Category Archives: Uncategorized

Painting Montone by Moonlight

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Montone by Moonlight – watercolour and ink 32cm x 64cm

Painting Montone

I returned once more to paint the lovely hill town of Montone in Umbria. This time I decided to take a different approach and looked at it from afar. Montone up close is difficult to make out. It is hidden behind woodlands, nestling in the hills, so this view from a couple of miles away gave me the perfect position.

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Super Moon

As I was driving home the other night and thinking about what sky to paint I realised it was one of the super moon nights. I quickly developed the idea that a dark blue backdrop with the moon in would make a nice change.

Sign of the zodiac

Add to this the constellations for the sign of the zodiac the person the painting was destined for, in this case, Cancer and you’ve got a nice pre-dawn sky.  Not everyone is a star gazer so to make the appropriate stars stand out I painted them in yellow, so it’s possible to them pick out.

The foreground features a collection of olive trees as the area is full of groves and my clients properties, the houses to the right of the painting is surrounded by trees but the picture ran out of space. So just put a series of stylized trees up front instead.

 

Wine and Oil Town – Torgiano

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Torgiano – Watercolour and ink, 45cm x 27cm (For Sale)

 

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being invited to exhibit at the ArtinPiazza show in Collazzone. The Torgiano painting was meant to be a part of the body of work I took along but time conspired against me and I didn’t get it finished in time.

Torgiano views

PosterOh well! it’s ready now. Torgiano is a beautiful little town, perched high up on a hill and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. The area is famous for its DOC wine and delicious oil and there are museums dedicated to both in the centro storico.

The beautiful little town is pictured from the valley below with its vineyards in the foreground. As f Simone Martini’s work can be seen, just up the road in the Basillica San Francesco in Assisi, the two large trees are stylised representations of his work.

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Collazzone alley

 

Torgiano’s landmarks

The two iconic points of the village are its thirteenth century, Torre di Guardia and the Church of St Bartholomew. The luscious, countryside is typically Umbrian with swathes of trees all around, distant villages and towns on the nearby hills. It is also not far from Deruta, famous for Majolica pottery.

 

Nice Painting Nice

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Nice, France  – Watercolour & ink 74cm X 24 cm (Sold)

I’ve finally finished my Nice painting and it’s turned out well, nice. This is the largest townscape I’ve undertaken and my first in France, so it was quite a challenge. The image concentrates on the promenade, highlighting some of the most interesting buildings that fill the street. The centre has the Colline du Chateau, with the old castle tower and stairway that leads up to the gardens, and the harbour behind.

The town has a gallery dedicated to Mondrian, so I thought, why not have a Mondrianesque sky. The other option was Chagall but I’m not sure a violin playing goat in the sky would have worked. Perhaps next time.

Bright liners and speed boats

Mont Boron on the right has some really interesting, strange shaped and exotic buildings on its slopes. Below is where the bright liners also leave giving the area a splash of colour, in their yellow livery.

The Prom at Nice is covered with rows of palm trees and to include these essential elements I decided to raise them up so that they didn’t obstruct the buildings along the foreshore. This seems to have worked out okay. To cap it all off there are two boats bobbing about in the foreground.

Nice, I hope you like it.

 

 

Autumn Along the E45

neal-winfield-E45 Fabbrecce

Autumn Along the E45 – watercolour & ink 57cm x 24cm (For Sale)

As it’s fringed with the occasional boring industrial site, the E45 may not be the easiest of highways, but there are plenty of gorgeous landscapes to view as you drive through Umbria.

DSCN5917Homeward bound

The sight of Canoscio with its neon blue cross is always a welcome one as it means I’m only minutes from home. A quick turn off the motorway, drive down the road through Fabbrecce and I’m there.

Along with Fabbrecce, seen through the woods that grow along the River Tevere, the painting also shows the little village of Falerno. This collection of houses and its church are hidden amongst the trees, away from prying eyes but they have a lovely view across the valley from their lofty perches.

This time the trees aren’t representative of any particular artist but are the commonly seen tall beech and the un-pruned olive trees that populate the landscape.

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Medieval palette

This time I tried a new approach and only used colours from a Medieval palette. So there’s no olive or hookers green, no brilliant red or permanent white. They are all the tones they would have had to hand 800 years ago. It was great fun mixing the colours rather than delving for a tube.

Monterchi Watercolor

Painting Umbrian village

Monterchi – Watercolour and ink 36 cm x 36 cm (For Sale)

Piero territory

Madonna del Parto - Piero della Francesca

Madonna del Parto – Piero della Francesca

Monterchi stands on the Umbrian Tuscan border and is famous for the rare painting by Piero della Francesca of the pregnant Madonna, “Madonna del Parto”. He was born locally, in Sansepolcro and many pieces of his work can be found in the area.

It’s for this reason I decided to paint a sky similar to his “Baptism of Christ” now held in the National Gallery in London. The tree on the left is also a reference to the 15th century painter.

The Baptism of Christ - National Gallery, London

The Baptism of Christ – National Gallery, London

Drawing the landscape

I used some sketches and photos from the Valtiberina painting that were taken looking across the fields from the road to Lippiano.

The colourful town stands out nicely, with a clear sky behind and plenty of trees in the foreground. Although I did a little pictorial pruning of the trees to give a better view of the buildings.

Watercolour of Umbertide Sul Tevere

Umbria towns

Umbertide Sul Tevere  Watercolour and ink, 74cm x 46cm (For Sale)

Painting Umbertide

I wanted to paint this watercolour as I was invited, along with six other artists, to take part in the opening of a new exhibition space in Umbertide. I decided that it would be a good idea to paint a new piece of the town for the show.

Inauguration poster

Inauguration poster

The latest picture of Umbertide was meant as a sister painting to the large one of Citta di Castello

. Taken from a viewpoint of the northern entrance into the town centre, the scene looks across the River Tevere. In the foreground are the road and rail bridges, the old wall and the houses of Piazza San Francesco.

La Rocca

Rising out of this is the old Rocca tower and the strangely shaped Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Reggia to it’s left. Also visible is the bell tower in the main piazza and the curvey facade of Santa Croce, now a museum, which is famous for it’s Luca Signorelli fresco.

The mountains of Acuto and Corona dominate the background with Civitella Ranieri on the third hill. On the tobacco fields behind Umbertide the painting shows the Abbey of Monte Corona and one of the brightly coloured, orange warehouses that litter the landscape around the town.

My sky is normally influenced by the weather at the time of painting and we’ve had some stormy, dark days of late. However, rather than create a grey, somber scene I decided to show the way black, leaden clouds come across as pink and purple to me. Much more dramatic and cheery.

Duccio’s Tree

International Gothic artist

Duccio’s tree

The large tree to the right is a reference to Duccio, whose work I’ve been studying lately in reference to a project on the lost predella of Simone Martini’s picture of Beato Agostino Nouvello, in Siena. I love the way that he realised that there were two elements to depicting trees, the dark green shape of the tree and its lighter leaves.

Umbertide Sul Tevere conveys the feeling of a town situated in a large open plain surrounded by tall mountains and tree covered hills. While linked with the outside world by road, rail and river it is still a busy but tranquil place to live.

Cartoon of a Medieval Village

Medieval Village sketch

Santa Giuliana Gatehouse

Drawing the village

Setting out the composition for the gatehouse at Borgo Santa Giuliana I decided there were four main areas that should draw the eye. The gatehouse itself, the tower, the twin cropped pine trees in the foreground and Janet and Jed’s house.

Santa Giuliana, Umbria

A little more detail

Rather than paint another distant image, this time I wanted to get in the thick of it, paint the walls and windows in more detail and give a real impression  of this magnificent walled village.

Taking a liberty

Santa Giuliana is situated on the steep hillsides of Monte Corona and at this point, is hidden from view by many trees. So I had to take a little liberty with the composition, artistically chop down the woodland. I’ve still left you with a feeling that this is a wooded area but made enough space to see the buildings and gate and bell tower without having to dodge the foliage.

Skething in Umbria

Santa Giuluana Cartoon

The pine trees have moved around a little during the design stage and are now echoed by the clouds on the opposite side. There is also a strong left to right diagonal, which draws the eye to the building in the centre. While the house and the shrine on the left, with the olive grove behind give a sense of the village being a part of the landscape.

Santa Giuliana’s history

Santa Giuliana

The village from below

In it’s heyday the slopes would have been cleared giving the defenders an unobstructed view of approaching armies. In a way this returns the village to its historical past and shows what an imposing  figure it would have been in the landscape.  … Okay! Now for a bit of colour.