Postcard from Funchal, Madeira: Orchids and chocolates

orchidsOrchids and chocolates?

Most of my paintings include the sea, the sky, and boats and are based on photographs taken close to my home town of Salcombe.

When I’m on holiday, I have different subjects at my disposal.

Anne and I are staying near Funchal in Madeira and were persuaded to join an excursion which boasted Chocolates and Orchids. How could we resist?

 

First stop: Orchids at Quinta da Boa Vista

Qorchidsuinta da Boa Vista boasts the best orchid collection on show all year round and we were given a guided tour by our host, owner, Patrick through a greenhouse packed with hundreds of colourful varieties.

While he explained how to care for them (do not overwater!), we took photos. The featured image above is just one of many.

Here are some more.

The variety of colours and sizes was a feast for our eyes.

There were huge blooms, with no fragrance …

orchidsAnd tiny blooms with an intense scent …

Both, tactics to attract insects for pollination purposes.

Some has a single magnificent flower – others were grouped on a single stem.

All of them were beautiful.

And then we enjoyed tea and cake in the delightful garden overlooking the town of Funchal.

 

Next stop: handcrafted colourful flavourful chocolates

Tchocolateshe next stop on our excursion was into the centre of Funchal, to Rua da Queimada de Baixo, nº 11 where the chocolatier UauCacau have a coffee shop and display their colourful chocolate selection.

We sat outside in the sunshine and were presented with a tasting tray of six exquisite chocolates, together with a glass of Madeira  wine.

Our tour guide explained the methods used in the factory below the shop, and the origins of the delicious fillings: mango, banana, passion fruit, madeira rum, …

We were then invited into the chocolate coloured (dark!) interior to choose what we wanted to purchase.

chocolatesA work of art! We were hard pressed to choose 20 to take back to our apartment.

 

Back at the apartment: painting!

Of all the orchids I’d captured on my camera, I chose this one to paint first.

orchids

Why? 

colour wheelI chose a pink orchid because so much of the background was green and green is the complementary colour to pink.

This would, in theory, make the petals stand out better than for any other colour of orchid.

Here is another sketch.

The orchid is orange and note that I have used a blue wash in the background, blue being the complementary colour of orange on the colour wheel.orchids

It’s unlikely I’ll take the subject of orchids any further, although we are tempted to fill the house with these wonderful blooms once we are back home.

My ‘market’ back in Salcombe is the usual diet of sea and sailing – but it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon … playing with my watercolour kit.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling.

Postcard from Funchal, Madeira

We are on holiday in Madeira!

Anne and I arrived last week at one of our favourite destinations: Pestana Palms hotel on the island of Madeira. We first came here together for our honeymoon in 2009 and have returned several times since then. One of the main attractions is the ‘Cheers’ bar with its longstanding team of bar staff who always greet us with a smile as in the featured image above.

 

What do we do, while holidaying in Madeira?

We usually arrive tired and in need of a rest, so sleep is an essential ingredient of any holiday for us. But then, away from our usual routine, we make time for exercise.

Madeira GauloIn Madeira, there are many lavada walks. These are paths that run alongside the network of waterways – narrow channels – that carry water from the mountains down to the coast.

On our honeymoon, we embraced these walks with a vengeance. Older and wiser, we now opt for the more gentle excursions.

Last Friday, for example, we visited the pretty village of Gaulo and, with the aid of excellent guide, enjoyed views of the countryside during a 60-minute stroll along the Lavada dos Tornos. I took lots of photos, and Anne took this shot of me.

Our guide explained the history of the region, their dependence on water (hence the lavadas) and how they created the many terraces to make the most of the steep terrain.

It reminded us of the work we’ve had done at home, with 23 piles needed to stabilise our sloping rear garden, and a huge retaining wall of concrete to hold back a neighbour’s garden. For us, a small team of builders, with diggers, completed the work in a matter of months.

In Madeira, the construction of the terracing was painstaking work, done by hand, stone by stone, as the slopes were too steep for horses or donkeys, and the ground not accessible for machinery. All the men worked on the terracing and it took them years …

And then we had tea and cake – all traditional recipes – at the home of the guide. A wonderful half day excursion …

 

My holiday studio in Madeira

It’s not all relaxation. We have ‘work’ to do as well.

I’ve set up a ‘studio’ on the balcony already, and the sun is so bright, I’m in relief. I promise you, I am smiling.

Madeira balcony

Here is a close up of the table, set out with my essentials.

Madeira studio kit

Holidaying in Madeira: a time to sketch

The image above is of a particularly elegant craft that made its way out of Funchal, the capital of Madeira, past our balcony. I took many photos of its passage across a magnificent sky. Plus I have the sketch. When I return home, I may create a larger image of this scene.

I have two sketch books with me but, so far, I’ve only used the smaller of the two. The image below is of the hotel itself with the pool in the foreground.

Madeira sketch books

It’s wonderful to paint in the open air … for the temperatures to be high enough to be comfortable without having to apply sun screen every five minutes.

And to have, in the background, the sound of waves breaking on the seashore. Bliss!

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling.

Brighton pavilion

Postcard from Brighton

Anne and I enjoy visiting art galleries wherever we are but, today, in Brighton, we discovered art on the streets, in the shop windows.

 

Walking around Brighton: An irregular choice?

Instead of visiting the Brighton Pavilion, we wandered along the Laines, and discovered the most amazing shoe shop: Irregular Choice.

Brighton shoes

Such amazing colour combinations!

Brighton shoes

 

Walking around Brighton: a piece of cake?

We wandered on … to discover Choccywoccydodah. This is a cake!

And this is a cake too!

Walking around Brighton: kids’ stuff?

And we wandered on … to discover the North Road Timber Company. Not only could you pop in to buy a length of 2 by 2, or a ready made door, you could buy house signs and toys.

Brighton wood

Hundreds of toys!

Brighton wood

 

Walking around Brighton: notching up 6500 steps

One of the reasons for our perambulation was to kickstart our holiday with a day of walking. Some exercise.

Instead, or as well, we witnessed lots of art.

I’ve shared here the shop windows. There was also art on the streets – the people themselves were colourful: their eccentric fashions, the body piercings, the tattoos … a-ma-zing.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling.

JANETTE JAGGER – ARTIST DOWN UNDER

Janette Jagger

In the Bush

Janette Jagger and I are members of SHAF (South Hams Art Forum). We both take part in the annual SHAF Arts Trail. This year, that’s 13-28 October. Put those dates in your diary!

She uses oils, acrylic, pen and wash, and water colour to suit the particular place. Her paintings range from the empty landscapes of the Red Centre of Australia to the crowded beach at Bantham full of holidaymakers enjoying themselves.

 

What is special about Janette Jagger’s work?

Janette’s style is larger-than-life super-colourful and fun.

Janette has travelled widely in France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Brazil, where the brilliant tropical colours changed her paintings.

She now lives and paints in Devon, a complete contrast to the desert and the tropics, and loves the coastal landscapes of the South Hams.

Janette Jagger

Near Cober Pedy

Janette also loves Cornwall and Scotland.

Janette says: My aim is to capture the feeling of different places and to convey their joy and beauty in whatever medium suits them.

 

 

Why ‘artist down under’?

Janette was born in the mining town of Broken Hill in the Australian desert. The hot earth colours and brilliant blue, cloudless skies of her birthplace in Australia still influence her colour palette.

Janette says: I was born in the Australian desert and I just love the hot colours in Australia and the vast spaces with no sign of humans. It was a real adventure traveling for five months in a small camper van. We did break down 70 kms from mobile reception and few cars on the road. But the sense of vast, empty space is wonderful.

 

The JANETTE JAGGER – ARTIST DOWN UNDER exhibition
Janette Jagger

Ulutu

This colourful exhibition is at Harbour House, Kingsbridge: 15-20 Ma

The gallery space is open daily: 10am to 5pm.

Janette says: It’s not all about Australia. I will have local paintings as well as other places.

 

Free talk at 2.30pm on on Saturday 19 May

There is a free talk on ‘Traveling with the grey nomads’.

In the southern states of Australia, when winter sets in, the retired folks jump in their camper vans or caravans and head north to the warmth of the tropics. Hence the name ‘grey nomads’.

 

More about Janette

Janette Jagger has painted all her life. She has been accepted by the Association of British Naïve Artists and will exhibit in St. Ives in October 2014.

If you have an exhibition which you’d like me to publicise, please let me know.

I’m very happy to promote fellow artists!

Elaine Sibley at The Gallery Project, Noss Mayo

Elaine SibleyElaine Sibley has an exhibition at The Gallery Project in Noss Mayo, on now until 10 May.

The gallery is open Saturdays 10am – 4pm but a local artist works at the forge Wednesdays and Thursdays 10am-4pm and you are welcome to pop in.

 

Where is The Gallery Project, Noss Mayo?

The Forge
Bridgend
Noss Mayo
Plymouth
PL8 1DX

Tel: 01752 873150

map to The Forge

Mothercombe beach 60 x 60

Mothercombe beach 60 x 60

 

How do I know Elaine Sibley?

Elaine and I are members of SHAF (South Hams Art Forum). We both take part in the annual SHAF Arts Trail. This year, that’s 13-28 October. Put those dates in your diary!

Elaine and I also exhibited together at the Contemporary Passions Exhibition in June of last year and that’s where I first saw some of her work: her beautiful hand forged silver jewellery.

In this exhibition, we meet Elaine, the painter.

Like me, Elaine is passionate about landscape. Unlike me, her style is incredibly adventurous!

 

What’s special about Elaine Sibley’s work?
Western Beacon from South 60 x 60

Western Beacon from South 60 x 60

Elaine’s contemporary landscapes emerge from natural surroundings; namely Dartmoor and the local coastline.

She is aware of the ever changing weather and conditions on Dartmoor and attempts to capture the effect this has on light and colour in her paintings.

She walks, sketches and takes photographs.

Back in the studio, she is currently enjoying the immediacy of acrylics and uses texture and a variety of tools to try to convey the mood and atmosphere of the place rather than a true representation.

 

More about Elaine Sibley

Elaine lives and works on the edge of Dartmoor.

Elaine studied at Plymouth College of Art and then the College of St Mark & St John where she gained a PGCE.

Beyond Western Beacon 60 x 60

Beyond Western Beacon 60 x 60

She taught Design and Technology for 20 years while designing and making silver jewellery which she continues to sell through local galleries and open studios.

Ugborough Beacon 60 x 60

Ugborough Beacon 60 x 60

Since retiring from teaching in 2016, Elaine  has found time to experiment and expand her work and has developed a passion for painting.

To see more of Elaine’s images, visit her Facebook page.

 

If you have an exhibition which you’d like me to publicise, please let me know.

I’m very happy to promote fellow artists!

Brownston Gallery: South West Academy Exhibition 16 March – 14 April 2018

I attended the private viewing of the South West Academy Exhibition at The Brownston Gallery on Thursday 15 March – some time ago now!

Despite the pouring rain, it was a packed out event, and I was delighted to see the work of two of my favourite painters on display: Greg Ramsden and Richard Thorn.

 

Greg Ramsden at the Brownston Gallery

Brownston GalleryIn 2017, Greg Ramsden was artist-in-residence at the Tonic Gallery (attached to the Salcombe Gin Company) in Island Street, Salcombe and I much enjoyed visiting that exhibition and admiring his work.

He has several on display at The Brownston Gallery and this ‘Yeomans Boatyard’ is an excellent example of his monochrome style.

You can see more of his work on Greg’s website. I was interested to read that he completes one painting before moving on to the next. Maybe I should try that!

 

Richard Thorn at the Brownston Gallery

Brownston GalleryI have an original Richard Thorn watercolour painting (called The Land Time Forgot) taking pride of place in my dining room.

There were several of his on show at the Brownston Gallery, including this one of Pendeen Lighthouse, featured in the brochure. You can see more on his website.

I just love his use of colour!

 

Where is the Brownston Gallery?

The Brownston Gallery is in the centre of Modbury.

36 Church Street · Modbury · Devon · PL21 0QR  Call 01548 831338 | art@thebrownstongallery.co.uk

Open: Mon-Sat:10am to 5pm Wed:10am to 1pm

Who else is featured in this exhibition?

As well as those by my favourite two artists, you can see works by David Norman, Joanna Vollers, Jenny Pymont, Allan Cotton, Karen McEndoo, Lar Cann, Paula Youens, Ken Cosgrove, Sally Lancaster, Tony Williams, Paul Creek and John Hurford.

You still have time to visit; the exhibition ends on Saturday, 14 April.

OPEN! Salcombe Art Club Summer Exhibition 2018

Last Thursday, I attended the Salcombe Art Club Summer Exhibition Preview evening, at which cheques were distributed to two local worthy causes.

Our chairlady, Naomi Ainsley, and our esteemed Mayor, Michael Fice, made the presentations.

There are lots more photos on the Salcombe Art club’s page on Facebook and I’m sure there will be a report in the local Gazette in due course.

Meanwhile …

 

My paintings on display in the Summer exhibition

OSummer exhibitionn display in the Loft Studio, there are now five of my paintings:

On the left, from top to bottom:

 

On the right, from top to bottom:

 

The tourists are now here for the Easter and we hope many of them will visit the Loft Gallery to see the wonderful display of work by local artists.

As members of the Salcombe Art Club, we are invited to display our creations. If sold, 15% of the price goes the to Salcombe Art club.

This ‘income’ pays for the running costs, but also funds our charitable gifts to local causes.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. This year’s beneficiaries were Erme Valley Riding for the Disabled and Kingsbridge Food Bank.

 

Dates for your diary during the Summer exhibition

I will be stewarding on the following dates.

  • Wednesday 16 May: 11am – 2pm
  • Wednesday 1 August: 11am – 5pm
  • Wednesday 8 August: 11am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12 August: 11am – 5pm
  • Saturday 18 August: 2pm – 5pm
  • Sunday 19 August: 11am – 5pm
  • Wednesday 26 September: 11am – 5pm

 

Pop in to meet me in the flesh!

Salcombe Art Exhibition 2018 starts Good Friday at 11am

Five of my newest crop of paintings are currently being hung for the Salcombe Art Club Summer Exhibition which opens to the public on Good Friday at 11am.

I kept back only one: 138 Merlins Crossing the Bar.

Contact me to arrange a private viewing if you’d like to see that one.

 

SALCOMBE ART CLUB SUMMER EXHIBITION
FRIDAY 30 MARCH – SATURDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2018

Open 7 days a week from 11am until 5pm. Admission is free.

I will be stewarding on the following dates.

  • Wednesday 16 May: 11am – 2pm
  • Wednesday 1 August: 11am – 5pm
  • Wednesday 8 August: 11am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12 August: 11am – 5pm
  • Saturday 18 August: 2pm – 5pm
  • Sunday 19 August: 11am – 5pm
  • Wednesday 26 September: 11am – 5pm

 

Pop in to meet me in the flesh!

 

Affordable Art

All six news images are available as fine art greetings cards.

 

WHERE CAN YOU BUY My CARDS?

My main fine art greetings card stockist is Malborough Post Office where all 65 designs can be found.

But my cards are also on sale at the Salcombe Information Centre, Bonningtons the newsagents in Salcombe, The Gallery @ Avon Mill, The Gallery Project at Noss Mayo, Bloomers the florists in Kingsbridge – and direct from me.

Salcombe Art Club Exhibition Preview: Noss Mayo Sunset

Noss Mayo Sunset is one of a crop of six new paintings destined for the Salcombe Art Club Summer Exhibition.

Today, I am collecting them from the framer, just in time for the handing-in day on 24 March. If you’d like to purchase one of them ahead of the Exhibition and save 10% on the price (they range from £500 to £750), contact me to arrange a private viewing urgently!

 

What was I doing admiring the Noss Mayo Sunset?

Although I now live in Salcombe, and most of my paintings feature scenes near my home, the two villages of Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo are also close to my heart. This idyllic estuary has had me under its spell since 1968 when my two children were young, and we would rent Rose Cottage, next to The Dolphin.

At low tide, there are causeways to help pedestrians cross the water between the two villages. So, if the tide was out, we’d cross the causeway on foot. We often ate at The Ship and enjoyed the views across to the Swan Inn. If the tide was in, we’d visit the Swan Inn by boat!

I have very many happy memories of those times and still have friends living there.

All the hostelries offer excellent food and are ideally sited from an artist’s point of view. Decades later, it’s a treat to venture away from Salcombe now and then and to enjoy such picturesque scenes. Anne and I often take house guests in that direction.

So, imagine me, with friends, on the way to a pub at sunset. Of course, I have with me my camera – two actually! – and I had to shoot the ‘light moment’ of a beautiful day to capture this image of all those craft moored up. Then, once I start taking photos, I can’t stop. And once I’m back home in my studio, it’s not long before I’m compelled to start painting …

Many of this most recent crop were painted in oil. This one is an acrylic. Why not an oil? No reason really, except acrylics dry very quickly and are easily carried to and from my art classes in the Loft Studio.

It’s not quite square so it’s been cropped to create a fine art greetings card. Can you spot which bit Anne cropped?

Salcombe Art Club Exhibition Preview: Merlins Crossing the Bar

Merlins Crossing the Bar is one of a crop of six new paintings destined for the Salcombe Art Club Summer Exhibition.

Right now, they are with the framer so they are not available to view just yet. However, if you want to purchase ahead of the Exhibition, and save 10% on the price (they range from £500 to £750), contact me to arrange a private viewing ahead of handing day on 24 March.

 

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 fine art greetings card

Many of my originals are also available as a fine art greetings card. I call it affordable art!

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.

It still works as an image though, and I’m sure it will be as popular as others cards featuring Merlins, especially during Merlin Rocket week: 8-13 July.

This is Merlins and shows these magnificent craft racing past Mill Bay.

 And this is one of the new crop: Watching the Merlins Race.