Tag Archives: capturing the light

A magical visit to The Magical Town of Crickadoon

watercolour capturing the light of Wales. 


The view  from where I was staying high above The Magical Town of Crickadoon 

20-11-15 - 1 (216)This past weekend I stayed with my very dear friends, Sally and Gareth Reese in their beautiful home.     The house sits high up  overlooking the Usk Valley ….part of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park.

The landscape is never changing and yet constantly changing. 20-11-15 - 1 (208)I met Sally and Gareth shortly after I moved to Crickhowell 23 years ago….and have  been friends since.    They are some of the warmest most generous people I know.

Gareth, Sally and their son David on a walk through the bluebell woods. 

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The bluebell woods….at Coed-y-Bwnydd – As we walked through the only sounds were those of birds singing…..and the perfume from the bluebells……a feast for the senses.

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I am reminded when I return to Wales of just how much noise and light pollution we live with in London and other big cities.      To hear the sounds of nature so clearly is blissful, and to sleep in such peacefulness brings a quality to life that many have forgotten.

Typical of many Welsh people the Reese family are very musical, especially Sally and David…..In this photograph you can see Sally’s harp…..which she plays beautifully.

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There is  even the family kitty kat…..which is guaranteed to bring a smile to my face:)

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I was reminded of the passage of time, and the importance of making the most of every single day…..Twenty years ago, I painted the three children, Becky, David and Nicky….they were all young teenagers….and now are all married with children of their own.

Watercolour – of Becky 1996  – 17 years old…Now a mother with three children. 

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watercolours of David and Nicky 1996 – teenagers then and now both parents with their own children…..

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Of course we talked about my plans for living in Marmite Heaven – which brought up a new recipe using marmite.     Gareth had heard that peanut butter and marmite work well together….Well yesterday, I tried it….and I love it:  which probably says a lot more about me than the mix….    Unless you are a lover of Marmite…it might be one to avoid:)

A watercolour from the weekend…

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I am off to France next week to see more good friends, and to paint  a group of actors as they rehearse for a production on the 29th.      which means I will write my next blog in a couple of weeks.

A Bientôt

Silhouetted lighting on a winters day in Vienna

The following sequence is all about silhouetted lighting, and how powerful it can be.

I painted this large watercolour from a pen and ink sketch made in a  small park in Vienna, Austria.    It was a cold, sunny, mid winter’s afternoon and as the sun disappeared behind the buildings, everything in the foreground was thrown into dark shadows….The rays from the sun were almost red as they began to disappear.

For a brief moment the reds and golds from the sun reflected down onto the cold earth.


Frame 1)

I don’t use black in my paintings, rather I mix my darks, and in this case, I used a mix of Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna.   To achieve this strength of colour, I load my brush with sticky paint, and apply directly to the dry white paper.


Frame 2

Note that I use suggestion for the windows, rather than detail….and also that I have added Burnt Sienna to the roof, which is reflected from the quickly disappearing sun.

To the right of the painting a bench is indicated….I simply scraped out paint with a knife to achieve this effect.


Frame 3

I now begin to strengthen the reds and oranges….which indicate the fast setting sun…..and at the same time, I bring some of that colour into the foreground as it reflects.


Frame 4

To achieve the suggestion of sun rays….I add some Permanent White Gouche to the sky and then drag the paint down, using a wide wash brush. 

All other white areas in the painting, are dry white paper.



A Bientôt