Monday, 26 July 2021

Finally the flower we have waited for...

We've had an  Agave americana  cactus looking plant for  17 years now and have hoped we would get to see it flower.

When I say flower, it grows a long stalk which produces branches with a flower on the ends. The whole thing is looked upon as a flower.  Sadly, and usually, when it has 'flowered' the plant then dies.  I guess it puts so much energy into the process that it finishes it off.  However, we have got 'juniors' from it, already planted around our garden.

We were delighted when about 6 weeks ago we noticed the beginnings of a flower, but have been amazed at how fast it grows.  

It goes through an "asparagus looking phase" and is now at the "asparagus crossed with a broccoli phase".

We've taken photos along the way...

6th June :

You can only just see the lighter growth in the middle of the plant - the flower part - and going on the overall growth, we reckon in this photo the flower must have had a week of growing time.

prior to this...I had thought the plant was dying, you can see how sad the leaves are looking, but obviously it was a sign that the flower was on the way.

20th June:         This next photo shows how quickly it grows 

6th July:                   It was obviously trying to race the sun-brolly!

Onward and upward as they say....

11th July:    we had been measuring (as best we could) with a long extendable pole and in this next photo I've noted the height of the plant (I'm just to give some scale)

22nd July:  From the previous photo on the 11th, to this next photo on the 22nd, you can see how the branches have grown.  To the right, you can see one of the 'juniors'.

At this point, the plant is still growing upwards and the branches are extending, so who knows where it will be eventually.  Perhaps we should have put a warning light on it for aircraft! 

I will keep you updated on its progress, although we have given up trying to measure it - the extendable pole is too short! 

Friday, 16 July 2021

A random photo

I get to chat with a lot of visitors over at Arlington Court when I'm plein air painting. 

I'm guessing they take a lot of photos but I've rarely seen any of me painting.

That is until this week when a picture of me popped up in a local Facebook group....

(photo courtesy: Keith Maynard facebook)

I hadn't noticed someone taking photos, but when I'm in the painting zone anything could be happening around me and I'd be oblivious! 


Monday, 12 July 2021

And I'm back at Arlington Court - what a surprise!


The weather for my plein air painting session last week was, can I say, a bit "Iffy"   - there is no doubt, look at those clouds!   But I kept going.  I had a Plan though and was prepared to pack-up all the painting gear and head off.  However, the clouds moved away.  Replaced with others, but at least it didn't cause "Rain Stopped Painting", as opposed to 'rain stopped play' 🏏

I had set-up my easel further away from the pathways on this occasion.  Not to avoid people, but to get the angle I needed of the House.  Even so, a lot of people came over and chatted.  I hadn't noticed at the time,  a lady sat on a nearby seat who was sketching and eventually came over to chat with me.   I quite envied her simple approach to just sitting quietly and sketching on her own......although it turned out she was 'entertained' by listening to me chatting with the various visitors who stopped by.  Her comment was a surprise to me, as she thought I was so patient with people interrupting me when I was busy painting.  How kind of her to say - then she saw my Notice inviting people to stop and chat.  I pointed out that people hadn't even seen the Notice, and she was even more impressed that I was so patient with the visitors.   Wow!...this simple little fact really cheered me.

If you click the image above, hopefully the short video will play.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Waiting for paint to day

When you're an Oil painter, waiting for paint to dry is the norm.  I found that a bit frustrating years ago, as I wanted to get on and complete a piece of art, but nowadays I go with the flow as they say.  In fact, in many ways, it works in my favour by giving me time away from the painting, I then look at it again some weeks later and 'see it with fresh eyes', this enables me to know if anything needs more work.  

This is exactly what happened with this one...

"Break in the Clouds" had been set aside for some weeks, so when I put it back on the easel again, I could see where to add extra detail/s.  The danger is you can keep going, changing this, changing that, and get nowhere - in the end you have to say 'That's it done".... as with this one.  It has the atmosphere I was after.  

'Where is this scene'  I hear you ask.  It isn't far from home and sums up so many views across Exmoor.  When we go for a drive to Lynton and the Valley of Rocks, I catch glimpses of painting opportunities and have tried to capture some of them in memory but also some quick photos from the car.... as here  ⤵︎ 

Admittedly they aren't particularly great photos ... but they're certainly enough to jog my memory and even, as with the last picture, the clouds give me ideas for paintings.

As an artist, I'm very inspired by other artists.  Oh the list is endless.  Artists copy other Artists, it's a given and I love watching artists work, in person and also through Youtube.  Some of you may remember that I have taken various 1 or up to 5 day Workshops...mainly those have been in Watercolour.  They have served me well and I've taken away (even a very small part) some gem or idea that has gone into my work. 

The same goes for Youtube and various artists including Stuart Davies (I've mentioned him before on this blog).  His Channel is full of inspiration, although he works his landscapes the same every time.  Not a bad thing, it has to be said, and one thing he points out is getting artists to 'relax and not worry about applying paint to canvas' - just go for it and not avoid going back over an old painting.  The old Masters used to do that a lot.  X-Ray's of their works have shown they painted over and changed their artwork several times.  Lets face it, they made mistakes or weren't happy with their art, like the rest of us.

I had a 12x12 inch canvas painting which wasn't working, so I gessoed over it.  And there it sat waiting for 'Something'.  Then the other day I had that "eureka moment" - or at least a moment of "Oh just get on with it".  That was enough for me to put lots of lovely juicy paint on my freshly cleaned palette (nothing like a clean palette to start me off) and within 30 minutes I had painted this one ↴

~ ann ~


Sunday, 27 June 2021

Plein air @ Arlington Court

As often as possible I go to Arlington Court to do some plein air painting...(you know that right, I go on about it enough).  Of course the weather does change my plans - early in the week the forecast looks good for a specific day I've chosen, and then on the day it is terrible!   Okay, I have to be flexible with my days, but generally I do find the day I have in mind works out.  Last week was such an occasion and although the sun didn't show itself, the rain stayed away...bonus Yes.

Having recently completed a view of the House itself, I moved slightly further down the path and turned around to face the church.  It appears between the trees in one particular spot and that's where I set up my easel.

Not all my efforts of setting up/easel/folding table/paint/brushes etc etc... were put into just this little postcard sized study, I did a couple of 8"x8" canvases, but didn't get around to taking photos of those in situ.  All the paintings will have to wait for the layer of paint to dry, then I can get them completed on my return visit - When... I WILL TRY TO REMEMBER TO TAKE A VIDEO AS WELL.  📽

Friday, 25 June 2021

For a change

Decided to paint something totally different - Yes, a narrowboat.  Quite funny as we don't live near a canal.   Well, I say that, our nearest canal is about an hour away at Tiverton and it doesn't join the canal system - it is literally landlocked - eleven miles of it!  

(I did a blogpost recently about it here: Finding Inspiration).

So where did I get the inspiration for this particular painting.  Youtube of course!   I follow several Youtubers who own and live on their boats.  Their vlogs are very entertaining and I end up watching them - and other Youtube channels - far more than ordinary TV.

If anyone is interested in following some of the narrowboaters on Youtube, then here are some links for you - they're not in any particular order

Foxes Afloat

Holly - The Cafe Boat

Weir On The Move

Well Deck Diaries

Chugging Along

Liveaboard Lifestyle

Minimal List



Tuesday, 22 June 2021

On the easel

Waiting for this Oil painting to dry sufficiently to then go back and add some detail.  I don't think there will be too much to add, I don't want to overwork it.  At least leaving it for a week or two will enable me to look at it again with fresh eyes....that's when I'll know how and what to add.

Measures 8" x 16" inches (that's 20 x 40cm in foreign money). 

I've done a very short clip of this whilst it's drying on the easel and added it to my youtube here

Now to get on with some other paintings

 - be back soon -

Friday, 18 June 2021

It was a Giveaway

Last weeks painting session at Arlington Court had a change of plan.  The weather forecast was a bit grim towards the tail end of the week, so I opted to do my plein air painting session earlier in the week - thus beating the storm (which unsurprisingly didn't come to anything - the forecasters seem to have got it wrong, I wonder how that happened)!

But anyway, back to my painting session there.  Turned out to be a good day,  I had chosen a shaded area, which meant I didn't burn in the sun - Plus the painting I had started the other week, was completed...(I'll do a separate blogpost about it soon).   Added to all this, I gave away 3 paintings to some lovely visitors. These are the paintings, only small ones but there were reasons I didn't want to add them to my online shop...

Painting No. 1....  This measured 4x6inches on panel - 'The Lake at Arlington Court'  -  I had used it as a demo painting on my Youtube channel a while back - very quickly painted with no refined detailing, so felt it would make a good one to Giveaway.

Painting No. 2 ... again approx. 4x6inches but painted on cardboard (primed of course). A view across Exmoor - basically because it was on cardboard, I felt it would make a nice little Giveaway.

and finally

Painting No. 3 ... 5x7inches on panel.  This one was a piece copied from the American artist Turner Vinson (with his permission) of the Bitterroot River in Montana.  At the time I wanted to try out a completely different style, also out of my comfort zone, so what better than to try out an impressionist piece with very gestural marks and thick paint.  I enjoyed painting it, but felt I couldn't add it to my online shop, since it was a work from someone elses.  I did add the details on the reverse of this, so that the people who received this Giveaway, were fully informed (and I told them too).

During the painting session at Arlington, a lot of people stopped to chat.   No idea how, but you just get a feeling that some people would love to go home with a painting - for those, I delve into my art bag, and show them a painting, then say "here you are, it's yours".    If I said they are astonished and delighted, it would be an underestimate.   I seemed to have made their day, and hopefully they will always remember their Arlington visit.

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