud, honking sounds occasionally echoed around me a geese flew overhead. Above me kites circled on lazy wings as I painted. I needed two visits and today I was joined by a lovely friendly terrier, later retrieved by two people who had come down the road looking for her. Doreen would have loved this view.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

South Dalton from the North East

South Dalton 12 x 10 oil on canvas
Though sunny the weather remains very cold with the wind chilling blasts making the pochade box wobble and my fingers complain. This has been done using a minimum pallette, cadmium yellow, cerulean blue, raw sienna, black and white. The icing on the cake, so to speak, was a recuperative visit to the Pipe and Glass for a sandwich and coffee, where on leaving a red kite hovered overhead as I chatted to a local farmer and his wife. He was knowledgeable regarding local wildlife and spoke of  otters, roe deer and coots. A lovely excursion and something which is typical of what I would have done with Doreen, whose presence is still very much with me.... thank god.

Friday, 16 March 2018

D'reen - temporary message for my followers and friends.

Many of you will know now, that I have lost my loving, supportive wife. Words cannot express how I feel.

In time I will be painting again, but for now, I am lost, my strength is weakening and now after the initial frenzy of necessary things to do, I am missing her more. Yet I must remember I have been blessed with so many memories... it just hurts.

Here is a picture of a smiling D'reen just last October on her birthday. Pat, the flowers were from you, and she loved them.

Link to video with pictures and dialogue

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Skidby Cottage.

Wednesday was such a lovely day.
I was en route to see friends in Hull and had time to detour to try another painting, however, after walking George I only had time to do a sketch. I saw this building, actually two cottages, nicely framed by huge, ivy covered trees. It was an obvious choice. Just out of view, a man was fixing a garage door, I almost felt like asking if he needed help. It is so nice just to sketch and really look at what you are doing. The twittering of some birds made me look across and I saw two long tailed tits and a lone bluetit, can you see them. Spring is definitely here now with lots of bird activity. I had almost finished when cars came and parked in front of me - they thought I may have been from the council, so I said "We were knocking the cottages down and putting in a roundabout,".....before admitting I was simply sketching.
I will add a wash to this sketch soon.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Near Risby, East Yorkshire.

I set off to visit the "The Art of Terence Cuneo" exhibition at Hull University though, as the weather was so much better, I changed my mind and detoured to Risby. I found myself near the remains of an Italianate terraced garden. It was fascinating to read the history of the place, the terraces easily visible from where I painted this picture. As I painted I heard the honking of a skein of geese to my left, flying low, before settling rather aristocratically with their 'noses' in the air. A buzzard flew lazily by and then all was quiet. This is only the second painting this year and I am still rather rusty. Yet it was good to be painting again. Suddenly a car pulled up on the narrow road. It was a colleague from my time teaching at Beverley Grammar School ( founded AD700 - a note for my friends in 'The Colonies' ).
We had a lovely chat as we recounted various times and other colleagues.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Beverley Open Exhibition.

I have been fortunate to have had my work regarding D'reen  selected for the exhibition. The pleasure I felt at having these pictures accepted and on display is that poor Doreen died, in my arms, on the 12th March, and thus they have become a poignant though ultimately important tryptich marking the end of a ten year journey. God bless you Doreen, you were absolutely perfect and loving and utterly supportive to me and so many others.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Dementia Journey - D'reen.

I am pleased to say that these pictures have been selected for the Beverley and East Riding Open Art Exhibition. I would like to thank the curator and selectors for their help and encouragement.

 D'reen, as she was always called, was intelligent, thoughtful, kind and caring. Here is a portrait of her as I remember her, happy, alert, kind and intelligent. Sadly she succumbed and suffered from dementia. It started 9 years ago and has got progressively worse, and about four weeks ago she has had to go into a care home.

 Here is a picture of D'reen going away. It is rather conventional with the perspective focusing on the light. She is walking through shadows, a metaphor of her life. The autumn leaves suggest termination. Is she is heading for the black shadow or the light above. Will she turn the corner and get better. Is the road endless. A road sign mentions Zone Ends, does life end?

Shattered memories
Stained thoughts
Leaving reality

The finished picture needs to be explained.

Doreen is shown lying back, an element of perspective emphasises her downturned mouth. Her mouth is open, a large area of blackness, a repeating darkness. The faceted face is asymmetrical yet balanced. Her head is tilted slightly, indicating that her equilibrium is off balance.

The face is faceted the eyes open, yet unseeing, her hair falls onto tilted shoulders with another perspective element emphasising a slight diminution to the left hand side. There is something about the hair. It looks like it could be wings, a wing either side of her head. The Left hand wing is damaged, again a metaphor, yet also there is a finality about this, the damaged wing ultimately dooming the ability to feed and eat and survive. Stepping back you can see the wings provoke a suggestion of an angel. An angel flying away, flying higher, but that its damaged wing may mean that it cannot ascend quickly, efficiently, it needs to struggle to get away.

To the left of the head there is a linear conjunction of shapes making a line which touches and enters the upper forehead, here it stops, though there is evidence of continuity past the head to the right hand side.

The head has been hit, has been entered and damaged?

A bar has hit the head, and caused damage to the brain.

Below this bar, either side of the head larger shapes represent partial recall, memories of people who may be recognised as familiar, though not necessarily recognisable. Something about them is familiar, but what?

Is the flesh coloured triangle on the right hand side John the husband of 40 + years.

Above the 'bar' we see smaller triangular shapes, smaller memories, some are family members, parents and sisters, some are our dogs. But they are fading, they are in focus and organised but the next second the are discordant and confused. Some of the triangles lie adjacent to ones of similar colour making it difficult at first glance to identify where one stops and the other starts.

Dark shapes, black holes? Memory voids?

Occasionally there are flashes of much more distant memories, of people, of words, 'woebegone' mountains and lakes.

The shapes, mainly triangular, can be seen as delta shapes, a mathematical symbol of change, her representing change, deterioration and ultimately an ending. Standing back again some of these delta shapes combine to produce arrow heads flying away, taking away, taking memories away.

The shapes coalesce and some form slip planes, areas of structural failure, of memory weaknesses. Memories become darker and are disappearing off the edge of the picture.

Below the head Doreen is enshrouded by her comforter.

She is wearing her striped top which can be seen below her head.

The whole picture is made up of colours found in the face. The person and the surrounding memories are thus linked, are one, are shared.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Stream - a watercolour sketch

Idid this sketch some time ago, just came across it and thought that I would share it with you all. this simple little sketch using some basic watercolour paints was done in situ, loosely put together. I guess my idea was to try and capture the reflections in the stream. I often stop at this bridge, over the stream, which leads into a field used for growing a rotation of crops such as wheat, barley, cabbages and peas. One reason I stop is to spot the endangered water voles, mini beavers which appear in the spring. Mallards also appear at this time and proceed to swim up and down this section of the stream and are later accompanied by tiny ducklings.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Pocklington Canal - first painting.

Oil on canvas 12 x 10 inch
The first painting of the year and, in fact for over a year. Though I have tried some acrylic portrait work this is the first time I have managed to get out and paint 'en plein air' ... and I was a little rusty. The simple mechanics of walking to a spot with the tripod and pochade box, setting up and painting proved a little challenging. ....And it was a cold day. A dull day with low cloud. Behind me the sun tried, occasionally to get through.
I saw this area, near the last lock that is being renovated and thought it might work as a picture. It does not matter really. It was so good to get out and paint. Few people ventured out though a group did appear in the distance, one of whom wore a bright red jacket, so I quickly tried to add them.  Glad to be back.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Women's Suffrage and Hull Fishermens' Memorial

Today marked a significant point regarding the commemoration of the loss of three HULL trawlers within a short time of each other. It resulted in many safety improvements for those involved in this hazardous life at sea. I like to think of the efforts of the headscarf housewives, in particular Lillian Belocca who championed the fishermens' cause.
At this time of remembrance and also the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote I thought this illustration was apposite.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Womens anniversary of getting the vote.

This is a reworked poster which I produced for a friend some time ago, it has massive significance at this time and, as can be seen, pre-dates women getting the vote by some time.

Sunday, 14 January 2018