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Watercolor of Edlingham Castle - July 2015

Here’s a post I wrote from July, never too late to enjoy a bit of sun I guess!?

July 16, 2015

Did I tell you how much I LOVE living here in Northumberland? I did? Well I won’t get tired of saying it or doing my sketches out in the field.

7-16-15 havin a rest (3) (460x345)

Taking a rest, enjoying the day, in my barn boots of course!

I went up in the field near Edlingham Castle, I had it all to myself, no sheep or cows about. It was just that kind of day that I sat on the ground to think, listen to the birds and enjoy just living. Then I just lay back and put my straw hat over my eyes and let time slip by, and it was ok.

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Trying to take a selfie with a 35mm isn’t easy!

Laying down amongst the clovers, it made me feel like a kid again. Isn’t that funny? I should go lay in the grass more often! Maybe we could start a national “Lay in the Grass Day”! haha.

Below is a picture of what it looked like, my view from the grasses, the clouds were so beautiful.

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My view from the grass, my mouse eye view.

And below, this is what I saw near me, a Ringlet butterfly, a very common sight in the fields here in summer. I’m really enjoying learning the new butterflies and bugs here in the UK.

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A Ringlet butterfly on a clover head.

Well I didn’t just lay around all day, after a little while I went down the field, found a spot to stand and did a small painting. Below is a picture of Edlingham Castle, this was what I drew. You can see by the photo, the lighting never stays the same when you’re painting outside. My painting ended with nice blue skies and sunshine!

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Edlingham Castle view from field.

Below is the ink drawing I did first. Sometimes I do an ink drawing then paint with my watercolors, especially if I don’t think I’ll have time to paint it. The other way is to do a light pencil sketch and then paint, drawing with ink a little for details on the pencil before or after painting.

(c)7-16-15 drawing the castle (9)

Ink drawing of Edlingham castle, over the gate.

Below is my finished watercolor painting, only 4.5″ x 6″. You can see how bright the colors are, the day really was so bright, unlike the photo! The ink drawing makes it look more like an illustration than a painting to me. Kind of like all details are picked out at once, but that’s ok.

(c)Edlingham Castle wc

Edlingham Castle, Northumberland. Watercolor and Ink 4.5″ x 6″

I hope you enjoyed a little look back into summer! If you don’t want to miss any of my posts, just put your email in the box at the top right column. It’ll send you an email notice and you just respond then you’ll get my posts right in your inbox. Remember though, it’s best to click to come here and read the post, it lays out better on the page (and you can leave comments here).

“Berwick-Upon-Tweed, August visits”

We went to Berwick-Upon-Tweed, on the Scottish border on two occasions. I found it to be a nice town to walk through, you can shop or just a few streets over is the water front, complete with an old fort you can walk about on. It’s on the River Tweed and that’s where it gets it’s name.

Berwick-upon-Tweed unfinished

Berwick-upon-Tweed unfinished

The first visit I only had time to start a small watercolor of the houses in the town while sitting on the grassy wall of the fort. Here it is unfinished above.

Berwick cemetary gate

Berwick cemetery gate

This is an old gate to the cemetery of a church right behind the grassy walls of the fort. I didn’t have much time to do a nice painting but really just wanted to study the colors of the stones used in the wall. I also didn’t have the nice sunshine you see coming through the gate while I worked, it popped out just for the photo. If I ever have time I’ll go back to the sketch and add more details in the stones from my photos.

Sketching the gate

Painting the gate

Here’s a picture of me working on the gate, you can see I’m sitting on the grass but am using a foldable foam pad to keep the moisture and chill away. I still always get so stiff when I sit on the ground like this, I think it’s the position for my back, no support. I’m holding my sketchbook with the pan of colors on the left hand side. I’m also using a ‘real’ brush not my waterbrush to do this, I have a container of water sitting on the ground nearby.

Painting the gate

Painting the gate view 2

Below are some photos of the biuldings in Berwick-Upon-Tweed

biuldings in Berwick

biuldings in Berwick

Town Hall

Town Hall

Skyline of Berwick

Skyline of Berwick

Tweed Mouth Dock Fort

Tweed Mouth Dock Fort

This is the fort in Berwick called Tweed Mouth Dock.

Ship coming in

Ship coming in

Here’s a ship coming into harbour.

Hopefully I’ll get another chance to go back and work on some longer studies. It’d be a nice town to spend a weekend in, I saw lots of couples walking about hand in hand going to shops.

Keep checking back, more updates from England coming!

“Derwent Water Marina” 9-13-09

Today I’ll take you to the Marina at Derwent water where I stayed overnight at The Derwent Hotel. It’s a gorgeous place to stay all newly refinished, the bedroom was just sumptuous! And oh yes, I really liked that they had internet so I could catch up with the folks at home and let them know I wasn’t lost somewhere in the English countryside!
This is the front lobby, coming down in the early morning to have my oatmeal made with cream and oh boy was it rich!
Then I made my way across the street and just down a driveway and there you are…the marina. A small, uncomplicated, peaceful place so early in the morning. http://www.derwentwatermarina.co.uk/Walking toward the water…I took note of birds I saw, almost all were new to me, how exciting!
I love when the mist is lower than the mountains around it, the puffs were making their way up each ‘valley’ from the lake. Small coots were chugging across the still water looking for fish…I did some small sketches of birds and wrote my bird list on the sketch page shown below.
Click the page to read my notes.
These are simple sketches done while walking around, this is typically how I draw birds in the field. Not much to them, just identification notes, and I had my Altoids watercolor kit with me and did some simple coloring. I think one of my favorite birds was the wood pidgeon; with a flash of white on his wings when he flew from the deep trees where hidden. They are quite big compared to ‘our’ rock doves or pidgeons.
Later in the day I walked up the hill behind the hotel. It was very chilly and damp as I sat and worked. I did a small sketch of the lake view over the hotel, trying to get some color notes on it so I’d remember how it looked. I think my friend Gary arrived just in time though as my fingers were getting quite stiff! Time for hot tea!
I just finished the sketch,(back home in the states) working from a dull photo because it was a dull day. I sat in a coffee/lunch area in the grocery store on a nasty snowy day and worked on it…then finished it in the comfort of my studio. I perked up the color a little trying to keep in mind the original colors I had on the paper. I signed it Lake Derwent before I learned that it’s called Derwent Water. By the way, I did the entire painting using one waterbrush and my travel palette. I’m trying to practice using the waterbrush so it’ll come naturally in the field.
I think it’s a nice little painting!

I think the painting will always mean something different to the artist who painted it in the field. As I sat and sketched, then painted…I absorbed all around me. My eyes studied the colors, my ears heard wrens and thrushes singing, the wind blowing through the pines, my fingers felt the cool rain drops and mist, my face felt the breeze and my nose smelled the wet leaves and mosses in the undergrowth behind me…and the smells of the kitchen below. As I look at that little painting…I can remember it all! THIS is what makes painting outside in nature so rewarding, and it’s why I do it. I hope you’ll join me someday in experiencing this feeling.