Friday, 5 August 2011

Seedheads and Seashore

Hello friends,

I'm in the middle of a new painting which was inspired by seedheads, I started to notice them on my travels as July melted warmly into August.  There are architectural shapes appearing in the hedgerows and the skeltons of cow parsley sway in the sunshine next to the first (early) blackberries.  There are voluptuous poppy seedheads in my garden, full to bursting with next years harvest and I don't know about you, but I am all of a sudden finding myself caught unawares some mornings by the whisperings of late summers arrival.  It's a gentle infiltration of feelings and signs that come now and then; a slightly lower sun casting shorter shadows, leaves turning that dry, faded green, and a wistfulness that passes in a moment so brief, you wondered if you imagined it as another warm and dry August day unfolds...

So all this got me thinking about my next painting; out came the sketchbook and a coastal drawing emerged from my imagination.  I'm working on a much larger scale for this painting, and after marking out my space I put down a rough background wash:

I like having a base colour to work from. There are two reasons for this: the first is that it is easier for me to start work on a coloured background rather than a stark white one, and secondly it provides a wonderful depth to the painting on top.  You could try it yourself, using different colours.  

Once the background colour is dry, I draw my picture onto it using watercolour crayon.  This allows any lines to dissolve into the work as I paint.  Here's a glimpse of the work in progress, I'm really pleased with how it's coming along and I'm also enjoying working with a slightly limited colour palette for a change!

 Maybe some of you will see this painting and feel that you recognise the location.  I have a habit of doing this with some of my work; integrating my memory of a place into the painting so that although it is not the actual place (as in that it's not drawn exactly from a picture or photograph), you get a strong feel for where it might be all the same.

This picture is being painted in acrylics.  I find myself using a rather dry, almost scrubby way of painting in places, and then layering over with almost translucent, watered down paint to create luminous glazes.  I'll share more with you as the work unfolds :)

Most of you who are familiar with my little blog, will know that I have a weakness and a love affair with the coast, and despite being landlocked in a village just north of Sheffield I like to go as often as I possibly can to get my 'fix'.
Last week I stayed with my sister in Suffolk, and we took ourselves off to the beach for the day...

...can any of you guess where this might be?

It's a tiny little place called Sea Palling in Norfolk and it reminded me very much of childhood holidays on the east coast. There's a long and winding lane, flanked by tipsy old fashioned telegraph poles that leads into the heart of the village which is a cluster of little buildings nestling at the base of the dunes.  There's a couple of houses, a B&B, a small amusement arcade, a chip shop and caravan park, and then there is a ramp leading right off the road which you walk up and then there is the beach.

Norfolk has the most amazing beaches.  Most people tend to grimace slightly when you mention the North Sea, imagining it to be a cold, disgustingly brown affair that you wouldn't let your dog paddle in.  This part of the coast has mile upon mile of creamy, fudgy coloured sand, and crystal clear water.  I was utterly seduced by the simplicity of the place: dune grasses, sand, a huge expanse of sky, and turquoise water as far as the eye could see.

There were lots of starfish on the beach, beautiful peachy orange ones of all sizes.  It was one of those days where we paddled too deep and got our dresses wet, but didn't care too much; and we went home late with sand in our hair and didn't mind too much about that either.

It was one of those days I shall remember for a long time.

Well, I think I've gone on long enough!  Before I end, I'd just like to tell you about my little Book Shop which you can see in the sidebar there.  I've put together a collection of my most inspiring and favourite books and you can now buy them directly through my little 'shop' via Amazon!  

I wish you all a happy, and sunny weekend.  Looking forward to catching up with you and your blogs, and to seeing what the participants of the Being Creative Project Group have posted in the gallery so far!

Thanks for stopping by today, hugs and love
Julia x x x


  1. oh it's going to be beautiful, can't wait to see more x

  2. The new painting is beautiful. I would never have thought to work onto a surface of such a vibrant blue but it gives such depth to the work on the surface.

  3. Oh I love your new painting, the colours are so calming and graceful xox

  4. Love Sea Palling, how lovely you went there. Hope it has satisfied your coastal fix for a while. Ax

  5. Love the colours of your new painting it's already looking lovely. I'm always interested to see what books people find inspiring so thanks for sharing yours I will take a look.

  6. Hi Julia, I loved seeing your technique for starting a painting! It's always fascinating to see how other people go about it. I spy St Ives there in your painting don't I? I recognise those 3 tunnels. :) Your day with your sister sounds lovely.xx

  7. Hi Julia! I love your new painting and those colours! Thank you for showing how you work!
    That beach you have visited looks so fantastic - sandy beach like here but still so different! It must be so great to walk far away having your feet in the water!
    Have a lovely time!
    xxx Teje

  8. Lovely post as usual Julia. I certainly recognise the location for your latest work of art, I'm sure it will be beautiful! The beach you went to, looked as if you had it all to yourselves, not much chance of that here,well, at least not until the depths of winter!!! xxxxx

  9. oh my goodness I am so in love with your blog here.

    enjoying the reading and viewing .. all the colors, the themes, the vibrance.

    oh! joy is mine. happy friday.

  10. I love Sea Palling and many of the other smaller, less popular, little coastal villages where often, even in season, you can find empty expanses of beach. Not to everyone's taste, these little places as they offer little in the way of distraction for fractious children who bore easily. But, having worked in Blackpool as a teenager, I've had my fill of gaudy OTT seaside towns and now in my older age, want peace, solitude, tranquillity... and a bag of chips too!
    Love seeing how your paintings develop and hope that you noticed several new people were going to check out your Being Creative project after commenting on my little effort.
    Thanks for sharing...x

  11. Love this new one - can't wait to see it finished. x

  12. I am loving this limited colour palette Julia...the colours work together beautifully.
    Thanks so much for sharing some of your process with us. I love putting down the base colour too and lately have been working on a black gessoed canvas. I love the effect/depth it creates (although sometimes more work getting the colours to show clearly).

    Just beautiful.

    Jacky xox

  13. uh oh, I'm liking the look of that one so far...

  14. how beautiful - and I love how you share how you work - so generous with your time.
    BTW - I would frame your sketch book - they are so lovely!
    I'm so back in the gang with the creatice group - can't miss another month...fee x

  15. Hi Julia
    Your sketchbooks remind me of one of my favourite books Sketchbook from Souther France by Sara Midda - have you seen them. It looks like you had fun on the beach lets hope we have many more sunny days to come.
    Have a lovely week

  16. I love, love, love getting to "Sketchbook peep"! :)))) and your words make me want to go to the beach, even though i usually prefer a woodsy setting! I should step outside of my box and try to painting something (got to work out better than my crocheting trials!) he he
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. Love the beginnings of your painting and will definitely come back for a later look. Your pics of the beach have me yearning for the seaside.

  18. I love Sea Palling - like you, I love the sea. Your new painting is going to be gorgeous. I here you got stalked in the Co-op!!! My friends son is most impressed that he met a real live artist. xxxx

  19. Lovely to see your work in progress, and intrigued at how it will unfold. I was feeling the footstep of autumn today too ...

  20. Can't wait to see your lovely work in progress completed. Great shots of the beach.


Hello, and thank you for visiting my Blog today. If you would like to leave a comment, I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...