Category Archives: watercolour

Soup Bowls, Rocks and Piece of Broccoli -Painting with Imagination

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The Bosco di Querce – watercolor and ink , 81 cm x 26 cm  (For Sale)

Following on from the painting of the Olive Grove, this one is entitled Old Oak Trees. It’s the second in the series, taking inspiration from the Medieval book of trees, it features elements of an imaginary ancient landscape.
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St David of Wales

When I thought of a cluster of oak trees, naturally, my mind went to the Celtic legends, tales of dragons, druids and secret places. So, this long painting is filled with a series of old, gnarled oaks and a tor with a stone monument on top.

Making a landscapes

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Table top monument

Whereas the olive grove painting was of trees in my local area of Italy, the oak trees were completely invented. To do this I used an old artist’s trick, making an artificial landscape out of bits of broccoli, some stones and an upturned soup bowl. Perfect!

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Creating myths

This formed the basis of the painting, along with the usual stylistic elements from the 13th century masters, their hills, rocky ledges and fields. The particular way in which they painted the trees and sky finishes the composition.
To complete the scene we could add suitable names. The road leading to the stream is Via Sant’Agnese or St Agnes Street. Some of the stones came from the River Aggia, the others are ballast from the railway, (the ferrovia or the iron way). Put all of this together and you can create a myth of epic proportions.
The Bosco di Querce, follow the Iron Way, past the Stones of Aggia and up the Tor of St Agnes.” All from some broccoli, a few stones and a bowl.

 

The Old Olive Tree

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The Old Olive Tree – Watercolour and ink, 40 cm x 22 cm (For Sale)

After completing the Medieval Tree Book, I decided that I’d had fun painting them but wanted larger paintings of trees. More complete landscapes, so here is the first of the woods, forests and groves collection. It is intended that these have a group tree themes within a fantasy landscape.

olivetreeThe first, the Old Olive Tree, came out of an old tree I spotted in Citta di Castello. An impressive, 25 foot tall tree, old and weathered, it seemed the perfect centre piece to an olive grove painting. The rest of the painting is made up of other, similarly twisted and gnarled trees with the background comprised of similar trees in the distant.

The hills in the beyond are a combination of hills in Lorenzetti’s landscape the “Allegory of Good and Bad Governance” and the skyline outside of my kitchen door.

So next look out for stone circles, scarecrows and rocky outcrops populated with lots of trees.

The Medieval Greenhouse of Eden

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Greenhouse of Eden 35 cm x 35cm

The Medieval Greenhouse of Eden plays on the same ideas as the other room paintings in this series. It uses a 13th century style, with its weird perspective and limited palette to create a modern image in a Medieval way.

It takes inspiration from my neighbour’s banana tree, the florist over the road and the tall umbrella pines that populate the nearby park.

 

Medieval Garden

The facade is drawn as a front-on elevation linked to multiple vanishing DSCN7344points throughout the painting. The idea is that viewers are forced to use other depth cues in order to create a three-dimensional view. This ultimately gives the painting a topsy turvy feel.

Strange perspective

Blurring of the images behind the glass windows, overlapping, size difference and aerial perspective all give depth and three-dimensions to the painting. The blue sky and verdant green background, orange ochre tiles and red pots create a spacial effect and make the conservatory stand out.

escherroom

Like an M. C. Escher etching, the viewer believes and disbelieves in the same breathe. You can see the depth in one moment and then are unable to the next. This is how one-eyed people see the world, through a series of snapshots that on occasion don’t add up but then with a twist of the head, all make sense again.

 

 

Medieval Garden Shed

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Medieval Garden Shed – watercolor 20cm x 30cm

I love the idea of combing eras and this one places a modern garden shed in a medieval style Gothic, herbal garden. The shed design is based on one from a B&Q garden centre catalogue but it has been given a 13th century twist.

It features iron hinged, shutters, a trefoil fan light and is drawn in a flat perspective. Inside, the storage box and plant pot come from the Ikea product range.

Medieval Garden

Medieval Herb Book

Medieval Garden

The medieval garden draws inspiration from an ancient herbal manuscript, with its twisted trees and over grown plants. Meanwhile, the gardening tools are taken from an old German wood cut.

The colourful marrows and onion plants look strangely at home alongside the modern, wooden shed, stocked with its range of intimidating implements.

Others in this Modern Gothic rooms series, include the library, kitchen and the bathroom.

Prints, postcards and mugs of the Medieval Garden shed are available from my  on-line shop.

13th Century Cigarette Lighter

Lighter

Cigarette lighter

If in the 13th century Ismail al Jazari had had the opportunity to design a cigarette lighter, I feel sure his painting would have looked something like this.

He would have incorporated a sealed pot to hold the gas and somehow tied down a piece of flint. There would have been a cog that when turned could adjust the height of the flame and the whole mechanism would have been put in a decorative box.

As with the previous machines, I’ve used the phonetic alphabet to give the painting an air of mysticism. The strange symbols and the addition of the mathematical formula for a burning match gives it a real sense of this being a scientific document.

Prints, postcards and mugs of this fascinating Medieval Lighter are available from my on-line shop.

Saint Emygdius – The Saint of Rock and Roll

Saint Emygdius

St Emygdius

Continuing with the modern emoji saints, here we have St Emygdius. Born in Treves, Germany, he converted to Christianity and made his way to Rome. On route he performed a number of miracles and cured the sick, as a result the pope made him a bishop and packed him off to Ascoli Piceno.

When Emygdius arrived the governor, Polymius, offered his daughter’s hand in marriage and tried to get him to worship Jupiter. Instead Emygdius converted her to Christianity, incurring the governor’s anger, who then had him beheaded. St Emygdius simply picked up his head and walked off into the hills, where his followers built an oratory.

When, in 1703, Ascoli Piceno was spared destruction during an earthquake, people put it down to the hand of Saint Emygdius. He has ever since been invoked against the effects of earthquakes and is always shown holding up a  crumbling building while dressed in his episcopal robes.

Other saints in this series – St David, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick , St Michael and St Francis

Archangel St Michael

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This forms part of the modern emoji saints series. The idea that if Byzantine or Early Renaissance painters were working now, how would they have portrayed religious topics. As emojis, obviously.

St Michael

So, if you’re looking for an angel to take your battles to the enemy, Saint Michael is your guy. He is often pictured as a warrior angel, fighting the foes of heaven. In Revelations he takes on Satan and wins, there are also paintings of him defeating serpents and dragons.

Attributes of the saint

St Michael is fully equipped for the task and is shown wearing armour, carrying a sword and spear with his banner attached. He also is depicted holding the scales of justice, where the lives of sinners are in the balance. Tradition has it that the colours associated with him are Royal purple and cobalt blue, this accounts for his colourful attire.

The archangel is a popular figure as patron saint, he is the protector of Jewish people and guardian of the Catholic church. The people of France, Germany, the Ukraine, Brussels, Kiev and Dumfries. Enforcers also look to St Michael, so police officers, the military, paratroopers, firefighters and paramedics call upon him. Strangely enough, so do grocers and the sick.

Other saints in the series – St David, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick, St Francis