Friday, 16 September 2011

Seedheads and Boats ~ A New Painting

'Seedheads and Boats' acrylic on paper ~ 34cm x 34cm

Hello friends,

I've just had the nicest possible morning ~ I managed to get a little time to myself in which to finish this painting that I've been working on in fits and starts over the summer.  It seems a long time ago since I began this one, and if you recall, it all started with a little drawing in my sketchbook...

I had been happily inspired by a book I had purchased round about this time called Plants and Places by the talented print maker, Angie Lewin.  I have long been a fan of her work and had coveted this book for ages before it finally came to live with me.  There is page upon page of her print work, featuring her trademark seedheads and other native flora; and peeks into her sketchbook which are themselves beyond beautiful.

I myself have rather a love affair with the latter end of summer, when the dry stone walls here become fantastically enhanced by the skeletal shapes of teasels and cow parsley.  I've been known to stop the car suddenley on quiet country lanes to collect small armfuls of them to bring home and draw.

So anyway, I think what I'm getting round to saying is that Angie's book was the catalyst for this particular painting.  I decided I wanted to paint a late summer window scene with found objects from the shore on the ledge, overlooking a harbour.  I also wanted to focus (unusually for me) on a limited colour palette.  The colours I worked with mainly on this painting were:

Titanium White
Yellow Ochre
Raw Umber
Paynes Grey
Cobalt Blue (hue)
Buff Titanium
Cobalt Teal
Cadmium Red

These paints are from the Daler Rowney Artist Acrylics, and Golden Acrylics ranges. 

I also use Derwent watercolour crayons to add texture and detail.

As the painting progressed, I was reminded of a time I had spent in St Ives one October a few years ago.  We stayed in a little fisherman's cottage just up from the harbour, and although there were still plenty of people about, the town seemed much quieter since the summer hoardes had returned home.  It also had a beautiful light to it.  I remember there being a warmth to the days too, warm enough to sit down the harbour and catch the sun, but which turned to an unmistakeable autumnal coolness come teatime.

I hope I've managed to convey a feeling of this time of year in this painting.  

As well as using my imagination to create the layout and Angie's book as inspiration, I also wandered down the riverbank beyond my house to collect some real seedheads to use in the work (alongside the ones I had drawn in my sketchbook).  It was a bonus to discover a huge undiscovered bank of blackberry bushes as I went foraging and I shall be going back down there later on with a big bowl to fill up!! I feel a blackberry and apple tarte tatin coming on!! (something else that is very much a part of this time of year).

So once more I am at the point of feeling euphoric that another work is done, but am also on the brink of 'what next?'  It's a bitter sweet feeling to complete a painting; I've probably said so a hundred times but the journey through a painting is so deep and involved, there are highs and lows, there are absences and intense periods spent is really like a love affair and I miss it when the journey is over.

However, I have a few small ideas I'm keen to start on so the fact I have projects lined up is a good thing at least!  I recently ordered some tiny canvas boards and have Great Plans for those, not to mention designs for new Christmas cards which are already happily percolating away!

The painting will be available shortly in my gallery, in both original and printed format. 
I hope you all have a glorious weekend, sending love and thanks for visiting ~

Julia x x x


  1. I love the 'limited' colour palette in your latest painting Julia. I think you have really captured an autumnal feeling. I know what you mean about the warm days and then a drop in temperature as the evening rolls in. x

  2. Just beautiful Julia. I love the combination of themes and the blues you've used. My OH gave me a copy of Plants and Places for our tenth anniversary ealrier in the summer. It's such a precious book isn't it?

  3. Your October days in St Ives sound totally blissful! I love the long shadows of this time of year, when the sun casts a magical atmosphere. You've really captured it here. I love your new painting,. Am I ritght in thinking the seedheads and the gulls look much more 'realistic' than your usual style? I love it! Jess xx

  4. It's lovely Julia, it immediately gave me a sense of autumn.

    Lucky you, finding a new source of blackberries.

  5. As someone who grows some flowers as much for the seed heads as the flowers, and has chosen one for her business logo, I have to say, I love your painting! The colours are so atmospheric, and the jug of seedheads alone would still be a gorgeous picture to me. Lovely.

  6. Beautiful work Julia!
    It's funny you should post about Angie Lewin's book as it's just gone on my Amazon wish list - I assume you would recommend it????

  7. It's a beauty Julia. I think you have used a limited palette rather well. xx

  8. One more lovely paiting. I like the colours and the little details - especially the dog. No wonder the whole process took you so long! By the way, just looking at that jug I thought "hmm... something familiar... Angie Levin?", so you have managed to "place" that inspiration on your canvas really well.

  9. I love your painting, it is so beautiful, I love its calming colours and the man walking the dog - adorable detail!

  10. Gorgeous Julia, this is definitely one of my favourites... you have captured the moment beautifully xx

  11. truly gorgeous, I've been looking forward to seeing it finished

  12. Julia,
    I love this painting! Love the seedheads! My husband put some seedheads in a small pot by our front door just because he liked the way they looked. I think you can just see them if you look at my post on my blog about my roses...
    Once again, beautiful work, as always!


  13. Julia, I say bravo to Angie, for her role as a catalyst, but also to you for the lovely painting that you've created this summer.

    Your painting has that essence of being created via close observation of a particular place, and then has the added value of your painting, color choices and very good eye.

    It's so good when a particular place can inspire an artist, and that even when that particular place has been captured a bit in a particular medium, there is even a dividend...the picture's image can connect with the viewer who has never been, perhaps never will be, able to see the place in person.

    So, Julia, thank you for your eye and talent and skill ... all have allowed me to see a place I have not visited, and to imagine that i have indeed been there.


  14. I really love the colours in this painting. It's an interesting change from your other works.

    Beautiful work

  15. Such a beautiful painting, Julia. I love the more muted shades you have used and the seedheads are a perfect addition to the natural subject matter. When I was a textile student we drew plants in all the different stages and the seedheads and pods always intrigued me. These are just gorgeous.
    Am also looking forward to seeing your new Christmas cards when they are ready. Have a wonderful weekend.
    Helen x

  16. Not being good with brush and paint, I love to photograph seedheads, and leave lots on the plants in the garden, now looking forward to seeing them frosted.
    Love Angie Lewin's work too, she is local-ish to where I live. I wonder, do you like Eric Ravilious's work too?

  17. I love this so much! Your use of colors is priceless! you brighten my day and inspire me! Have a wonderful day!

  18. It's a beautiful picture Julia, you've captured the feeling of late summer perfectly. It's also a little bit reminiscent of Mary Feddens work, which I adore.♥

  19. Julia this is beautiful...
    I too am inspired by Angie Lewin (and not only because I LOVE linoprints). I bought her book last year and have spent many hours poring through it, loving her style and use of colour.
    Beautiful story and wonderful painting.

    Jacky xox

  20. Lovely colours in this painting - and thanks for sharing so much of your way of working.

  21. Hi Julia! Gabriella here. I came across your blog through your comment on Lynne's blog and I wanted to tell you that I LOVE your latest painting. The composition is excellent and your strokes are full of personality. Several years ago I had a baby-sitters job in Halifax and I have very fond memories of York.

  22. I want a seedheads & boats print in my life!

    ps Im glad im not the only messy sketcher :0)


  23. Dear Julia, usually I just quietly read without leaving a comment, but I wanted to tell you how much I love this particular painting, you've perfectly conveyed this late summer feeling with a limited palette, the seedheads look absolutely perfect and the curtain adds a very intimate feeling to this beautiful little painting. I would very much like to order a print of it one day :-) xxx

  24. Hola Julia me gustaron mucho tus obras, te mando un Saludo desde Argentina, Alita

  25. love the tones of blue.. and the 'theme' :D

  26. Hello, I've just discovered your blog and glad I have!...this painting is really beautiful - you've definitely captured the feeling of the moment and I love the very delicate way you've treated the curtain, you can almost feel the breeze. Great work :-)

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