Merlin paintings – in preview sale on 5 April

In the preview sale on 5 April, Merlin on the Run and Merlins Racing past Fishermen are two of the latest crop of paintings which will be offered at a discount price to those attending this celebration of the start of another season of art.

 

Merlin on the Run

Merlin on the Run is the featured image above.

The Merlin Rocket Association has a long and ongoing relationship with the Salcombe Yacht Club. Sailors too, often have a close ‘relationship’ with Merlins and their crew.

Merlins | Salcombe Art

Merlins Racing Past Fishermans

When I’m on the water, if I look over my shoulder to see Merlin’s bow wave, powered up with a mighty full spinnaker, I know it’s time to move out of their way. The right of way rule is immaterial …

 

Merlins Racing Past Fishermans

I could not have painted the drama of Merlins Racing Past Fishermans without my photos for reference. Everything happens so fast out on the water.

I raced in Fireballs in my twenties and thirties. These also had spinnakers and were equally unstable when a strong puff of wind visited the estuary.

 

Merlin (Salcome Gin) | Salcombe ArtMerlin Rocket Week

Each year,  the Merlin sailors and their families and friends descend on the town for a week of racing.

In 2019, this event is called Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week 2019 in recognition of the sponsors: Salcombe Gin.

 

Salcombe Gin

The Salcombe Gin Company can be found at The Boathouse, 28 Island Street, Salcombe TQ8 8DP. On-site, there is a distillery, shop, and bar, and they offer courses too at the Gin School. You can make your own gin …

Back to art!

 

Merlin paintings

Merlins | Merlin on the Run - in preview sale on 5 April | Salcombe ArtI love painting these beautiful crafts and now have five images featuring them.

123 Merlins is sold already but the image is available as a fine art greetings card, and – both as a square image and a rectangular image – for the affordable art items too.

 

Come to the Preview evening: 6-9pm on Friday 5 April

If you would like an invitation to the Preview evening, please contact me.

You will be made very welcome at Beacon House Gallery.

Walking back to Hope Cove – in the preview sale on 5 April

In the preview sale on 5 April, Walking back to Hope Cove is one of the latest crops of paintings which will be offered at a discount price to those attending this celebration of the start of another season of art.

 

Walking Back to Hope Cove

The geography is so compact in the Hope Cove area that, to climb the hill to the West of the Cottage Hotel, and to look back gives a fascinating view.

It’s a walk that Anne and I have done many times. We tend to walk as far as the shack overlooking Thurlestone Rock, have a snack and walk back. Either way, we get the view I’ve tried to capture in this painting. And much-needed exercise …

 

Why the Cottage Hotel?

For us, the Cottage Hotel is home from home.

Whenever we want to ‘get away’ from Salcombe, rather than driving for hours, maybe spending time in an airport, and going through the drama of travelling, we head instead for the Cottage Hotel.

Fifteen minutes in the car and we are transported to another era. The Cottage Hotel is going through refurbishment and redevelopment, but the traditional qualities of service and putting the visitors’ first remain.

The Cottage offers two bonuses for us – things we don’t have in our home in Salcombe, and miss – the sunset and a bath.

If we wake early enough, we enjoy spectacular sunrises as Beacon House faces east and we are high up Bonfire Hill …

We sacrificed our bathroom to make way for a platform lift so that our home is wheelchair friendly. In years to come, we’ll be grateful not having to climb the many stairs. Meanwhile, when we want a soak in the bath, we book an overnight stay at the Cottage Hotel.

We enjoy the sunset and a delicious dinner. Of course, the sweet trolley has no impact on our decision making!

 

Is Hope Cove a special place for you too?

Affordable art - Hope Cove key ringOver the past few years, I’ve painted quite a few Hope Cove scenes. This year, there’s the Schooner Sunset plus Walking Back to Hope Cove.

Previously, the most popular painting was Hope Cove, and that image (and many others) is now available in my affordable art range, as a key ring, for example.

 

Come to the Preview evening: 6-9pm on Friday 5 April

If you would like an invitation to the Preview evening, please contact me. You will be made very welcome at Beacon House Gallery.

Schooner Sunset

Schooner Sunset – in the preview sale on 5 April

Salcombe Schooner Port | Schooner SunsetIn 2018, I attended a talk given by Roger Barrett in the Library at Cliff House. It was one of several presentations Roger gave to promote the launch of his book ‘SALCOMBE Schooner Port’.

I bought a copy – signed by Roger. You can purchase yours at Salcombe Maritime Museum and it is also on sale online, on Amazon.

Roger is an expert in this era and is an excellent speaker. He is also chair of the Salcombe Maritime Museum committee.

Do make a special effort to visit the museum. And not just on rainy days!

 

The history of Salcombe

The history of the town of Salcombe fascinates me. The port became famous for its beautiful clipper-like schooners, the ‘Salcombe fruiters’.

These ships sailed to the Azores, and elsewhere, picked up cargoes of fruit and then raced homeward to serve the markets of the ports of London, Bristol, Liverpool and Hull before the fruit perished. This was in the days before refrigeration or steam power.

These were beautifully built craft, designed for speed.

The book is a treasure too. It contains 250+ illustrations, including 32 colour reproductions of the paintings of locally built sailing ships in the museum’s collection.

 

Why did I paint the Salcombe fruiter?

Apart from my passion for all things Salcombe, sailing, the sky, and the sea, the rigging on these ships presents a challenge!

In preparation for this painting, I’ve acquired lots of books, not just Roger’s. I’ve studied many photos and paintings of similar craft, and hours have been spent in conversation with Malcolm Darch, model maker extraordinaire.

In Schooner Sunset, the featured image above, I hope I have captured the glory of these famous ships.

 

Schooner Sunset – off Hope Cove?

Hope Cove view from balconyI’ve planted my schooner off Hope Cove knowing full well none of these ships would have passed so close to Bolt Tail.

However, the artist in me wanted the backdrop of a genuine sunset.

And where else can you spend such a spectacular end to the day but on the terrace of the Cottage Hotel?

So, although these schooners are no more, we can enjoy the sunset.

Today, while you are reading this post, Anne and I will in Plymouth, having the latest batch of paintings photographed. From those precious images, I can share the pictures online, produce prints, fine art greetings cards and my other affordable art.

All in time for the Preview evening on 5 April …

Next week, I’ll share the origins of another of my new paintings.

Merlins Crossing the Bar: in the Preview Sale on 5 April

Merlins Crossing the Bar (the featured image above) is the first of several paintings due to be on show at the 2019 Summer Exhibition of the Salcombe Art Club. It is currently on display at Beacon House Gallery and priced at £750.

 

For sale | Preview: Merlins Crossing the BarPreview Evening – 5 April

On 5 April, the day before handing-in day, there will be a Preview Evening at Beacon House Gallery and this painting, and the others will be on sale at a discounted price for those attending the event. More news on that on Monday 1 April. (And no, it won’t be an April Fools’ post.)

The Preview Evening will be an invitation-only event – for those who’ve attended before, have bought one of my paintings, or other more affordable art –  but contact me if you don’t receive an invitation and would like to come.

 

Merlins Crossing the Bar

This is yet another oil inspired by the wonderful Merlin sailors who love to race in our beautiful estuary with all its challenges. The spinnakers are not just difficult to paint but, in reality, need very good sailors to fly these.

I remember that as a skill I once had in Fireballs, many many years ago. Now my sailing days are over, I’m content to capture the joy and the challenge, through my painting.

 

From oil painting to a fine art greetings card

Many of my originals are also available as a fine art greetings card. For this particular composition, part of the image had to be cropped to create the required square shape for the card. If you compare this image with the featured image above, you’ll notice the Merlin with the pink spinnaker didn’t make it onto the card version.

Merlins Crossing the Bar

It still works as an image though, and I’m sure it will be as popular as other cards featuring Merlins.

Merlins Crossing the Bar cropped for card

 

ADVANCE NEWS! Merlin Rocket Week 2-13  July

Last year, I was ‘artist in residence’ during Merlin Rocket week: 8-13 July. It was not a success in that the weather was so hot, too hot, and the paint was drying on my brush before I could get it only a canvas. So, I abandoned painting and spent the week photographing Merlins and enjoying the event.

This year, I am taking part in a Pop-up Sale on Thursday, 11 July. As well as original paintings of Merlins, I will have on sale my full range of fine art greetings cards, and the new affordable art items: wooden placemats and coasters, glass coasters and chopping boards, key rings, fridge magnets, purses, and cushions!

Portrait painting with Martin Brooks

I  don’t do a lot of portrait painting.

Woman | Portrait painting with Martin Brooks

As a member of Salcombe Art Club, I attend watercolour and acrylic classes on a weekly basis, a term at a time. On top of that, there are often specialist workshops – life drawing and portrait painting – and I sign up for these too.

 

2018 Portrait class with Martin Brooks

Last year, I produced this portrait at a Martin Brooks workshop.

I know it’s not brilliant but I can honestly say I caught a likeness of the model and am pleased with my efforts.

Aware though that I had much to learn, this year, I signed up for two more workshops with Martin Brooks.

  • Life drawing last weekend
  • Portrait painting this weekend

advert | Portrait painting with Martin Brooks

I attend as many Life Drawing classes as I can – they are always immensely helpful in keeping your hand and eye ‘in’.

 

2019 Portrait class with Martin Brooks

As for the portrait paintings I completed this weekend … well, judge for yourself. This was painted on Saturday.

Woman 2 | Portrait painting with Martin Brooks

The model for Sunday gave me more problems. This is the morning study.

Man, side view | Portrait painting with Martin Brooks

Martin kindly helped me with positioning of parts of the face: the ears, the eyebrows etc.Martin's sketch | Portrait painting with Martin Brooks

MY sketch | Portrait painting with Martin BrooksAbove, the top sketch  is Martin’s; the other is mine, and I can see how my proportions went awry.

However, I think I am improving … what do you think?

Man again | Portrait painting with Martin Brooks

Salcombe Art Club logoHow can you join Salcombe Art Club?

There are three categories of membership.

  • Lay members may take part in workshops, courses, and social activities and generally assist in supporting the club but may not exhibit.
  • Associate members may take part in most club activities including exhibiting in the Little Studio section (but not the main gallery) of the Annual Summer Exhibition. Associate members also have voting rights at the annual AGM.
  • Full members may take part in all club activities and exhibit their works in the Annual Summer Exhibition when they are required to carry out their share of stewarding duties. Full members also have voting rights at the annual AGM.

The first step is to enroll as a lay member; it only costs £12 per annum. After that, there is an annual selection process to become an associate member or a full member. For full details, check the How to Join page on the SAC website.

Postcard from Milton Keynes: Woughton House

We travel up to Milton Keynes once or twice a year to visit family. We can’t stay with the family – no room – but we found this wonderful hotel, perfect for our needs.

 

Woughton House

MGallery Woughton House is a beautiful country house surrounded by green fields and parkland. It’s so beautiful, I’ve taken many photos and produced this watercolour sketch.

It was a clear day, early in January, with the house bathed in sunshine. How could I resist?

MGallery Woughton House

But the hotel also boasts a gallery and has a splendid display of hundreds of paintings and prints. This collection is at the foot of the stairs. The book on the chest, left casually there, is an ornament – a box fashioned to look like a book.

Walking up the stairs, the walls are packed with images. There’s no space for any more.

And this is the view from the top.

Even the corridors are decorated with a variety of plaques.

Where is Woughton House?

The hotel seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere but is only a few minutes or so from the A5 and the M1 – and very easy to find.

If you have reason to travel to Milton Keynes, eg to visit Bletchley Park, I can heartily recommend this hotel.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. My previous postcard discussed the Magic of Manrique, and his house which Anne and I visited when MV Ventura stopped for one day in Lanzarote.

Postcard from Lanzarote: The Magic of Manrique

Imagine: a fourteen-day cruise with stops at Lisbon, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Tenerife, and Madeira … each one with tours to take you ashore and show you the local sights and delights.

When the MV Ventura stopped for one day in Lanzarote, Anne and I took advantage of an excursion to discover the Magic of César Manrique, the Spanish artist, sculptor, architect and activist.

The visit included entrance to the César Manrique Foundation, situated in Manrique’s former home, Taro de Tahíche.

Outside the house, visible from far away, is this statue: Monumento al Campesino (a monument to the peasant). It’s constructed from scrap parts and stands tall above the coach park.

Monumento al Campesino | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

Monumento al Campesino

César Manrique was passionate about the landscape, keen to make use of it, to blend buildings in with it. He chose to site his house on the solidified lava rock created by an 18th-century volcanic eruption that transformed the Lanzarote terrain; he made use of the bubbles which naturally form when the volcano erupts.

The top of the first bubble is visible as you walk through the gates and into what we might call the front garden.

Garden | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

Looking down into it, you see the room below.

Top of bubble | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

The sculpture you can glimpse from up here … is within a room below and is indicative of his style. His sculptures appear all over Lanzarote, especially on the islands in the middle of the many roundabouts.

Red sculpture | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

The decor of the rooms, cut into the volcanic earth, is simple, with single colour schemes. White …

White room | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

And yellow …

Yellow room | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

The emphasis is on clear cut lines. No fuss.

 

The paintings of César Manrique

There’s not enough space here to share all the paintings on show. His, and those of many famous artists of his generation, like Picasso, adorn the walls.

Anne liked this one the best – for its simplicity.

Line drawing | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

His geometric lines are to be seen in the garden too.

Rainbow wall | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

When you are inside the house, you are acutely aware of the outside – the view across the volcanic black earth to the sky through massive windows.  Within the space, a pool is cut into the rock and the black volcanic rock painted white. Even the man-made structures are made to look natural.

Pool | Postcard from Lanzarotte: The Magic of Manrique

If ever you are in Lanzarote, take time out to visit the César Manrique Foundation. Rather than taking a coach tour, which limits you on time, make your own way there and enjoy every part of the experience to the full.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. My previous postcard focused on the sketching I did while aboard MV Ventura.

Next week’s blog shares the art we discovered when we returned to the UK.

Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

Whenever we go travelling, I pack my watercolour kit and various sketchbooks of various sizes and make time for sketching.

Our ritual, as soon as we arrive at a new place, somewhere we will be staying long enough for Anne to write and me to paint, is to set up the space to suit us both. Our cabin aboard MV Ventura was perfect for our needs. And what a view!

Our cabin | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

Anne bagged the ‘dressing table’ as her office space, and I took over the ‘lounge’ area. Some shelving beneath the TV held all my equipment and I used the small coffee table for my palette and to rest my sketchbook.

We were aboard MV Ventura for fourteen days and seven of those were at sea. This gave me plenty of time for sketching.

 

Water, water, all around …

For the first two days, crossing from Southampton to Lisbon. all we saw from our balcony was the sea. And ships. And even more ships and drilling rigs whenever we went into port. With my marine insurance background, I found this fascinating and took many photos. So much resource material, so much inspiration for my sketching, but never enough hours to paint everything!

Drilling rig | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

However, I did sketch a few cruise ships and captured the landscape when we were in port.

 

Sketching Queen Victoria

One of Anne’s friends cruises regularly. We met her and her husband for lunch in Madeira a few years ago. We were staying in Funchal over Christmas and New Year; they were due to arrive on New Year’s Eve, in time to see the fireworks that night. This time, they were aboard Queen Victoria and – because our itineraries had us both in Madeira on 31 December, we planned to meet up at the same restaurant for a catch-up. Imagine our surprise to wake up the day before, to see their ship just across from ours.

Cunard moored | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

As it turned out, we should have made the effort to meet that day. Once we got to Madeira, they were moored off and the sea was too rough for them to be allowed ashore on the tenders.

This sketch is of Queen Victoria sailing off into the sunset.

Cunard sailing away | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

Sketching in Tenerife

We’ve visited Tenerife before and we were not inclined to go ashore that day. The sky above the mountains was black, and we’d not been attracted by the various tours on offer. Instead, we enjoyed relative peace and quiet aboard ship. Anne did lots of writing and when I wasn’t taking photos, I was sketching . Bliss!

Tenerife | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

Sketching in Madeira

We’ve also visited Madeira many times but never aboard a cruise ship. The day we arrived (31 December), it was a full house.

Madeira | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

We walked ashore in the morning and returned to the ship in time to avoid a downpour. As you will have seen from a previous post, the rain abated, almost, and the New Year’s Eve fireworks were spectacular.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. My previous postcard focused on edible art.

Next week’s blog shares more of the art we discovered ashore. If cruising appeals to you, visit the P&O website.

Postcard from MV Ventura: Art good enough to eat

The cruise aboard MV Ventura was a gastronomic delight.

  • Breakfast delivered to our cabin every morning
  • A five-course meal every night
  • Food available at almost any other time you might feel peckish

 

Each evening, as we approached the dining table, we’d be impressed by the table decorations. They changed from day to day, and were always set as if for a feast. Which it always was!

Balloons, glitter, sparkling glassware, shining plates, and cutlery. And the menus were similarly artfully crafted.

 

Getting into the festive spirit

Replete, we’d wander back to our cabin noticing the small touches: tiny Christmas trees (fake!) at every turn, and Christmas decorations adorning alternate cabin doors.

As if that wasn’t enough, we would return to our cabin to find gifts on an almost daily basis.

  • A bottle of fizz and a box of chocolates on arrival day
  • A (small but still too big for us two) Christmas cake
  • Bowls of fruit
  • Tins of biscuits
  • More chocolates …

 

We were surrounded by temptation and, if that wasn’t enough, there were artistic displays of food – although no one was allowed to touch these, let alone eat them.

 

Christmas cakes galore

This first display must have taken many hours to produce. More than a dozen beautifully decorated Christmas cakes.

Christmas cakes | Postcard from MV Ventura: Art good enough to eat

They featured the usual images: Father Christmas, holly, snow …

 

Gingerbread galore

The second display had a gingerbread theme: houses of all shapes and sizes and lots of snow.

Gingerbread houses | Postcard from MV Ventura: Art good enough to eat

Before this cruise, despite being forced to watch Bake-Off, I’d never thought about baking as an art form. The chefs aboard MV Ventura proved me wrong…

If cruising aboard one of P&O liners appeals to you, check them out. They go all over the world.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. My previous postcard was all about art on the stairs.

Next week’s blog shares more of the art we discovered aboard MV Ventura, and ashore too.

Postcard from MV Ventura: Art on the stairs

The MV Ventura has many decks (18) and many lifts, to save passengers from walking up and down stairs.

However, the staircases provided yet more art to enjoy. At every landing – halfway between the opportunities to board a lift – there were dramatic displays of works.

There were t0o many to show them all here, but I selected three artists whose works were particularly stunning.

 

Art on the stairs: Johnny Bull

Johnny Bull was born in 1949 and the work he has on display are a series of colourful images produced from photographs taken in various locations visited by MV Ventura. They are unique images: inkjet print on paper, mounted behind a lenticular lens. So, the image moves – comes alive – as you walk past!

This is just one of many of his works of art.

Johnny Bull | Postcard from SS Ventura: Art on the stairs

Art on the stairs: Paul Critchley

Paul Critchley originates from Merseyside but now lives and works in Barcelona. Both parents were art teachers and he is much travelled. His works are oil on canvas mounted on aluminum.

The 3D effect is almost alarming. He presents familiar objects but in such a way as to provoke the viewer to see them differently. This one, called ‘The Daily Commute’, is relatively tame.

Paul Critchley newspapers | Postcard from SS Ventura: Art on the stairs

Others were more exciting and sometimes shocking. This one is called ‘House of Stories’.

This one appealed to the artist in me.

Paul Critchley easels | Postcard from SS Ventura: Art on the stairs

Hexagonal art: Vanessa Ballard

Vanessa Ballard has a passion for patterns. For the images on board MV Ventura, she travelled to 15 countries and spent hundreds of hours creating 100K digital images for these works, all created from hexagons. Close up, you could see how each hexagon was differently coloured.

From afar though, the intention of the artist becomes clear. This one, called ‘Setting Sail’,  is of MV Ventura.

This one, fittingly, is a glass of champagne. It is called Paradise Island I.

 

Art in the cabin: artist unknown

Even in the cabin, we had art … and decided the style – with a wavy perspective – made complete sense aboard a ship, especially when we were crossing the Bay of Biscay. I omitted to note the artist’s name for these pieces … apologies!

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. My previous postcard was all about Whitewall Galleries.

Next week’s blog shares more of the art we discovered aboard MV Ventura, and ashore too.